Fiction of Dale C. Clarke

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Living Forever
Dale C. Clarke

   Rapha looked at the towel. The corner had stopped moving the moment he stopped thinking of breezes. He wondered why the maid had told him not to make things move with his mind.

   Yesterday Miss Georgia had called him to help the grass cutter with the slashed arm.

   She told the man to close his eyes and turn his head and don't dare look while she applied a salve.

   "Rapha. Tink dat dis slash be gone an leave only a pink scar. Do it now bway!" She put the words in Rapha's mind. Her lips didn't move at all. Georgia held a rag over the bleeding wound as she waited for Rapha. With a brief blue glow the slash disappeared. She drowned the pop that accompanied the glow with a deep-toned chant. The transaction she shielded from watchers by wiping the blood from the newly mended arm. She salved and wrapped the arm before letting the grass cutter open his eyes.

   "Tink the pain be gone for him too." Rapha complied and the tension seemed to go out of the man's shoulders. Smiling she thought to herself.

   She stood and looked down at the man who looked away to avoid her eyes. "De saave will 'ave hit 'eal up by marning," she said.. Cut no more today. Go an rest.." The man bowed his head. Georgia shooed the man toward the street fending off his attempt to kiss her hands. The rest of the cutting crew ambled away muttering words of awe and thanks.

   Suddenly Georgia's thoughts again entered his mind. "I toll you dat so de people don' know you 'ave de gift. Come down." The timber of the words told him she was in the maid's room under the house. Rapha trotted through the kitchen, out the back door, and down the steps. Georgia was waiting.

   "You know I am de only one dat talk to you in your mind," she said out loud. Rapha settled cross-legged in the sun on the thick grass in the yard. Georgia began spreading the freshly washed white underclothes on the bushes to bleach in the sun. "you see your Mutha and Fatha don ' Neva talk in your mind," she changed to his mind. "Dat is because dey can' do it. I tink it is time for me to let you know what I know and you must keep it to your own self." She stopped with the clothes and turned to catch his eyes. "Do you understand?"

   Rapha felt a twinge in his mind akin to being pulled by his ear physically. "Yes!," he chirped.
   "Tink to me as I taught you. Don' speak out."

   "Yes Miss Georgia..."

   "I taught you dis way to speak so we can talk at any time and so we can speak secretly. You must never speak of using your mind to talk to others. If you put thoughts in der minds you must use a tone to disguise your voice and never tink who you are to dem." She walked to the sink for more clothes as she spoke, causing her words to change slightly. "You are 9 years old tomarrow an I mus now begin to teach you all I know. Dat is why you must not play with towels or let anyone know what you can do wit your thot and mind. If dey find out dey will fright and sen me away before I teach all to you. Tonight I will begin an when you turn 10 all Obeah will be known to you."

   "What will Mom say if she finds out I'm staying up late?"

"No bway, you will sleep, I will stay up and fill your head. In the marning doh, you will fell like you had no sleep. I will know when you must sleep and will let you do so dat night. In one year I must give you lifetimes of secrets."

   And so it began. No one found out about our secret. The teachers noticed something had happened. They had always told my mother I was not working up to my abilities, so when my grades suddenly soared, they took the credit for turning me around. My IQ was measured at 175 in 3rd grade but by high school was measured at only 150. I had learned to manipulate the test. I joined the Air Force with AFQE scores of 95 electronic, 95 mechanical, 95 general and 50 administrative. I had no desire to be an office jock. Missile electronics were where I wanted to go; therefore where I went. I also studied instrument repair and astro-navigation on my own. When I got out I decided computers were more fun and mastered computer design, then programming -- then all other facets.

   I could never shake a prophecy Georgia made. "Bway," she thought, "I gwain tell you something dat gwain give you fright. I know now dat you will die before you are tirty years old -- or -- you will live foreva."

   Mimicking her Barbadian accent, I replied. "'Ooman, wat de rass you talkin bout? Don' tell me no wan gwang live foreva,"

   "Chaa, bway, I don' tell dis to you. I only repeat wat I am toll in my mind!"

   And that was it. Nothing ever I said would bring her back to the subject.

   Thirty was a bad year, to say the least. I had a kid jump off a 3-meter diving board on my back as I swam laps. On a trip, I was innocently caught in a shootout where police blocked in a nut in New York near 47th street. I hid on the floor of my rental car while cops blew the creep to bits. Over 200 rounds were fired of which 25 hit my car but all missed me. In September, I missed a plane home that flew into a mountain in zero weather.

   I spent my birthday, October 19th, in bed and welcomed my thirty first year by getting blissfully drunk and driving my car over the Virginia mountain roads full out until I ran out of gas. I then slept the rest of the night on the white line on one of the highways. Georgia was right. I'm still here.

   Now I have one of the most important jobs possible. I am guiding the only star ship funded before the war took all the resources. I am guardian of all the cryo-saved humans and animals going to new worlds. I guess the Air Force knowledge, 47 years of computer experience, and personal study is why they decided to use my brain to be guardian when they found my mangled body dying in the middle of the road.

   Well, I guess you can say Georgia was right.

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