He’d spoken with Mercy by video call. His reserve to continue his writing faltered. He saw her eyes, swollen with tears. His children pleaded with him to come home, or come there to get them. Even Mercy’s aunt Dolores told him that he should come and get them. He waited for Mercy to say that the game was over, and she was caught. Because if he surrendered, he would have to give up Carson Colt, and he knew that Colt was important. If he lost Colt, he’d be plunged back into darkness, twenty , thirty years would go by and he’d still be doing the same job, playing the same games, never reaching the transcendence he craved.
With everyone gone from his house, he sat with the news and saw the world, like a collage on the theme of war, a cut up depicting a population engineered for destruction, programming themselves for death. Macha, the goddess of the forever war, running roughshod over this place. Her bloody cup would be filled.
Eddie put his hand on his heart, and felt the tender pain of the world. Children needed an arbiter, a teacher to separate a schoolyard fight before blood was drawn. But what he felt more was the hurt, the memory of being sliced and denigrated and spat upon. Part of him was from the stars, he felt and knew, after his discourse with Barbelith.
He heard a car pull into his driveway and a door close. He pulled on a T-shirt and gym shorts and walked down his staircase. He saw a black limousine through the window. He opened the door and beheld a radiant revelation to his strained eyes. She had long, red hair, cascading in waves on her back. Her skin was pale, and her lips were bright red. Her smile was almost … lascivious.
“Dr. Edgar Donnelly?”
He looked around for his neighbors. He was already in so much trouble with his wife. “I am.”
“I am Ala Almazil. I work for June Loos. Your country needs you, Dr. Donnelly. May I come in?”
Eddie opened the door wide. She had a regal grace; she was someone who was to be obeyed. Her heels clicked on his linoleum entryway. He led her to the kitchen table, and they said down.
She sat down across from him. “Dr. Donnelly, I will be brief. Our country is in a state of grievous discord. June Loos’ party represents the best opportunity our country has to survive. We need a voice that can unify the people. Your Carson Colt has the best chance of any to bring people together. You have touched on a nerve among people in this society and they listen to you. They revere you.“
Eddie threw up his hands. “Wait, come on, what are you talking about? I’m a physician. I treat sick people. I’m not some rabble-rouser.”
“Please Dr. Donnelly, let’s not play games. Do you imagine that when you post your blogs that your IP address is somehow concealed? That someone with power and the gifts of persuasion like my employer could not discover the identity of such a prolific author?“
Eddie put his hands down and sighed. “I just thought I’d hid it better. Could you call me Eddie? Everyone calls me Eddie.”
“Certainly Eddie. I want you to come to the capital with me. There are some very important people that I would like you to meet. And, let’s just say that we are all a bit gifted, those of us who work with June.”
Ala briskly unbuttoned the first few buttons of her shirt and thrust her chest and bosom toward him. Eddie leaned closer. It was a tattoo of an eye.
“I think you recognize it, don’t you, Eddie?“
It was Barbelith. It was the living eye that he imagined yesterday when he was writing. The one that was supposed to give him inspiration and tell him about his purpose.
“This is impossible. Am I hallucinating? I made that up. It was just an idea I had, out of an old comic.“
“Barbelith is quite real, Eddie, she talks to all of us. And she told us about you. She told us how much help you could be to us. I want you to come with me. The limo will take us to the airport, and our jet will take you to the capital. You can meet with our people and we can discuss how we will save this country.”
“I can’t just leave. I have a wife and family. I have kids. I have a job responsibilities. It’s unrealistic. Maybe I can teleconference in or something like that. I’m willing to talk to you guys, but ….”
“Eddie, please, where is your family? Should they not be here right now?”
“Have you guys been spying on me?”
“Now Eddie, how many secrets do you think you can keep from a group of psychics? But we didn’t need to use any spying or telepathy. I just checked your wife’s social media page before I came.”
“Shit,” Eddie muttered. “All right. Can you guys do anything about my job?”
“It’s already taken care of, Dr. Donnelly.”
“Yes, Eddie. We talked to your program director and he is aware of the important national security function that your presence will provide and he was eager to contribute your efforts to our cause.”
“He was probably glad to get rid of me.”
“Now, that’s not what I said. Can we go?”
“Let me pack a bag.“
He watched out the window of the limousine as his neighborhood received behind him. He’s never been in a limo before. He always associated it with great wealth and privilege. His family was middle-class, educated professionals, but not the sort that went to galas in limousines. He thought becoming a physician would be his ticket to legitimate accumulation of wealth. He would assure his family’s financial future. But everything seem so distant now. His wife and kids were gone, and he had allowed himself to be commandeered by a stranger to be taken to parts unknown on the strength of only her word and a tattoo.
“That’s enough, Eddie,” he said to himself.” He had to admit, this was pretty exciting. Getting to escape from his day-to-day life and travel to Golgonozza, the nation’s capitol, to meet with the leader of the opposition, the woman who might be Prime Minister one day. Mercy would not believe when she heard. That is, if she came back.