CHAPTER FORTY ONE
British newspapers reported that Pine-Coufie and his butler Samuelson had gone missing, nothing more. There was no sense trying to explain what had happened in Cedric’s study to the police, especially since all the records had been missing. Someone else could deal with the manor house. How could they have convinced anyone of the truth? And all the bodies had disappeared.
Ian’s body had been found on a Gloucestershire Common. The obituary said he had died of a stroke. The rumor in Hendry County was that Jimmy Ray Burnett had absconded just ahead of a drug dealing indictment. No one knew where he was.
Usha was back from her overseas trip. She said she hadn’t enjoyed a second of it for the worry. Everything seemed fine now. But was it really? Someone had removed Pine-Coufie and Burnett and the butler from sight. Someone knew what had happened to them and was saying nothing. And just who was that someone?
John Thurlow’s quantum scanner was already handed to Robin’s biggest electronics client. John was thrilled. So was the client.
Melanie’s fate had been determined after so long a time.
The messes had been cleaned up, hotel rooms paid for, and rental cars returned.
Robin rolled over, propped himself on one elbow and looked down the short, white sandy beach of Caya Costa Island. He scanned the Florida mainland in the distance. The isolation suited him well; he felt protected here. Waves of comfort rushed over him as the sun broke from behind a cloud.
It was only days since they had returned from England yet it seemed as if it had been an eternity. Billions of shares are still sitting out there, Robin thought. Hidden, somewhere … they’re a deadly economic time bomb. And where’s the rest of the book?
Robin thought a Golden Word. Alligator … I lay in wait. His body instantly relaxed and he became aware of a lazy bird song swelling from the pines at the edge of the beach.
He looked around. He and Talking Panther were still alone and he took a quick guess at how long they had before the sun set. Then he collapsed back into the inviting sand.
Golden Words quelled his anxiety. I don’t have to fear the future, he thought. There’s excitement in the unexpected. It’s the key to life, however long it might last.
Will the Controllers come after us?
He thought the risks through.
I doubt it. Cedric lost the book and was trying to hide the fact. The last ones who he wanted to know were the other Controllers. I have to look for them. Talking Panther and I have to let the secret out.
Talking Panther had returned from England earlier than him and they had been apart until today. There was so much he wanted to say to her. Do I dare?
His mind gave in to exhaustion and he slept.
When he woke later, he checked the sun. It was a massive fiery globe, hanging low over the horizon, descending lazily toward the sea. I’ve avoided this all day. I have to deal with it sometime, he thought.
He propped himself up and looked out once more at the water.
His heart pounded. How can I with the path so full of danger?
Then he saw a dolphin break in rhythmic precision from the waters beyond, reflecting like a million crystals in the afternoon sun, and then gliding gently back into the sea. Such beauty and grace. He recalled the Porpoise and the spirit of the Golden Word that Talking Panther had given him. This stilled pulse of the deep is at peace. In nature’s grace it sings its tune with the cosmos and is delivered the bounties of the sea.
A sign for me, he thought. Tranquility sprung up in him, as he watched the sun lower itself gently from the sky.
Fortified by this calm, he rolled over and looked at Talking Panther lying peacefully asleep next to him. Robin watched her murmur some lost word, perhaps a fantasy of her dreams, perhaps as real as this world.
The gentle swell of her breasts rose and fell as he ran his hand softly down her arm and said quietly, “Are there any remarkably exquisite women here who need to wake for the sunset?”
Her slim form rose from the blanket as she blinked herself awake. He admired the soft curves of her swimsuit. “I needed this rest badly and slept with the spirits. This beach is perfect. Do you come here often?”
“No,” he replied. “Only when I’m worried or need to think.” She looked deeply into his eyes. “Did you bring me here to worry with you or to think with you?”
“No,” he laughed. “I certainly don’t want to think. I’ve had enough thinking to last a lifetime. I told myself I brought you here because it’s an enchanting place to watch the sunset. But I guess really I’m worried.”
Talking Panther caressed the back of his neck and shifted closer as she whispered, “Do you not have to think to worry? There certainly are many better things for us to do than think now.”
His hand had slipped off her arm and now rested on her thigh. Her skin was satin. God that feels good, he thought.
“Just fill your mind with beautiful action. Worries cannot exist there. Fill your mind with Golden Words.”
Together they watched night come over their island. The sky filled with shades of burnt orange and rose; the sun was sinking, as it always had here, into the pink and gray waters of the ocean. Reflected light spread from behind the horizon and painted the clouds.
Robin spoke very softly. “It’s hard to think beautiful thoughts when I am so worried for you, and about us.”
Talking Panther reached over and rested her hand on the nape of his neck and she leaned close to Robin. He was captivated by her delicate scent. The expression in her voice changed imperceptibly. “Do you mean my being here brings you worry?”
He turned to face her, his hand falling again to her leg, her skin sending a shock up his arm and spine. He laughed. “God, no! Just the opposite. I’m worried because I want to be with you more. More than I can say.”
Talking Panther’s hands moved from his neck and roamed his chest. He was drowning in her black eyes. She grinned and said, “Is it so bad to be with me that you must worry?”
Then her smile faded. Her lips brushed his face and she breathed into his ear, “Worry? Robin, have you not yet learned to live without fear?”
She shifted closer, her hip resting cozily against his leg.
MacAllen’s hand, still resting on her thigh, began to burn.
“I can’t forget the Controllers,” he said. “Or forgive them. Ian said there are sixty-four other families. I have to stop what they’re doing. This sense, the second sight. It’s a unique gift and I have to use it to do something good. There’s no records, no clues, nothing about them at all. They could be anywhere. They could be looking for us right now! I need your help, but I can’t ask you for it. I don’t know how to protect you.”
He caught a wisp of her sweet breath as she whispered again, “Remember the Eagle, Robin, the eleventh spirit. Be of the Eagle who soars high above the land. This spirit of sight allows you to speak with the clouds and soar in the highest winds but still see the smallest distortions below. With this spirit of sight, your heart can rise to the gods and be free. Trust this spirit, Robin, to protect you, me, and the world.”
He rolled onto his side. “I haven’t felt like this since losing my father and then Melanie.”
Talking Panther squeezed his arm. “I know Robin. Destiny has meant for us to be together again. When lives are bound again and again, kinship grows so strong that we begin to remember the times we were together before. Thoughts can’t recall those times, but our spirits know. You’ve seen my similarity to Melanie, but what really drew you to her was your quest to find me again. Our unity is one from many times past. This attraction people call ‘love at first sight’ is really memories of past lives together. We have fought the Controllers before. We need not fear struggling against them once more. This conflict of the material world will never end.”
MacAllen paused, not actually comprehending, but not really caring any more either. “I’ve never been able to give myself freely for fear of … “
Talking Panther put her finger tenderly to his lips. “Robin, you have given up so much to fear. Let the fear go. Fear is an illusion, a false notion. You can speak with the spirits and see the real beauty right here, right now.”
Talking Panther’s lips briefly touched Robin’s. His voice was hoarse. “I have other fears that are not just illusions. I want to be with you, but I have to find and stop the Controllers. I can’t put you at risk. You have so many spiritual commitments to your tribe.”
She leaned over and again delicately touched her lips to his.
She whispered, “My commitment is to the cosmos and following its path of truth. I do not limit my journeys of tomorrow by the imaginations of the past.”
As Talking Panther caressed his chest, shivers of joy charged through him. His heart hammered and his hand trembled as it moved across her slim, taut leg.
He controlled his voice with an effort. “Something about our being together transcends the physical. I don’t want anything to interfere!”
“Trust the guidance of our spirits, Robin. These spirits are Wisdom itself. We are committed together for the spirits, but it is they who have brought our bodies together with our desires. They have brought us here together now. Would they do this if it meant harm? The desires of a woman and a man are life’s desire to fulfill itself.”
Her caresses moved lower and her whisper became more hushed. “I cannot control the world’s fears, but I know my spirits will not lead me astray. We-you and I, the tribe, the rest of mankind-all began as one. We have always been connected and are all still connected. The universe expands, blends, folds and unfolds again and again; it never remains still. Our being together will not take from the spirits, but will fulfill them. Our physical union can only bring our bodies and spirits closer to reality.”
Robin pressed his lips on hers. The effect was devastating.
Talking Panther stifled a groan as his hand explored the gentle curves of her body. It was firm yet so supple and seductive. His breath was coming harder. His resistance disappeared.
He pulled her to him. She was soft and warm. Robin caught a glimpse just beyond the tall pines that stood behind them. The moon was rising, round, ivory and radiant. Suddenly he was filled with the words he had heard for the first time only a few days ago, they had changed him for life. They were the words Talking Panther had given him on an island far away, but words that remained and infused his heart and soul.
The spirit of the Coyote sings his song in harmony with the spirit of the moon. This melody of ivory light watches and knows always its relation to the moon and the stars. Through this spirit, the coyote can range far and spread wide yet always knows where to go. Through this wisdom, the coyote survives and grows even through the greatest obstacles and when all wish he were no more.
That’s it, he thought. Silence … Action … Union … all in tune with the moon and the stars. That’s everything.
MacAllen pulled Talking Panther even nearer and held her.
“Our guides have brought us here. We should journey together. The obstacles are just stepping stones to fulfillment.”
This woman next to him was all that beauty could be. All that ever was and ever would be. Robin’s heart drummed furiously as he removed Talking Panther’s bathing suit. He trembled with every touch and every blissful caress.
Their naked bodies embraced each other and sent pulsations of the earth’s heartbeat through them. They were brought to a distant place of peace, tranquillity, of absolute contentment. Their beings explored and sang while the spirits sealed their destiny. The spirits fulfilled them as the seed of their eternal union was planted.
He received; she gave.
She received; he gave.
The two of them lay on the sand, entwined in the fading light.
The breath of the earth blessed them. Their fate was pledged and a new journey had begun.
Robin heard Talking Panther sigh and whisper, “You understand the Golden Words you have been given. And now you understand the true power of Union.
“Yes, Robin said, yes!”