The Tossing Pebble

Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, US author & physician (1809 - 1894)

"Did my husband do this ritual thing with you when you whisked him off through a Time Strait decades ago?"

"Yes, m'Lauren." The m'Arhiel servant-leader spoke with serene quietness. "I showed your new husband the same concept when he was twenty one—about two Terran years younger than you are now."

I held the gemstone in my hands, refusing to part with the quartz-like purple treasure I had procured from the island beach. "He remembers a riverbank of stones like this one, but not tossing any stone. Why is that?" I warily eyed the taller, bearded man who had brought me to the middle of this simple arched wooden bridge. Yet I sensed restrained affection as I uneasily glanced into the telempath's emerald eyes. A father-like caress touched my soul. Light and loving words flowed through—Stand up straight, Child. My spine tingled as the empathic fatherbond began to form between us. I shivered and straightened my 5"11' height, thinking of my real father waiting for me in Canada with his new identity supplied by the FBI.

My teacher nodded as if from my thoughts. "m'Yahnni fought the concept back then as he still fights to accept an intimate relationship with Thi-El now. The temporal storm also affected his memory. Yet he will remember the lesson when you return to the Earth of your universe and share your experience here." He tilted his head. "Still your father would easily understand. You long to reunite with him in a new identity of your own? Your police detective husband will follow you if you decide with a yes."

I frowned. I didn't have that answer, not yet. Should I follow my parents into the Witness Protection program? I had just recently been promoted to detective—the position I had longed for. Maybe the FBI would give me a job in the computer division. They could always use someone who created an information retrieval system at age twelve. Or I could work in my mother's former department in Missing Persons—save in a different location. Could I accept the fact that my parents waited twenty some years to actually get married? Papa had always been there secretly supporting Mother and I—in spite of how the alimony for his first two ex-wives left little for himself, even on a detective's salary. Yet during all my growing up years, only a handful of family and close associates of my parents in the NYPD knew our secret. Now I held a new secret—my parents weren't dead.

Turning away, I studied the river beyond the railing. Purple quartz sparkled beneath the unhurried flow of pure, clear water. Rainbow-iridescent fish leisurely swam with the current, away from the bridge.

"Forgive me, m'Sirvah," I looked up again, "but why are we just standing on a bridge of a winding woodland path on this remote island of Regulus III, when I should be reviewing my life? What does tossing a purple pebble into a river have to do with anything?"

The bearded man studied me with his deep emerald eyes and articulated more of his renowned patience. "Until you understand this particular concept of Time Straits, I cannot help you be a Shadow Observer, especially of your own life, m'Lauren." m'Yuriel casually leaned his long torso against the wooden railing while his voice gently chided. "The pebble is beautiful, but not worth keeping. This river has thousands."

"Looks like amethyst."

"Only similar in structure."

"Each one of these pebbles is unique though, right?" I tilted the purple quartz until the surface reflected the light of the noon sun.

"As is each life that originates from Thi-El, the Maker of All Things."

The small circle of lavender light casually landed on the tip of his thin braid of dark hair, draping over the left shoulder of the m'Sirvah's royal emerald tunic. The braided tail stemmed from the nape of his neck, under a dark mane of long hair held loosely back by green silken cloth that matched his garments.

I moved the quartz until the circle of light shone on one of the colorful gems in a corner of his Star of David pendant. The clear-crystalline m'Symphonoid in the middle of the star twinkled, and teasingly redirected lavender light onto my own clothes. I chuckled. Although the m'Sirvah's neatly trimmed beard hid part of his face, m'Yuriel's reserved smile showed paternal enjoyment of my child-like fascination with the purple stone.

His solid emerald prayer cap sparkled from intricately woven threads of gold. "Toss the pebble, Young One, and I will answer your question of how your birth affects the past as well as the future of your parallel universe." He reassured me with the air of a regal feline. "And I will give you a polished one to take home with you when we return to the mainland."

"Okay."

A grin played gently with my mind. I thought of what m'Yahnni would think when I returned with actual evidence that we did have ancestors from another universe. Maybe I would call my husband m'Yahnni instead of Jack, just to see the reaction on his face. Perhaps the m'Arhiel version of his name might trigger a conscious revelation of his experience that took place almost thirty-five years ago—a seven hour excursion that in our universe became a missing seven years.

Reluctantly I swept my hand over the railing with a flourish and shot the stone out from my fingers and thumb. The quartz sparkled from the brilliant sun in mid-arch, then dived down toward the clear water several feet away from the bridge. The fish moved to safety just as the subsequent impact made a splash. A circle of ripples advanced away from the water's intruder in all directions as gravity pulled the stone to the river's bottom. The braver fish sniffed the newest addition to the purple quartz floor of their world. I straightened the front of the borrowed emerald tunic and gold initialed sash I wore—an outward sign of the descendants of the House of the m'Sirvah. Carefully, I adjusted the prayer cap of emerald and gold open-weave on my short dark chestnut hair.

The m'Sirvah of the Arhiel observed me with cat-like remoteness. His tilted chin and raised brows reflected a century-old wisdom. "What do you see forming in the river?"

Folding my hands in front of me, I paused to gather the image into words. "Ripples, spreading out and fading as the vibration of the disturbance moves away from the pebble's entrance." I studied his raised brows and carefully waited.

"From the Star Lore television series in your universe that imaginatively portrays ours, what have you learned about the concept of the Crossover Point?"

"That all universes are interconnected by three common points—the birth, sacrifice and resurrection of m'Shiach. Of course on Earth, the English is Messiah. The main point is the Sacrifice, also known as the Crossover point. And of course, you have to really study the show or know one of the scriptwriters to dig up that tidbit of information, since the series is mainly about the adventures of Captain Merritt and the ISS Providence." I sighed and leaned over the rail, watching the ripples fade.

Yet my sarcasm didn't faze m'Yuriel's logical, feline-like mind at all. He just continued the lesson. "Based on the tossing pebble, Young One, is the Crossover Point merely a linear connection?"

"No, m'Sirvah..." I studied the ripples in the sparkling-clear river again; the simple concept now seemed so obvious. "The pebble's interaction goes in all directions—past, present and future—affecting everything through the entire depth of the river." I glanced up at my teacher, expectantly.

The m'Sirvah folded his hands. "Who Was and Is and Is To Come."

"Asher hayah v'hoveh v'yahvoh," I translated into Hebrew.

"Exactly, save the ripples of the Crossover Point do not fade away but continue throughout the length, breadth and depth of measured linear time." He waited for my question.

"Yet I'm not omnipotent. I'm a linear human being. How can my birth have had any affect on the past?"

"The plans of sentient beings are projected into the future. Therefore, goals accomplished in the future affect the past." He tilted his head at my puzzled frown. "The logic of faith, m'Lauren."

I shook my head. "I still don't get it."

"Perhaps a more visual picture might help. At the moment of your birth, a branch in…how do you say…the river of time occurred, causing a minor Time Strait to form. The ripple affect of minor straits eventually fades in much the same way ripples finally disappear from the Tossing Pebble."

I breathed slowly, pondering this revelation. I pushed away from the railing, catching hold of my mounting panic of questions and laid them out carefully in my mind. "Could you tell me a few past events affected by my birth?"

The m'Sirvah kindly nodded. "Your grandfather chose to move his family from Chicago to New York and join the NYPD. Because of the change, your mother was born. Your father suffered a minor wound a few months after his arrival in Vietnam. He returned to New York and finished his time in the Reserves, patrolling the border of New Jersey before entering the Police Academy. His first assignment was as the rookie partner of your grandfather. He met your mother, a gangly pre-teenager, and taught her to dance. When she became eighteen and your father recently divorced from his first wife, they worked undercover together in Vice for two years. Until one rainy night he nearly took a bullet for her—the night you were conceived."

I shuddered as chills pricked my arms. "A friend of mine, an...angel...was at most of those events."

He nodded. "Yes...m'Yahndrew reinforced the fading ripple effect caused by your conception."

I forced my chin not to tremble. "But I don't...understand. Why would I be the beginning of a change that caused my alternate universe?"

"The Maker of All Things does not always explain the reasons."

My eyes begged him for more than just vague answers.

Lovelight touched my soul from the depths of his emerald irises once more. "You have the gift of sensing when those you love are in pain or in danger." He tucked his chin down. "m'Lauren, you have accomplished many things in your twenty-three Terran years from conception, yet there are three assignments Thi-El gave you that may show you the answer more clearly.

"You shared the light of Thi-El to the dark soul of your drunken grandfather even after his severe beating of your mother when you were three for giving birth to the child of his ex-partner. You secretly loved your second cousin all of your life. Yet you stayed a close friend through his every failed attempt at marriage, until as an adult you became his true wife, letting him tenderly love you in spite of the pain you still experience from being cruelly raped. You supported your father until he completely broke free from the bondage of alcoholism and you saved his life when you returned to the apartment early on Friday." The m'Sirvah paused, letting the life-events nudge my subconscious. "What do these assignments have in common?"

His pupils glistened as a gently powerful mental probe came through our newly formed empathic bond, guiding me toward the truth. I didn't want to turn my mind away. My father would be dead versus in a Canadian hospital right now recuperating from a burst kidney tumor—if I hadn't been home to call 911.

"Forgiveness, m'Sirvah." I looked down at the planks of the bridge, yet I still sensed the fatherbond anchored in the back of my mind, like the tender empathic touch I knew with my husband, only more vivid. My stomach tightened and a lump in my throat threatened to spill forth tears, but I had to tell. "I am an illustration of the grace and tender mercy of Thi-El." A butterfly slowly flexed small round white wings near my feet.

m'Lauri.

The thought-sound melodiously caressed my mind, entwined with the tender sweet smell of lilac. A tingle went through me as if m'Yuri's fingers lifted my chin. Yet as I raised my water-filled eyes, I noticed his hands still folded.

The m'Sirvah Yuriel unclasped them and reached out for my left hand. "Time to return to the mainland. Watch out for the butterfly." He chuckled softly, like the deep rumbled purr of a lion.

I nodded and gave him my trust. He squeezed my hand. I wiped my eyes and tentatively smiled at his compassionately strong, bearded face. He raised his brows as his emerald eyes traveled the winding path before his glance studied me. I nodded my consent. This time I remembered to stand straight and tall near the taller m'Arhiel whose broad shoulders were so much like my father's. He relaxed in a private smile of understanding between us.

I nudged my shoe forward. The little winged creature fluttered up to the railing. With lightly clasped hands, m'Yuriel and I slowly headed down the bridge and onto the worn footpath. We took our time on the way out of the woods, quietly enjoying the sounds and smells as we silently shared our thoughts on the beauty of the island. Finally tall trees gave way to short scraggly brush and fragile ornate flowers poking up through the rocky purple quartz. I glanced ahead to the thick granite high-arched portal residing tall and upright on the beach, like a noble warrior guarding the way back to h'Tikvah, the City of Hope.

Author's Notes:

m'Arhiel means People of the Lion of G-d.

Thi-El is Arhiellan for The One and is similar to saying Adonai in Hebrew. The word Thi-El reminds the m'Arhiel that G-d is One. Thi in Arhiellan is the pronoun used for G-d.

The term m'Sirvah is from the language of the m'Arhiel and is pronounced mah-seer-vah. To create this fictional term, I used the word "Sirva," the third person verb form of the Latin/Spanish word—servir, meaning to serve. The "m" in front of a name or title signifies respect, and means people, person or sentient being. When combined with the Servant Leader's name, the title would look like this: m'Sirvah Yuriel, whereas if just speaking of the person without the title, their name would be m'Yuriel.

The m'Symphonoids are sentient beings living inside a quartzlike gemstone. They communicate through color and harmonious sounds. For many centuries, they have formed a symbiotic relationship with the m'Arhiel. The m'Arhiel have created "housings" for them within computerized pendants, rings and barrettes. Because of their childlike faith in the creator, m'Symphonoids are able to guide humanoids safely through Time Straits. When asked about their origin or their peculiar nature, they will chidingly answer that even rocks shall praise Thi-El.

Please let me know of any grammatical errors or if the story needs more clarity. Thanks!

The m'Arhiel, Captain Merritt, The Crossover Point, Fatherbond, ISS Providence, m'Sirvah, Star Lore, m'Symphonoids, h'Tikvah, Time Straits and m'Yuriel are from The Time Strait/Shadow's Wing Rough Draft Reference Book, (c)2004 by Kat-Renee Kittel