Read Charlie's Dream Online

Authors: Jamie Rowboat

Tags: #Fiction Young Adults

Charlie's Dream (5 page)

BOOK: Charlie's Dream
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"Yes it can."

"But how can that be? There are people here who were only just alive to see the camera invented over a hundred years ago and you're in photos with them. Look, there's you and Matisse in his garden at Giverny and there's Marie Curie, the physicist. I just did a dissertation about her for my Physics A level. She died at least fifty years ago. And look, there's Albert Einstein, I can't believe it, how can it be real?"

"You're very observant," said Gemma quietly. "The answer to your question is simple. I've lived a lot longer than people think is possible for a human. A lot longer."

"Oh," was all Marie could squeeze out.

"You see, I'm a wizard and I was born four hundred and eleven years ago."

"No way," breathed Marie.

"It's true," laughed Gemma. "I am a wizard, but I'm a female one as you can see. I have been here a long time and, along with others, I have served the evolution of higher awareness in society. I've lived all over the world in wildly contrasting circumstances and I have assisted some of the world's great leaders through peacetime and wars, but I have been in England for nearly a hundred years and in this area for more than eighty of them. There you are, your first glimpse of who I really am."

"Whaa?" was all that Marie could force from her lips as she sought the stability of the sofa. Gemma didn't say anything, but sat down next to her to await her reaction.

"Have you ever been married?" she asked after a prolonged silence.

"Hah, of all the questions that I was ready for, that was not one of them," laughed Gemma, slapping her hands on her knees.

"It was the first thing that came into my mind. Anyway, the rest is just too bizarre to question at the moment."

"I've never been married. I have had some extraordinary relationships, but my life has been one of the wanderer and that doesn't fit very well with marriage. I always knew that it would be very hard to have a family and then live longer than my children and even my grandchildren. We wizards need to live fairly solitary lives, otherwise it becomes impossible for us to serve our purpose effectively."

"Mm, that sounds rather lonely, but what is your purpose?" asked Marie.

"I told you, we're here to serve the path of higher awareness, or the magic, as elves call it. We have to make sure the magic doesn't die out and to assist any who should search for it with the correct intent."

"But what is the magic?"

"The magic of connectedness, Marie. The blissful feeling you are able to have whilst living in a body. Instead of being isolated and alone, with thoughts of fear and difficulty, the human experience in its higher state is one of the most perfect in the known universe. To have a human body and to feel its individuality, and yet sense your connection to the universe, is one of the most sought after feelings for any soul. There are many on earth who have served to maintain the presence of this greater awareness, so that when humans start looking in the right direction, they will be able to find the path."

"You mean like Jesus, or Buddha?"

"Well, yes, but they're the obvious ones. Over the centuries, there have been many more who have served from the shadows without ever being recognised by humanity for their immense courage."

"But how do you become connected?"

"You don't have to become connected, you already are, it's just humans don't sense this while they are in fear. The secret is to wake up from the dream that makes you believe you aren't," answered Gemma.

"Are you awake?" asked Marie, staring at Gemma intently.

"It's all a matter of degrees, I'm more awake than some and less than others. But now, I think we should get the cottage warm and we'll talk more in a while. My old bones need warming up and I'm very hungry. Is that okay?" asked Gemma.

They hadn't moved since coming inside and now the darkness encouraged them to get organised, as the cottage was really cold. Within half an hour, they had a roaring fire in the hearth and a pot of pasta sauce bubbling away on the tiny stove, which filled the air with the smell of garlic.

They sat by the fire eating their meal from two little wooden bowls and Marie felt genuinely excited. Watching Gemma slurp on the strands of pasta like a ten-year-old, it seemed incomprehensible to Marie to imagine how much this humble mystic had seen in her long life. After they finished their simple dinner, Gemma crouched in front of the fire and threw on a large log. As the sparks screamed upwards and the fire crackled with new life, Gemma spun around and knelt, with the fire silhouetting her.

"It's time I told you my story. It'll have to be a heavily summarised version, or we'll be here all night. Is that all right by you?" asked Gemma, her eyes gleaming with intent. Marie just nodded her approval.

"I was born in 1595 and my parents were killed in 1598, when I was nearly five and my brother Shamir was seven. A couple, who were great friends of our parents, adopted us. Their names were Heidi and Joshua and, like my parents, they were part of an ancient order of mystics who were renowned healers at that time. I have no real recollection of my true parents, other than a couple of vague memories. However, it was a time of great change, when the forces of the warrior energy were mounting and the powerful countries were those that were prepared to dominate by force. You'd know all about such events from your history lessons, I'm sure."

"Yes, yes of course," said Marie enthusiastically.

"Slavery was the driving influence of the developing nations, who scrabbled to control the new lands. The monarchs of Europe dominated most of the world through war and the most successful one of the period was this small country, Great Britain. The church and the monarchs conspired together to create absolute power, which meant destroying any influences that would destabilise their position. The healing arts were their greatest threat."

"But why? What would make them think that?" interrupted Marie.

"Because, my dear Marie, it is impossible to influence or dominate any person who believes in the humility of connectedness. You need to create a God who demands absolute loyalty to his representatives on the Earth if you want true control."

"Oh," said Marie, squinting slightly as she tried to concentrate.

"It is enough to say that they were called the dark ages for good reason. My adopted parents were part of an ancient order that sourced its power through a humble connection with the Earth. They still understood the language of nature and were able to speak to plants and animals in a way that would be ridiculed now and was presented as the work of the devil back then."

"They used to burn anyone like that, didn't they?" asked Marie.

"Yes, and they'd often mutilate them first if they really wanted to make an example of them. Over a period of about a hundred years or so, pretty much all such practitioners and their communities were weeded out and destroyed. Word filtered through to my parents that the new pope had decreed a purging of their kind. He had a particularly twisted vehemence to his nature and his hatred of natural magic knew no bounds. With the support of the English monarch, he was mustering a force to systematically sweep through England on 'a mission of cleansing', as he called it."

"Whoa," sighed Marie.

"Yes, so my family fled with a small group of their clan to the coast of Cornwall. They hoped to pick up a boat to France from there and then make for the relative safety of Provence. In this area of Southern Europe, there were healers who had remained hidden in the labyrinth of rugged mountains that makes up that region. They kept practising their arts and maintaining a communication with the elfin world. The purges would reach them eventually, but for many years they were the only true haven for such magic in the Western world. They didn't just believe in elves, they were able to see and communicate with them. But, like so many of the ancient arts, their wisdom, like the elves themselves, have all but disappeared from the Earth."

"You mean to tell me that elves are real?" said Marie, interrupting because she just couldn't stop herself.

"Yes, I do."

"You mean like in
Lord of the Rings
?"

"Yes, young Mr Tolkien was a lot more accurate than he realised and a good friend. You see, the elves are the guardians of nature's magic and the reason this planet is as beautiful as she is. But we'll talk about that whole area tomorrow when we walk around the property, otherwise I will never finish my story."

"Okay, I'll try to stay quiet, but it isn't easy," said Marie.

"Fourteen of us left our village and only six of us made it to Cornwall, including my Shamir and Joshua. We then managed to buy a small sailing boat from a farmer who had met my."

"Wait a second, what happened to Heidi, your stepmother? Didn't she make it to the coast as well?" asked Marie, interrupting almost immediately. Gemma glared at Marie with a sense of menace in her eyes. Marie reeled back instinctively, then felt ashamed to have asked such a personal question.

"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to upset you," she said gently.

"It's okay, it's just a dark, old memory that I haven't allowed to surface in many years. You see, we were ambushed one night as we lay sleeping in a small piece of woodland outside a small town in Dorset. Before we knew it, four of our group were dead. One of the thieves strangled Heidi while she slept by a tree. The rest of us only survived because my father came charging out of the darkness, screaming for vengeance and wielding his axe like a giant, thirsty for blood. He decapitated the chief villain with one blow, then he ran after the other murderers with the brute's head in one hand and his axe whirling around in the other."

"My God, how horrible," gasped Marie.

"Yes, it was. They all took flight when confronted in such a desperate way, but it was too late for Heidi. We buried her and three other members of our group at the foot of the tree where she had been murdered. It was all so gruesome, I thought I'd never recover."

"But how did you?" asked Marie.

"Ah, well the village we travelled to in Southern France was, to say the least, a magical place to grow up. The people there nurtured me in the most beautiful way. They taught me the principles of connectedness and, most important of all, they introduced me to the reality of the elfin world. In those days, there were still small tribes of elves hidden in the dense woodlands in England and all over Europe. Most people, other than children, couldn't see them, but I was lucky enough to live in a community that treated them with great respect. My brother Shamir and I were allowed to roam with them in the forest where we lived and our friendship with them was nurtured, rather than stamped out. However, by the time I was twelve, the pressure on the natural arts was overwhelming. Religious fanaticism had seized the world and no one had the power to withstand its force."

"So, were there many elves on Earth originally?" asked Marie, quietly.

"Oh yes, there were hundreds of communities dotted around the world, but you are leading me off track again. So, where was I? Ah yes, the plan. The elders knew the human world could no longer support them in any great numbers and that the future of any who stayed was by no means guaranteed. They needed a haven beyond the touch of human warriors."

"Oh," said Marie, grappling with the intensity of the information.

"The elves spent many years researching possible sites for the hideaway and it was eventually decided that the Southern island of New Zealand had all the necessary elements."

"New Zealand?"

"Yes, it was free of any major human settlement and had a strong devic history. Of course, in those days, it was an enormous undertaking to travel such a distance, particularly if the journey was to be undetected by our enemies. A small group of twenty-one individuals were chosen to make the first expedition. The leader was a wise old man called Kasmir, who had lived his whole life with the elves and was well trusted by them. There was my brother Shamir and myself and the rest were elves of various ages and skills, led by a powerful chief elf called Kanook."

"But what about Joshua, your adoptive father? Didn't he go?"

"No, he was too old by then, he died just before we left. It took us nearly two years to reach New Zealand and there were only seven of us left out of the original group. We planted all the saplings that had survived the trip and established a seed nursery to propagate the vast array of seeds we had with us. By the time a larger contingent of elves arrived some years later, we had planted over a million trees in this valley. It still took over a hundred years to create the magic needed to hide our new home. By the time the eighteenth-century dawned, the valley was totally protected by a shield of highly developed natural magic. It had become invisible to human eyes and the door in New Zealand was closed, making it an island."

"But why haven't explorers found it? I mean, the Earth has been mapped out to the minutest detail, hasn't it?"

"Humans haven't found the valley, because they do not know how to look."

"What?" asked Marie.

"It took one man to get in a boat and sail around the world to destroy hundreds of years of scientific theorising. He revealed a flaw in society's view of reality. Columbus didn't make the Earth change shape, he shattered a misperception. Elves exist and so does the valley, humans have just lost the awareness of them. As a race, we have become blinded by fear, we cannot see them because such talents have disappeared in us. We have followed the path of the warrior and this is dominated by the instinct to survive and this blinds any perceptions other than the basic physical ones."

"Why have the elves bothered to do it? It's fine to say they're like patient parents and that they love Mother Earth and all that, but really, after everything man has done, how can they possibly want to help?"

"Pretty much every race on every planet has been at war with itself. The elves have been wild warriors at one time here on Earth and they aren't stupid or arrogant enough not to wish to help us if we choose to grow up. It's a natural part of their service to the life force that creates everything."

BOOK: Charlie's Dream
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