The Shimmering Ship - Revised 2015

Chapter Eighteen

Author's Note: RR

Before we get going, I have something to point out. Normally, there is very little to no foul language in any of my work. Having said that; in chapter eighteen, there were a couple of vulgar words spoken. Those words were in the context of a heated discussion of a mother protecting her son from people whom she felt were threatening him. The boy himself was in severe distress, and so were our heroes. It would only be natural for the participants, in such a conflict, to use language like that, and Del was quoting what happened, so I don't have any regrets for him using it, except that I regret having someone unhappy that it was there. However, if the situation were to be repeated, my answer would be the same, namely that it belonged there in that case.

Now that that is settled, let's get on with whatever is coming next.

I am starting this chapter, and then I am graciously going to once again, turn it over to the capable hands of Del, who will bring you up to date on what has been happening, while he was resting in his room, disconnected, from the net, for a while, during which time he had some second thoughts about what he was planning on doing. I hope I have given him sufficient time to consider his plans, and amend them accordingly. I think that is as much as I am going to say, about that, right now. If there are any objections from others involved in the situation, they can contact me at my regular address. I will be happy to discuss any problems they might have with the ongoing situation, which might or might not exist, between certain teenagers, and certain adults, that help keep stories such as this going.

Once again, Thank you, Del, for being so kind as to write chapters for me. I really do appreciate it.

Alternate Author's note: Del

Ouch! Hey, my bottom is a little sore there. I'm Sowwy. I'll be good.

We all smiled as we watched Jamie and Dad head off to Jamie's room. I knew how much it was going to mean to each of them, to have that time together. There had been a longing between them from the beginning, and now they could each fulfill their dream. I glanced over at Dorn and Ellen, and saw the tears in their eyes.

Those two are so romantic. I knew they would be following suit in a few minutes, so I said, "Do you two want to be alone?" I got my answer, as they grabbed each other, and headed for their room as fast as they could scamper. They looked like a couple of teenagers in love.

I sat there staring at the door through which Dorn and Ellen had retreated.

I heard the doorbell ring, and went to answer it.

I opened the door to find Jamie's friends standing there, with the most dejected looks on their faces.

"Can we come in?" Jimmy sniffed.

"Of course you can. Come on in, guys, what's going on?"

Jimmy must have been designated the spokesman. He said, "We want to change back! We are tired of being yelled at by everyone. We never were very popular, but since Delaren changed us, no one will play with us, and no one even wants to talk to us. I mean it really sucks. We aren't as smart as Jamie, so when we try to talk to the older kids, they just laugh at us, and call us names, and now the younger kids, that used to tease us, just run away, like they don't even know who we are. Hey, wait, I bet they don't know it's us. They probably think we are some older brother or cousin, that has come to beat them up, for teasing their little kid relatives."

Just about that time, I saw the expression on Jimmy's face change. He had just looked at me closely, for the first time since he had come in.

"What the..." he started to say, but before he could finish, his mouth fell open, and he started sputtering, "Bu... bu... but you're littler than me."

"This is priceless." I said, "Jamie and I decided we wanted to be young, too. We had a similar problem to yours, and we thought you might want to get reversed as well. We were just talking last night, about how hard a time, we might have, to convince you guys to go back to being young, and here you show up, asking us to do it for you." I giggled.

Good grief, what a sound it was. I couldn't believe what my little voice coming out of me like that, sounded like. I blushed.

"Guys, You are in for quite a surprise, in a few minutes, when Jamie comes out of his room. I don't think you will recognize him, or the other person with him at first, but we will see what happens. Of course, we would be very happy to put you back to the right age. Don't worry a bit about it. We realized ourselves, what a terrible mistake it was to become older than we really are. Of course, in my case, it will be something I experience for the first time, being little, I mean."

I got them all settled on the various seats, and started to explain to them what Jamie and I had gone through. Of course, timing is everything. As I was getting to the part where the lady cussed us out, Jamie and Del Sr. walked into the room. I had to clench my teeth to keep from giggling. I quickly pathed the situation to Jamie, and he smiled. I know, he was thinking of having a little fun. I could feel his grin get very big.

"Hi, guys." he said, and everyone turned toward the two older guys. I couldn't help giggling at them. I saw them look first at me, then at Del Sr. then back at me.

"You look so damn familiar," said Jimmy. "I could swear I've seen you before."

"Well, yes and no." he giggled and the guys all looked at me again. Then it seemed to hit them all at once.

"Wait, you look like Del, but older." They looked at Jamie now, for the first time, they noticed him, and it dawned on them who he looked like.

"You look just like Jamie only older." one of them piped up.

I cleared my throat and said, "Guys, I think you know both of these guys, but you probably have never seen them looking like that. Think of who they look like, and think of what I have been telling you, and you might tumble to it."

Jimmy said, "Ok, I am sure that's, somehow, Jamie," he pointed to Jamie, "but Who's the guy that looks like you, except he's all grown up?"

"Funny, you should put it that way, since if anything he is less 'grown up' than he was." I giggled, "But you have Jamie dead to rights."

Jamie smiled and said, "Yes, I'm Jamie, and He is, well, tell 'em who you are."

As Del Sr. stood there he slowly began to morph and took the shape, if not the size of Delaren.

"Delaren!!!!!!!" they all screamed, as they quickly surrounded him. He quickly regained human form, and hugged each of them, together, and separately.

"Guys," he said, "I need to explain some things. I noticed that you asked to have your aging reversed, and you have no idea how happy that makes me, considering how scared I was, that you wouldn't want me to do it. I was going to ask you all to come here today, and tell you, I was sure that aging you was a mistake, and give you all the reasons, that it would be a good idea to change you back, but then you guys came to us. I am so proud of you for thinking about it, and realizing how important it is to have a childhood. As I look back at it now, I can only wish I had been more sensible. I do have some good news, though. You are all very smart, and you have learned to use the gifts that I gave you, along with the aging, so there is no reason that you can't reverse the process yourselves. All I have to do is show you how it is done, and you can change yourself, or anyone else, for that matter, to any age and appearance you like. The process uses the energy surrounding the planet, coming mostly from your primary star, or sun. I didn't realize all the uses of that process, when I first used it, or things might have been very different today, so I thank whatever God is watching out for me, that I didn't. You see, otherwise, there wouldn't be any reason that Del would have been brought here, and I truly love him, and thank God he is here. He has shown me many things, that I needed to know, to grow as a person, and to love others, and not be so ready to change them, to suit my preconceived ideas, but allow them to see what needs to be changed, and change things themselves." he blushed.

"Both Del and Jamie have taught me lessons that I needed to learn, even after the many hundreds of centuries that I have lived, before meeting them. It seems the elders were right, when they told me I am still a 'youngling' with much to learn, before I can take my place on the council, and bear the responsibilities that I will someday incur." His eyes filled with tears.

"When they sent me out from the home system, they told me to learn as much as I could, from the many races in the universe, and try to apply all that I found out, to my own life, and learn to act responsibly. I, being so young, thought I knew it all, though, and could just do what I thought was needed. I guess the arrogance of the young applies to my species as well as most others."

As he reached out and hugged each of us, his tears welled over and he began to sob deeply. We all surrounded him and held him in turn and together, till he calmed down some, and Jamie said, "Delaren, you have given us all a new understanding of life, and its responsibilities. We all love you deeply, and you don't need to apologize to us for anything."

Jamie kissed Delaren then and looked into his eyes, as he continued, "You gave life to a large number of people, some of whom were alive, but were about to lose their lives, and some others, who were not alive at all, before you brought them into existence. You made my life worth living, if nothing else. I had been living a very lonely existence, not a life, until I met you. We will all be here for you, and no matter what happens, you will have our support and our love."

A murmur of agreement rose from the rest of us, and we all hugged him again. I gave him a passionate kiss, and thanked him again for giving me life.

As I sit here now thinking about it, I can't remember how long we all sat there comforting him and giving him our love and support. It must have been hours though, because we all became pretty hungry. I think the smell of grilled hamburgers brought us to the realization that we were all starving. Ellen had been calling us for a few minutes and we hadn't noticed. Like a heard of elephants, we charged out to the back patio, and the incredible feast that Ellen and Dorn had prepared. I think it took us fifteen minutes to devour most of it.

As we were finishing our meal, Ralf came up to me and reminded me that we had forgotten one very important person that was still very unhappy. He said, "You still need to do something to help R.A.L.F." I had been thinking about that as well, and told Ralf that I might just have a solution, if I was right, it shouldn't take too long to give R.A.L.F. the freedom he wanted so badly. I called Jamie and Delaren/Del Sr. over and explained my idea to them, to see if they thought it would work.

I had originally intended on building him an android body and implanting his personality into it, but I would have needed help from someone that I didn't know, and I was not sure if I could get their cooperation. This plan would take the urgency out of the equation, and give us time to work out details on how to build his permanent body. We would use Holotechnology.

Jamie thought about it for a couple of minutes and said, "I have a better Idea, Holograms are fine, but you have to have an emitter present all the time, I think I can combine the technology of the holodeck, and replicator technology, to give us a permanent body for him. We can then insert the essence of his soul if you will into the replecant body.

As we watched, Delaren produced the required equipment to produce the holo-image of R.A.L.F. and he materialized in front of us. Then Jamie used the portable replicator to solidify the image and make it permanent. The body still looked empty, so to speak no life just the physical body. Jamie went over to the computer and removed the memory core that contained R.A.L.F.'s being and connected it to the holomatrix. R.A.L.F. opened his eyes and looked around.

"Holy shit!!!!!!" he yelped. As he grabbed Delaren, and hugged him.

"I can't believe it. I'm here, and I can feel, and touch things, and people. It is so good to be here, with everyone else. Thank you all so much, for letting me out of there. I think if I had stayed in that thing very much longer, I would have simply given up, and terminated myself. You have no idea how lonely I was in there." he sobbed. We all crowded around him, giving him hugs and rubbing his back, and generally letting him know how happy we were that he could finally be with us in person so to speak. Jamie finished the programming of the equipment which would make the transformation to true matter instead of holomatter complete. There was a short burst of shimmering, similar to the transporter signature, and he jumped momentarily.

"What was that?" he asked.

"That was the changeover for you. You are now completely human. Just like Ralf." Jamie said, giggling. "Oh yeah, you will need a name, won't you? Do you have any preferences?

"I don't really care much, as long as it doesn't have periods in the middle of it. You could call me Rolf, I guess, I like his records, and the name is close enough, so I will not have to think too much about being called to dinner." He grinned broadly. "I'm still having trouble believing that I am here, in the real world and alive, and...............Real. I can feel, and see, and smell, and taste." He licked his lips. "I'm hungry. Is there anything to eat around here?"

Jamie giggled, and said, "Yeah there is still a lot of food out on the patio. We hadn't put things away, when we thought of getting you out here, but I think you might want to get dressed before you go out there. Ellen is a pretty understanding person, but she might find having a naked guy walk out on her patio a little disconcerting. I guess we could have you and Ralf both walk out there nekked and scare her to death." Jamie giggled.

Rolf looked down at his body, and then looked at the rest of us, and blushed from head to toe. It was so cute.

"Oh, yeah, I didn't even think about being naked. Can someone show me where I can find some clothes?

Ralf took pity on him, took him by the hand and led him to his room and told him to find something he liked and watched as Rolf put on an identical outfit to the one he was wearing.

"Hey, we're twins aren't we, little brother?" Rolf giggled.

"Little brother my ass, I've been around longer than you." Ralf chuckled.

"Maybe, but I was programmed before you were made, so I am older than you."

"Ok, you two," I said, as I stood there in the doorway. "That's enough. You are exactly the same age by my definition, so stop arguing. It makes no difference which one of you came first, we love you both and you will be brothers from now on. Let's get you some food, Rolf."

We all went back out to the patio and introduced Rolf to Ellen and Dorn. I think Ellen was even more enthusiastic about Rolf being alive than we had been.

Delaren called us together to give us the instructions on how to change our age and appearance; and we all listened very carefully. I had done it myself once or twice just to get used to the idea, but Delaren had a couple of techniques that made the process much easier. We all practiced changing and we all were pretty good at it. I almost fell over when I looked around and saw a cute little girl and a boy I didn't recognize at first, and then I noticed he looked a lot like Jamie.

"Holy Shit!" I exclaimed. "It's Dorn and Ellen." They had been listening, too, I guess, and they had transformed themselves into kids, too.

"We know we can't stay like this for long, but if you kids don't mind, we would like to play with you guys for a while. Let's go to the water park and have some real fun." Ellen said.

"Shouldn't we have an adult with us when we go, though, someone to tell us how silly we are being and stop us from having fun?" Jamie giggled.

"Is that what you really think parents do?" Dorn asked.

"No, not really, but sometimes it seems like it is." said Jamie.

"Well, Dorn and I will be twelve, and we will be watching after you little kids, but we will be playing right along with you. How's that sound?"

"Cool!!!!" we all chorused, and an army of six and seven-year-olds scrambled out the door and over to the water park, a few blocks away. It was a great way to finish off a perfect day.

When we all came back to the house, we all decided that a sleepover was just the thing that we needed for the night, so when Ellen and Dorn returned to their proper ages they called each of the boys' parents that were here and got permission to have them stay the night. Delaren produced a huge air mattress, big enough for all of us to sleep comfortably on, and we all crawled onto it and cuddled together in one big bundle of happy, healthy kids. We must have been really tired, because we were all asleep within minutes of getting in bed. I can't remember any other time that many kids in one bed fell asleep so fast. No horseplay, no messing about, just cuddling and sleeping, amazing.

When we all woke up, we each had morning wood, and there was a mad scramble to the various bathrooms to take care of the urgent need for relief. When we congregated back in the family room where we had slept, we noticed the smell of breakfast, and another stampede began. I don't know if it would have been possible to get any more of us in that room, and seated for a meal, but somehow there was enough room and plenty of food to go around. I was sitting next to Jamie, and Delaren was on his other side. We were both still six-year-olds, and he reached around and hugged both of us to him, as he kissed us each in turn, and told us how much he loved us.

It was the beginning of a series of cuddles, hugs, and kisses between various people. Timmy had Ralf on one side and Rolf on the other, and he did just what Jamie had done to Delaren and me. It didn't take too long till everyone had received hugs and kisses from just about everyone else. It was wonderful.

Pretty soon we all settled down and had another helping or two of breakfast, then the phone rang. It was Bill Anderson, and he was telling Dorn that someone was hurt very bad over there, and wanted to know if he could come over and help. Of course, there was no question that Dorn would help. Delaren, Jamie and I, all quickly aged to our older selves, and excused ourselves to go along and help if we could.

Delaren teleported us to the Anderson place and we materialized in the midst of panic and disaster. A young boy was lying on the ground bleeding from a wound to his head that looked like it had been made by a baseball bat. His skull was injured and he looked like he was badly hurt. Dorn took charge and began treating the boy. Delaren looked around and saw another boy sitting at a table with his hands bound together and Bill Anderson looking at him, with anger in his eyes. A baseball bat was on the table and it was covered in blood.

"What is going on here?" asked Delaren, taking charge like a pro.

"I came out here when I heard the scream," said Bill. This little devil was just about to hit the other boy again. I grabbed his bat from him and subdued him, and used my cell phone to call you."

"Any idea what caused him to attack the boy?" asked Delaren, all business and proper now, being the ever calm leader in a crisis.

"No, I haven't a clue. He hasn't said a word since I stopped him." Bill shuddered as he spoke; and I saw him look at the young boy that Dorn was treating. Tears were in Bill's eyes as he saw that Dorn was not having much luck reviving the boy.

'Jamie, Delaren, Del, I am going to need your help to save him,' Dorn called silently, so as not to alarm Bill.

"Keep an eye on him, please, Bill, Dorn needs us over there with the boy. I don't know how bad he is hurt, but, it looks pretty bad, I can hardly feel any life force from him." Delaren said, as he got up and went to help Dorn. Jamie and I followed him.

"He has several enormous concussive injuries. His brain is being crushed by the massive concavity of his skull. I'm afraid to relieve the pressure, for fear of massive internal bleeding." Dorn said to Delaren, with the saddest look I think I ever saw.

"I can help with that." Delaren said as he caught his breath, and slowly pulled the broken skull away from the boy's brain. He had stemmed the bleeding as well, and was repairing the injured skull and fusing it back together. "I have put his physical body back in order, but there is very little life left in him. It is not his injuries that are causing this. He seems to have lost all hope and all will to live. I don't understand it. He can't be more than twelve or thirteen years old."

"Is he conscious?" asked Jamie.

"Barely," said Delaren.

"Should I probe his mind?" asked Jamie.

"I think one of us will have to if we want to help him live." said Delaren.

"Dorn, You're a doctor, maybe you should do it. When you go in, just try to let him know that you are there to help him. I will monitor the situation, and let you know if there is anything that you need to do differently."

As Dorn began to enter the boy's mind, the boy began to whimper.

"I don't deserve to live," he blurted out. "I'm a bomb nation, or something like that." That's what my father told me, and then he told Tad to kill me, that God said I had to die. I guess I shouldn't have run from him. I should have let him kill me, like God wants."

"God doesn't want anything of the sort," Bill said to him, as he picked up the boy and held him to his chest, hugging him and kissing him, and slowly rubbing his back. "I have no idea what you did to make your father say something like that, but it simply is not true. You are a child, and all children are wonderful, in God's eyes. In fact, I am sure that God sent you here, to my home, so you would be protected and helped." He softly brushed the hair out of the boy's face and kissed him on the forehead. "You are safe here, and I promise you that no one will ever hurt you again."

As he was saying that I looked over at the table and saw Tad with tears running down his face. I heard him sobbing, and I realized that we wouldn't have any more problems with him, trying to kill the young boy, whose name we still didn't know.

"Don't worry; we won't let anyone hurt you," I said as I pulled him into a hug.

"What's your name, son?" Bill asked him.

"Jacob, sir," he said, as he hugged Bill even tighter. "Thank you for helping me."

I went over to Tad and untied his hands. He looked up at me and said, "I had to do it, or Father would have killed me, too, but I am so glad you stopped me. We can't either one go back there. I couldn't lie to him, and he would know I didn't kill Jacob."

"Well, You won't have to go back there, Tad. We won't let anyone hurt you either." I told him. "You are safe now, and you will be cared for, and loved," I told him.

He looked at me for a minute, and then he said, "But, I tried to kill Jacob, and I don't deserve to be loved."

"Of course you deserve to be loved," I said. "Your father, on the other hand, might not qualify for much love from me, but you will have plenty of love from now on, I promise you."

Your father is going to pay for what he tried to have you do. I think, maybe, it is time some of us paid him a visit. Can you please tell us your address?"

"Are you sure you want to go there? He is really mean, when he drinks, and not very nice even when he isn't drunk, and he is so full of hate, and he hates almost everyone, for one reason or another. Sometimes I think he makes up reasons to hate people." Tad said, as he caught his breath.

"It's ok Tad; I promise you will never have to be afraid of him again. Please tell us your address." Neither of you needs to go with us if you don't want to, but I suspect you might enjoy seeing what is going to happen to him, when we get there. If you do come with us, try to remember that you will be seeing some things that might look strange to you, and I promise you that nothing you see will be harmful to you. I can't guarantee the same will be true for him, however."

"Ok, I want to see what happens," Tad said.

"Me too," said Jacob. "The address is Twenty Seven Twenty Seven Alfred Avenue."

"Ah." said Bill, that's only a couple of blocks from here."

"Yeah, I know where it is," said Delaren.

"Dorn, Do you want to come along?"

"I think I should get back to the house. Ellen will be wondering what happened, so I think I should walk back and fill her in on what's going on," said Dorn.

"Ok Dorn, we will see you when we get back.

"Bill, I have a few things I would like to teach this 'man' and I use that term loosely. I know that we have been friends for a while, but I don't think you know all the things that I can do, but when we get there, you are going to see some things that you might find strange. I have a few talents that I don't tell everyone about.

Actually, it occurs to me, that just my taking you there, the way I plan for us to go, will surprise the heck out of you. Do you have a history of heart problems?"

Bill grinned. "You forgot, I saw you guys arrive here, today, in what I would consider a rather unusual manner. One minute I was talking to you on the phone, and a few seconds later, you materialized in my yard. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if you had done that before."

"Well, I could read your panic over the phone, so I knew we had to get here immediately." Delaren smiled. "Saving a life is a heck of a lot more important than whether I startle someone by popping in unexpectedly. Thank god I got here in time," he said. "Just so you know, it happens a lot more than you might think. It's just that for some reason, you usually forget about it later. I don't know why that is." He giggled. "I expect that from now on, however, you will remember. Are we ready to visit the man that wants you dead, Jacob?"

"Not really," said Jacob, "but I want to see what will happen to him."

"On the count of three, we will materialize in his yard. One, Two, Three!" When he said the word 'three' we all felt that little buzz in your stomach that occurs during a trans-dimensional place shift, and we were there. Bill seemed a little shaken up, and Delaren asked him if he was ok.

"I'm ok, I just never felt anything like that before, and to say it was weird would be an understatement." Bill giggled.

Higgins was on a cordless phone with someone, and he was really angry. (Big surprise.) He had no idea that we were standing there behind him, and he continued to rant at whoever was on the other end of his phone call. Once he was finished, he hung up and started toward his house. It was then that Delaren spoke to him. He was rather surprised, because the voice he heard came from inside his head. Delaren told him to stand still. He didn't listen very well, because he started to turn around. That was a mistake. Delaren gave him one more warning and told him if he moved; he would feel pain that he had never experienced before. Oddly, the man didn't comply. As he began to turn, Delaren put the message of pain in his mind, and if Delaren hadn't locked his leg muscles in place, he would have dropped to the ground in incredible pain. Delaren had planted the information in his mind of exactly how Jacob had felt, when Tad hit him with the ball bat, only Delaren had multiplied it a hundredfold.

Delaren instantly vanished from where he had been, and materialized in front of Mr. Higgins. Oddly enough, what Higgins saw bore no relation to what happened. He first saw a glowing angelic person, standing in front of him. Then the figure began to change before his eyes. It turned into a fire-breathing dragon whose breath was singeing off all of Higgins' hair, till he was completely bald. His clothes vanished, and he stood there naked to the world. We all saw his clothes disappear. What with the fire coming from the dragon in front of him, he hadn't paid much attention to the missing clothes, as yet. I grinned at Delaren, and he winked at me. He silently asked me if I had any ideas on how we could cause this man some discomfort. I suggested boils, and maybe planters' warts, on the bottoms of his feet. I also suggested open sores on his scrotum. Of course, all of the symptoms would be in only his mind. Anyone examining him would find absolutely nothing wrong with him. Well, the open sores on his genitals were there, and kept getting more and more painful for him as time went by. It seems he had a bad case of herpes, which was in the bleeding oozing stage, and it looked like he might have it in that stage for some time. As Delaren breathed imaginary fire in front of Higgins' face, he began to speak to Higgins.

"You have displeased the Lord your God, beyond any redemption, Jonas Higgins. You will suffer in a hell on earth for the rest of your natural life, which, since the lord is merciful, will not be more than another twenty or thirty years. You will remain alive long enough to see your sons grow to manhood, and become prosperous, happy adults, while you continue to gradually receive more and more pain, as time goes by. The pain and suffering you will receive will only be decreased by your own actions. For each kind deed you perform for someone else, without any thanks to you personally, you will have one day of torture erased from your sentence. Therefore the more unrequited good deeds you do, the less suffering you will have to endure. I will be placing you in the custody of someone that has an interest in helping you become more open-minded. You will obey him without question, or you will find yourself in front of me, and I will not spare you any pain." Delaren told him.

"Jacob, come here please." Delaren smiled. Jacob slowly joined Delaren standing in front of Higgins. Higgins started to reach out to hurt the boy, and instantly his arm froze in place.

"No! You will not lay a hand on him, to hurt him, ever again! Is that understood?"

Higgins began to scream again.

"He is the spawn of the devil!!!!!!" Higgins screamed.

"No, Higgins, he is not. He is a very kind and beautiful young boy, someone to be loved and cherished, not hated and despised. Hopefully, someday you will learn this fact, and act accordingly. Until then, you will suffer for your sins, and I do mean suffer. Higgins' fingernails began to grow; till they were twice their normal length and blood began to seep under them. Of course, all of this was only a dream-like vision given to him by Delaren. The pain he felt throughout his body was all too real, though. He had no idea what was happening to him, but he did know he didn't like it. That suited Delaren just fine.

Higgins' wife walked out on their patio and saw her husband standing there naked, screaming his lungs out for no known reason. She didn't see any of us standing around laughing at him or hear us, for that matter. Higgins did, though. We continued to taunt and tease him. I took a feather to his most ticklish part, namely his underarms. He was broadcasting his utter fear of feathers, so I couldn't help but feed on his fear, No one but Higgins could see or feel the feather. He couldn't see me either, but he could see the feather and feel it tickle his armpit, and just under his nose. He kept sneezing every time I tickled his nose. He was unable to move. His wife had come out to get him to come inside, but he paid no attention to her whatsoever. It turned out that he could neither see nor hear her, and he was unable to move, in any case, so when she pulled on him, nothing happened. He may as well have been glued to the spot.

It wasn't long before Mrs. Higgins began to scream in fear when her efforts to move her husband failed so completely. Finally, she got the idea to rush him headlong from the front. She built up quite a bit of momentum, and when Delaren saw what she had planned, he decided that she might get hurt if she were to tackle that immovable object named Higgins, so just as she reached the point of impact, Delaren released Higgins from stasis, and he fell backwards, with the impact of his wife charging into him. All the breath went out of him, and he lay there gasping for air.

He couldn't speak to her. Delaren had seen to that.

He screamed something incoherent. He was once again immobile, unable to move in the slightest. A fly landed on his nose, and crawled up one nostril. I almost felt sorry for him. I said almost. After what he had intended to have one of his sons do to his other one, I couldn't bring myself to feel too sorry for him, in any case. The fly had crawled out of his other nostril, and was slowly heading toward his groin. I watched it till it found its way to Higgins' navel, and I saw it circle his belly button several times, before it continued downward. Garth, the German Shepard dog, from next door had seen Higgins standing on the lawn, and saw him lying, now. He walked slowly up to Higgins, and started growling, with an intensity that I had never heard before. I touched Garth's mind, and saw and felt the relief and exultation that he felt, as he could tell that Higgins was in no condition to hurt him. He first walked around Higgins several times, and then he lifted his leg and sprayed Higgins directly in the face, with the most powerful spray he could manage. Then with all the dignity, he could muster, he slowly walked over to the boys, and sat down, looking at each boy, and darn if it didn't look like he smiled at each of them. He stood up and walked over to each boy in turn, receiving a warm hug and some genuine affection from each of the boys, before he came to Delaren, Bill, and me. He looked at us, and Delaren and I heard him say, very clearly, in our minds, thank you, I have wanted to do that for ever so long, and you guys gave me the chance. I will do anything I can for you. All you have to do is ask. He turned and walked back to his own yard. Funny how his collar seemed to have fallen off, just a few minutes earlier, which allowed him to walk into Higgins' yard. That was a strange coincidence, wasn't it?

Mrs. Higgins had returned to the house. She seemed satisfied that her husband was not willing or able to get up. She made no effort to call anyone for help. She stood at the kitchen window, and watched the dog pee on her husband's face, and the smile on her face was visible for miles. She turned and walked away from the window, toward her living room.

Higgins lay there unmoving, and seemingly oblivious to his surroundings. When the five cats came up to him, and did almost the same thing the dog had done, they added insult to injury, so to speak, then extended their claws and proceeded to drag their claws from his chin to his feet. Paying close attention to the more centrally located parts. One of the cats began licking the sensitive area that had begun to bleed again. Cats have such rough tongues, don't they? I think the cats used him for a scratching post for about a half hour, before they got bored. Once the cats left, there seemed to be hundreds of flies crawling all over Higgins' body. We watched him lie there, unable to move so much as a muscle, and we decided that since we were the kind of people that wouldn't hurt a fly, so to speak, that, of course, we wouldn't hurt those flies either. Delaren appeared in his original form in front of Higgins and spoke to him directly in his mind.

'Mr. Higgins, you will not do anything to hurt another human being as long as you live, because if you so much as think about hurting anyone, you will find yourself in this position once again, and the next time, you won't be as lucky as you are today, I promise you. I will allow you to get up, but I meant it about hurting others. You will not harm anyone. Do you understand? You will find you can speak, right now.'

Higgins gasped and moved his mouth.

"Yes." he gasped, and suddenly found he could move his arms, which he did, swatting the swarm of flies that surrounded him. I think that might have been the moment that he realized that he had soiled himself. His temper started to flare again, and some pretty nasty language started to flow from him, but suddenly he found he couldn't speak again, and Delaren showed himself again.

"I warned you, didn't I? I realize that language alone can't hurt someone, but when your temper starts to flair like that, the language is the precursor, so to speak, to violence. I will not tolerate violence, of any degree. Do you understand me?"

The look on Higgins' face would have melted steel it was so mean and evil, but Delaren ignored it.

As we stood there, Higgins started to reach toward Jacob again. I am not sure just what happened next, as it happened so fast. Before Higgins could move his hand more than an inch, the flesh began to fall off, as if it were steamed off the bone. I am sure that it must have felt like that to Higgins.

"I can't believe that you would still try to harm the boy, after I warned you. Do you have even the tiniest amount of intelligence?" Delaren released his block on Higgins's speech center.

"I must destroy the evil that he is. The Lord has spoken to me." Higgins spat.

"I'm afraid you are mistaken, Mr. Higgins. You are the scum of the earth. Not only will you not harm this young man, you have forfeited your chance to repent. You will now be taken to a place, where people don't tolerate crime. I hope you enjoy your trip to Regulus.

Higgins screamed again from the agony of his mangled hand. By now, there was nothing left of it, but bones and a few tatters of scorched flesh hanging from his wrist.

Just then, two men materialized just behind Higgins. Each of them grabbed one of his arms.

"Hi John, Hi Hack. Please escort our friend here to his new home of Regulus.

Then Delaren waved at Higgins as the three men vanished.

"Well, guys, I think we need to talk to your mom," Delaren said to the two frightened boys. "What is she like? Did she treat you ok?"

"Oh she's alright," said Jacob. "She never really hurt us. I know she was scared to death of that pig you sent away. I never saw him hit her, but sometimes she had bruises on her back, and I know she didn't fall down. I still don't understand why she married him, after dad died. Step-dad my ass, he was never any kind of dad to us."

"He hated us from the very start," Said Tad. "He used to hit us on the back of the head, really hard, for no reason."

Jacob flinched when Tad said that. "He'd just walk up behind one or the other of us, and hit us flat-handed, on the back of the head. Then the bastard would laugh. It usually knocked us silly for a few minutes." Jacob sobbed. "He always did it when mom was in the other room, or when she went out drinking. She did that a lot more after the first year they were together."

Tad said. "I think she spends most of the time drunk or partly drunk, now.

Bill spoke up, and said that the woman had always been a lush, and never wanted kids in the first place. Bill had not known about the abuse the man had heaped upon the boys, so he had not interfered, but he didn't think the woman was a very good parent in any case.

"Ok, boys, we need to go in and talk to her, and let her know that she won't have that monster here anymore. I am serious when I tell you that you will never see him again. Keep this to yourselves, guys, but we had those two men take him to another planet, to be punished. I promise you, He will be punished to death." Delaren put his arms around the two boys; and we all walked toward the open patio doors.

I reached out and knocked lightly on the glass. There was no answer. I tried again, and still got no response. I told Tad to go see if he could find his mom, and bring her out to see us. In a couple of minutes, Tad returned with a woman who looked to be about forty years old, with dirty blond hair, pale blue-green eyes, and bright red, almost glowing, lipstick and fingernails. The word that sprang to my mind was tramp or slut, but I was standing by her kids, so I just thought, the poor woman.

She looked back and forth between us, and her kids, and finally, she said, "Ok, come in and sit down. What kind of trouble have they got themselves into this time?"

I looked at Jamie, and he smiled at her and said, "They aren't in any trouble, but I'm afraid I can't say the same for your husband."

"I saw you put him in his place, and you have no idea how happy that made me." she said, "That bastard has been keepin' me out of pretty clothes for a long time, havin' to wear stuff that hides my figure, so I don't show no bruises. Whatever you do to him is too damn good for him."

"I think he will finally get what he deserves. We handed him off to a different jurisdiction. He is in the hands of a foreign police agency, which sees punishing hate filled offenders, differently than we do here.″

"I don't think I have ever heard any better news, young man." She said, "I don't know how you did it, but I wanna thank you from the bottom of my heart. That creature was pure mean, through and through. The only reason I married the sommma bitch is cause he had me blackmailed. I had sold drugs when I was just outa high school, and he had some kinda proof, at least that's what he said. I couldn't take the chance, and hurt my kids, so I married the bastard. He was always tryin' to jump my sorry ass. But I tried to keep outa his way as much as I could."

I couldn't believe what a loser this woman was. She never even introduced herself to us. She doesn't really give a damn about those boys. They are just her meal ticket, so to speak. I looked at Jamie and silently told him, 'We have to find a way to place them with someone that will love them and care about them.'

'Yes, and I know just who should have them, Bill and Lynn.' he told me. He looked over at Bill, and I saw bill looking back and forth between the boys and their mother.

'Perfect plan, love,' I said, silently, 'But we have to find a way to get her to let them go.'

While we were silently planning our strategy, the two boys were on the sofa across the room, talking quietly. I hadn't been paying much attention to them until I 'heard' Tad 'say' "I wish I could hear them better, they're talkin' to each other in their heads, like we do, but they talk too fast for me to pick up everything they say. They want us to go live with that guy over there by them. He's the one that called those guys, to come save you." Jacob looked at Tad and grinned.

"I never knew anyone else that could talk to each other like we do, before. Jacob, can you ever forgive me? I'm really sorry I hit you the way I did."

"Oh, Tad, of course, I forgive you. You only did what you had to do. I love you so much, bro, you know that.″

I sent a narrow beamed message directly to Jamie, when I picked that up, and asked him if he 'heard' it too.

'Yep, I sure did.' he sent back to me, on the same narrow band that we had learned to use, when we wanted to 'talk' to each other, without anyone else knowing.

'Do you think we should let them know we are wise to them using telepathy?' I asked Jamie.

"Let's not let them know, just yet. This way if they 'hear' something we say, they will take it at face value.

I walked over to the couch and said, "Boys, I think we need to talk about something, Bill is here with us, and I think he might want to have you live with him."

I turned to Mrs. Higgins and asked, "Would you be willing to let Mr. Anderson take the boys and care for them with the possibility of adopting them?"

She looked at us, and then the boys, then Bill. I could see the wheels going around in her head. It's amazing how transparent some people are. She had never wanted kids, but her mothering instinct had been aroused for some reason, and she had to think, before trying to figure out all the angles. She thought of how much money she might get from the state, to support the kids, and balance that against all the food and clothing she would need to buy for them. I don't think she was a math major. As she was thinking, I gave her a few more things to think about, things like childhood diseases, kids always wanting things, ever hungry teenagers, eating her out of house and home. I really poured it on. All the time, I was doing it, I was smiling at her. I heard the boys giggling, and I looked at them. Oh my, they looked so cute, but I realized that they must have 'heard' the things I had been telling their mom. I had made no effort to hide what I had been doing, and I hadn't even thought about the kids picking it up.

I decided not to say anything yet, but if she did what I thought she would, I was pretty sure the boys would not mind in the least.

She must have thought about it for all of two minutes before she said, "I only want the best for my kids, so I think it would be best if you took 'em, Mr. Anderson, I have seen you with them kids at your place and they all seem happy with you. I want my kids to be happy, too.″

As she was talking, I 'heard' her thinking, 'Oh God, I can't believe he is willing to take these two hellions. I gotta do it before he figures out how much trouble he is getting himself into.'

I walked over to Bill, and said, "I know they would be happy to be with you, Bill. You and Lynn are really good for kids, and they all love you."

"All right," said Bill, "I will take them on one condition. You will have to sign a statement that you relinquish all parental rights to the boys, and remand them into my custody. I will take care of all the legal details, and I will bring you all the papers to sign."

They shook hands, and the boys lost no time in running over to Bill and hugging him tightly. He leaned over, and hugged them to his chest, and kissed each of them on the top of their heads.

"Let's get you home and settled in your rooms." Bill smiled as he put his arms around the two boys; and we walked out of the yard and headed back to Bill's place. Once we turned the corner, I let out a breath, and said, "I think that went pretty well, all things considered," and we all laughed.

I smiled at Delaren, and silently asked him, "Should we talk to them about their talent now?"

"Yeah!" he answered me.

I went first.

"How often did you two say things to torment him, in his mind?"

I projected it directly to both boys, and their expressions went from smiles to fear in a microsecond.

It hadn't originally occurred to me that they had been projecting things into Higgins' mind till that moment, and it just came out in a rush.

"Don't worry, boys, you aren't in trouble," I told them.

I 'heard' you 'talking' to each other and, It just now came to me that you might have been feeding him stuff, and I can't say I blame you in the least, and yes, we can talk to each other in our heads too. Anyone can learn to do it. It's just that most adults don't think it is possible, so they dismiss it as nonsense. Like most things, it gets easier and better with practice. There is a lot more you can do with your minds, and bodies." I told them.

"Is that why he wanted to kill you?"

I soon had a couple of giggling boys wrapping themselves around my body and they hugged me really hard. I was having trouble breathing for a minute.

"I think he figured we were doing something to him." said Tad, "but I don't think he really knew we were doing it. He caught us touching each other in that special place that makes you feel real good, and that set him off real bad.

"Well, we will teach you things you can do with your bodies and minds, which will make your lives easier, and happier. And you never have to worry about being punished for doing something that is natural and right, and you will be loved and taken care of from now on."

Bill looked at the boys and said, "You boys have nothing to fear now. I know he had you terrified, but that is all over now, and I want you to be the best that you can be, and I will do all I can to make sure you have every opportunity to succeed.

Once we got to Bill's place again, Bill introduced them to the other kids, and Lynn. Lynn was all mother in an instant, and gave the boys hugs and then big kisses, that made them blush. After all the introductions were over, Bill explained that the boys were going to live there, and eventually be adopted. Everyone congratulated the boys on becoming part of the family, and Tiger volunteered to show the boys their new room.

 I looked at Delaren and said, "I think this is going to work out just fine."

I realized that we had some work to do, though.

"We need to teach all the kids how to do the special things that we can do. They all deserve the chance to use their bodies and minds, to the fullest degree possible."

Delaren smiled and hugged me.

"Yes," he said, and I looked at him, and giggled.

Jamie came over to us, and put his arms around both of us.

"I keep asking myself which of you I love most," he said.

I got a little nervous twitch in my stomach. He had stopped and looked at each of us in turn.

"I think I know the answer," he said then, and the twitch hit me again.

"I have decided that I love you both the same amount..... It's just that I love you differently." He giggled.

Delaren and I grabbed him and held him close and we each kissed him and began to tickle him mercilessly.

"That ought to teach you not to tease us like that," Delaren said, and I started licking Jamie's ear.

"Get a room," said Tad and the kids all came back down after they had shown Jacob and Tad their new rooms. They had decided to share a bedroom, and keep the other room as a study area, and game room.

"We will come over and help you all learn how to control your bodies, and show you how to use your god given talents, but we need to get back home before much longer. We have chores to do, and........ a few other things. I told them.

We looked at each other, and vanished.

We materialized in the kitchen and we each grabbed a sandwich and a glass of juice, and headed to Jamie's room.

Author's notes, Del:

Well once again RR asked me to tell some of the story. I think there is another chapter or so that I can tell, if he wants me to, and I am finally getting used to using this computer. I am going to send this to The Story Lover to check it for mistakes. And If it is ok, he might post it.

I think we did a number on Mr. Higgins. And to tell you the truth, I haven't asked about his condition at the moment, but he was tried and convicted. He will get what he deserves.

Catch you next time,


Thanks Del, You have been doing a great job, and frankly, I have appreciated the help. It has given me a chance to get some editing done, and to get rid of the writer's block.




Editors Note:

Well it's great to see the boys back to their own selves and have their childhood back. I am loving the continuing character development seeing the characters grow mentally as well as physically. This story keeps getting deeper and better with every chapter. Another job well-done RR keep up the good work.


Comments gratefully accepted at The Radio Rancher