The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
Samuel would never be able to look at Nanny again the same after his experience. It was like that. Once you remembered a past life that clearly that person you experienced it with just didn't feel the same to you anymore. All the memories of that life were now in the open. Yes, much of it faded with time, but the course was set now. The relationship was forever altered.
He had loved Nanny in another life, but not as a man, but as a woman. An Indian woman. On many levels he was glad of the experience, despite the emotional pain it had brought at first, because once more he was understanding more clearly how the earth really worked. That it was not about money, fame or future, but about relationships. And it again reminded him of how shallow the lives were of some, who saw their lives as defined by what they owned, rather than by what they were on the inside...the golden part of the self...loving, caring, kindness.
"Samuel." Jimbo interrupted his thoughts.
"Yeah. I'm okay. We better get moving while we can."
They continued to follow the cover that was allowed through the thinning band of trees on the hills as they descended towards the vast lake they had seen from before.
Again, Samuel mused at the vastness of this realm. He looked up and saw vast continents above them, huge bodies of water and resplendent forests and mountains. It was a world of beauty. Great beauty, and yet there was part of it that was dark and sinister.
He realized that the Ancients knew more than he ever could and respected their decision to allow the Floating City and their inhabitants the right to live there, but he also knew that the deeping darkness of those who inhabited it must sooner or later spell their doom.
God was patient, but sometimes it took a thorn to remove a thorn, and if those who gathered in the heights of the sky were dead set on not changing, not becoming part of this beautiful world, there would come a day when their freedom would end.
As they gathered beneath a towering tree, filled with odd-shaped fruits, they heard a vast humming sound. They looked up and immediately ducked for cover. It was the floating city again.
They hid beneath some thick shrubbery and watched as the vessel would cast huge laser like lights upon the ground below, as if hunting for something...probably them...then it would continue on.
"I got a bad feeling about them." Jimbo growled.
"Whatever they are." Nanny added. "I don't think bad is the right description."
Samuel said nothing. He was noting how Al was frowning.
"Nanny, even the most horrible of people will one day see the Light." He reminded her.
"Maybe so, Mister Angel Guy, but I don't think it's this lifetime for these ones?" She countered, bobbing her hair around to get it out of her eyes. Frustrated, she grabbed it and began knotting it together.
"I'd give a million dollars right now for a rubber band or a hair clip." She grumbled, finishing up the knotting of her hair. She looked at the guys. "How do I look?"
On their look she frowned, then sighed. "Remind me not to do this again."
They laughed, then as the city vanished from view in the distance, they sought the path and again descended.
The giant lake was clearly in view when they stopped next. They rested next to some high boulders and thick shrubs, so they could stay out of sight from the floating city and any flying vessels above."
"Samuel." Nanny said after taking a hit off her canteen and wiping her lips with the back of her sleeve. "How'd that Saron character escape the explosion of his ship?"
Samuel considered that a moment. "It's possible he didn't die in it."
Jimbo butted in. "We don't even know what kind of escape mechanisms they have for such a situation. Maybe he parachuted."
"We didn't see any."
Jimbo looked away. "Maybe they were stealth."
Nanny laughed. "Now that is stretching it."
Samuels eyed the lake intently a few moments. "I think I see people down there. "
They all turned to watch where Samuel pointed.
"Darned, if you aren't right, partner!" Jimbo said, his eyebows furrowed in thought. "But they don't look big."
"Maybe not everyone is...."Nanny cut in. "...Here."
"Only one way to find out." Samuel said, rising to his feet. He stretched to get the kinks out of his back and legs, then began marching downwards again.
As they continued the rough ground about them became thicker with vegetation. Large areas of wild flowers spread colorful lines of blossoms and sporadic brush with red and gold leaves sprouted from within the lines of flowers.
Once an odd creature poked its head up from the brush and looked at them.
Nanny almost shrieked. "It's an elephant!"
"My God! Your'e right." Drawled Jimbo. "A pigmy elephant."
"Kinda hairy for an elephant." Samuel noted.
Nanny grabbed Samuel's arm. "I got to see if I can touch it."
"I wouldn't..." Samuel started to warn her, but she was already off, heading for the tiny creature. It watched her as she approached, its tail swishing busily. It munched on a flower, then looked down and plucked another with its trunk to shove into its mouth.
She dropped down onto her knees next to the creature and gathered a flower blossom and held it out. The elephant made a wary sound and backed up a bit.
"It's okay, baby. Mommy won't hurt you." She told it, a bright smile on her lips.
The creature stiffened again, but when she laid the flower down, it edged closer and took the flower and jammed it into its mouth. Its eyes widened with pleasure.
Nanny laughed and the elephant made a small trumpeting sound.
She plucked another flower, one out of the elephant's reach and a different kind and color and held it out. The elephant didn't budge at first, then it tentatively moved closer and snatched the flower from her. It ate the flower, then stood still looking at her. It raised its trunk and made what couldn't be considered anything else than a pleading sound.
She plucked one of the higher flowers and laid it on her right knee. The elephant eyed it hungrily, wavering a bit, then it edged closer and snatched the flower. It swallowed it, then gave her a new pleading look. But this time it lightly tapped its trunk on her knee. She smiled warmly, then grabbed two flowers this time and placed them on her knee.
The elephant moved cautiously closer, then put its two front feet on her knee and swept the flowers into its mouth. It remained in that position, giving her a new look of demand. Nanny plucked an especially large one and held it in her hand for the elephant. It stepped the rest of the way up onto her knee and ate the flower from her hand.
She gently placed her fingers across its back and it didn't flinch or try to get away. She gently stroked it.
Jimbo and Samuel watched with amusement and delight as the spectacle unfolded. "You have to admit, Sammie, she's got a touch with the critters."
"I'm sure your horses would love her, Jimbo."
Jimbo didn't see Samuel's face. His eyes were on Nanny. "I'm sure they would."