Category Archives: Darkness

COVID-19 – What is that finally all about?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

COVID-19, the Day the World Ended… or was it civilization as we’d come to know it… or was it a natural, totally unexpected plague that threatened to annihilate mankind? One of the four horses of the Apocalypse, Death, Famine, War or Conquest, take your pick? Maybe none of the above descriptions or criteria? Maybe simply another convenient false flag?

I would like this to be a synopsis (hopefully short) of what I’ve learned so far about COVID-19. Wow, and good luck with that, I’m thinking. What haven’t I learned and what’s worth remembering now that we’re fully engaged into a “fanfreluche” war against a chimera. Explanation for those not of French extraction: Fanfreluche is a living doll who retells fairy tales and legends to the viewers. When the story goes a way that displeases her, she physically enters the story to “fix” the ending. I hope you can see the connection!

So, what I know, so far. The virus, real, imagined or partially real, no one will ever know now because the waters in the wake of its very loud passage were so muddied nothing can be seen, not even by the very best forensic pathologist, not even the non-existent bodies blamed on its passage can be found. I won’t say no one died a bit sooner than otherwise from the effects of this “manipulated” (medical experts’ consensus) corona virus “extract” but it is also true that the CDC has “advised” medical examiners to label any death due to complications of various pre-existent conditions as COVID deaths.

Reason for that? Think two things: profits for emptied hospitals being paid big bucks for declaring C-19 deaths and governments eager to enter into a new age of totalitarianism, putting an end to those annoying “democracies” with their constitutions demanding that leaders be accountable to the peons. That was an intolerable affront to ruling elites. Well, no more of that, it’s over. The “divine right of kings” has been re-established. “Wear a mask-step, sanitize your hands-step, six-foot rule-step, nitril gloves-step, report your neighbours-step, no large gatherings-step… step-step-step. Halt! Papiere bitte! Vakzine? Nein? You’re under arrest! Turn around, hands behind back or I will shoot you like the dog that you are.”

What else did I learn? Well, during the whole C-19 brouhaha, the problems of climate change miraculously disappeared. Wow! Some even went so far as to claim that suddenly the planet’s physical, if not mental, condition was doing much better. According to hyped up disinformation, the air and even the waters, were so much cleaner. Why? Well because for a few days people drove maybe 20% less and airliners stayed on the ground. I didn’t buy the cleaner air claims but then I’m not exactly an easy sell for propaganda. I like to annoy claimants by stating, “Don’t tell me, show me.” I didn’t see anything. Chilliwack, where this is coming from, is bottled up at the east end of the Fraser Valley and the mountains (see my blog’s header picture!) act as a giant collector of city and port pollution from the coast, from Seattle, north to Vancouver, B.C. Wonder why our pollution levels didn’t seem to “lighten up”? But the good news is, we no longer have to worry about climate change. Fanfreluche is re-writing that part of the tale.

I also learned that during the “pandemic” the problem of a crashing economy due to gross malfeasance and corruption in all highest places of government, military, banking and corporate prevarication was conveniently laid on the shoulders of little Fanfreluche. Up to her now to go in there and change the way the tale is to be re-told! The perpetrators can line up at the trough again, like they did in 2008 and rack up some more billions; buy up more stock options and cut off the small investors out of any hope for some profit on their investments. The “roaring twenties” repeated… in spades! Now comes massive unemployment; loss of homes and security: all COVID’s fault, naturally. Oh, and let’s not forget the “incremental” profits by humongous corporations as tens of thousands of small businesses are neatly excised from the competition field. Does it get better than that?

What else? I came face-to-face with the worst corruption of all: the politicizing of what was presumably a serious medical situation; the blatant corruption of those in charge of developing a real solution to the virus. Instead of handling the virus like any other in previous years the entire planet was suddenly inveigled into acquiescing to outright stupid, inane, pointless and in most cases, deleterious rules ostensibly meant to “contain” the spread of the virus. I learned that those who at first jumped on the Bill Gates agenda to declare a world-wide “vaxable” emergency as millions were sure to drop dead in the streets, in elevators, on beaches, at parties, in swimming pools, in theaters, at board meetings, in planes, trains and automobiles, when caught in fragrante delicto recanted and began to say that the rules were worst than the disease they had been meant to contain.

Think “Dr.” Fauci (whom I lovingly like to call Herr Doktor Faucki Mengele) and his gross lies, not to mention his corrupt behaviour in moving his deadly virus research from Fort Detrick to… yes, Wuhan(!) after Obama shut him down in the States as his “research” was deemed too dangerous. So he took taxpayers’ money and gave it to China. Smooth that, very smooth. About a month and a half ago, his royal lowness, King Donald “promised” to look into Faucki’s corruption: I think we’re in for a very long wait on that one. Corruption investigating corruption? Not unless there’s profit in it for Trump, which based on the level of believers in the COVID divinity, there isn’t. We already know how the “political left” feels about King Donald ordering people back to work.  

We should be so much more trusting of our leaders, wherever we place them, shouldn’t we! When they say no, we know they mean yes and mean well. When they say yes, we know they mean no and mean well. When they tweet endlessly we know to bleat endlessly to complete the “Song of the Zombies.” It will be our very last performance, done alone, in a dark room, under quarantine and one kilometre/mile social distancing. No one will hear. 

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #105

I scan the skies and I’m happy to see the great cyclones of sand continuing to partially block the sun’s rays and the sky’s normally sharp blue is of a tan colour. The ‘goddess’ continues to bless our efforts, it would seem. ‘I thank you Mother’ I whisper quietly and in my heart I feel a flutter of a response. She is awakening, I know.

End blog post #104
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Start blog post #105

Chapter 41 – An Execution Order is Signed – A Killing Orgy Scheduled

Several days after the escape two men in dark blue uniforms wearing the red epaulets of those who work with the Fighter Council approach me as I spar with a couple of trainees.

“You gora, you come here now.” Peremptorily and angry. I quickly drop my weapons and approach the men with the mandatory bowed head.

The one on the right intones, “You be condemned by official statute. Must die. Prepare now.” The other flashes a sheet of ‘official’ yellow paper before my face and assuming I can’t read anyway, just rolls it up in a holder and files it in a shoulder bag. Of course it’s the long expected execution order that has finally been approved and signed. So this is it… and I don’t know what to feel here for a moment. I hadn’t been expecting this. I wonder why now? Time to apply the Teaching to myself: “When nothing matters, it will all be yours.” I return to the sparring line, pick up my weapons and continue with the training. How does a ‘gora’ prepare to be killed?

Turns out there is a very simple answer to that question. After the training session, even before the ritual washing and meal I’m taken to the cages by two handlers never seen in the compound. They practically drag me all the way to the back to be chained by the wrists to bars with the ‘dikfols’ who just stare at me. The stench in this part of the cages is almost unbearable, second only to what I remember of the Warmo’s death chamber. The chains are so short I can’t bring my hands to my neck or face.

Of course this is their way to prevent me from committing suicide and also add to my ‘punishment’ before they can fully taste their revenge. They, whomever ‘they’ be, have hated me for a long time, for the fortunes I cost them and the “great” men I killed, such as their prince and his aide; the many aristocrats on whom they bet huge sums of money; for the hundreds of very expensive drooks I also killed and especially for their dearly departed Warmo.

They have hated me for the alien fighting techniques I taught the women, enabling them to kill more challengers and live longer. They have hated me not only because I am a gora but because they know I’m some kind of alien and realize they should have killed me the day I came to Hyrete. Now they are about to get their revenge. I suppose the most likely method will be for “they” to take turns flogging me to death in a public arena show. It is the way of it. I’ll be chained here until the day of the execution, and whatever method they choose, they are not about to tell me. They want me to sweat it. They already know that I know it will be as pain-filled as they know how to make it.

So here I am finally at the end of the run. I’m still not sure of my feelings. Angry? Afraid? Eager to get it over with? I suppose all of that. I have to sort myself out and decide who I am not. Certainly I’m no longer the fighter. I’m no longer the Teacher. Am I then just another dikfol waiting to die in some cruel fashion designed and applied by misogynist males who fear life?

But you see there is justice in the ‘law of attraction’ as it is still called. It is not a law, of course, but some strange force that forms like an aura around those who focus upon the future. I wanted to taste Malefactus to its very dregs, to experience its horrors so as to truly know what it is like to be a woman on such a world. I wanted to be reminded what it has been like, what it continues to be like, for millions of women on Túat Har also for as long as the system there remains under a male-dominated hegemony. I’m tasting it indeed, just as I chose to. This is no accident; no miscarriage of justice. This is what the child finds under the tree on Christmas morning. “I want that!” she had said, pointing at a toy in a store window. Mom tells dad and the toy manifests under the tree with her name on it. A so simple aspect of the Force.

Some used to say to me, “Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.” I can vouch for this: I have been very careful and mindful of everything I’ve asked for. Through commitment and dedication; through honesty and compassion – even if that latter was stretched thin at times – I got what I asked for. Will it bear the fruit I long for? Who knows. I’m just planting the seed in the ground. For the tree to grow strong and tall and bear good fruit much depends now on others, on others’ labour in the orchard. All that remains for me to do here is to water that seed. For that it needs my blood and it shall get it, but it is still my hope it will be properly mixed with my sweat as well. We shall see.

The chains do not prevent us from lying down; they are short so we can’t deliberately strangle ourselves in them but they are on rings that slide around specially made upside down L-shaped bars so we can stand, even walk a bit along the horizontal part, then slide back and down to sleep. Ingenious these men, really. Imagine if they spent even half the effort they put into inventing ways to restrain, constrain, torture and kill into other pursuits like finding ways to better the lives of their poor and oppressed? Oh well, that will happen when it happens if it happens but not by talking about it. I’m hungry and I don’t know if I’ll be fed tonight but I need rest and that I can do for myself.

I hear the rest of the fighters and trainees return to the cages for count and lock down for the night. Nothing for it but go to sleep. The poor dikfols around me aren’t fed or cleaned after either. We share our misery. I slide down into old and thin straw that does not protect my skin from the cold and damp stones. Fine and never mind. This too I need to experience again. When I came here I spent my second night chained naked to the steel execution post outside in the compound. I thought then I’d die of exposure but survived to live as a fighter for thirteen years, from 1328 to 1341. The record says I racked up the greatest number of kills for one individual, and have been the longest lasting fighter. Well, as you know, I had help. I wasn’t after such records in any case but they helped establish my reputation among the women as they became more inclined to listen to some of my mad stories which I dub the Teaching.

The clanking of steel gates opening announces morning. I’m stiff but otherwise feel quite refreshed and ready to face whatever the day brings. A half dozen young women, some practically overwhelmed by the stench in our section, bring us food and feed us as our hands cannot reach our faces. Then they proceed to rake the straw, bring buckets of cold water, wash down the stones, even wash down the bodies of those of us who let them, and later carry in fresh straw on large wooden forks. One of the girls approaches me and whispers a memorized message in my ear: “We are aware of your condition. The doctor has gone to the King to see what can be done. The execution order stands but he hopes to change it from a public flogging to a killing orgy that you may have a chance to once more fight for the women of Malefactus alongside the others condemned to death with you. The killing orgy is in two days. Be brave and remember we all thank you and will remember you here.”

Undoubtedly the message came from the YBA Cydroid in the kitchen. I’m heartened by her message. We are never alone. After the girls have left I lay down in the fresh straw to ponder my life some more. Mostly about things I feel I could have done better and want to remember. I sleep, wake, sleep some more. The girls left us a bucket of water and by stretching we can pass it along from woman to woman. We all drink from it as the heat intensifies through the day. There is no circulation this far back in the dungeon and we sweat like pigs. Late in the afternoon, before the fighters and trainees are returned to the cages the servant women come with the evening meal.

That same one comes to me and whispers another memorized message: “The doctor has returned. He can get you out of Hyrete tonight and two Cydroids will take you to Koron if you wish it. Make the gorok memorize your reply if you can give it now.” This girl seems to possess an amazing aspect of plastic memory, something the Cydroids did to her, more than likely.

After an initial surge of hope from the Cydroid’s message I look around at my ‘family’; at the poor dikfols who can’t even speak or make themselves understood and are about to be butchered in the arena in less than two days. What sort of example would I give by sneaking off to save my own hide and leaving them to face the madness alone? I remember telling doctor Echinoza that I would die a violent death here. Perhaps it was a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, but certainly it is one I can not now avoid.

However difficult the choice my answer is predictable. I say to the gorok, “Listen carefully and memorize this: ‘My answer is no. I stay with my people. Thank you again for all your efforts on my behalf. I have one question: Do you have news of Deirdre my friend on Koron.’ Can you repeat that girl? She repeats it word for word and I send her away. I great wave of relief comes over me now. It feels good to be able to determine your own fate.

In the dark, after everyone is more or less settled for the night I hear a rustle in the cages. The sound comes nearer and nearer to where I sit, shackled to the bars.

“Sir! Can you hear me?” The voice is of an older fighter.

“Yes,” I reply in the darkness facing the general direction of the question. “What you be wanting?”

“We know of the killing orgy. We all know you have chance to leave tonight but choose to stay with us, the gorok tell. Fight all the way with us. We certain now you be true. We all say we now listen to Teaching, remember Teaching, pass on to new ones each time they come. We continue Teaching until goddess rise again for us. We now say thank you for coming to us and we think, is difficult to know how, but think maybe we see you again soon. You come and bring back more Teaching, more power for goras.”

“Not goras!” I exclaim, not caring who hears it and takes exception. Nothing to lose here.

“Never again we be goras. Now we be ahya! Always! Forever! Together we be ahya! Say it low together. This is my last mantra, my last Teaching. Remember you all be ahya! Let men say ‘gora’ but you must translate that as ahya in your mind each time to break the evil spell. Practice self-empowerment, always. That is our greatest weapon, ahyas.”

End blog post #105

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #103

They have simple minds and I’m not really lying.  It could be the good life they all dream of sometimes.  I gain three men that way and stop my recruiting.  That’s it; we have our complement and are set.  Now it’s up to the engineers, the Cydroids and the weather.  We wait. Was it too easy? I feel serious discomfort in my mind but cannot locate the source. Maybe I’m nervous. Maybe I just want it all to be over.

End blog post #102
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Start blog post #103

While I wait Tiki and the Concubine are involved in two more fights.  They are a deadly pair.  Twice in one day they are pitted against drooks and twice they defeat them and kill them, sharp and clean.  With the many tricks I’ve taught and demonstrated plus their single-mindedness as fighters the two are simply unbeatable in any reasonably fair fight.  The day will come when they will be tested in unfair fights, especially Tiki because she is small, pretty to watch and young.  Money flows more freely where basest emotions of sexual lusts are stirred.  I have warned them not to get over-confident and to expect the unexpected, always.  Treachery is always around the corner.  It’s the way of life here, basically.

This I teach all women fighters, no longer using their pidgin in my exhortations.  I am the representative of the goddess now, and the voice of the crone from the other side:  “One day, I sense, you will enter the arena expecting the usual one-on-one fight and you will be faced with double the number of men, two on one, four on two.  You will not be permitted to protest and will have to fight for your lives.  You will get hurt in those.  If a team, one will likely be killed and the other have to finish the fight to stay alive.  Think about that.  Think about your state of mind when your partner receives the death blow.  What will your instinctive reaction be?  That is what will determine if you live or die, at that moment.  You are all excellent fighters but you are not immortal or super women.

“Train for that one eventuality now.  Train also for weapons switch.  It will be done to you.  Arena fighting, because of the many losses and the new phase of wars with Estáani, is entering a dark phase.  They are angry that less women die at the hands of challengers than used to be the case.  Ordinary challengers, the ones who did it just to show off for their friends; who made bets while under the influence of brew or chakr, are becoming rarer.  Now you mostly fight condemned men or drooks and less money is flowing through the gambling houses.  Investors are pulling out or going broke.  This means desperation and treachery.  Know your place, and your changing times.  Adapt to them quickly, I warn you.

“Now I have this to add.  When I arrived in Hyrete I was shown the legal array of weapons fighters needed to be familiar with and would be challenged by.  Of those we have consistently ignored one set because it is, well, antiquated and ridiculous.  So it was pulled out at my suggestions some years later as no one in their right mind would use it.  Who remembers this particular set?”

The women look at one another, staring especially at the oldest in the training line-up.  They all shrug negatively.

“It was a lance and buckler.  A lance is like the staff, a kind of long spear only much more unwieldy, easily broken if a weight, such as a man’s body is thrown against it.  Basically it can only stab a challenger.  The buckler is a small round shield with a short spike sticking out of the center, with which, if you break your lance, and expect you will, you try to stab your opponent.  Idiotic?  Totally but I’m going to request this weapon be re-instated in our sets because I sense that very soon some drook from a distant town where they use this stupid weapon to kill women will demand to face one of us with it. 

Yes, it is a man’s weapon.  It is very effective against us because of our small size and light weight.  It works against our speed.  A clumsy weapon designed on Túat Har, another world, in another dimension and at another time, to be used by tall muscular fighting men called soldiers; also used by fighting men, usually slaves, called gladiators, who, as with us, fought to the death unless given mercy by the crowds.  Later the combination lance and shield was used for one-on-one combat using heavy four-footed beasts called horses who could carry a man in a heavy saddle while both man and horse were covered in steel chain link armour.  The lance rested on a stand when not in use. 

“Tomorrow we begin training with lance and buckler if I can find enough of them.  Back to your training please, women fighters of Hyrete!”  I salute them to give them that extra edge of pride.  I have thoroughly trained them in the art of the self-empowering mantra and I can see their lips moving as they repeat the old mantra against fear:

I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. I will face my fear. I will let it pass over me and through me. When it has gone, I will look and only I will be standing there.”*

Action processes, when engaged properly, tend to move in a reverse spiral, from slow to tight and fast as they approach the center.  Our commitment to the escape is tightening up.  The storms are all but certain now.  Great winds are arising over the desert I am told via Tieka from the on-duty Cydroid in the kitchen. We can see the sands being sucked high into the atmosphere, dulling the sun’s light.  Sand builds up in our washing and drinking troughs, on our benches and tables and even our straw we have to kick and stir before we can lay in it.  The flagstones are covered with moving, snaking sand.  On the horizon, what we can see of it, are great grey clouds with white thunderheads climbing high in the sky by late afternoon then receding in the night, only to return again the next day and climb higher each time.  So we know the prevailing winds are weakening to be replaced by a type of sirocco rising from the desert, crossing the sea and dumping its wet, oppressive sand-filled humidity upon Elbre. 

I do not envy those untrained and poorly equipped soldiers out there in their sandy dug-outs and eroding trenches attempting to defend Hyrete, the royal city; waiting for death to find them in the way of concussion bombardments or swallow them in quicksand in the sudden collapse of newly formed dunes or washed away to drown in the sand-filled waters of flash floods from rain storms sweeping the foothills to the north east. 

I get word that a confusion plan has been worked out among the Cydroids.  I really think they enjoy all this cloak and dagger stuff.  They have ‘recruited’ two of the legitimate security personnel to escape as well, using these individuals as the fall guys in what should be seen as a security breach allowing an Estáan commando force to enter the keep and steal five carriers as well as taking some thirty five captives for slave labour and sex in their offensive.  So that’s to be the official cover story.  It should leave all of us in the clear.  And that, I hope, takes care of the last detail. 

We wait, not without some anxiety.  The way I feel, you’d think I was one of those escaping.  But these are my people, these young women my children.  Long ago there was a change of energy towards me in the compound.  I became the head mother, especially to the newly arrived trainees.  I sought them out to encourage them and protected them from particularly vicious fighters to whom they were given.  I had one fighter taken out and flogged to death for abusing a trainee.  That example was needed at the time both to protect the young and to establish my authority in the cages.  Serious infractions to our own ‘rules’ were reported to me and I administered the punishment in a totally fair way.  It was done on the training ground.  I’d ask for the perpetrator to be matched against me in training, then I’d let her have at me to see who was right and who walked away in pain. 

Now I’m also the Teacher.  That’s my personal beachhead on Malefactus.  Over time, I’ve embellished our silent and sacred ‘cult’ to our goddess.  The women’s prayers, always including their chosen name, have become more personal and specific.  I’ve taught them that prayers are not begging for miracles, but for strength and patience.  For understanding when nothing makes sense.  For compassion towards one-another when one is afraid or hurt.  For courage the day a killing orgy is announced and the cages are culled for the slaughter.  I have given them something to look to, beyond their physical life and we have lived longer, had less suicides and many less executions.  Also I’ve noticed the women respond better if I use my own language, not their pidgin, and they are learning to speak more fluently. 

Now eighteen of my children are heading out into the unknown to attempt the building of some kind of normal life they have never experienced.  They and their men hitching rides in the open on flimsy carriers are the seeds of a new culture, the hope of Malefactus.  Much hinges on the success of this venture, and taken one part at a time, it is a simple plan.  But put all those pieces together to happen simultaneously and you have a complex structure that can collapse on itself from the outset.  I’ve never been one to overlook possibility of trouble.  Life has not been so easy on me that I can afford to do that.  But at this stage, what can I do but join in the women’s prayer and offer mine to our ‘goddess’ in hope?

* Bene Geseritt mantra against fear – Dune, by Frank Herbert

End blog post #103

Dallas

Periodically I run a short story of mine here. Most of those pass by unobtrusively, a few likes, rarely a comment. I think it’s because most of my stories are parables that contain too damn much “Shatarian flossofy” that spoils the entertainment value. The odd time though, I can contain my exuberance and just tell a story.  Maybe this is such an odd time. Enjoy anyway.  Thanks for reading.
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Dallas was a week from her 15th birthday when she disappeared. I am her older brother by almost 2 years. My name is Greg, or for some, Gregory, 3rd oldest of five siblings. Home is Hope, a small town at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley, if you will. The house is in an older subdivision on the way to Kawkawa lake. Not much ever happens in Hope and Dallas’ disappearance created quite a stir for the next year, until nothing was discovered or found and like so many, Dallas’ fate entered the missing persons’ growing police files.
Needless to say, the family was not the same after that. Mom was disconsolate but adamant that Dallas was just “lost” as she put it, that nothing had happened to her. She managed to communicate this feeling to me and upon graduating from Hope Secondary, I decided to go in search of Dallas.
There wasn’t much to go by, but I knew Dallas intimately – we were more than siblings, we were close friends, and I knew a lot of things about Dallas that she had not shared with any one else. I knew that she was restless, not close to anyone and tired of being “mom’s girl” at home. Dallas had grown wings prematurely and wanted to try them out. She had talked to me about leaving home many times but it was always something in the future, when she was “of age” so to speak. But youth is fed by impatience and Dallas added impetuosity to the volatile mix. Hope and home were much too constricting for someone like her. I could remember her flashing dark brown eyes and black pony tail swinging back and forth when she entered into an argument about something she felt deeply about, and Dallas felt deeply about everything.
So, with only mom knowing my plans, and a little over 2 years since Dallas had gone missing; with some money from an uncle’s inheritance, I set out on my private search for her.
I went west, to the city and port of Vancouver. After settling down I focused on doing research on teens running away from home. I did a lot of work to create a working pattern. I rented cheap accommodations where I set up my notebook and bluetooth mini printer. I transcribed my notes from the day’s search into computer files and printed pictures of Dallas to put on posts, bulletin boards or to pass around. I got to know a few city police detectives on missing kids detail and everyday was a new learning experience. I won’t bore you with the endless false leads, and the sick people trying to cash-in on leading me to Dallas. I learned to smell them out pretty quickly. And all the while, I discovered the dark heart of a modern megalopolis.
Having made my peace with the reality of the city I knew that anything was possible. I interacted with prostitutes, pimps and massage parlours, any sort of place or business that might provide a haven for underage female runaways. I didn’t think Dallas would go that route but desperation narrows choices. On the other side, I frequented movie sets where a young girl’s ID might not be checked too closely when an extra was needed in a hurry. I checked the Internet for ads and agencies that placed babysitters or nannies.
It was a strange time. The more I came up blank, the more convinced I became that I was on Dallas’ trail and would find her.
I dreamt about her sometimes, and every dream showed me this: that she was not only all right, but had found herself and was happy with her new life. Sometimes I met her in a restaurant where she waitressed, or in a rich household where she worked as a nanny. There was always that mischievous look in her eyes, the twinkling that said, “I have a secret and I won’t tell you what it is until and unless you discover it for yourself.” Then she would laugh and the dream would end.

I emailed or texted mom fairly regularly, skipping many details but reassuring her that I was not only still looking, but increasingly sure that I would find Dallas and that she would be well. Often I would get a simple reply: “Thank you, Gregory, thank you. – Mom”
It occurred to me, after over a year, and a third of my funds gone, to combine my search with some practical course on private investigating and journalism. Within a few months I felt confident that I had enough horse sense and street smarts to try working. I answered an ad from a family looking for their disappeared son. I visited the people and explained what I was doing in Vancouver and convinced them that I knew enough to be of value to them. We settled on a fee and I added 14 year old “William” to my search query, creating a new set of patterns. Not surprising (to me) I found William with a group of Lost Boys downtown, trying to earn some money washing windshields at intersections.
Once I was sure of him, I waited for a chance and approached him as casually as I knew how, offering him a small amount of money if he would run an errand for me. He was hungry and broke and completed the errand in record time. Before I paid him, I told him his name and asked him if he ever thought about returning home.

“You a f…king cop?” he snarled and almost bolted from the outdoor table I had chosen for the exchange. I gently but firmly put my hand on his arm.
“Oh, don’t be stupid, Will. A cop wouldn’t ask you to run an errand. I wanted you to have that to think about before I talked to you.”
“So what’s the deal? Why do you care who I am or what I do?”
“Should be obvious – I’m a private investigator hired to find you, and I found you. I can have you home within the hour… if you’ll let me. Hey, it’s no skin off my nose if you run, I get paid regardless. I report that I found you, the location, and that you took off. Doesn’t sound too smart to me, though. Whatever caused you to run in the first place couldn’t have been that serious, and it’s been 6 months. I think it’s time for you to go home, finish school, then think about leaving with your head high this time, with a job or a degree at least. You’re not a poor homeless kid, William. You’re a spoiled Yuppie brat who may just have learned a valuable lesson now. You can take advantage of that. You know what gets you the farthest in life? Self-discipline. You can do it to wash windshields, surely you can do it to a greater end than that.”
So I returned a subdued William to his grateful parents. And I found other jobs; learned to collaborate with some of the undercover cops and my life slowly changed, but my purpose remained steadfastly the same: to find Dallas. Another year went by and I figured most would have given up by now. But something was inextricably linked in my mind: Dallas and the City. Dallas and I. All three of us were drawing together, I could sense this.
The City, as ugly and frightening as it had appeared at first, was definitely growing on me. I saw her gross sins and could forgive many of them. I interacted with her victims, the rich and the poor, and found out many didn’t mind being victims and I learned to accept that. And I wrote all of that down in my notes and began to feed some of my impressions to the borderline underground press that proliferated in the City. I deliberately used my real name to sign my articles and made sure it appeared frequently. I made a couple of “appearances” on radio talk shows about my work on the street, and what I had learned in interaction with the “Wendy’s” and the “Lost Boys,” as I called the runaways; their pimps, employers, lovers, and mentors.
And as I somehow knew it would, it happened: I found Dallas. She did investigating for a couple of Internet news blogs between other jobs, and she saw my name on an article, found the radio program on the Internet and contacted me by email. My heart soared as old Chief Dan George would have said. We chose to meet in a Starbucks, neutral grounds. I was there early because I wanted to watch her walk in; wondering how much she’d changed; if I would recognize her.
I had no trouble recognizing her face. Her hair was longer, no longer in a pony tail but allowed to flow freely thick over her shoulders. She appeared a bit taller, slimmer certainly, and much older. She wore a brown fake leather jacket and a short blue skirt and knee-length high heeled black boots. But that dark brown-eyed twinkle was as bright as ever.
“Dallas!” I couldn’t help calling as she looked over the crowd and line-ups. She saw me and smiled. It was still that special smile she used on me when we were “kids” it seemed so long ago. She came over, hugged me and went to get an espresso. I watched her, the poise, the certainty, the assurance. I should not have been surprised, but I was regardless. I couldn’t help but remember that she had not yet turned 15 when she left home and Hope to find herself. And I though it uncanny how right both mom and I had been about her. Except that she was never lost: she had her own map, her own destination and her own destiny to fulfill. And as I watched that young woman interacting with the guy behind the counter, I realized what her mind had told her, those eventful years ago: “It’s time Dallas. Leave – now, or forfeit your purpose. They will take you, when you come of age; when you have graduated, or earned a degree, and they will file you, pigeon-hole you, and you will become the living dead, just like your parents, your teachers, the adults you see on TV and meet in the stores. They will make you fit in. You’ll get married, get a house and stuff, have kids, part-time brain dead job, and walk the treadmill until you die. Walk away now, Dallas. You can do it.”
And, she had.
We didn’t talk very long that morning. I was on a case and she had reports to file, so we decided to meet at my place. Hers she said, was a bit crowded; she lived with two other women, one of whom was her lover – for the time being – she added with that twinkle. “Neither one of us is ready to settle, and I don’t think I want a serious relationship, at least not for a long time.”
She came to my place and having settled my case that afternoon and gotten paid, I got the goodies and wine and we talked, basically all through the night. And although the question was burning on my tongue, I never asked her why she hadn’t contacted mom, nor whether she would now. It didn’t seem appropriate and besides, she was the one asking the questions.
“OK, so I can see mom would try to put you up to this, but why did you come looking for me, Greg? Why didn’t you just let it go? Huh? She got up abruptly from the chair, sending it flying ass over tea kettle, turned, grabbed it and threw it back on its feet. She turned her back to me and talked: “I’ll tell you why you came to find me. You didn’t believe that I was lost. I became an opportunity for you, didn’t I. An excuse to leave also. Romance, excitement, feelings, emotions, so many things that tend to get bottled up in a small town stuck against a mountain and a river, things that can be let loose and expressed in countless ways, good and bad, here in the metro. You wanted what I had discovered. And you wanted to find me to prove to yourself that you had found it too. You followed me, not to find me, though that was your intent, but to find yourself. You were the one who was lost, Gregory. You were never going to find yourself in Hope, or in whatever institution you ended up working for. You sensed it, and you found my map in your mind, where I left you a copy. So, have you found yourself, Greg?”
She turned just as abruptly, leaned down with both hands flat on the small table and literally stared into my soul. She smiled thinly and sat down to sip some more wine. She waited for my answer.
“You are right, Dallas. The commitment, the gallantry, the chivalry, call it whatever you will, that was the cover story. The underlying motive was romance. I would do something different, and I had you to light my way. And Dallas?”
“Yes?”
“What a light you turned out to be!” She smiled again, and her eyes were wet, as were mine. We finished the wine and I called a taxi to take her home. We hugged once more just before she got in the car. She picked up the dragging edge of the long trench coat she was wearing and I closed the door, watching her disappear in the early morning mist and smog.
And the City stood surrounding us, neither smiling nor frowning, withholding comment and judgment.

Sorrow and Joy

[a poem by  ~burning woman~ ]

What do you look at
When you lie awake in the night
Eyes wide open watching
Tumbling clouds hiding stars and moon?
What keeps you awake, so restless?

I see Sorrow
Walking bent over
Along graffiti’d walls in some city street:
She wears a worn black coat
Broken shoes without socks
And hunger is eating her.

Her eyesight is failing,
With gnarled hands she touches
Doorways and stoops
Seeking a home to hide in,
Perhaps just a place to rest.

But though she is many,
For her there is no place
And she must wander on
To the end of her strength,
To the end of her reason.

She is so far away,
Why should you care?
Why lose precious sleep
Over such a pathetic vision?
What is she to you?

She is everything to me,
My sister, my twin, my heart.
We were separated at birth,
Rejecting her, they called me Joy!
I must recall her from her darkness.

Though we were destined
To live ever separate and apart
I will no longer allow this curse
To rule my life and ruin hers.
I will to share her fate.