Samuel was the first up, even though Robin and Smarn were usually the early ones up, he beat them by several hours.
A lot of the things he had seen and been shown since they had begun this journey had seemed a bit peculiar and off at times. He had let his Detective mind kind of tune out during all of it, but it had been hacking away in the background, tossing up bits and pieces from time to time for him to ponder. He didn't bother Jimbo with his doubts or his concerns, because he had his heart and hands full with Nanny, who was would've kept any honery Texan busy, even one as outrageous as Jimbo tended to be...all blustery, hands on, get dirty and kick their butts action kind of guy that he was.
But Samuel, while he wouldn't eschew action, usually preferred to figure things out before jumping into action. He had been pretty much corralled into action since he had met the Lady Marantha at the Denny's.
He wasn't angry with either Nanny or Jimbo. He wouldn't take back everything they'd done, even the scarier parts of it if he had a choice to do so. So it was with somewhat of a heavy heart for many various reasons that he climbed down from the tree house and headed along the criss crossing bridges of the lake to the highest islet.
It had caught his attention all along. Something about it bothered him, but he couldn't put it into words just yet.
He reached the middle of the lake and the highest islet and stopped at its base. It was the prettiest of them, topped by beautiful rows of flowers that cascaded down its sides with benches between the rows for visitors to enjoy their beauty and fragrance.
Daisies, petunias, marigolds, sunflowers, roses of every hue of the rainbow, azalea, orchids. Just about every kind of flower imaginable, all growing in one spot, all growing in the same conditions, which should, theorhetically, of course, been impossible.
He went up row by row, allowing the scent of the flowers to soothe his troubled soul. For troubled it was. He suspected there was a lot more going on than anyone had told him or Jimbo, and that there was much yet that remained hidden. When he had put his nose to the last violet colored rose...which had been divine...and reminded him of Hawaii and the beautiful orchids there...he reached the summit, where a single bench sat alone and uninhabited. A small fire burned next to it, fed by a channel of fuel that was piped from underground somewhere and fed it.
Yes, Robin's world was far more advanced than it seemed at first. Trees that could mold beds to your sleeping needs, flowers that didn't need special growing circumstances, psychic abilities in almost all the people he'd met...even the tiny elephants, which brought a smile to his face, who he just saw were now trailing him, the Mother Elephant sniffing the ground, then trumpeting to those in the rear to follow her.
They finally reached the islet he sat at the top of. The Mother Elephant raised her nose in greeting and he could swear that one of her eyes had just winked at him.
She turned around and her babies formed a line of defense about the islet, though what they might be defending it from he didn't know.
"Interruption, Sam." Al told him as he materialized on the bench next to Samuel.
Marilyn appeared next, dressed in a lovely all yellow summer dress and yellow shoes, with a yellow bow in her hair. She flashed him one of her usual dazzling smiles, and sat down next to Al on the grass next to him. She took out a half-darned sweater and began darning it as they spoke, her eyes on them and her work as well. She never missed a thing, even though she was usually the quieter of the two.
Anyone who mistook her for stupid or not so smart, had been so wrong, this woman was one of the sharpest cookies ever born. She had just been born too soon.
Sam eyed Al thoughtfully. "This is the moment, isn't it?"
Al nodded his head. "I'm sorry, Sam, but it had to be done this way, or you wouldn't have come this far."
"Far to do what?"
Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds ever born on Earth, the ghost of him, the angel he had become frowned. "That which is right."
Samuel felt a chill go up his spine. It was reckoning time. Always was. There was some kind of lesson he was supposed to get from all of this that he had been missing because of all the diversions going on...the Nazi attacks, the monster in the snow...the past life regressions. He felt like a sponge that was full to bursting and he had to be squeezed or he would explode.
"None of this is real, is it?" Samuel finally asked.
"Oh, it's real all right." Al answered brightly, but just not as real as it seems at first.
Al didn't say anything.
Then Samuel began weaving through his mind all the events that led to this point in time. "The touch from Lady Marantha was the trigger, wasn't it?"
"Yes. And have you figured out who she is?" Al asked, his eyes watching Samuel for any sense of confusion or digression from the topic.
Samuel put his head in his hands.
"Yes." Albert answered, a tinge of sadness in his voice.
Samuel looked up, but Albert wasn't sad looking. He had a glance that was filled with pride and purpose. "Samuel, you've been hanging onto her since she crossed over. You know you can't do that. Your mission on Earth is too important to live in the past. You're still a young man. You have a whole world. A whole universe to explore yet. And it's so........vast."
Albert touched Samuel on his forehead. Not physically, but with a spiritual touch and Samuel felt a dazzling spiral of colors open up in front of him.
Lady Marantha stepped out of them and stood before him, smiling. Then as he stared hopefully, she began to transform into his mother as he remembered her. Tall, proud, smiling, her warmth like a minature sun shining in the day.
"I love you, Sammie." She told him.
He rose from the bench and reached to hug her. She backed off.
"I'm sorry, son, but I'm not really physical anymore."
"But you touched me before!" He pleaded to her.
"Yes. But that was God's touch not mine."
"I miss you so, so much." He said, his eyes watering with a flow of tears.
"And I am so, so proud of you, my son. So very, very proud. You have become everything a mother could ever have hoped for and so much more."
"But all of this..." He gestured to the world about him. "Why here? Why now?"
"Haven't you known all along?"
And yes he had. Nanny looked too much like someone he had loved with all his heart. It just hadn't occurred to him that it was his mother, because she had altered her appearance in so many ways.
"She's real, Sammie. She's your sister. From my first marriage. That is why you felt so close to her from the very beginning and why you've felt certain feelings so strongly as you get to know her."
"Your father and his first wife."
"All yours, Sammie." She laughed. "All yours. Why else do you think Jimbo loves you so much? He doesn't give a horse's tail for the spiritual side of your life. It's you he cares about, your lightheartedness, your dedication...your drive to do what is right. It brings out the best in him, it honors his own soul's determination to do what is right."
She smiled gently, then began to fade. "But there's more."
Samuel tried to stop her, but his hands passed right through her.
"I love you, Sammie. I always will. Listen to Albert. He's not half bad for an angel kind of guy."
Albert broke into laughter and gave her a wave. "And you're not so bad yourself, madam."
She smiled at him, then extended her hand out towards Samuel, who reached out to touch it. Their fingertips touched and a spark ignited.