Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by P. A. McAlister

Chapter One... Cape Cod - Present Day

Chapter 1
Cape Cod " Present Day

     Again, she could see only the back of him. The long turquoise robe belted with a fine gold tie, the blonde shoulder- length hair, and his tall slim stature. She kept screaming at him, “Turn around, turn to me!”
     She could feel his arrogance, his ego in full bloom, as she eyed him up and down, all six feet of him. Again she made her demand. She longed to see his face, the face that roused the womanly flame inside her.
     As he was about to turn and grace her with his magnificence, she abruptly awoke. “Damn it! Not again!” Lisa Burke half opened one eye and checked the time; 7:23 a.m. She let out a deep breath and moaned. Four hours sleep was not enough. She turned over on her stomach, hugged the pillow, and began thinking about the recurring dream she’d been having.
     It started about a month before, ever since she asked Dave, her husband of twenty two years, to leave. The dream always left her with an ache in her heart. She could see the robed one clearly in her mind. She wanted so much to stroke his sunlit hair. There was something about the strands of shimmering silky light that beckoned her touch.
     Tears filled her eyes as she recalled standing behind him feeling his highly charged aura. A faint scent of vanilla permeated the air around him, making her breath deeper. She wanted to inhale his breath with him, so to take his essence into herself.
     The robe he wore seemed to naturally suit him, and would place him at another time in the past. Whoever he was, she knew she loved him deeply. But how could a dream, something beyond reality, bring up such intense emotion? How could she be in love with someone she had never seen…someone who wasn’t even real? Yet, a voice inside whispered to her that he was very real.
     Her petite body jerked when the phone began to ring. She wondered why the answering machine wasn’t picking up, and then remembered it hadn’t been working…like her life. As she reached for the phone her hand brushed against the quartz crystal she had found on the beach the day after Dave left. She shivered, remembering what had happened when she first held it.
     She had barely uttered hello when a deafening voice sang, “It’s time to wake up! It’s time to wake up!” The voice sounded familiar to her but, still being in the alpha state, Lisa’s left brain failed her.
     “Who is this?” 

      Still singing, the voice quoted Emerson, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
     “Karen! It is so good to hear from you,” Lisa said, half lying. Guilt befell her as she hadn’t been in touch with her childhood friend for almost two years. Actually, she was sort of avoiding her.
     “Oh sure it is,” Karen said snidely. “I haven’t heard from you since your last book came out. Don’t you ever answer your phone? And why haven’t you returned my calls? I’ve left at least a dozen messages in the last three months.”
     “I know, I know. I’m sorry.” Lisa rubbed her eyes and let out a sigh. She felt she didn’t need this first thing in the morning, especially with so little sleep, and before coffee! But, in a way she was glad Karen caught her. It had been too long.
     “So what’s wrong?” Karen asked.
     “What do you mean?” Lisa dreaded the thought of spilling her guts.
     “You haven’t changed a bit,” Karen said sarcastically. “Still clamming up when you have a problem. But thinking back on it I don’t believe you’ve ever had a real problem in your life anyway.”
     Lisa held the phone an arms length away for a few seconds, and wondered what was up with Karen’s attitude. She longed for a cup of coffee.
     “Well, what’s going on Lisa?” Karen sounded very impatient.
     She rubbed her forehead. “Oh, I don’t know…just stuff. I’ve had writers block for months, and I hate saying that, it sounds so stupid. My parents finally moved to Florida after driving me crazy for over a year debating whether or not they should go.” She hesitated, and blinked back the tears. “Then I had to put my dog to sleep, and now, well, Dave and I recently separated. So I guess it’s...”
     “If things are that bad, I’ll be right over.”
     “What?” Forgetting about the dream, Lisa jumped out of bed and scrambled for her clothes. She threw on the jeans she had worn the day before, took a deep breath, zipped them up, and then shook her head in disgust when it hurt to button them. She never had a weight problem in her life, but recently had gained nine pounds. She figured it was probably from eating too much pizza and ice cream. She managed to untangle her purple sweatshirt, and quickly pulled it over her head as she ran to the bathroom.
She threw her half brushed, golden mane up into a ponytail, and splashed cold water on her face.
      Downstairs, she picked up some books and magazines that had been lying around for days, and threw them in a corner. She ran a finger across the glass coffee table and grimaced as she rubbed the dust particles between her fingers, then watched them drop to the cream colored carpet.
     In the kitchen, she scooped up the dozen or so M&M’s left in the candy dish, and shoved them in her mouth wondering why there were still some left. The dishwasher quickly disposed of the dishes that had been sitting in the sink from the day before. She had just finished filling the coffee pot with water when she heard the knock at the side door. Her stomach knotted up.
     She didn’t like this one bit. She had always been so together, decisive, and strong. She had always been the rock, listening to all of Karen’s problems when they were growing up, and helping her as much as she could. Now it was she that was falling apart, and hated the idea of having a witness.
     The knock came again, and quickly, another. “Gees, no patience,” she mumbled. She could partly see Karen through the glass door; something was very different. She took a deep breath to get her bearings, and then opened the door. “Karen?” Lisa stood frozen to the spot, not believing her own eyes.
     “Yes, it is I.” Karen stepped in passed Lisa. Lisa laughed as Karen began prancing and twirling just like a model would for a photo shoot. Karen’s body was adorned by a pair of tight jeans, and a light peach, waist-length sweater. Her once long, mousey brown hair was now shoulder-length, with a light touch of bangs, and some reddish highlights. Her glasses were gone; so was her humped nose. Her blue eyes couldn’t have looked more beautiful, Lisa thought.
     “My God Karen, what did you do?”
     “I found a new way of life, and lost seventy-five pounds.”
     “You look absolutely beautiful,” Lisa said as she wiped a tear and hugged her best friend, truly happy to see her. “I hope you’re staying in town for awhile.”
     “Oh I’ll be staying for a long while. I’ve moved back. I’m staying at my mother’s.”
     “That’s great!” Lisa said, feeling somewhat apprehensive. She knew she could be pretty intuitive at times, and she was feeling Karen’s return was going to create a whole new chapter in their lives, especially her own. They moved to the kitchen table, while waiting for the coffee. Lisa noticed Karen had a bandage on her left pinkie finger. That brought to mind how they had first met.
     They were both eight years old, it was summer, and Karen’s family had just moved from Rhode Island to Cape Cod. Karen had watched Lisa walk by every day to go to the little variety store at the end of the block. Too shy to speak, Karen came up with another strategy. She showed up one day on Lisa’s doorstep with a beautiful gray kitten in tow. Lose a kitten, make a friend. Lisa had felt honored until she found out there were four more that needed homes. Karen was no dummy.
     Two weeks later and heartbroken, Lisa had to say goodbye to ‘Charcoal’ because her older brother Kevin was allergic. In those two weeks Lisa and Karen had become inseparable. With an innate knowing that this was for life, they pricked their fingers and became blood sisters.
     “So you and Dave split,” Karen said dryly. “Where is he now?”
     Of course she would want to know about Dave, Lisa thought. “Let’s wait until the coffee’s ready, and then we can walk down to the beach and talk. The weather’s been so nice.”
     “Umm, okay, but do you have any juice? I don’t drink coffee anymore.”
     “What?” Karen related to her that she was into health and wellness. Lisa was stunned. Here she was planning for them to drown her sorrows that evening in beer and pizza. She could not believe she had lost her partner in junk food crime.
     No more would they be downing burgers and Twinkies. No more endless cups of coffee and beer binges. Now it was herbal tea and carrot juice, raw veggies and nuts. Nuts? That’s how she felt listening to Karen, believing some alien must be inhabiting her now slim body. Suddenly, she longed for the old days. As she walked over to the fridge and pulled out the carton of creamer, she informed Karen there was no juice or herbal tea, but would she settle for some bottled water?
     Karen took a sip of her water, and sat back. “You will never guess who I saw yesterday.”
     “Who?” Lisa shrugged.
     “Jimmy Rogers. The one I asked to the junior prom. Remember him?”
     Lisa leaned back against the counter, and frowned. She remembered being crazy about Jimmy Rogers for months and had planned to ask him to the prom herself, only Karen had beaten her to it.
     “Yeah, I remember him. He was a nice boy.”
     “Well that boy turned into a ‘nice’ man. He said to say hi. Didn’t you have a crush on him or something?” Karen smirked.
     “Yes, I did,” Lisa said, as she pulled a mug out of the cabinet thinking about the issue. Karen had known full well she did. She hadn’t stayed angry at her for very long though. She couldn’t. She had felt sorry for her because she had such low self-esteem, and no other friends, especially boyfriends. In fact, she was so surprised that a very shy Karen had gotten up the nerve to even ask a boy out.
     The prom issue was nothing anyway compared to what had happened several years later, Lisa thought. It was the big secret Lisa wasn’t supposed to ever know about; even now. Karen still had no idea she knew. It should have destroyed their friendship, but Lisa believed in forgiveness, and she loved Karen like a sister. Besides, that was over twenty-two years ago. They were young, and people do change, Lisa affirmed, with a funny feeling in her stomach.
     They took their drinks, and proceeded in silence down to the beach. For the first time in her life Lisa felt uneasy around Karen. As they walked down a narrow path, Lisa was a few steps behind her. This gave her a chance to really eye Karen’s slim figure. She really was happy for her, but Karen’s attitude towards her had changed. Lisa didn’t like the negative vibes she was picking up. But then, maybe it her imagination, like Karen used to tell her when she had a feeling Karen could be mad at her.
     Karen took in a deep breath, “Breathe in that Cape Cod air. It’s a far cry from L.A.”
     “Speaking of L.A., what made you decide to move back after all these years?”
     Well, I’ve left nursing.”
     “Somehow that does not surprise me. I remember how your father pushed you into that. So what are your plans?”
     “Well,” she teased with a big smile, “I’m going to do something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m going to open up a bookstore.”
     “That’s great! I remember you used to talk about that in high school.”
     “Well it’s not just any bookstore. It’s a New Age, metaphysical type bookstore. There will be inspirational books, mind power books, self help, alternative medicine, meditation, reincarnation...”
     “Reincarnation,” Lisa interrupted. “I bought several books on that about a year ago, after I saw a past-life regression on TV. It’s something I’ve thought a lot about over the last few years. First, because it has always held my interest, and second, I thought it would be great to use in a novel one day.
     But I also thought that Dave and I had been together in another life, or lives. Remember we used to talk about all that stuff when we were kids? I used to say I had been a princess in a past life, which made you mad for some reason, and you’d say you had been Cleopatra. The whole concept has always made sense to me. Anyway, why did you decide on that type of bookstore?”
     “I was going through a bad time. I was still angry about my divorce. Then I was going from man to man looking for something, peace of mind, maybe. And, even though dad was dead I was still harboring a lot of anger towards him. I really needed to work on forgiving him. I finally got my butt into therapy and from there joined a meditation group. I learned a lot about loving and forgiving myself, as well as forgiving others. I’m still working on all that.”
     “From what I’ve read in those books, everyone needs to work on all that. To forgive is to heal. Aunt Bella used to say that forgiveness changes everything…if not for the other person, then at least for yourself.” Lisa took a sip of the lukewarm coffee, and listened as Karen continued.
     “True. Meditation, visualization, therapy, all these things helped me. I feel they can help others too. But, of all the things I’ve learned I find mind power the most fascinating. A lot of people would deny it, but we create our life by what we think and believe; both on a conscious and unconscious level. Thoughts really are things. They’re energy, and what a person continually focuses on, whether they’re aware of it or not, can manifest in their reality, good or bad. You can use visualization to help create the life you want.”
     “It sounds like that whole Law of Attraction thing which I’m not sure about. But at the moment it sounds great, where do I sign up? Life has really been the pits lately, and I am totally miserable if I can’t write.” Lisa gulped down the rest of her coffee. They found a spot to sit in the cold sand.
     “Never mind the writing. What about Dave? What happened?”
     Lisa figured she should get it over with. “Dave had been cheating on me for months. It’s funny, I guess in a way it’s almost a blessing. We’ve just existed together for years anyway. He’s away on business a lot, and I have my own life. Many times I planned to tell him I wanted a separation, but I didn’t know if I would be making a mistake. I’m still not sure. I needed to think things out so I asked him to leave after this.”
     “I’m sorry.”
     Lisa wondered if Karen really was. A few minutes passed. Neither of them spoke. She wondered if she and Dave could still work things out, even though she had spent twenty-two years in a marriage she wasn’t happy in, but just conditioned to it. She blamed herself. She knew she never should have married him in the first place. But she had made a commitment, and swore she would keep to it, no matter what she felt, or didn’t feel.
     “Do you still love him?” Karen asked.
     Lisa started digging a hole in the sand wishing she could shrink and jump into it. “No. But I do care about him. I always have. I always will.”
     “So…you are going to get a divorce, right?”
     “I don’t know...I’m not sure. Dave said it was up to me. Maybe we still can...”
     “But what do you want?
     Lisa stood up, frustrated, hands waving in the air. “I don’t know! I don’t know what the hell I want. I feel empty and confused, and I feel like a failure. I mean, I made a commitment, and I let him down by not being what I was supposed to be, whatever the hell that was. I feel so guilty to think about ending it. I feel like I’d be making a mistake, that it would be the wrong decision. And, I can’t stand the thought of becoming another statistic. What are my parents going to say? They love Dave.”
     “Whoa. Wait a minute. I don’t believe what I’m hearing. You, of all people always knew what you wanted, and always did what you wanted; you only followed the crowd if it was something you thought was worth doing. You never gave a damn what others thought, not even your parents, who unlike mine always respected you for having a mind of your own. This does not sound like you.”
     “God, I don’t even know myself anymore,” she whispered with a lump in her throat. Karen put an arm around her. Lisa felt so needy, and she hated it.
“The only joy I have had in my life in the last few years was my dog, and my writing. I feel like part of me is dying,” she said starting to choke up.    
     “It’s okay to cry,” Karen reassured her.
     Lisa did just that, uncontrollably. She then jumped up, ran to the water, flung the coffee mug into the ocean, and cried more. Years of holding back; the hurt, the anger; the dam at last had burst. Karen ran after her. According to Karen, Lisa was releasing, and that it was a process of life.
     “That felt so good. It felt so good to really cry, to let it all out. I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that. Usually, if I get that feeling I put on Beethoven’s Fifth or Ninth and jump on the treadmill. Then I settle back with Pachelbel’s Canon. Music always helps me, but this time...”
     “Meditation can help you too. You can use it to relax, to get in touch with yourself, and you can use it for visualization. I have a basic meditation CD you can use. And, okay, don’t laugh but sometimes I even use quartz crystals to...”
     “Uh huh, I plan on selling them at the store. What’s the matter? You have a funny look on your face.”
     “I found one about a month ago. Right over there.” She pointed to the right a few feet away, near the shoreline. “It’s an odd shape. It looks like, well, it’s dome-shaped, and it looks like one half of a crystal ball, like the ball has been cut in two or something.” Chuckling, she added, “It makes me wonder what happened to the other half. But something strange happened with it.”
     “Strange? What do you mean?”
     “When I picked it up, I don’t know why, but, I held the crystal to my chest. I closed my eyes, and I could feel the crystal tingling. Then everything was quiet. I didn’t hear the ocean anymore, the sea gulls, or the wind chimes. I started to feel weightless and tingly. Then I began to see this light in my mind, and there was this strange humming sound. When I felt like I was starting to move, I quickly opened my eyes, and everything was just as it had been. I almost wish I had kept my eyes closed just to see what would have happened. I put the crystal on my nightstand and haven’t touched it since. Oh, and another thing, the crystal has this strange glow about it.”
     “It sounds like you were about to have an out-of-body experience.”
     “Wonderful,” Lisa said sarcastically. “Out-of-mind experience would be more like it, I think.”
     “What do you mean? That’s fantastic! I should be so lucky,” Karen said, pouting. “Some people try for years to have one, and you started to have one spontaneously. That figures.”
     “What do you mean, that figures?” Lisa asked defensively upon hearing Karen’s almost sarcastic tone of voice.
     Karen ignored the question. “Why don’t you come by the house tomorrow and I’ll give you the meditation CD?”
     Later, as they walked back to the house, Lisa joked about throwing the mug into the water, and how ridiculous she must have looked. She recalled how, as a child, she would throw things when she got angry. Then, she realized that it was Dave’s mug she had thrown. It was the one she had bought him when they were on their honeymoon in Niagara Falls. She mentioned this to Karen, who said nothing until they walked into the kitchen.
     “I take it you don’t normally drink out of that mug, right?”
     Lisa opened the cabinet and pulled out a mug with pink roses on it. “This is my favorite one. I use it every day. Why?”
    “Why did you use Dave’s today?”
     Lisa poured herself some coffee. “I don’t know. We were talking and I probably wasn’t paying attention and grabbed the first one. Why?”
     “Well, this may sound silly’s very symbolic don’t you think?”
     Lisa shrugged, and shook her head. “I guess I’m a little slow here. What do you mean?”
     “Well, symbolism in a coffee mug. Think about it.”
     She did. Karen’s words cut right through her. At that moment Lisa knew her marriage was over. There would be no more trying to decide what to do. It was time to end it, and start a new life. That was a scary thought… exciting, too. But after all this was over, what did she want?
     “Don’t forget to come by tomorrow for the CD,” Karen said on her way out later that morning. “Once you get used to the session, try meditating with a crystal. Crystals are amplifiers of energy. You can use one to visualize. Oh, let me see the one you found.”
     Lisa rushed upstairs to get it from her nightstand. As she was coming back down she stopped suddenly. She had a flash of the man in the dream she’d been having. Feelings of sadness and longing came over her. She may never know who he was. Frustrated, she had to remind herself it was only a dream. “Here it is.” She held it in her outstretched hand. Karen’s eyes widened, and she took a step back.
     “What’s the matter?”
     “I don’t know. The shape, like you said, a half of a crystal ball. I could swear I’ve seen something like it before. But for the life of me I can’t imagine where. And it doesn’t glow, Lisa,” she snickered.
     “Can’t you see it? It’s subtle, but it’s visible.”
     “Have another cup of coffee, Lisa.”
     Later that afternoon, Lisa took a walk on the deserted beach. She smiled radiantly. She hadn’t felt this good in months. She enjoyed the beautiful and unusually warm April day. She felt a new freedom bursting forth inside herself. Life would be different now, she just knew it. She felt in heaven standing by the ocean, and loved feeling the moist, salty air against her face. She began thinking about Karen, and suddenly all those wonderful feelings dissipated. She couldn’t shake the funny feeling she had about Karen’s return.
     She walked over to her favorite place on the beach, the rocks on the east side. She climbed up at an angle about twelve feet high into the small cave-like nook. She loved the way it blocked out the wind, and also being high enough to get a good look at the waves rolling in.
     She positioned herself comfortably, and took a few deep breaths. As her body became more relaxed she started to focus on what she thought she wanted in her life. All of a sudden a man…a strange looking man, who seemed to come out of nowhere, caught her attention. He was about forty feet away near the water, and was doing a slow jog. He had a full head of gray hair, and a beard to match.
     From what she could see, his face looked old and weathered, but he had the body of a young athlete. He was wearing only a pair of running shorts. She thought it was still too cold for that. When he ran, his whole being seemed to flow. His motions were fluid, and like the crystal, he had a subtle glow about him.
     “What am I, able to see auras now?” He waved to her. She waved back, dumbfounded. Then he disappeared around the rocks. She quickly made her way down to see where he was heading. There was no sign of him, and there was nowhere else he could have gone that quickly. It would have been no big deal, except there was something familiar about him. He looked like something out of the Bible; Moses, perhaps? No. It was something else.     
     She was no stranger to witnessing unusual occurrences although she was always told it was her imagination. She used to think there was something wrong with her. That nagging thought still existed. But she knew she could not have imagined seeing the ghostly figure in her aunt’s attic when she was a child, especially since her aunt used to see it too.
     Then there was that other thing. It happened when she was five years old, and had something to do with a woman in a long, flowing white dress with pretty eyes. As hard as she tried she could not remember, but the feeling of it, though not a bad feeling, still haunted her.

© 2012 P. A. McAlister

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Added on September 20, 2012
Last Updated on September 20, 2012
Tags: atlantis, soul mates, romance, mystical, new age, fantasy, time travel, crystals, past lives, reincarnation, adventure


P. A. McAlister
P. A. McAlister

Klamath Falls, OR

I am a native of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and moved out to the west coast in June 2004. I absolutely love it out here. Spent a year in California, then moved to Oregon after meeting the man who wou.. more..