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Chest of Hope Ch.20

Mister Oh began setting the twenty plow blades upon the large oaken log, fastening them with strands of heavy gauge cable. Jim and Willie saw the wisps of smoke from the smoldering fire pit, as they walked upon the field the next morning. “What’s that for Mister Odie?” Willie asked, studying the log with its gleaming teeth of steel. “Dis here, fur making the ground good, and ready for plantin’ Willie.” Mister Oh answered, in his now fluent southernese. Jim judged the length of the blades as he gauged their cutting depth, “They sure not for cotton. Maybe you plan to put taters in Mister Odie?” Jim said, as he scratched his head. “No, Jim. They are made to bring the good earth to the surface. The soil has been robbed from neglect. These blades will turn the ground back into a treasure that will bring forth the food to be eaten by the people. The right mixture of toil, sweat, and seeds of dreams will be sown in this field.” Mister Oh answered, as he finished the last wrappings of cable. “Now for this days’ tasks.” He spoke, as he waited for Adam to ready his scribing tools. “Have a trench cut from the power station to the woods. Have its course run past the remains of the Manor, with cuts made ready for the laying of cable to the light stands. A house crew will stand ready for the delivery of furniture to be placed within. Have the lots surveyed by the lake and properly marked.” Adam was diligently scribing as Mister Odie, listed the tasks for today. “Did your grandfather dig a well on this land?” Mister Oh pondered aloud, as he scanned the field. “No, sir. He had one of them drilling men come out, but that man said it was too deep to get good water from of the ground. He said it would cost Grandpa too much money to try.” Jim answered. “What’s going to pull this, Luke’s tractor?” Willie questioned, as he walked the length of the plow. “No, Willie, you are.” Mister Oh said, and the brothers laughed briefly. “Go on, Mister Odie! I ain’t strong enough to lift one end of this thing, much less, pull it over dis here field.” Willie said, as Jim nodded agreement to the task. “Oh! Nevertheless, you will not be alone on the plow. Every man will have to enjoy the great pleasure of working the land. With the sweat of their brows, they will moisten the earth.” Mister Oh informed the brothers, as they studied the field, then the heavy plow much closer this time. “How’s it possible for men to use such a thing?” Jim asked. “Tomorrow, you will position half the men on that side, with ropes and pulleys. The rest will man this yoke, and steady the plow down the field. The groups will change places, as the blades cut their way back to here. Then the task begins anew, with the shifts of labors.” Mister Odie answered, and Willie let a faint whistle escape his lips. “I have foreseen thirty passes of the field to make it ready for the rain. The men will rest after their long hours under this strain and the sun.” Mister Oh said. Jim touched a blade, and found it honed to a razor edge. He thought of the men and wondered to himself, How many will stand up to the pressure of this kind of work? “Well, come morning, this place is going to see something that ain’t been seen for a long time. It would make Grandpa Green proud to see the land worked again, with black and white together, like in the old days.” Jim stated, and Willie released a soft Amen. “This will be done without machines or animals. Only men, with strong backs and stronger hearts.” Mister Odie proclaimed, and smiled to the brothers and Adam. “I’m sure. He’s proud already, Pa.” Adam said.

The day’s toils were started by the crews. By mid-afternoon, the Douglas brothers had finished the lots and Luke completed the cable trench. The follow-up crew kept pace, as they covered the power lines and set the light platforms. The house was cluttered with the furnishings but, Mister Oh had said the owners would decide where they were to be placed. This brought many questions to the crew, but they knew not to ask the giant of such things. Mister Oh told Jim about Paul and Tamry, as the crew brought the Water bed to the loft. “Mister Oh, you’s too good to be true for your friends.” Jim commented, as they left the house. True enough, also for my Enemies, Mister Odhinsunar thought, as he saw Arnold Johnson’s pickup truck drive by, leaving a dust trail. Mister Oh went to the field and began slowly pacing the earth. The men noticed him and they took notice of the log. After some words with Jim and Willie, the men discussed what the morning would hold for each of them. “Splitting rails from trees. Making cement from headstones. Now we’re going to repair a field, with our bare hands. What’s next on this guys’ list, of making an obstacle course?” Luke asked, to Jim. “We be wearing them gloves, and don’t let Jim catch you forgettin them either!” Willie said, as he walked away smiling. “Mister Oh has got his own ways. They sure are strange to me. If’n he says we can plow that field, then I’s say, we can do it too.” Jim answered, looking to the unsure face of Luke Holland. “Another day, another dollar. This will be the hardest pay any of us have ever made, or will ever make.” Luke stated, as Jim thought Luke was speaking the whole truth. “Yea, but least we’s got honest work now.” Jim replied.

Inside the Stones from the Heart, Matt had noticed Maureen’s dreamlike behavior that day. She was drifting amongst the counters, and softly humming a tune as she dusted. “Is anything wrong?” Matt questioned several times, only to receive, Oh nothing in response. That afternoon, Maureen was holding a large crystal cluster up to the sunlight. Matt observed this from his bench, as he repaired a watch for a customer. Suddenly, the loud crash brought him from his chair. He ran to his wife. Maureen was laying on the floor with the broken crystals scattered about her. The shards reflected the sunlight, as it cascaded rainbows over her limp body. He carried Maureen to the couch and examined her for injury. “Are you cut anywhere?” Matt asked, as he watched her eyes come back into focus. Maureen started to shake as tears fell down her cheeks. “It’s awful, so awful!” Maureen wept. “It’s just a crystal. We can cut the price by half and sell it twice. Are you all right? What happened?” Matt asked, deeply concern. “We were together. The light blinded us. I was afraid!” Maureen started. Matt took her in his arms and rocked her slowly as he told her, “Your safe now. Everything all right.” Five minutes passed, Maureen related her vision to Matt, as he held a damp cloth to her forehead. “It was in the crystal. I mean. We were in the crystal. It was dark, very dark. We were together, then not. The light came from everywhere at once. Sparks flashed at our eyes, then darkness was all around us again. The cold was unbearable and we were not together. Then you came to me from the darkness. You were the cold, and you frightened me.” Maureen trailed off, as Matt handed her a cup of coffee. “Is there any more?” Matt asked, as calmly as he could. “Drums! Thousands of drums.” Maureen stated, after a sip from the cup. The vision had faded from Maureen’s mind, but the fear lingered for the rest of that evening. “Can you recall where we were?” Matt asked, from the silence, as they lay in bed. Maureen jumped at the sound of his voice. “Not really, we were in clouds. My feet sank as I walked. It was very strange in the darkness and you appeared even stranger.” Maureen answered, as she took the cigarette from his lips and inhaled. “Maureen, ah . . . you don’t smoke.” Matt mentioned, as she began coughing. “You have been acting strange yourself. I thought you had too much to drink last night. Finding you sleeping in the nude, was my proof, when we returned from the field. Now, I’m not sure the beer had anything to do with it.” Matt said, as he patted her arm. Maureen recalled the lake, and the cool water on her flesh. She thought of the beer and the taste of it on her lips. Then she thought of Holdar, and the taste of him on her lips. Maureen flushed red, as she remembered the rest of Holdar, and what had transpired between them. “Maureen, are you having another vision? Your body is burning up!” Matt asked, as he placed his hand on her cheek. “Not exactly, but I need to tell you something that may be hard to understand.” Maureen whispered, as she sat up in their bed. “We have always been friends, first. If we can’t say what is on our minds to each other, we might as well be strangers.” Matt answered, and waited for her next words. “I let my body control my mind last night. It’s the only time that’s ever happen, without you. I can’t tell you why it happened. It just did. I hope you can forgive me.” Maureen said sadly, as she lowered her face to the sheets. Matt remained as still as the grave, “The tall blond?” he asked, in a whisper. “Yes.” Maureen answered, as her gaze found his grey-green eyes above her. Matt reached over and held her chin gently. “The moon was full. The beer was cold, and you were enchanted. Timing Maureen, nothing but timing. The only true thing that separates a coward from a hero. If you choose to run a moment before the order, they shoot you at sunrise. I should have remained with you, or taken you with me. This might not have happened. For that choice, I must share in the responsibility for the things that occurred. That’s all that needs to be said about this.” Matt said, as he slowly kissed Maureen’s lips tenderly.

As the evening pressed by, another person was wondering about last night, and the things that had taken place at Taylor Lake. Tamry Greenwood was standing on the back porch, staring up at the moon. Her bathrobe hung loosely over her breasts, as they glistened in the pale light. She had awakened from the bed. She had remained there, for the entire day. After a shower, which had little effect, on washing away the dreams she encountered, she rested on the railing trying to understand their meaning. The moon loomed over the trees and Tamry thought of all that had happen to her in this town. She’d found love, and was to be married to a man that worked for a Giant. She had worked for the worst boss she ever met, and now that too had changed. She shared pleasure of the flesh, with more passion then she’d ever thought existed. Then she thought of the perfect house, which was a gift. The stories of her childhood rang inside her mind, as her gaze shifted from the moon. Pacts with the Devil! The thought brought a gasp to her throat. Tamry remembered asking the parson as a child, What does the Devil look like? His answer spoke in her mind, The most beautiful angel of all! She shuttered. Mister Oh beautiful? Manly, rugged, powerful, yes! Yet beautiful? Her thoughts, then went to the ice blue eyes of the giant, and the moon appeared to be his face staring down at her. Tamry closed her robe as she hurried for the bathroom and another shower. As the cool water splashed on her back, Tamry thought of the only evil she had ever met, Sheriff Thomas. He stood up to that buffoon, without a care. Evil sticks together. That’s what the parson said. Tamry thought. Tamry caressed her body and tried to relax. She found her muscles firm and hard to the touch. She studied her arms then her legs closely, as a strange feeling came over her. She explored the rest of her body, and discovered that her breasts seem larger somehow. Tamry turned off the water and stepped from the tub. She went to the closet for another towel, and ran into the cabinet corner. The mark appeared quickly on her thigh, briefly before it faded. Tamry noted this as she rubbed the spot and judged the counters height. “That’s impossible.” Tamry spoke, as she recalled the first day back at her mothers. She had run into this before. Then, it had caught her on the left hip. She grabbed a towel, and went to the full mirror on the door. “Oh My GOD!” Tamry gasped, as she viewed the figure before her. Her body was going through changes as she stood. “I’m Growing!” Tamry whispered, still not fully believing her eyes. Her height was close to six feet, but the body conformed to this, by spreading evenly in its span and tone. “What is happening to me?” Tamry whimpered, as her hair lengthened down her back. Tamry turned off the lights, and crawled to her bed. The hours passed slowly, as the girl let her fingers explore the alien body that incased her troubled mind. “Paul, I must talk to Paul!” Tamry repeated, as sleep over took her finally.

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