Chapter 3 –
Hidden in the outback of historic northern America was an old house wide a estate sparsely dotted with farming homes. The estate stood at the back of a large wealth of land supported by the early settlers who’d moved in after the natives went on exodus – so my mother would say. The Indians, as she went on, followed their divine stars. The legend tells of the death of one specific star, an omen to them that they should leave the areas to flee great danger. True enough danger came in the form of the white man exactly one year after. The houses they built felled the trees, the roads they laid snuffed out the greenery, the weapons they brought chased back the animals and the ways of the indigenous people who believing their time was at an end, catalogued all the information of the world they had in caves safe guarded by their elders and their strongest warriors borne of earth and air. Only when the time was needed would the earth open to reveal these secrets, and would the wind dare whisper them to the people who sought them for it was said, that the secrets they hid, and kept so safe on land unknown by ‘civilization’ were the final secrets laid to rest of a past civilization strong in religious and spiritual sense. The mountains themselves feared that with science, a new weapon on the new civilization, the secrets that they held tight would be misused. The winds whispered this fear to the land below the mountains which in term related it to a selection of people separate from the natives who once used it, and hid it from the coming people.
These new people, chosen by the land were to know of a few of said secrets, and were to use them only to hide the true nature and mislead the civilization. They were promised love and devotion, a kindred mate for their own souls in the next world, something no spirit can resist. With the secrets that they were bequeathed they did spread anxious thought through the settling civilization, the secrets of the earth told how to warp reality, summon from the underworlds and call to nature for help. These people became witches, feared for what they knew and what they could do they were hung and slaughtered until every last one of them who knew the secrets of the world was wiped out. Few more rose to learn of these ways, and many, many more were killed through natural fear of unbalancing the world; but a collection of people who thought with devotion to science, religion and spiritualism; grouped together to seek out and protect these witches from the harms of the new world that would not stop growing and would not stop killing anything that new of these ancient secrets.
My mother often thought about this tale, she and father would spend long hours together discussing it in the garden while I had friends over. Later in life while I was a young girl she sat me down and asked me what I believed; naturally at a young age I had no idea as what to think, most of my family – so I thought were atheist; all men and women of science who had no interest in religion or spiritualism. However now I look further back through each branch of my family tree, I realise just where I come from, for the very tip of the branches, at the highest point was a man called Marius Garfield, a protector of witches and man of science who cared to delve deeper to understand the so called ‘secrets’ of mother earth that the native Americans and many other cultures used and was feared by settlers. Somehow his blood line survived through the witch trials, though he himself did not and the ideals of the surrealist have been passed on from generation to generation diffusing through the branches of the tree down to my mother and father. I found great comfort in believing that when my mother died, she would wait for me outside this world, even though I knew my father wouldn’t. At least she would still be there, I hope.
Currently at wits end, my father has abandon all else. All hope, all dreams and all love he had in his heart have left. His ambitions are know to find out and to know what is beyond our world. What waits for us when we die, if anything at all? I do hope he finds something, I hope he finds mother out there – I know if he does that he will become a loveable man again. That he might refer to me as his daughter and not his assistant. My father can be so dismissive some times. Oh, and that house I mentioned before, the one at the end of a vast estate of farm houses? Well if you’re reading this you must be standing right there. Sitting in the old dinning hall staring up at a vacant blue sky while birds sing in branches outside the crumbled and burnt walls. You are sitting where I was sitting when I wrote this; when I took up hope that my mother was there some where waiting for me. Some day soon the people of the world will know the name ‘Surreal Technology’ my fathers business that has fabricated from the belief of the former surrealists, it won’t be long now before he puts what he has already discovered to the test, amongst some other projects on the side. I fear that in doing this I will loose him completely, but I suppose that has already happened. Well, thinking on it I should take up life as an orphan with a job under a man I thought was my father.
Fastening her bonnet tightly, a young girl with long blond locks and grey eyes lifted a heavy pale of water and carried it back to the mansion at the time of its development. Her hair was swept back and held in place by cord while she made her way under sunlight towards the front door of the large house where two slaves left carrying laundry.
“Good morning,” she smiled to them as they both smiled back and nodded, leaving her enter the home.
“Daughter,” said a woman at the top of the foyer stairway as she made her way down. Well dressed and smug in expression she glanced down at the younger lady of the house, “What are you doing?” she asked, “Leave those pales for the servants to bring it.”
“They’re for the garden mother,” she smiled.
“For your own crop of flowers?” asked the lady of the house, “Very well darling, this time be wary of the mud.”
“Hence I’m not wearing a dress this time,” she said, walking through the house.
“I meant when you enter the house again dear.”
“Very well mother,” she replied, making her way to the back of the home.
“Your father returns today from his travels dear, be ready to greet him.”
“I will mother,” she replied with a sigh as she walked through the door to the back garden.
The young girl settled in front of a patch of flowers she was cultivating as her own pet project. She filled an idle watering can with the water she’d fetched from the near by stream and used all her might to lift it and pour it over the flowers evenly watching it collect and shine in sunlight on the petals.
“Would you like a hand with that miss?” asked one of the servants in passing.
“I’m alright,” she smiled, “Thank you.”
“As you wish, I’ll alert you when your fathers his way back.”
“Please,” she smiled, “It’s alright. There’s no need.”
“Are you sure? He’ll be eager to see you.”
“No he won’t.” she replied, lowering the watering can to tend to the flowers by hand. She brushed two apart and stared down at a new shoot rising up in the shadow of its parents.
“A new shoot?” asked the servant.
“Yes,” she smiled joyously, “But the nights have been so frosty recently.”
“A miracle in itself.” Thought the young man, “Might you move it to greater light. That will help it grow will it not?”
“Yes,” she nodded, “You’re right.”
The young girl took a trowel and dug the small plant out of the ground, care full not to break its roots. With her free hand she dug a small ditch and placed the flower inside and built a mound of earth around it.
“Your garden will look beautiful come summer.” He said, quickly turning away when he heard is voice called in the halls.
“Thank you,” she smiled, watching him run off.
She lay down to the ground beside the plant, “Oh little flower, how do you live so well against all that is pitted against you. You must have some spirit to keep on going.”
“Clarice,” cried a woman’s voice, “Your father is home.”
The young girl looked up at the house, though she did not smile, “I’d rather stay here and protect you my beauty.” She whispered to the plant before sanding up and brushing off the crumbs of dirt and mud.
Her father was a stout man, well rounded and red in the face with the heat of the day. His wife stood outside his carriage with a parasol held overhead to protect her form a similar fate. The young girl skipped down the steps of the home and appeared by her mother’s side and felt a gloved hand on her shoulder, holding her close and secure.
“My love, you made good time in returning.” She thought, “Did everything go well?”
He took a deep breath but remained silent, then glanced at his daughter, “Heavens, change from your clothes my dear you’re covered in dirt.”
“She’s been tending to her flowers again. She’s inherited your love of life.”
“But not my cleanly nature,” he thought, “Go on child, change your clothes and bathe away that smell of earth.”
“Yes father,” she bowed her head and darted back to the house leaving the two alone as the servants carried the bags away form the carriage.
“Dear you’re worried.” She said, linking arms.
“Follow me my dear Harriet now our child is safely out of earshot.”
“What’s wrong?” she asked, keeping close by, “I’m afraid one of our friends was caught with a witch not but a fortnight ago.”
“Who is it?”
“Donavan,” he whispered under breath.
“What happened to my dearest friend? Pray he is safe?”
“He suffered the same fate as the witches he tried to protect.”
“Heavens,” she thought, “Do they know of us?”
“Not as far as I know,” he replied, “But I cannot take chances on you nor Clarice.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“A coach will arrive at super time tonight. You two will go to Tomas Fletchers place and say with him.”
“What about our witches?”
“They know the secrets of these lands, I beg that the lands will keep the from harm much like that have kept us safe and blessed us with good health.”
“Dear,” she said, placing her hand on his cheek, “I will not part sides with you in this life or the next.”
“I am one of the fortunate ones indeed to have found my true soulmate.” He said, taking her hand “But please, for your own safety take yourselves form harms way.”
“No,” she said softly, “I refuse to let these zealous warriors attack and hurt so many others.”
“I will not let you get hurt.”
“Whose to say I will get hurt. You seem to underestimate the powers of mother earth and the divine.”
“The powers that are deemed demonic by the Church of England.”
“Demonic powers my love,” she said, turning to look into the skies, “Imply that a demon owns them. I am not a demon, I am merely a woman, seeking to protect and ring understanding to the world where there has been none for some time.”
“Darling,” he rushed to her side as she watched an eagle soar overhead, “I know you wish to use your powers to protect and help, and that is why you must visit Fletcher. He can protect you, he can learn more about your powers with his stable mind of science, and his wife can keep you safe from others with her good faithful heart.”
“You mean to think the divine would disown me for working to protect others, for working to bring some understanding and some equality to the world.” She looked back at the servants in the gardens, “These are men not monsters, they do not deserve to be treated this way. The same can be said for those who’re wielding the secrets of the earth and of the beyond. I will stay here with you, we will send Clarice to Fletcher, and we will stay here and try to shed some light on these people’s minds.”
“If you weren’t so stubborn my dear I’d –“
“- If I wasn’t so stubborn my love, we wouldn’t be soulmates.” She said, smiling over her shoulder as she reached out to take his hand.
Nightfall came and a network of stars lit bright in the sky. Harriet stood outside with two servants and her daughter staring up at the stars. Clarice’s father stood at the veranda watching and waiting for super to be served.
“Mother, what ever lies up with those stars?”
“That is of much musing to many people,” she said with a smile, “Many believe the heavens above are a gateway to our lord, who will protect us and guide us through this life and the next.”
She stared at the skies and smiled, feeling a sense of relief come to her.
“Others have many other stories. No one can say for sure though,”
“You cannot reach it,” she said, “And therefore you do not know what is really up there do you.”
“I suppose,” she nodded, “That does make sense.”
“But, we can still believe. And belief and also faith are two very empowering emotions.”
The super bell rang from indoors and the lord of the house turned from the veranda, “I will meet you in the halls my dear ladies.” He said.
“Where’s father off to?” asked Clarice.
“He won’t be a moment,” said her mother, “He’s just gone to check something.”
“Alright, shall we go in?” she asked, taking her mothers hand.
“Yes, just one moment my darling girl I have one more pearl of wisdom for you I wish to pass to you before any others.”
“What is it?” she asked as her mother fell to her knees and looked into her daughters eyes.
“My dear, throughout your life here, no matter what you see and what you’re taught I just urge you show as much respect as you can. One of the holy texts greatest passages, in my humble opinion is to treat your neighbour equally. You must show love and compassion to all who deserve it; but bare in mind that you do not necessarily have the right to say who deserves and who does not deserve it.”
“Then how do you know?” she asked, “How can you tell who deserves compassion?”
“That my darling is for your own soul to tell you. It is something that speaks below your mind and from behind your heart. When you learn to listen to it a great wealth of knowledge and understanding will come to you I promise. Just know to respect that knowledge and understanding, there are limits to how far, and how much we are meant to know in this life, and not all people understand that for both knowledge and understanding are neutral weapons.”
“Mother you do talk in riddles some times,” she smiled, kissing her mothers forehead.
“I’m sorry my darling, I could for the empire and the new world about my beliefs couldn’t I?”
“Yes,” she laughed, “But I do like to hear them.”
“Just don’t feel too swayed by what I say my darling, each and every one of us should believe something different. It gives a different perspective and a different view to spy out wisdom which we shall use to build a greater world.” With her draughts hand in her own she led her to the dinning hall where a man in black and white stood with a top hat. Her father stood beside him with two envelopes at hand and a rather worried expression on his face.
“My love?” asked Harriet, “Are you alright, you appear so frightful.”
“It is time my dear.” He said with a rather distraught look.
She slowly nodded her head and turned to her daughter, “My dearest, you must run a simple errand for your father and me.”
“Right now, at supper time mother?”
“Yes, there is no time to waste and I will have no quarrels over this alright dearest Clarice.”
“Alright mother,” she nodded.
“My dear, could you fetch her coat please.” She asked a servant woman who quickly obliged.
“Darling girl,” he father said as she turned around.
“Father?” she smiled.
“You know I love you very dearly, and I know I rarely show it but you must not fail me in this task.”
“Would you love me less?” she asked, her eyes welling.
“Ha,” he smiled, “My love for you is much like my love for your mother. Eternal. I will always love you not matter where I go, and I will always protect you too my dear.” He said, bending forwards to place a kiss on her forehead, “Now take these two letters. One is for you and the other is for our dear man lord Fletcher.”
“Dr. Fletcher?” she asked, “What will I need to say?”
“Nothing, you just hand him this letter.”
The servant returned with the coat and handed it to the lady of the house, “Would you bring me my scripts also please.” She asked calmly, alerting her husbands gaze.
“Dear?” he asked.
“Just a precaution.” She said, “A simple precaution.”
“Very well,” he nodded.
“This letter, is yours.” said her father, tapping the paper edge against her nose, “Alright, do not feel as curious as to open this second one.”
“Alright father,” she smiled, “I’m sorry by the way father.”
“Sorry? Whatever for?”
“Whenever I see you around, you never smile. You only ever smile in the company of mother. I was afraid I’d disappointed you.”
With a curious look to the floor then to his daughter he spoke, “Do not be afraid of how I look my darling. I’ll always love you as I said; you’ve made me very proud at such a young age, now run along to your wagon.”
The lord and lady of the house led their daughter through the foyer to the doorway and watched her run down the steps to the carriage where a servant opened the doorway for her and helped her in. She was waved off by loving parents as the carriage made its way down the road revealing twelve of more others that were making their way to the home at the same time. The servant returned with a leather bound book she handed the lady of the house.
“My dear, leave this to me. If they see that weapon you’ve refined from the caves and the witches they’ll burn you and curse your bones.”
“If they fear a good hearted woman so dearly, they’ll need to do that to stop me from coming back.” The lord of the house left down the steps and close the door behind her leaving his lady wife in the foyer.
The carriage continued down the road. Clarice opened the first letter and out fell a monocle that bounced to her lap at the end of a long silver chain. She placed the envelopes at the seat beside her and inspected the monocle closely. It had been her fathers, a brass silver and gold look around a magnifying lens he used while walking through the countryside, to inspect flowers and items of curiosity. She’d always felt quite taken by the way it caught the light or shattered it into rainbows when she twisted it around.
‘dearest darling,’ her soft grey eyes read her fathers words, ‘I urge strength on your part for when you read this you will be alone in the world’ she looked out of the carriage at the others that made their way towards her home, ‘the kind lord Fletcher and his wife will fend for you now, his scientific mind will guide your curiosity, and his lady wife’s good faithful heart will keep you moral and strong. Your mother and I have done all we can to guide you down a path we feel is right. We only pray that god will lend to your journey even if we have in fact led you astray, for which we are deeply sorry. When you are older, in a few years so Dr. Fletcher and his good wife will tell you all there is to know about our kind, about our belief and our way of life. Until that day my dear you will have to keep strong and true and know that our souls will always support you. With eternal love and care your mother and father’
Clarice lowered the letter and crawled to the carriage window where she could see the other carriages had finally stopped outside the old house. From this distance she could see several men standing outside, lined up facing her father on the steps.
“Marius Garfield?” asked the lead of the group, a royal guard who stood in uniform in front of his armed back up.
“Yes,” he nodded, “I am the lord of this estate.”
“Not anymore sir,” he said, “You have disobeyed direct will of the empire and will of the catholic church. You have been found as a sinner and perverted of the Christian soul by order of the church all surrealists have been named deviations of our lord. And they are to be burnt beside the witches they guard.”
“I have heard these charges,” he said, “And I am aware of what you may believe. But I do believe that not all these people are sinners, not all who have the power to do great evils will do so. I believe that there are good people out there, that there are good and pure souls, and I intend to find them and to understand them greater.”
“Then you shall be executed for perverting the truth.” Said the guard, “Break into the house and arrest the witches within. We will not let them escape to their other saviours.”
The guards ran to the door and were quick to kick it back. The servants all jumped back in horror.
“Escape, all of you.” Said the lady of the house, “This battle is between myself and them for pulling me from my child. None of you shall be harmed in the process.”
“My lady?” asked one of the servants.
With her scripts under arm Harriet held out her hand to stop them from advancing, “Just leave, go find safety else where. Through my daughter we will live on to understand the secrets of the world, we will understand.”
The door splintered with the next strike of a leather boot.
“I will burn for what I am about to do.” She declared, “But I do it for the greater good.”
The door burst off its hinges and the guards entered the foyer of the home where an elegant woman dressed in her best stood before them, her hand out to block their passage and the other holding her scripts.
“Are you the lady of this house?” cried the guards.
“I am one of them,” she said, her voice distorting as she spoke.
“Where is the other?” they demanded.
The winds picked up and blew threw the doorway chasing the guards into the room. Their lead still stood outside while the servants tended to the panic struck horses. Clouds manifest in the skies above and a chilled wind brushed through the grass. The lady held out her scripts and they remained in mid air before her while the winds constrict around her body. The guards lifted their weapons but they disintegrated in the breeze.
“You will not track my child,” her hands set ablaze with blue flames that did not burn her clothing only her skin beneath, “Oh divine, know that I am sorry for what I am about to do, but I beg of you to protect my child; let my sacrifice keep her alive and give her strength and passion to keep exploring.”
“No divine force will spare you demon!” cried the one quickly running back to the door.
She held forwards her hands and a wave of blue flames overcame the foyer, erupting through the glass and lightning up five rings of inscriptions around each wrist that flashed bright for a second and scared the air as all intense light does. The two guards were thrown out of the building in a blaze of fire and rolled across the floor till the flames were quelled.
The lead ran to the top of the steps armed and ready to strike down the she-demon where she stood. He turned into the foyer and saw the woman on her knees, her scripts aflame and slowly breaking down in the calming wind. He stepped across a charred floor and approached her burnt body beneath good clothing, then knelt beside her as she took her last few breaths, “What makes a person turn so badly,” he thought, looking at her face as she glanced up at him.
“A want … to do good.” She gasped, before her eyes rolled back and she passed on.
He looked at her collar where the cross lay against her burnt skin. It still remained pristine much like her clothing. He shook his head and laid her against the wooden boards, “God, see it fit this woman judged by your divine hand, no matter what she believed in this life.”
The human world sped on over centuries and slowly the house decomposed through the ages, but with some attention it still stood to the modern day. The farmhouses were taken down and greater roads were built crossing by. Sitting in the foyer was a young woman of blonde hair stylishly cut short and feathered out at the ends; she re-read the words of her diary through grey eyes that shone with diamond finish as though she’d grown and matured over the years. With pampered good looks and a rounded face she smiled at the book and heaved a sigh, all her former years summarised in a few short pages, but she couldn’t help feel as though it was not enough to capture everything she’d done, especially while she sat in this house, rumoured to be part of her family’s legacy. She looked out of the window at blue skies and passing clouds, the gentle winds from the mountains brushed across the prairies gently pushing her hair over her shoulder and whispering soft nothing to her ear.
“Dr. Serra.” Said another sweet soft voice outside the building where a large people carrier waited with ‘s-tech’ as short hand logo on its side.
Another young woman appeared at the door. Her face was much longer, her hair too fell down her back, neatly held in place by her hands as they were cupped together behind her while she walked, her means by which putting off an otherwise defensive crossing of the arms. She wore glasses over two grey-blue eyes and smiled with warmth and friendship.
“Are you alright Dr?” she asked.
“Amy,” she smiled, “I’m sorry I was just thinking again.”
“Your father will want you back at the laboratory Dr. he needs your assistance once more.”
“My father,” she sighed, then nodded, “Give me a moment would you Amy?”
“Of course Dr.” she nodded and turned back to the large vehicle parked in front where the carriages once were.
Dr. Serra walked to the middle of the room where her maternal ancestor had fallen defending the witches. She sat down and pulled up on of the boards, then tucked the diary underneath it before standing up again and taking in the image of the house as it currently stood. She breathed out her last breath of this place then turned away and walked towards the doors. With no words or thoughts in her mind, Amy watched her approach with a settled look on her face.
“Ready to explore Dr?” asked Amy.
“I believe so,” she said, climbing into the back seat, “Today is the day I get back to business; today is the day I move on to learn and understand.”
With that final notion Amy climbed into the back seat with her and the chauffeur drove off along the roads of North America towards the western states where Surreal Technology incubated sciences and ideas still not wholly understood or well looked upon by the modern world, though the works they did were made to benefit all.