Haulden in Roswell (UC, ADULT) (Complete)

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Post by Patroclus76 » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:05 pm

So Max showers. He stands four square in a haze of silver as the water pummels his shoulders and chest. He looks like a municipal statute in a spring downpour, his outlines smudged, animated. I watch until I can watch no more and walk out into the dim hallway where, for a variety of reasons, all hell seems to have broken lose.

Michael is in the bedroom with a semi-naked Liz, still rather frightening aglow, holding her legs up in the air. She is lying with her back and head on the floor giggling. She looks divine – it is precisely the right word to use. Michael assures me this technique has something to do aiding `the swimming sperm’ find their goal. I have visions of a billion billion Max’s swimming, naked and slick, like pods of dolphins, their backs breaking the water and slipping away into azure silence. I go to dissent but Michael sticks his tongue out and says it was on Oprah so who am I to disagree. Outside people are running about since the excesses of the Antarian culmination have activated the fire alarm.

Maria and Isabel appear just as Michael is asking Liz to raise her hips again.

`What the fuck is going on!’ Maria looks anxious, as if Davies and the Feds are about to arrive. Liz looks vaguely sheepish.

`Oh my god – you’ve done it?’ asks Isabel - `Already?’

`It was now or never’ sighs Liz, her face smooth and shining, so her eyes look luminous, her teeth white, as if she is under ultraviolet light. Maria takes over the manipulation of Liz’s legs from Michael

`Hey, I can do that, I need to talk to Madonna here about her plans!’ Michael goes to protest but is engineered out the room.

`Plans?’ asks Liz vaguely. She is smiling and distracted as if drunk. Isabel goes inside and the door closes on a female conclave. I look at Michael and pout.

`Well that’s enough excitement for one night!’

`Michael –‘

He looks at me, his head to one side, his shoulders sag as if he is preparing for another interrogation. It is exactly the look he gives Maria. I smile mischievously.

`I love you loads, man.’ It is not what he is expecting and his eyes narrow momentarily before he swoops quickly and hugs me. He kisses the top of my head.

`Me too, but be careful of what you wish for, Jamie, OK? Max’s love is unconditional and forever.’ He pauses, thinking hard `It 's a tryst with destiny.’ It is a warning, half playful and half serious. Tryst is not a word I imagine Michael uses very often. At that moment Kyle walks in eating nuts.

`Did we just have an earthquake or did Max fuck Liz?’

`I think Liz fucked Max actually’ Michael corrects, switching the living room light on.

`It was kind of mutual I think' I add.

`Excellent! Well, we ‘d better turn in for what’s left of the night – we need to retrieve the van, remember?’ He taps Michael’s sternum.

`How’s Brandon?’ I ask, as the sofa and a whole array of cushions are re-arranged into our sleeping quarters.

`What a cool guy, it’s a shame I won’t have more time to chat with him – very chilled for someone so young, and no attitude! He talks like a Buddhist!’

`He might well be’ I am distracted by howls of laughter from my bedroom, brought on by Max walking in there to get dressed. I hear Isabel say in mock censure: `Little brother!’ and he says

`Aunt Isabel!’


The women are in my bedroom, and we are in the living room. It is probably about 2:30 am. Max is on the sofa, half turned, knees up, snoring softly. Michael is on the floor beside him under several coats. Kyle is playing with Jonathan’s play station. I look at his face, lit by the TV screen, all concentration, his eyes brilliant, darting about as he steals himself to level 200 of some sports game. Despite the fact it is late the women are still talking about something and occasionally they still snort with laughter. I am on the chair curled up, wedged at an angle, thinking, thinking, thinking.

I am thinking: is this the last night I shall be in my apartment? Will I come back here, and if I do, who will I be? I am entering a phase of my life that is unplanned, unforeseen. Suddenly I am aware of irritants like my scholarship and debts – ought I at least to suspend from University? When I meet up with DeMarr, (as god willing I must) I will have to ask him to help me. At least I am going on the run with my supervisor! And then I think, does it matter? Do I want a degree? As I doze again I realise that I expect to go with my friends, although no one has yet explicitly asked me.

I have an unreasonable and sudden stab of panic that they will not ask me to go to Grey’s estate, that I will be left behind. Always this fear that I shall be abandoned. I will resist. I will throw a massive earth-shattering tantrum! Jamie relax! Besides, if and when I come back to this place, Earth will have made contact with Antar, and nothing will be the same again. Ever.

I sleep and dream of Max. We are standing on a strange beach where we have evidently been swimming. The water is thick and oily. It is early morning and just growing light. Behind us a massive wall of rock stacks up to the sky, its face scored with endless windows and stairways. Some are lit. Max is naked, his back half turned to me. Under his brown skin I see scales – or rather smooth indentations like pebbles – and above his buttocks he has a tail, wiry and grey. Next to him, rammed into the sand with great force, there is a sort of spear. From the top a long narrow pennant billows and snaps in the wind – it is powder blue – almost luminous.

As the darkness lifts, a great V shaped constellation of stars wheels over the ocean. It is very silent. I am cold. I have a strange feeling that we have been to a funeral, or a burial of some kind. Max, majestic, mythical, is sad. I walk over to him and stroke his arms. He looks at me and his face is so beautiful, so sharply defined, so intimate to me, that I am speechless. He is crying, brilliant silver tears. They bleed over his cheeks like beads of mercury. I go to kiss him and brush them away. I ask him why he is crying. and he says softly `Be careful, they will burn you!’ I say I do not care. His lips draw close to mine and then across the beach I see an army hatching in the sands. I jump awake.

Kyle and Michael are furtively dressing, picking their way about the kitchen. There is a smell of coffee. The room feels very cold, or is it the strange memory of the dreamscape?

`What’s up?’ Michael leans over me.

`Nothing – I must have been dreaming –‘

He touches my face rather randomly, `Go to sleep, it’s still early’. He walks over and I see him kneel over Max and gently shake him. They speak in whispers, conferring. Max sounds sleepy. I hear Max say `Uh sure, we’ll meet you there in –‘ there is a rustle and a search for watches `three hours?’

Kyle appears with a backpack on his shoulder, and says `Seeya Max’. Max takes Michael’s hand and says `Watch yourselves.’ I hear the main door open and close. I lie awake, my neck and shoulders incredibly stiff. Max sits up, runs his hands through his hair and slips off to the bathroom. I think of Max and Michael together, the deep affection and love they have, how it has grown into something vast and splendid. When Max comes back I am feigning sleep. He gets onto the sofa, fidgets madly and then all goes silent. Yet his presence seems to fill the room. Suddenly he says softly.

`Jamie? Jamie are you awake?’

`Yeah – what’s up?’ I try to sound tired, but I sound like I have been wide-awake and calculating Pi for the last three or four hours.

`Nothing – have you managed to sleep at all?’

`Yeah – a bit.’

`Yeah?’ he is sitting up, re-arranging his blankets. He doesn’t sound too convinced. He lies down facing me. Down below on the street a few cars drive by. There is the sound of wet tarmac, splashing.



`I’m coming with you!’

`Excuse me?’

`To Grey’s!’

He sits up again, rubbing his eyes. `Oh course you’re coming with me! You’re the fucking baby expert! You and Michael are the only people who know what is going on!’

`I am? I mean we are! Cool!’ I try not to sound as if I have been worrying about this. Then I feel embarrassed for having had to ask.


`What?’ my heart is pounding. I am sure Max can fucking hear it.

`This is all going to be ok, isn’t it? I mean, the baby and all – the whole thing – where we’re going?’ I catch my breath, as if I have been stabbed. The idea that he might be worried cuts me to the quick. I get out of my chair and squat down on the floor next to his face.

`It’s going to be fantastic, Max, I mean, more than anything you can possibly imagine! And this is just the beginning! It will be difficult, and it is obviously dangerous, but -’ I struggle to think of words that will repay his trust, the gift of his love. `But we are close to end of things here, we are nearly over the threshold.’
`Yeah?’ he says dreamily. `God, you college boys! Come here –‘ He throws aside his blanket like a big black wing. I can smell his warmth inside. I pause momentarily and then I climb in next to him, pushing him into the backrest. It is like climbing into the sun.

I lie on my back, giddy with emotion, his arm is under my neck and his face is touching my forehead. His breath lifts my hair.

`Michael would reproach you for encouraging me!' I say.

`Yeah, well he's one to talk!' He lifts his leg to put over me. I feel him wince.

`Sore?' I ask innocently.

`A bit – god I really did feel the earth move!' I hear him smile.

`So did half of Seattle!’

His breath is slow and even. I think again of Michael’s image of the wooden dolls, the unassuming, deep bond between all my friends. And I think simply - whatever happens - wherever this takes me – however dark - my life is blessed. Behind my closed eyelids great whirls of light roll and bank. I feel the Earth move too – seriously – I see it – a great swirling ball rushing towards its first contact, and I also see, in the dark far corners of space, a fleet of ships approaching -
`To carry you hence.’ I whisper.

`What?’ Max whispers, but he is already at the threshold of sleep again. I feel his body down my side.



`Do you dream of Antar?’

But he is silent.

`I do.'

I gently kiss his neck, really gently, so as not to wake him, or to shatter him, as if he is something infinitely fragile. I lie awake, lost in the sheer joy of being. I see the grey wet morning steal up on us and I am the first one to hear Liz go into the bathroom and retch.

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Post by Patroclus76 » Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:46 pm


the link to the prequal/sequal/alternative time line........

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Post by Patroclus76 » Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:28 am

Extract from Grey’s Diary 22nd January 2006 continued.

I am running through the gardens – off from the main pedestrian walkway – pushing through wet cold evergreens. There is bark mulch under my feet and the sharp tangy smell of resin and fern. We have just seen Max disappear. The black youth raises his hand and Max is literally no longer there – and Michael (I think it is Michael) screams. I saw Max disappear. I see Davies trying to kill him, then I see Davies knocked over.


There is a pastiche of movement, like a documentary, edited out of sequence – a woman shouting, I see Jamie covered in blood. I think I see his boyfriend Jonathan get killed – he explodes! He explodes. I repeat the word as panic fogs up my instinct to avoid the police and get back to my car. DeMarr, ahead, ludicrously visible in his red coat, leads on with a strange determination. He surprises me with his reactions to this extraordinary crisis: as the sirens approach he pushes me into the shrubbery, `We must get to Jamie, or at least let Jamie get to us, Professor – Hurry!’ And at that stage – at that precise moment I feel mulch and not asphalt under my feet – I know my old life is over. It has gone, like Jonathan.

We get back to the car, and the chaos about us – children screaming – a helicopter clapping loudly overhead – hide us. When I sit at the steering wheel I am short of breath and my heart is jabbing into my ribs. My coat and face are wet. I focus on my breathing. DeMarr, ferrets through the glove compartment and retrieves my brandy flask. He takes a swig and hands it to me. I accept it without question. The liquid burns the back of my throat and I feel its heat radiate from my sternum. I hand it back. DeMarr takes another swig and claps his hands.

`Jonathan exploded!’ he says with genuine distress. `Jamie! Oh god!’

`Louis, it’s alright – Jamie looks resourceful enough to take care of himself’ I see him lunging directly at Davies, unarmed, without question, shouting his astounding anger.

`What shall we do?’ I ask eventually. DeMarr is muttering to himself. There is utter chaos outside. `Louis? What shall we do? Shall we go to Bone Hill House together – or should we go to your apartment, or shall we go to Jamie’s apartment?’ He looks at me, as if he is calculating the probability of success for each option.

`Is Max dead?’ he asks, like a child.

`I am not sure Louis. He disappeared, I am not sure he was killed – ‘ the action of the black youth was ambiguous. He had shouted something to Max, something in a foreign language, and then the woman had said `He will not understand’. Was it a warning? It did not sound like a threat. I had heard the youth on his mobile earlier, watching us. He might well have been speaking with the woman on the phone in the run up to the crisis. Were they observing? I think I saw him discharge a bolt of energy at Davies. But my memories are blurred, unreliable.

`I think we go on the assumption that he is alive, and that Davies is still alive as well. Michael was physically hit, Davies had a gun, making someone disappear seems a rather elaborate attack and Max certainly did not explode.’ I have no idea what I am talking about. Louis looks at me. I am suddenly glad he is here.

`Then on the assumption that Max is alive, we are not safe in Seattle, Davies will try again – and he has now seen that Jamie is involved. Let us get to Bone Hill. Jamie and his friends will come to you if I send word. They wanted me to arrange a meeting.’

`Did they?’ I ask this, knowing that DeMarr is right. Suddenly I believe in destiny, in fate. I believe that everything in my life leads to this one moment of becoming. It is an absurd thought – but it seems entirely plausible.

`Ok, let’s go home – talk to me DeMarr, tell me what you know. Then we must get word to them.’ I start the engine – it purrs into life. Somehow, miraculously, we manage to slip away without being stopped. Perhaps the grandeur of the car makes it somehow invisible, or have we too, like Max, disappeared?


We drive through the wet and rush of Seattle: the air is oddly humid now, but the ground so long frozen, rebels. The result is that great banks of fog roll about, some incredibly dense, and the temperature change has destabilized the atmosphere. There are hailstones, thunder, and strange forks of lighting.

Once out on the freeway to the north of the city, we curve around and head east, crossing Lake Washington on an expansive arch of bridge. The supports purr ad blurr pass, stroboscopic, almost therapeutic. The grey dark waters seep into the sky, there is an illusion of driving into nothing, of being suspended. Yet I find myself beginning to relax. My neck and shoulders ache from sitting forwards, concentrating, willing myself forward through moments of white, annihilating fog, and then suddenly clear open views of countryside. DeMarr tells me about his meeting with Jamie and his young friends as a brown bar of shore looms up and then, in a swish of motion, slips around and beneath us. He tells me about Max, about the impression he had of Max, powerful, emblematic. Of secrets and loyalty.

`They all knew a great deal about your research, and they knew about Davies too, where he had come from. I think they have been watching you for some time. I knew Jamie was clever, but I never thought he was an alien hybrid! Oh imagine!’

I refocus my eyes on the highway. The surface of the road is greasy. Luckily the weight of the Rolls is the equivalent of a small tank. I ease down on the speed.

`It had always occurred to me that the four children from Phoenix were not alone, that there would be others – but not as old as this – how old is Max?’ I thought of the date on the photograph. DeMarr makes a curious clicking noise. He seems particularly eccentric today.

`I am not sure. He must be about the same age as Jamie. They must all be roughly mid to late twenties? You should see them together, Julian, such an extraordinary sense of belonging – as if they have been through great adversity.’ I look over at Demarr and smile oddly.

`So today was probably just an ordinary day for them!’ then, spitting out the words, `I knew Davies worked for the Feds, I just knew it! But how has he managed to get his hands on my research and innovate on it?’ My mind wheels back to the image of the children again.

'I wonder how many more of them there are – hybrids?’ I had almost said the word mutant. Again I see the black youth raise his hand and the brilliant discharge crackles straight into the face of Davies. I answer my own question. `Perhaps there are a lot? Perhaps we are seeing the emergence of another human genotype?’

`Oh just imagine!' says DeMarr.

`And they want to be modified to be made human?’ I repeat. I have asked this question several times. It seems the most plausible reason why they want to find me out. To have their differences taken away? To be made ordinary. It seems outrageous.

`Yes. They are tired of running. So tired. I think they have been hunted for many years. The poor beautiful hybrids! Max is cautious of you – he thinks you are possibly his enemy.’ DeMarr says this softly, as if to himself. `Beautiful’ seems an oddly imprecise word for DeMarr to use. I look into the central mirror and watch a string of cars overtake, passengers stare at my car in awe as they slip by. On better days I have waved at them. I see Max’s face in the photograph, it leaps out at me, glowering in my mind.

`He has every reason to think that. He knows that I worked in Boston, he knows that I was involved with the Feds, he also knows that I, that I – ‘ the word sticks in my throat `Collaborated.’ I feel my sense of shame.

`I think he understands you, Julian, I think he is prepared to –‘ DeMarr looks momentarily at a loss for words and then says, `to forgive us.’

I smile. I say `Really?’ intending it to be a sort of sneer, to give it a hint of mockery that I, Professor Grey need the absolution of a pretty young man I have never met, but the tone is different than I intend. It comes out with the intonation of genuine hope. I feel the chill of grace and shiver involuntarily.


We stop at a service station about twelve miles from Wenatchee, where DeMarr insists on some elaborate hot chocolate thick with whipped cream. I am anxious now, worried that the madness of Boston, the sheer terror of those years, is back with a vengeance. And yet at least my wife is dead now. There is only me. And I am harder now, more determined. More implacable? And there is Wilcox, somehow, deeply involved in this, and now Max. I have more allies than I know perhaps. There is also Jesse. And I feel suddenly vastly angry.

We get back to Bone Hill in wet, windy blackness. Despite having lived here for almost three years I am still inclined to miss the gatehouse, set back from the main road in a dark copse of beech trees. I drive by peering into nothingness – until I see that Wilcox, forever thoughtful, has left the house name lit up, and I am able, with DeMarr’s assistance, to activate the electronic doors without buzzing the house. I feel suddenly so inadequate, as if I have arrived at a stage in my life where I need constant assistance. As if I should have been born in the 19th century.

I park the car and we crunch our way into the House. DeMarr has stayed here before. Now there is an unspoken understanding that he will stay here again, indefinitely, until in someway, it is safe for him to return to his apartment. We remove our coats in the cavernous main hallway, with the stairwell rising theatrically above us into darkness. I remove the photograph. Our footfalls echo. No light gives this place warmth: I have tried everything. My wife too, before she died. Bone Hill remains stubbornly bleak, especially the central hallway, and of course the Library. I go off to find Wilcox, leaving DeMarr warming himself in my study.

I walk into the kitchens and find them empty, although a meal is on for me – in fact – there are two meals on, and the kitchen table is set for two as well. I shake my head, incredulously. Wilcox knew? On of the dishes is for a vegetarian – DeMarr. I look about the kitchen as if it will offer me some sort of explanation. This is the only place that I have managed to humanise, to make remotely cosy, this and my study. I walk out to Wilcox’s private rooms, where I see a dim light on under the doorway. I stand for a moment outside, holding my breath, collecting myself. I knock carefully but it sounds rather ominous, like a raid.

`Come in.’ Wilcox is sitting by the dark cold looking windows, reading poetry. On the bed is the open frame I left earlier this morning. I look at it and at Wilcox. He sees me holding the photograph in my hand. He puts his book down, spine up – Blake’s Songs of Experience – and looks gently at me. I sit on the bed and for a while we say nothing.

`You look tired, Julian. How was the drive back?’

`Uneventful, or rather in comparison with my visit to the zoo, but I have a vague feeling that you know that already? Just as you knew that DeMarr and I would return hungry, ravenous!’ I look at him directly. He holds my gaze with a short of shyness.

`It managed to make the headlines on Channel Five!’ he says with great seriousness. I smile.

`So who are you, Wilcox? I mean, really? I mean, I've thought about this on and off over the last few years. And I have thought about it a lot in the last few days. The manner of our meeting was, if I recall, oddly prescient, the copy of the Tempest, showing me my study, the odd, disconcerting sense of déjà vu?’

He smiles now. He has a touching, reassuring smile, it starts in his eyes. And he looks at me with such affection that I am ashamed of having doubted him, of having walked into his room uninvited, of having betrayed his trust.

`It was rather funny! I was so pleased to see you after all those years!’

He leaves something unsaid. I am still deeply puzzled, but I shiver as I recall him shaking hands, almost tearful.

`I don’t recall you at all, Wilcox?’ I say this almost apologetically. `I would remember meeting someone like you!’ and then I begin to understand.

`Julian, it doesn’t matter – about the photograph. It was stupid of me, sentimental even, to bring it. And you have every right to doubt me, given what you have been through. I should have confided in you sooner but I was not sure how much you needed to know, and how much telling you would threaten –‘ he pauses, pressing his lips together and clenching his jaw.

Again, he hesitates to say something.

`Threaten to change time? To alter something that has already happened before?’ Now it is his turn to look evidently surprised and to shake his head. We both look sheepish.

`Well, well, well. Touché! I have tried hard to never under-estimate you, but I made a serious mistake bringing Jamie and Michael to the estate this morning – I didn’t realise you had seen the photograph and would remember it - but I was anxious, and things are going wrong Julian, badly wrong, with Davies and the Feds, with Max, and well, how should we say, with time!’

`Is Max dead?’ I ask, as if I understand exactly what he is talking about.

`No. He is safely back at Jamie’s for the time being.’

`DeMarr will be pleased – he has formed quite an attachment to these people, especially Jamie. The black youth is another hybrid?’

`Not exactly.’ Wilcox says this quietly. `But he has considerable power to protect us. He is a pure alien, a combaloid.’

`A combaloid?’ I frown.

`Yes. A term you will invent, and a field of genetics that you will specialise in, with the help of Jamie and his team of experts. But let us not get ahead of ourselves!’

`A shape shifter?’ I translate my own language. I try to think what the genetic code will look like for such a gift. My head wheels. The silence about us is reflective, intimate.

I sigh. I hand him the photograph. `I am sorry I took this. It was rude of me. I should have asked. Do you take this photograph?’ I purse my lips, how odd the tense sounds. Wilcox laughs.

`No, Kyle will take it. We have stopped for a few days on route to finally meeting you, Julian. It has been a rather special day.’ He says cryptically.

`We?’ I look at the scene again. Jamie smiling, Isabel looking vaguely bored, Max solid, at the center of things. There is a complex meaning to the composition.

`So you are where? In the van Wilcox? Or are you collecting wood?’ Wilcox looks at me with a strange intensity, as if he is trying to read my thoughts, as if he is trying to find final proof of something.

`No no, nothing as organised! I am there, Julian. Look carefully. I am next to a man I love very much, a man who sent me the photograph almost thirty years after it was taken. He was leaving on a dangerous journey and yet he feared for me. The night before I received this, Jamie had begged me to stay on Earth.’ Again, a chill crosses my spine.

To stay on Earth.

I frown, looking hard into the background, by the van, as if I shall see Wilcox waving at me. I look at Jamie. I look at Max.

To Max from Jamie 2037.

I frown and say `I still don't quite understand, Wilcox. You were leaving Earth for where? ' I feel vaguely embarrassed, as if I ought to know. I am still looking at the print. Wilcox, fully aware how competitive I can get, prises the photograph from my hand, standing up as he does so.

`Let’s put it back into its frame before it disintegrates, shall we! And noiw let me show you where my other home is, Julian!’

Outside, the clouds have shredded and blown away, revealing a vast dome of stars, and a thin rind of a new moon. My breath clouds the glass. Wilcox unlocks the French doors, and switches the reading lamp off. He steps out, beckoning me to follow. The night is warmer now, disconcertingly spring like. There is a deep smell of soil, of leaves and decay.

Wilcox puts his hands into his pockets and looks up at the luminous sky. My eyes have adjusted to the darkness and I make out my old companion above, Orion the hunter, the straight line of his belt, the flashing blue coldness of Rigil.

I am tediously still thinking of the photograph. Prophetically, a streak of white shoots down from the vicinity of Polaris. My eyes follow it. I cross Aries low in the southern sky, close to Taurus. Wilcox, meanwhile, is pointing at Cetus, the Whale. I look at it, distracted.

`I am leaving for the planet Antar, which orbits the principle star in the constellation of Cetus.’ He points to a brilliant point of light, Tau Ceti, a mere 12 light years away. I catch my breath. Part of me cannot believe this. I look along the back of the whale at Mira, the wonderous star, and the first variable to be discovered. It is dull now, slumbering.

`Antar – you are an – an alien?’ the words – Antar – Alien - sound absurd.

`Well half an alien, actually – a hybrid. Like Max.’

I shake my head. I want to deny this, to laugh it away. But I want to embrace it to. Again I see my father.

`Cetus, how ironic!’

`In what way?’ Wilcox asks. We walk through the grass, behind us the great House looms up, a huge extravagance.

`To the Greeks it was known as the gateway, or doorway, leading to the underworld.’ I am thinking of the library doors, the curious image of Max.

`I did not know that.’ Wilcox sounds odd, different. I look up and he has changed. In the darkness I cannot see clearly, but Wilcox is taller, he is no longer in his overalls, and he seems to be wearing a huge thick cape or cloak. His hair is long. I am both terrified and elated. I am not sure I can speak. He turns back towards the open doorway.

`You are a shape shifter as well?’ my voice is hardly audible.

`Yes, although it was a late development and one that was largely unplanned!’

He reaches out and takes my hand, a profoundly intimate gesture. I feel his palm, weathered, calloused. His hand is strong. I feel like a child again.

`You have been sent back to protect Max, haven’t you – that is what this is about – back in time - and I am involved because of the research from Boston, because of the Midwich Cuckoos?’ Protect him from whom? The feds, Davies? My mind is racing ahead, my heart pounding. I want to see Wilcox, I want to see what he is – is he a monster, something utterly alien? Or has the human side made him familiar to me?

`Yes, and Max needs you – or more strictly speaking, Liz needs you. And it has nothing to do with being made normal, or switching his alien genes off. Max will never be normal. It is about lots of things, about resurrecting a fallen race, about redemption, Julian, about the long hard journey back into the light.’

I feel close to tears. `It is?’ Millions of questions explode in my mind, millions of points of light, as if my head has swallowed up the sky. We have reached the door. I go to switch on the lamp. My hand is shaking slightly.

I put the light on. I steal myself. I look up. Standing in front of me, crowding out the room, is Max. Or rather Max as he will become, a once and future King. His long black hair is frosted white around the temples, his dark face long, hazed with dark stubble. His eyes glow out at me. They have the rare beautify of the young man in the picture. He is wearing a tunic, and heavy riding boots, weathered - as if his life has been one long journey. I close my eyes and then open them again and he is still there, smiling, boyish now, a great calmness.

For the first time in many long dark years, since Boston, since the slow painful death of my wife, I feel within me uninhibited joy, like a star radiating out in utter darkness.

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Post by Patroclus76 » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:13 am



It is nearly that time of year again, and BEFORE I post my Xmas CLIFF HANGER I want to thank everyone for posting over the year - it's almost a year since SER introduced me to this site (bless her) and I have had a FANTASTIC TIME!! And so has Jamie of course....... I am just going to help dig out my trusted, intrepid beta, dust her off, and we will resume into the thickening, darkening plot................


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Post by Patroclus76 » Thu Dec 21, 2006 8:20 am

I hear Liz moan, retch again, and then flush the toilet. I sit up, anxious, jubilant.

Max hears Liz as well, or half hears her – from that far off place he goes to when he sleeps. I almost feel his soul return into his hard, muscled body, because one minute he is curled into me, his wet lips on my neck, his hands palm together thrust between my thighs, the next he has rolled over me like a tidal wave, stretched upright like a giant cat, from paws to tail and then set off, sleek and fast, to the bathroom. I shake myself, bemused, nauseous from lack of sleep, and follow.

Liz, wearing one of my shirts, is leaning against the bath. The toilet lid is up. She looks pale and tired, but her expression is one of concentration, as if she is thinking hard about not being sick. Max is next to her, holding her shoulders, leaning down so his hair curtains into hers: black on black, as if cut from the same material. He is resting his head on her crown, saying `Hey’ over and over as they rock gently. Liz looks up as I pop my head around the door like a nursemaid. I smile, trying to lift the mood. The buzz and fun of the previous evening has gone.

`Jamie – is it supposed to happen this fast?’ she says this lightly, but beneath her voice is a knot of anxiety. They stand; she leans into Max and looks at the toilet with a degree of uncertainty, as if she dare not leave. With his eyes, Max beckons me to join them. Or does he speak inside my head? I am not sure. I am stroking Liz’s arm.

`Yes. It is supposed to be this fast!’ I want to talk about Tess, to remind her about Tess’s birth as a way of calming her, but I dare not. I was not there, and my memories of this are borrowed from Max. It is not my place. Max again senses my thoughts. He embraces Liz gently, his hand cradles her head to his chest like a child’s.

`Tess conceived very quickly, that was not a mind warp.’ he says very quietly. I breathe through my nose carefully. I nod at him gently.

`This is all quite normal, Liz, and the nausea will quickly pass. And the children are fine!’ Part of me cringes at my fake certainty. Jamie Gay Boy – expert on Morning Sickness! I should have a lab coat on and some form of INSTRUMENT in my hand! But Max and Liz have fixed with seemingly identical dark, almond shaped eyes and say in unison


`Yes’ I grimace, half apologetically, like a man who has just cheated someone at poker.

`Twins. You will have twins, and Grey will sort out the births – but you have to realise’ – how much should I say - could I – ought I? I mouth words like a fish out of water,

`You have to realise that the development of the children will be rapid, but that is quite normal with proper Antarian pregnancies; it has nothing to do with the rapid aging of the Midwich cuckoos.’ What did the word normal mean in these circumstances! Moreover the word proper drops like a pebble into a still pool. Where is Michael when I need him!

Max has narrowed his eyes cautiously, as if squinting into sunlight. Liz looks scared. She asks `How rapid?’ while Max asks `proper?’ as if I have just used a foreign word. I look evasive, my smile a little forced.

`Four weeks, Liz, or there about. But Grey will know exactly what to do, it is over the pregnancy that we seek out Grey, that is what drives us to him, or that is what did, I mean, in the first place.’ but effect had already – in this time line – preceded cause. I am aware I have spoken out loud. I stop, I run my hand through my hair and fluff up the fringe, so it looks curly. It is my equivalent of Michael’s eyebrow scratching i.e. a fucking giveaway!

Mans and Liz persist in their parallel conversations. Liz gasps `Four weeks!’ while Max says softly `the first place?’ He says this in his ultra low voice frequency, the one that only Michael, dogs and myself can hear. It grips me by my heart – literally.

`And I mean proper as in your son by Tess is human, while these’ I speak with infinite care. `Liz’s children will be different – more – more important, well one in particular’ I am stammering under their combined gaze, `Far more important to all of us, and obviously for both of you.’ I suck in my cheeks. What the fuck am I to do!

`Then my children will be – ‘ Liz looks at Max, and as she does she strokes his cheek with her hand `alien hybrids?’ I must be looking serious because Liz forces a pretty smile and repeats the question:

`Say something Jamie, anything, tell me it will be alright?’ I sigh deeply. Until now I realise I have only thought of Max, I have not even considered Liz’s position on this at all, the person who is actually going to give birth! The shock is almost palpable. I come closer to her and touch her. Without thinking I kiss her cheek and pull her towards me. In doing so I look straight into Max’s face. If I look closely enough I might see myself in his eyes, like mirrors.

`Liz, it’s going to be beautiful – there is no other word – and I would tell you everything, but I am afraid to.’ We are wrapped together, Liz has taken my arm and is holding it. I can smell her warm, milky flesh. Max runs his hand over her shoulders and then on over to mine, as if we are a physical extension of each other. We look like a team hug before the resumption of the game.

`Can you give us a clue?’ he whispers, `As prospective parents?’ He uses an intonation that completely disarms me. Liz nods suggestively, adding,

`Michael was really unhelpful. He said it was all top secret and that he wanted to tell us but you had forbidden him to!’

`What? He said that!’ my outrage is so genuine that Max starts to laugh and looks away quickly. `As if I could ever get him to do anything he doesn’t want to do!’

`You sound just like Maria!’ teases Max, with a sort of deliberately quizzical expression. Liz looks up, `Please Jamie, we need you now more than ever?’ Fuck -the combined assault!

There is a moment of deep silence.

I relent. Who am I to keep secrets? Is there not more risk over secrets than honesty now? We have arrived at a definite moment. I feel we ought to be on a high mountain or in a great building. I should be in a great white cloak or at least holding tablets of stone. Instead we are in the fucking bathroom! I have a vague concern that Wilcox would definitely not approve. Especially about the bathroom.

I quickly rationalise my action. I am telling Wilcox who is looking pissed off. I was compelled to. I had no choice – they asked me! Max invoked article 8 section 4 of the Max-Jamie treaty 1999!

`It’s all so complicated! In essence, this has happened before – time is repeating itself. When I met Isabel I also met someone else, someone from your future – he is a good friend, well much more than that, someone I love, will love, have loved – I mean - he wanted me to help ensure that you and Max conceived, because other people had come back from your future who were determined to stop the children being born.’

Max is looking intently at me.

`People?’ said Liz slowly. She is concentrating on something, as if remembering something long ago. I also notice she is holding her stomach.

`Yes, people. Look, Wilcox - Grey's handiman, is an alien hybrid, he is from your future, and he is on our side. Davies is from your future, he is one of the enemy–‘ my mouth felt taught and the words came out imprecisely. Ought I have said `the main’ enemy?


`Yes, he is part of a conspiracy against you, so too was Jonathan – Jonathan was a Skin – he had been planted on me as a boyfriend but when he met you, that night I got hypothermia, he defected – well eventually - and agreed to help us. He died trying to save you at the zoo.’

Liz and Max are frozen together.

`I knew it – I sensed that.’ Max speaks softly to himself. `He did explode, the gun broke the seal? Oh my god, Jamie!’

`Yes. And Brandon, the black dude, he is a Seeth – he is also protecting us – he helped us escape.’ I feel the deceit go deep, and even though I can defend it, I am suddenly afraid it will change things between us. I felt suddenly anxious.

`A Seeth?’ asks Max, as if the word means something to him, an echo from another world.

`One of the Antarian races, I think the main one – or the dominant one – your race.’ Saying that sends a thrill of expectation down my spine. Max seems to start.

`Brandon! The man upstairs? Oh my god!’ Liz looks at me incredulously.

`God it’s amazing!’

`Liz, Max , please – Wilcox asked me to say nothing, and Michael discovered everything by accident, when Jonathan tried to kill me – ‘

`What!’ exclaimed Max in horror.

`But he missed, well he he couldn’t do it, sex with me was too great, and Michael was too quick, but -‘

`Wait a minute, you, Michael and Jonathan had sex?’ Max stammers.

`God no! I mean – ‘ I pout momentarily, and turn my good side to Max, the side with the even sideburn, just in case this new tone denotes jealously. Then I realise I am being stupid. Fucking priorities!

`Oh it doesn’t matter – what really turned Jono was when he realised that Davies was planning to not just prevent the children, but to actually kill you. You were Jonathan’s sovereign lord! And Michael saved my life, and then it got really, really complicated!’

`It sounds pretty complicated already, Jamie!’ Max sits on the side of the bath. It creaks reassuringly. I am standing, hands in pockets, looking at my bare feet.

`And the more complex it got the more it seemed necessary to keep everything secret, since Wilcox was all for us all trying to see if the old time line asserted itself, but things just kept getting worse and worse, and you seemed determined to be genetically modified before you got Liz pregnant, and that would have been disastrous, because both children would have been human–‘ I am rambling, I know it. I am close to hysteria. I stop and they are both looking at me. `But Michael was fantastic!’ I say with an emphasis close to grief. Max has repositioned himself and lifts me into his arms and his holding me like one holds someone having a fit.

`Wait a minute, did you say both children would be human?' Liz sounds bewildered. I need a whiteboard.

`Jamie, calm down.’ I am still holding Liz by the hand; we are crunched up like a mime.

`You and Michael have saved my life, and a lot more besides, by the sound of things.’ He pauses, looking momentarily at a loss. `But I think you should tell us everything – tell us all – from the beginning now, because surely it is better we know what we have to do and where the danger is coming from? As you said to me last night, we are close to the end of this? ’ He puts his face very close to mine. I realise for the first time we are exactly the same height, or is he stooping? I look down.

`Yes?’ He growls softly. He is about to evoke all the clauses of the Jamie-Max treaty, I fucking know it! He puts his hands on my chin and, gently, makes me look into his eyes. I bite my lip.

`Sure, I guess you’re right.’

`Sure as in yes, or sure as in `maybe’?’ He leans over and, with his hand on my cheek, turns my face and gently bites my ear.

`Max that really isn’t fair! Liz! Tell him!'

But Max, grinning, has gone into the bedroom where I hear him rousing Maria and Isabel. I look at Liz. I think I am trembling slightly. I notice Liz smiling at me, with her eyebrows raised.

`He can be so manipulative!’ I say and she laughs spontaneously, a welcome sound. She looks better, her color has returned and she looking impishly content.

`Feeling better?’ I ask.

`Yes – it just came over me in bed – this horrible wave of sickness!’

`Try crackers – dry biscuit crackers – ‘


`Liz, it is going to be fine – really. I didn’t mean to lie, I felt it was for the best, that I had to, to keep you safe!’

`I know, I know, and Max knows that. Jamie, we trust you with our lives, we came to you remember - and I know what it is like to keep secrets from the ones you love, believe me – ‘ she brushes her lips against mine. It sends a curiously intense sensation into my groin. As she pulls away, my mouth instinctively follows. I catch her face as she half turns, the kiss is not fake – it has an intensity that shocks me. She frowns. I blush red.


`Oh god, nothing, nothing!' I want to scream. `I am making a mess of everything. I have the brain the size of a small planet but I need Michael at moments like this!’

She laughs, `I know, you and Michael together are pretty priceless! He is our Man of Action! But what about Max?’ she asks this in an odd way. It is not a hostile question, but intimately curious. `You have him. He is very close to you as well, you know that? And as the Antarian gynaecologist we are going to get very close! ’ she smiles, half flirtatiously, half seriously. There is something that needs to be said.
`Liz – am I,’ but before I can finish, Max puts his noble head around the door and summons us into the living room.

Liz and I walk out into the front room. Max is making coffee. Isabel and Maria look attentive but cautious, they crowd around Liz as soon as she sits down. `What’s wrong Liz, what’s happening?’ Isabel looks to her brother as well.

`Nothing Iz, she is pregnant and Jamie and Michael have been busy defending our asses from a secret conspiracy which they are about to tell us about, or rather Jamie is!’

`Pregnant!’ they both exclaim together and then SCREAM in a way that apparently denotes intense joy. Both Max and I instinctively flinch.

`For fuck sake!’ I say. Maria scuffs my head. And then she screams again.

`But there are complications – ‘ says Liz `Not with the children, necessarily’ she is looking at me `But with the circumstances of the birth.’

`Really? – and this involves Holmes and Watson here?’ Isabel looks at me with her exquisite smile.

`I knew Michael was up to something’ muttered Maria. `Ok Jamie, spill – ‘

`Go and fetch Brandon, he might have something extra to add?’ Max suggests this smiling, wiping up mugs with a tea towel, catching my eye and winking.

`Brandon?’ ask Maria and Isabel together. I nod in agreement. I walk out into the corridor still anxious that he is angry with me, let down, disappointed. I hate this indecision, my failure to recognise the magnitude of his love. As I leave I see Isabel flapping the towel about her brother saying `Nappies! And proper ones – not disposable!’

`Don't start, Iz.'


Brandon’s door is open. I knock and find him half naked standing with his eyes closed. He is definitely younger than when he was at the zoo. Nineteen or twenty? And he also appears to be in a trance. Around him are large amounts of orange peel and neat piles of walnut shells, like little toy helmets. There are some candles, and he has drawn a large circle on the carpet and is standing in it.

`Sevak? Seeth Sevak?’ I whisper, trying not to look at his body, as if looking at him in such privacy is a form of indecency. Nonetheless I look. He is resplendently male, as if he has drawn the template of a humanoid male from a textbook. I breathe in and look at his solid pectorals with their wide dark nipples, the smooth black skin faintly lined by stretch marks where the muscles ripple and fold. I feel I am in a museum. I look at the sarong neatly folded against his flat stomach. With the studied ability of the expert, I glance over his crouch and butt. On nuts and fruit alone? How? He must do squats. I feel I should touch him but I am afraid to. Perhaps if I just bit one of his hard erect nipples in a friendly fashion?

`Brandon!’ I say quite loudly, as I cross the circle drawn – or burned - on the carpet. There is a curious humming noise and he opens his eyes carefully. I stand back, surprised. They open blue-green, vivid almost luminous and then they darken to black, flashing a ghostly silver as he focuses on me.

`Jamie?’ he says softly, as if we have paused mid conversation some time ago or as if we are playing chess and its my move. `What is the matter?’

`I need you down stairs; I am going to tell Max everything. Liz is pregnant, it worked - and I can no longer keep lying.’ I expect him to disagree or caution me. Instead he closes his eyes again.

`Very well. I shall be with you in a moment.’

`Are you ok?’ I ask, un-necessarily. His eyes open again, again the sudden but noticeable kaleidoscopic change in the color of his irises. I think I also see that his pupils are momentarily elongated.

`I am well, Jamie. I am in conversation with Zan-Max-Wilcox, who is asking us to hurry to Bone Hill. Once I have finished this conversation I will come to you.’

`Tell Wilcox what I intend to do, Sevak, see what he thinks?’

He seems to smile. His face, young, high cheeked, looks mask like. I look longingly at his forearms. I think of him with his sarong off – his thick mane of dreadlocks over my face. How is it possible I can think about sex at a time like this? I really am a freak! I look up quickly at his lips, they look full, ultimately kissable.

`Wilcox wants to talk with you - give me your hand, Jamie.’

`Ok, sure’ my mouth is dry. I am about to remind Brandon that Wilcox has my cell phone number. As I lift my hand, Sevak takes it and puts my fingers to his right temple. He then puts his long, cold fingers on my left temple.

`You may feel dizzy for a while.’ There is a strange tickling sensation. At first it seems like merely the touch of the young man’s hand, but then there is a sharp pain across my head, a strange prickly vibration like a small electric shock and I start.

`Sorry,’ says Brandon. `That was my fault. Relax into my touch. You wil get to enjoy it!

Disconcertingly I am thinking about the first time I had anal sex. Someone said somethign very similar.

`Sure,’ I feel the inevitable, treacherous erection start. I am looking down Sevak’s arm, concentrating on the bump and knot of muscles in his neck. I am thinking of pouring honey over him, seeing the thick liquid varnish his throat. I’d kiss him and tongue the liquid into his mouth. Then I hear Wilcox say slightly censoriously,

`Jamie, for God’s sake! Not now!’ and I blush for the second time this morning.

`Wilcox I can’t help it! I am emotionally distressed!’ I speak aloud but then Sevak’s voice (I think?) says

`You do not need your voice, Jamie.’ His eyes remain closed but I see his lips part in a faint smile. `And try to concentrate only on Wilcox. I am distracting you? Shall I put a shirt on?’

`No! No, I mean no, not unless you’re cold that is - are you cold?

Wilcox solidifies in my head looking impatient. As I relax into the vaguely pleasant sensation across my forehead I see Wilcox standing in the library very distinctly. I tell him the news of the pregnancy. I also tell him what I am about to do.

`Everything?’ think Wilcox and Sevak together. `Even about Davies?’

`What use is there not telling him? I think he should be told everything now? If they know we can pool our resources together. Davies will be on his way to Bone Hill House now, he might even try to use the Granolith to restart the time line with half a dozen Feds, and besides, I have been thinking, Liz is pregnant a whole month earlier than in the codex – Seeth Ova needs to get here sooner than he did before. We need the `duplicate’ key now, as quickly as possible, and moreover, Seeth Ova might need warning that something is wrong here? She doesn't know about Davies yet?’

Wilcox and Sevak, both attentive, concur. I visualise their consensus, it is like a color.

`Yes, that is an interesting point. I have worried about that as well. However Seeth Ova knew something was wrong, of course, even before she left Antar.’

`She did?’ my mind wanders over the memories of the codex, someone else’s life.

`Yes. Can you recall Grey’s entry for April 15th 2006? The entry was removed by Davies before the codex was published, but we have the unedited version? It is the scene in the library where Grey finds Ova removing something from Ki’var’s head? Ova informs Grey that prior to the Antarian departure to Earth, the Seeth found plans relating to the construction of a Granolith, and also designs for Bone Hill House, in a secret chamber in Eqbatana, Ki’var’s last stronghold.’

`What!’ I don’t seem to recall that at all.

`Yes. Ova believed that the Granolith was hidden there – but we now know, thanks to Jonathan, that it is the House itself.’

`My God!’ I am amazed. My amazement radiates out from me in red and pink shades.

`Then we must get a warning to Ova soon!’ I have visions of Call Collect, `Antarian Flag ship please – yes – James Relph. No, we haven’t met yet!’

Brandon is smiling but appears puzzled. Wilcox is speaking.

`You are right, right about everything.’ Wilcox sounds almost proud of me. `And to be honest I have taken Grey into my confidence. He even knows who I am. But perhaps it might assist Max in not telling him I am an older version of himself?’ I concur. A blue smudge of light fills my head.

`OK, I think that might well freak him out. But that’s the only thing I am not telling him? OK?’

`Of course. Is Michael with you?’ I think through the image of the van, the plan to meet up.

`Good – get to us as quickly as you can – come straight here, straight to the House.’ Wilcox fades away. I feel the sensation in my head intensify and then go. I am aware of Sevak removing his fingers. We look at each other again, the eyes still worry me slightly. It is as if I see Sevak momentarily as something utterly alien. My hand is still on the side of his face.

`Go and tell Max-Zan what he needs to know, Jamie. I will come down shortly.’

`OK’ I back away, crunching on nutshells. As I turn to go Brandon-Sevak says,

`I do not understand the significance of the honey?’


`You visualised – you desired – to pour honey on me?’ I am utterly mortified.

`Sevak, I was thinking –‘ god! What happened to privacy!

`It’s an old tradition, Sevak,’

`A bonding ritual?’

Oh God! `Well yes, but no longer done really –' I am moving rapidly to the door. `Its too messy and – expensive!’ God Damn Antarian Seeth! But then I have an idea – I shout as I am waiting for the elevator.

`We use baby oil now!’

My last morning in my apartment is taken up with a meeting. My friends are gathered about me. Max sits with Isabel, Maria and Liz about him. I want to paint them, an extraordinary composition, the light, the immensity of what they are. We have packed what few things we have. We are about to depart. Off to the end of things. I tell the Roswellians everything. Hesitantly at first, as if they might not believe it. In my pocket I turn over and over the flat disk of the codex. It is cold and still. I so much want Michael to be with me. He would pick me up where I faltered. He would know how to improvise. And he would always be ready to deal with Max, his moods, and his ability to surprise me. Without Michael I struggle on.

When I get to the meeting with Wilcox in the snow I almost fuck up and mention Max. I am saved as the door to my apartment swings open softly and Brandon walks in. He is not Brandon of course. The young man has turned into a warrior, bewjewelled and mysterious, someone so powerfully different that everyone stands. Yet Sevak kneels in a curious posture, one knee raised, his palm down on his thigh, his head bent. Max looks so surprised that I radiate out great heat and light.

`Majesty.’ Says Sevak simply, and then stands. His tunic and cape seem to glow momentarily, and then I realise that it is his skin that appears vaguely fluorescent, or rather, it displays a brief blush of light. I become aware of a strange, slight bump in the small of his back I have not noticed when he is in human form.

`Brandon’ says Isabel, as if the name is not really appropriate anymore. `How – ‘

`The Seeth are shape shifters –‘ I add, looking up, before Sevak says,

`Like Nasedo, or Seeth Kar Var as he was known on Antar. Yet, unlike Nasedo, I am part of the restored genome. In fact, Zantra Parker, you are my Malaq-Mother, since I am the cloned brother of one of your sons to be, Seeth Sia Om. My name is Seeth Sevak Ova Om, and I am of the House of Zan Rashta, since Max-Zan here is my Malaq-father.’

`Wow! You are my son as well!’ says Max.

`You are father to the entire Seeth Qu’ath – the Seeth Nation.’

I resume my story, conscious that everyone is looking at Sevak, his body, his face, the way his tunic fits over his boned shoulders, his tattoos on his face, the ancient symbols that my friends first saw on a cave wall, long, long ago.

Nothing is kept back – except Wilcox’s true identity – and the fact that out there, somewhere, is Future Liz as well, disguised as an old Librarian in cardigans. I even tell him that as we speak, a fleet of ships is coming to request the help of the child who, after eons of time, has been born to restore the Seeth genome. Max asks several brief questions, but he seems overwhelmed. I explain that Liz will give birth to a human child, Julian Evans, named after Julian Grey, and a pure alien. Liz takes this very well – especially since she can see the brilliance of Sevak before her. I can see her looking at the bones though, thoughtfully. Yet the worst bit is revealing who Davies is. But somehow none of my friends seem that surprised. It is as if they have long ago recognised the role Tess plays in all of this – nemesis and curse – Max’s heraldic fall from grace, his cross alone.

`I knew she would be involved in this!’ Liz says this quietly.

`Do I betray my son?’ asks Max. He asks the question to Sevak. For a while there is silence.

`No, you do not. You forget him, as you intended, and for his own safety. Indeed Davies only discovers his true identity by accident, because of the seal you placed on his forehead before his adoption, and then later, as his political career develops he is drawn into an older and more dangerous conspiracy with elements of the Shalloth – what you call Skins – who fear that the restoration of the genome through your son will lead back to the old tyranny of the wars.’

`I don’t remember, Sevak,’ Max says almost plaintively. `I wish I did, but I don’t remember anything! I don’t even remember what the wars were over? And everything Tess told me I disblieve.’

He looked at me desperately. `I don't even dream about Antar, Jamie! You seem to know more than I do!'

Sevak nods stoically. `I will tell you in time, my Lord. We shall spend a lot of time together, and Jamie is deep in these matters, as is Wilcox.' I make a sort of religious gesture with my hands, revealing myself, trying to look immodest AND available.
`Darlings, I am full of extraordinary information! And I am here, Max, Liz, I am always here!'

Sevak continues. `But in short, you do not betray Davies, and there is still time of course, to stop him betraying you.’

I am not sure what Sevak means. Does he mean that, as we speak, Davies is a child and that there is still time to do something with him, to find him, to restore him to his father’s love? Liz looks at Max and nods gently.

`We must not let Tess or Davies spoil what is about to happen for us, Max, for all of us!'

Max gathers himself. I see it in his eyes, that extraordinary, solitary moment in which he puts aside his indecision. He looks at me with thoughtful intensity.

`I have no idea where Davies is right now, his adoption was organised indirectly by my father.’

`His real name is Maitland.’ I say `Henry Maitland.’

As I say this something rather odd, something rather frightening, happens.

The codex in my hand disintegrates.

Happy Christmas and Holidays to all


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Post by Patroclus76 » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:30 am

Sevak and Max are talking. I have my hands clenched in either pocket, in subconscious intimation of Max, probably. I am even standing like him, shoulders slightly down, as if I am assuming a crash position, legs apart, braced for impact.

The codex has gone.

I flick my fingers out across my eyes, as if I am high. Then I look at my empty hands in panic as if they belong to someone else. I grab my pockets again. Max is watching me as massive waves of panic spread from my stomach upwards.

`Jamie?’ he says, mid discussion with Sevak, who too, is looking at me quizzically. I am wide eyed. `You ok?’

`Sure!! Sorry – you were saying?’

`Sure?’ says Max, in a puzzled voice. I look at Sevak with a massive bold stare like I want his children or something immediately but all he does is frown. The expression is so quintessentially human that in normal circumstances it would be comical.

`I am suggesting that I take Yantra Parker and Miss De Luca straight to Bone Hill House, and that you, Zan-Max and Vilandra-Isabel join Kyle in the van? Davies will be watching to see when you leave. We should retain the impression that nothing has changed.’ Sevak continues after a careful examination of my face. All I can hear is my heart pounding in my head.

`Sure!’ I say again, with too much emphasis, and slightly too loudly.

Sevak turns to Liz and Maria and begins to explain what he is going to do, about moving in space and time, something he calls tessellating. I am still feeling around my pockets and, stupidly in the circumstances, looking about the floor.

`Is it safe – I mean – ?’ Liz looks at me. I get my queue, eventually.

`It’s really cool Liz, I mean – you’ll not feel a thing, Sevak brought myself, Michael and Max back from the zoo that way – in fact he kept Max suspended in his own continuous present for four hours!‘

`You did!’ gasps Max.

`Yes, we needed to keep you suspended while we decided how best to proceed – with the conception that is, and then I brought you back outside – ‘ Liz winces slightly

`God, it’s like I’ve been discussed in a committee or something!’

I stand back, I am feeling my ass pockets frantically as well now, like I have ants in there.

`Jamie what the fuck are you doing? You're sweating!’ Max is looking definitely suspicious now and stands, coming towards me.

`Nothing, really, I’ve lost my cell phone –‘

`It’s in your bedroom, Jamie’ says Isabel in her measured tone, the one she uses for especially stupid people. She is picking up some last minutes things from the kitchen.

`Oh thank god for that!’ I smile at Max – my grade A charmer smile – but it doesn’t really have any effect on him even at this range. If he gets any closer he’ll smell my fear.

`It's ok , really, I'm just being an air head!’ I pat his face playfully and slowly he smiles, cautiously. I back off and shut the bedroom door where I remove my jeans and shake the fucking things violently and go through every possible pocket and seam. Perhaps I should get Sevak to body search me? Or perhaps Sevak could hold me down and Max and Liz could search me, slowly, methodically? I am standing in my underwear, my shirt undone, texting Wilcox when Sevak walks in, having changed back into Brandon again.

`Jamie, what is a matter?’

`The codex just vanished in my hand!’ I am standing holding my jeans upside down.

Brandon stands staring at me. `Vanished?’

`Yes – when we were talking about Davies, about Max somehow forgiving his son, I felt it disappear through my fingers!’

`Fuck!’ says Brandon, with surprising earnestness. He sits me down on the bed, and takes the phone out of my hand.

`If you need to communicate with me, you will need to touch me. Unfortunately you have yet to develop your own abilities to the point where we can commune without a physical link. It will come soon, I suspect.’ He squats down in front of me, his body elegantly poised. He is wearing black canvas pants. His crotch is a tight bulb between smooth taught thighs. He speaks his young man speak, and he is touching my face with his hand as he does so. Jesus! Are any aliens ugly? Can any be just vaguely unfit! It would so help my powers of concentration.

`What can it mean!’ I gasp.

`I don’t know yet.’

As he says this there is the familiar sensation across my head, less painful than earlier, and Wilcox arrives almost instantaneously in my thoughts. Brandon-Sevak explains our latest drama rather like a lawyer issuing a brief. Wilcox, alarmed, asks me a few questions and then there is a curious silence, as if we are all listening to a grey-blue static – the color of infinity.

`I do not understand it.’ Says Wilcox eventually. `Grey is here, safe and sound. The only explanation for what you have described would be that Grey is dead – then the codex would never have be written, and so it would vanish?’ A deep sense of fear stabs through me. Brandon feels it first, and he says in my head,

`Jamie it’s fine. Let’s not jump to conclusions, man!’

Wilcox then asks Brandon what he thinks it could mean. He thinks the question through. What is bizarre is that I feel and see the words as well as what they convey - `M’et quena hia?

`I have no idea at this moment, my Lord. Even if Grey was killed, it is possible that the codex would remain, since we have brought it into a different time. It exists here, now, independently of what Grey will do in the future. Moreover, the codex appears to have vanished at the point at which we revealed who Davies was. I suggested that Max might still alter the time line to prevent Davies betraying him – ‘

`Yes – that was exactly when it vanished!’ I think breathlessly. More silence.

`How odd? If Max reconciles himself with his son then a huge part of the time-line would change. There might be no conspiracy on Antar at all, or rather; it would be a different one? I will redouble my guard on Grey. Davies and the Valaen will have to make their way here in the conventional way, unless Davies has alternative means of getting into the Granolith chamber with the key, somehow, from a remote location?’

`It is possible.’ Brandon says quietly.

The young man sounds oddly, disconcertingly wise. `We have not yet examined the Granolith properly – there is much about it that is unfamiliar to me, and until activated, most of it will be inert. But I believe Davies will increase the pressure now, knowing that Jonathan has betrayed him. I am troubled by the disappearance of the codex.’ He concludes simply. His fingers are gently caressing my forehead. I am not sure whether it is strictly necessary for the purposes of our conference call but it is very, very soothing. It sends small tongues of color across my neck and shoulders, and then, following a very deft movement of his long index finger, a stab down to my toes.

`Perhaps this has nothing to do with Grey or Davies?’ I am thinking to myself, but of course, Brandon-Sevak and Wilcox sense me.

`What do you mean, Jamie?’ Brandon’s thoughts emerge through Wilcox’s anxiety, like one image superimposed on another. They are solid and clear, even Brandon’s thoughts are muscular.

`I don’t know – it’s as if there is something else at work here?’

Brandon is curious. It is as if I can smell his curiosity.

`Did Jonathan say anything to you Jamie, about the Granolith?’ asks Wilcox. His thoughts are not shapes, like Sevak’s, but a sort of landscape, and one that is familiar to me already. I see Max here. I sense my love here also.

`No. Not exactly. He told me about illuvatar, or rather he tried to explain it to me. He told me the story of the Seeth Lord and his wife, about how Time can be stubborn and unwilling to be changed. Like destiny?’ In the swirling mosaic of thought I sense the solid kernel of Brandon’s attention. My concern grows and sprouts curvaceous ferns. The landscape that is Wilcox grows dense with my doubts, like a forest.

`Illuvatar is a complex word, it is a concept, rather like Granolith. It does not translate well, Jamie. Illuvatar can also mean to foresee also, to foretell.’

Wilcox’s thoughts are grey-blue again an eternal, watchful void. And then I get the distinct impression that Brandon is going to reveal something – think something – paint something across me. I see the vast canvas of his thought take shape and then Wilcox closes it down. There is a slight tension – a streak of darkness like a crease or seam across the image and Wilcox engulfs Brandon’s question, pulling it into himself.

`Yes, well. It is troubling, but all we can do for now is keep a close watch on things. I will feel a lot safer when we are all in one place! Between us there is considerable power of resistance. How did Max take your revelations, incidentally?’

I feel momentarily disturbed, perplexed. So too does Brandon, since we both hesitate, and then, we say simultaneously:

`Quite well!’ Wilcox fades into a swirl of light and I open my eyes to see Brandon’s sharp, black, face looking at me intently. I focus on his eyes, trying to see their tell tale change. He out stares me, and my gaze slips carefully over his throat and his Adam’s apple. He goes to remove his fingers and yet I lift my hand and take them and force them back against my face.

`What was that about?’

`You are very attentive, Jamie.’ He runs his hand through my hair, brushing it back with a sudden firmness, and he darts his mouth close to mine, as if he cannot decide to bite or kiss me. I feel an astounding glow of erotic energy. He stands up. His voice sounds cautious but intrigued.

`It is difficult for me to modify my eyes. I think Grey noticed them at the zoo. Antarian Seeth see a wider range of light than humans, and we have a series of lenses in order to do that.’

`What did Wilcox interrupt?’ I persist, `You were just about to think something?’ Brandon stands, his thumbs hooked into his pockets. For the first time I think of him as utterly alien, even dangerous.

`It is of no consequence.’ He says eventually.

`Everything is of consequence now.’ A sense of alarm is growing, that I have missed something, that Wilcox has held something back from me. Brandon must sense this as well. He is in doubt. Doubt is a curious color. It is a sort of green. Then, oddly, I realise I can still `see’ what the Seeth is thinking. At that moment he sees me watching his thoughts. It is as if we are standing in a room of mirrors, each one reflecting and refracting our images.

`You intrigue me, Jamie Ralphs.’

`I do?’ I feel oddly embarrassed, as if I am flirting with him, enjoying his attention, shameless.

`Then don’t hide things from me – we are both guardians of Max, Liz and the children now, and I will not let them go into danger needlessly.’

Brandon smiles with a quiet, ethereal majesty, as if he is an angel.

`Your connection with Zan-Max is very powerful, Jamie. I sense it even in Wilcox. And you’re presence in the library after the zoo had an impact on the Granolith, there can be no doubt about that. It was as if it recognised you.’

The way he says this sends a chill down my spine. I recall the image of the ships leaving, the cautious whisperings of the doors. The curved panorama of Antar.

`I don’t understand?’

`Neither do we.’ Replies Brandon, speaking – thinking – on behalf of Wilcox. `There is something more at work here. The Shalloth fear the restoration of the Seeth genome, but they fear something more. They fear prophecy. The answers lie within the Granolith, in ‘ he seems unsure of the word ` In the iconography on the panels? Why did they design the doors that way? What is there meaning?’

I try to remember them, but all I see is the vast, gaunt bleakness of the library itself, and spun around it the deepening shades of the great House, floor upon floor of silent, watchful spaces.

`When the time is right we must examine them together.’ He relents beautifully, like a caress. `We did not mean to deceive you. We shall, before this is over, speak with the doors.’

`Speak?’ I am scared. Part of me, deep down, is really scared.

`Yes. The Granolith is not just a thing Jamie, it is a place and a time. It is a sacred device - and it is a threshold, both literally and metaphorically.’

`OK, what is this prophesy?. I am aware that neither of us have spoken and that we are standing apart, communing.

`I am unsure, and as such I will not speak of it, yet.’


(Later possibly written around the same time: separate sheet. undated).

A Day in the Rain.

I spent the day with Max
Hiding from the rain
A complex game, running between
The runes of trees,
Sometimes we were trains, or planes
Or lovers.
A day to kill in a grey park,
Quite empty.

Just Max,
All to myself.

Surrounded by the sound and smell of wetness,
And the splashing of his sneakers, hard
like a clap
and then soft on the wet black soil,
the ooze of sodden grass beneath us.
Running, slipping.

Or we stepped on the pastel shades of leaves
with great care
Broad shaped maples,
Patterned on the shining pavements
the handprints of strangers
We imagined they were stones
And that between them
Was nothingness – gaps in the fabric
Of the world.
He would push me
And I would shove.
We tottered
His hands were cold,
They tasted of winter

I spent the day with Max
Amid the driftwood of the park,
Anonymous faces, drawn down
Curious or indifferent to our joy
Lost amid abandoned bandstands,
Water bottles, a summer kite, its tail snaking.

Raw, wet,
Our faces pinched
Avoiding time, hunched like storks,
Mesmerised by the pin pricks of rain
in the black water.

I spent the day with Max
Avoiding work,
Amid the whispering drizzle
He jumped onto my back,
And breathless under his weight.
I charged the line.


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Post by Patroclus76 » Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:54 am


A fantastic gift from Tanya!!! A visual feast! And I have another profoundly erotic one from Young Shi that I am going to use - at - how shall I put it - an appropriate moment!! (nervous giggle).


I did not like the idea of Sevak being unsure about things. It was not meant to be like this. Wasn't he supposed to be the all seeing, all dancing alien? I liked it even less than the idea of a prophecy – and to be unsure over a prophecy seemed to border on carelessness! Was there something more to all this then, than just the birth of the children? More than just the arrival of the Antarian Overlord, Seeth Sia Ova? Had I missed something else, some crucial hint in the codex? The one that had just vanished! Fuck! All this flashed through my mind – along with the disconcerting image of Brandon naked, his tongue in my mouth, – when the bedroom door opened and Max and Liz walked in.

`Did you find your phone?’ asked Max, carefully, as if he sensed something was out of place, or that the story was not quite true.

`I did Max, I did. Sorry. I wanted to call Wilcox, ‘ I looked at Liz. She was looking bravely at me, her face calm. Her resolution touched me deeply.

`Is everything ok?’ Max said quietly, his arm around Liz’s waist. Brandon stirred and looked up, disarmingly young and human.

`It is, Max.’

`Then I suggest we make a move. We’ve arranged to meet Michael and Kyle at about 11 am on the outskirts of the city.’ Max looked at Liz, and then at Maria who has just walked in behind. Maria touched Liz’s shoulders affectionately.

`Indeed. Then let me take Maria and Liz immediately to Bone Hill House.’ Brandon stood between them. He was tall, I had not really noticed that – and quite long limbed – indeed there was a curious, beguiling resemblance between his human avatar and his Seeth physiology. Max looked rather desperately at Liz as if to be parted from her now was more than he could bear. He looked at me, almost tearfully.

`Jamie, is this safe? I mean, doesn’t Davies know were Grey lives? Isn’t that where the Granolith is? Are we not going into greater danger?’ I opened my arms in a gesture of despair. As I fought aside my own fear Brandon spoke to Max with soft precision.

`You are, Max, we all go into danger. We go into a trap that Davies and the Shalloth have long set for you. But we have to, in order to destroy it. There is a conspiracy on Antar, even as we speak, my Lord, and it is bent on either preventing your children being born or on killing them. Even though the time line is utterly changed, by the intervention of Wilcox and of Jamie, and now myself, we must keep our rendezvous with destiny. Or rather, yours.’

`But wouldn’t it make more sense to change the timeline completely?’ asked Maria. `Davies-Maitland, the guy from the future, he is the one who prepares the codex for publication in 2055? So he knows exactly what we are going to do? Why not meet Grey somewhere else, why not ensure that the Antarian – what’s his name –‘

`Seeth Sia Ova’

`Right, why not contact him and tell him’

`Her –‘

`Sorry – why not contact her and arrange to meet us somewhere else? Somewhere Davies doesn’t know,’

`We could try to do that, but the crucial factor is that Bone Hill House is the Granolith and it is where Grey’s laboratory is, with all the facilities we need. And if we do not destroy the Granolith, Davies can always escape and go back in time and start again, and this will happen all over – it has already happened twice!’ says Brandon simply.

`Twice!’gasps Max. Even I look surprised. It only then occurred to me that Max as Wilcox constituted the second intervention in the time line. The first would obviously not have involved Wilcox at all. I felt staggered, as surprised as everyone.

`Yes, and it can keep going on and on and on until the Granolith is destroyed or the children are never born!’

`Ok, ok I get that,’ persisted Maria, `I just don’t see why we all have to go into the trap, or at least not yet.’

`We must stay together. Davies doesn’t know for certain that we have found the Granolith, he is not sure how and exactly in what way Jonathan betrayed him. He doesn’t know yet that Liz is pregnant, and you are, my Lady, pregnant earlier than on the last two occasions, by about a fortnight. He doesn’t know that Jamie and Michael have seen the codex either, that they know the previous timeline – that is a serious weakness for him. We are going into a trap that Davies knows, that is true Maria, but also a trap we know just as intimately, and a trap that will ensnare Maitland. I prefer to meet our opponents here than somewhere new and unknown.’

`OK’ said Maria, `You’ve sort of convinced me, I’d stick with a known evil as opposed to an unknown one any day of the week!’

Max looked less convinced. He looked at Brandon for a long time, as if trying to judge him.

`Have faith in me, and in those who love you, Max. For in that you are most blessed.' Brandon spoke with great humility, looking at me and then at Max. `My life is forfeit to yours and the protection of your House, I would not needlessly expose you to danger. Bone Hill House is a Granolith like no other. And there is some purpose to it that not even Davies-Maitland may have devised. A trap within a trap. And as I suggested earlier, we can at some later date consider reconciling you with Davies here, now – as a child, but such a strategy will need careful thought, and we have to see how things unfold.’

Max breathed out deeply. He held Brandon’s arm just above the elbow. I could see that Brandon was not unmoved by this touch.

`Take my wife and Maria and introduce them to Grey. The rest of us shall meet with Grey either later tonight or tomorrow, depending on how reliable the van is! We can at least give the impression that things are going much as they did before – god that sound’s weird’. There was a silence.

He turned to Liz and they threw themselves into each other’s arms.

`Liz – ‘ Max struggled for words. I turned away, seeing his pain was to feel it myself, deep in my heart.

`Max, it’s going to be fine.’

`Liz, be careful, and the children, without you I am nothing.’

`Max, we are one and the same, remember, you know that – Max’ she said desperately as he went to interrupt `Don’t make this harder than it is. I am in safe hands, and you, Isabel and Michael have enough power to get to us. Max! Your destiny once lay on a different path, remember?’

He lowered his head to hers.

`I remember. Why must she always come between us – even now - and my child with her, hunting us down.’

`Max, Tess is dead! And she died reconciled with us – she died so we would have a fighting chance to go on. In the end, she realised that I was your destiny! That this was meant to be! It’s kind of ironic isn’t it? Who are we to argue with that, or for that matter with Jamie! And let us not judge Davies yet!’ she looked up at me, winking, her eyes smudged with tears.


We left my apartment around midday. I was not sure of the date anymore. January seemed endless. It surely had to be over! Perhaps we had finally staggered into February? It was definitely 2006. Before our departure I walked around the rooms and had a last, curious look. There was not much of me here, to be honest, most of what was here seemed to belong someone I knew a long time ago. Four years of my life, a few stains on the carpet, poor old Mapplethorpes’ print, freezing its butt off! Someone else’s tabla drum set. I had been content here, happy, but somehow lost: thinking about it that morning, I saw my time here as a sort of interlude, as if I had been waiting for my friends to catch up with me, like Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.

In the end I took almost nothing with me. A kitbag, a few books (old favorites, mad given the size of Grey’s library!) a change of clothes, Max’s underwear – or rather Max’s present of Michael’s underwear – Jonathan’s ice hockey sweater, an emergency stash of weed. Since the departure of Liz, Maria and Brandon the mood had darkened. Max seemed bizarrely shaken. Even after a cell call confirming that they were all standing safely in the main hallway at Bone Hill House, he seemed utterly lost. He had pulled his hoodie over himself, almost stunned, like a spaceman suiting up for a walk, his hair awry. He had then heaved on his leather coat – silent, brooding, like he was going to be shot, and I had instinctively straightened it out, pulling his hair away from the collar.

He had placed his hands on mine, as if in rebuke, as if he wanted some privacy. I had gone to remove them, gently, without reproach, (fuck he makes me so possessive!) but he held them tightly and when I had looked up, puzzled, I saw with a searing pain that he was crying.

`Hey! Max! Come on, everything will be all right – please – please – don’t cry’ I lowered my voice, terrified it would break. Isabel was clattering about the bathroom looking for something. If she was aware of anything she ignored us.

`What is it? Liz is fine, you just spoke to her, Max please… just … ’
I whispered. I leaned against him. Our heads fell onto each other’s shoulders, our shapes replicated, like an Escher print. I realised my own face was wet, casually, like one discovers a cut, the warm taste of your own blood. `Tell me what is it?’

He shook his head like a small boy, unable to articulate his grief. I leaned up and turned his face to me.

`I know this must seem so, so overwhelming Max.’ but he shook his head abstinently, his face darkening, his mouth creasing.

`You don’t understand’ he gasped finally, trying to swallow his sobs. `I don’t want this Jamie, I want to be normal, to live with Liz and my friends, quietly and at peace. I wanted this to end, and now it’s just the beginning of something, something even bigger than before! I don’t want to be a king, Jamie, I never wanted that, it isn’t fair!’

He looked up into my face, his dark tawny eyes shining with tears.

`Jamie, I don’t have the strength!’

I fought back my own overwhelming grief – or was it love – a love that at that moment flared up within me – and I struggled for words, for approximations, simple things to staunch our wounds. I looked at this dark mysterious man who had thrown my life open, and saw the King in my dream, the billowing cloak, red in the dusk like a huge sail, engulfing the sky.

`You do! You do have the strength Max!’ I whispered, my own lips trembling `I have seen it!'

`You have?’ he whispered, seeking reassurance. I nodded, my vision blurred.

`But if I refuse Jamie? If I turn aside? Can I? Can Liz and I walk away from this?’ he said almost inaudibly.

I could say nothing. We stood for a while until he calmed himself, while he gathered himself in, as dusk gathers in the long hours of the day. Finally Isabel said gently to both of us, `It’s time to hit the road guys! Come on Max.’ I sealed my apartment like a tomb.

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Post by Patroclus76 » Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:02 am

The van – a subject of both deep affection AND hatred, was apparantly sequestered away somewhere to the east of the city, in a disused warehouse between Bellevue and Issaquah. It had been mothballed for almost three years, and various anxious calls on Isabel’s cell phone from Kyle revealed that, as a consequence, it was proving difficult to start. Once out of my apartment I walked behind the Max and Isabel, arm in arm, listening to her talking on her cell, summoning Michael, calling for Kyle to be put back on, summoning Michael again: she looked fantastic on a phone, sweeping along the sidewalk, her brother in tow. Powerful, organised.

I was anxious about Max, his sudden nihilistic mood. I was also anxious that as I heard Isabel telling Michael about `Brandon, the codex and the baby plot’, Michael would reproach me as well for failing to keep quiet. I was sure that Michael would see all of this in the worst fucking light possible. I could just imagine our reunion, facial expressions, even the tone:

`I had been gone for just TWO FUCKING HOURS!’

Jesus Christ! I covered my face and promptly walked into some old biddy with about twelve dogs on one lead.


We walked for miles, miles upon miles, in curious sweeps as if deliberately trying to mislead or confuse. And the more we walked the worse I felt, like I had fucked up somehow. I was now convinced I was incapable of keeping a secret for more than two days. I was bothered by Brandon-Sevak as well, about the obvious sexual attraction bit (had he really gone to kiss me? Had I imagined that? Had he gone to snap my head off and thought better of it?). What about his revelation? The implication that he and Wilcox had excluded me from something was still disconcerting. Did it matter? Was it important? They had not told me anything because they were evidently unsure? Or did it, in some strange weird way, involve me? Was I being overly dramatic? What was overly dramatic like in these circumstances! Was I borderline delusional? Or just oversexed? Jesus. I felt like I had wondered int the gay porno version of Barbarella.

I walked across vast continents of sidewalks, with Max sometimes looking back so I did not dawdle, like an anxious parent. His mood slowly improved. At one stage he turned around and clapped his hands saying
`Come on Jamie, here boy!’ as if I was a fucking Labrador. When he did it again I barked and Isabel complained about us flirting. I heard Max say `Flirting!’ in mock outrage but he had smiled a secret little smile and winked at me.

We caught public transport just at the point at which I was about to collapse and theatrically beg them to leave me in a storm drain, covered in leaves. Evidently this was not a random trip but some sort of escape pattern, long planned. Antarians! They think of everything! The bus was packed with neatly dressed people in woollies and shopping bags. They looked approvingly at Isabel as she produced the right fare, anxiously at Max, as if he was going to start busking or mugging en masse, and suspiciously at me. I beamed indifferently. We filed by this good middle class people like an identity parade.

We sat on separate seats, our thoughts separate as well, heavy. We passed over Lake Washington towards Bellevue, grey on grey. The bus went everywhere and nowhere in particular, like a dog after a scent. We stop-started all the way towards Renton – the back of beyond – (who the fuck lives in Renton!) a sort of never ending vista of suburbia, manicured and neat. I counted houses with blue doors, then red cars, then dogs, then fucking red dogs. I felt scared as well, deep down, in the pit of my stomach. Scared I had crossed a threshold from which there was no going back.

On and on we went. Once away from the main highway the seats emptied and Max eventually climbed over me, dropping down besides the window. I felt relieved, my strange feeling of estrangement from him over. He still said nothing but took my hand and squeezed it hard and I smiled to myself, hot and warm inside. Isabel looked back and caught my eye, then returned to leaf through a woman’s magazine, smiling as well, as if to say `you see?' . At times like this I worshipped her, her sense of proportion, her ability to go on.

I closed my eyes and rocked gently. Max catnapped; his knees wedged up in front of him, gradually lowering his head onto me. When I felt sure he was asleep I turned quietly and kissed his hair. He smelled of peat, or like bonfire smoke on autumn clothes. I pretended we were lovers running from a life of extravagant sex, drugs and crime, drifting from city to city. It was a satisfying distraction, mostly true. I sighed deeply. `I’ll protect you from the hooded claw, keep the vampires from your door..’ I whispered, a Frankie Goes to Hollywood song. I had forgotten the rest. Some old dude looked across the aisle at us, a guy with a little goatee and bright, pleasant eyes, rather like an artist or an old sea dog. He looked curious but friendly.

`Are we still in America?’ I asked, plaintively.

`You sure are!’ he said rather loudly as if he was hard of hearing. He smiled and went back to reading a novel. I sneaked a look at the title: The Time Traveler’s Wife. He saw me looking and, lifting the cover, said warmly

`Have you read this, young man?’

`Read it? My friend, I wrote it! I am the time traveler's wife!’ I gestured with my head. He looked at Max and laughed.

`Aww, he looks very compliant!’

`You have no idea!’ I rested my chin on the top of Max’s head and looked out a a featureless townscape. The man with the novel got off at South Renton Park-n-ride, where an equally friendly looking woman with dogs collected him. I noticed that her vehicle license plate was MAX. He waved as we pulled away, and I waved back, touched by the spontaneity that people can show. Isabel shifted places and sat opposite me.

`Do you know those people?’

`No – but look at the license plate – isn’t that weird!'

`Jamie you are always talking to people!’ She looked. `Yeah that is kind of weird. But look at that, that’s even weirder!’ she pointed to a strange woman, wearing a long coat and a feather boa, holding a javelin. She had momentarily stepped out from behind a tree and was waving her weapon in a sort of random way at no one in particular.

`Go figure! Perhaps they’re filming something?’ I looked briefly for a film crew, a sound van, anything that would explain it, but we quickly flowed back into the traffic and headed - crawled eastward. By the time the bus approached Maple Valley we were the only people on it, except for one strange woman who appeared to have died some weeks ago judging by the amount of powder on her nose. She was far too obvious for an alien spy – since she looked exactly like an alien would look like trying to pass off as human. Nonetheless I gave her the evil eye and kept nudging Isabel to look.

`Isabel, don’t look now, but..’


`Not yet, but in a moment, look behind.’

Isobel looked behind but stared everywhere but where she was supposed to.

`No, not there, there – oh no, look away quickly, it’s moving!’

`Jamie stop it!'

When we got off it was late afternoon and beginning to drizzle. I was starving and cold. I was not exactly enjoying my first day on the road, but at least Max had climbed out of his darkness and seemed in a better mood. Liz had called him several times and that had cheered him, made him more communicative. Eventually, mysteriously, we stopped after a ten minute route march and stood about. Minutes turned into centuries. Were we lost?

`Well, they were supposed to meet us here!’ said Isabel impatiently after a decade of silence. We found a bench near a broad, featureless avenue, with great trees stretching to either side. We sat like drifters, or bag people. It was a bleak place, the generic outskirts of a city that could have been anywhere really, anonymous, atmospheric, slightly creepy. I felt we looked rather vulnerable and obvious. Perhaps we should call in Brandon and take the short cut? Were we being followed?

I heard the van before I saw it, a deep throbbing noise like an old fashioned plane, and then something so indescribably weathered and dented swung into view that I started to laugh. Max laughed as well; he stood up, pretending to hitch. The van stopped amid a belch of smoke and fume.

`Cool!’ I said, as Isabel slid the door open and started loading the bags in.

`Cool it is not, Jamie! It’s smelly and cramped and when this is all over –‘ she looked bravely at Max, `I shall have it ritualistically burned!’

`Aww, Is!’ Max patted the side of the van as if it was a long lost pet.

`Mother ship not too good I’m afraid!’ shouted Kyle from the driving seat.

`Is, I'll need you to help me sort out some of her more delicate systems?’

Isabel pulled a face.

`Can’t Michael do it?’

`Michael can’t do it’ said Michael with mock sadness. He held up greasy hands in a token of surrender, beamed a smile at me, and then looked at Max thoughtfully.

`Everything OK?’

`Sure Michael’ I had to touch him, to re-connect. Fuck had I missed him! I ran my hand over his shoulder. He was pleased to see me – I could tell – because he pretended to be busy with something, to hide his smile. He looked down, shifting through some mail. Max embraced him from behind, over the headrest. I felt we were all reconciled.

`News from the home front.’ said Michael, handing Max a wad of letters and a few parcels. `Doesn’t look like our security system has been compromised, but a lot is out of date.’

Michael looked passed Max’s face, to where Kyle and Isabel were in conference over the engine.

`Jim Valenti and Maria’s mother seem to be an item’ he raised his eyebrows comically. Oh and a weird letter from Jesse that makes perfect sense now – telling us to go to Professor Grey's Home in Bone Hill if things get heavy, or if Liz needs help, with an obscure references to the Duke the Milan?’

`The Duke of Milan?’ asked Max, puzzled.

`Yeah, as The Tempest, I think, you know - Prospero - ask Jamie boy here for details.’ He made a very Michael gesture with his lips and ran a greasy hand through my hair.

`Jamie?’ asked Max in mock seriousness. He then shook his head, `Fuck it’s all so weird!’

For a moment I feared this would tip his mood, but he seemed just genuinely intrigued. Michael dropped his voice slightly.

`Oh and be on the alert – Jesse mentions the possibility of getting remarried to that French dude, his secretary or partner in Boston. There’s a separate letter to Isabel, so lets keep a sharp look out, ok?’

`Sure – any news for you?’ asked Max. He was looking at Isabel, anxiously.

`Yeah, a whole sack full, Max! When has anyone ever written to me!’

`I did!’ I protested. `I thanked you for the porn mags!’ Michael laughed warmly.

`I’ll write next time, seriously!’ he looked at me, frowning.


Kyle was outside for ages, with the back of the van open, explaining things to Isabel and swearing a lot. He was wearing blue overalls that stank of oil but seemed otherwise unperturbed, even happy. Occasionally there would come the sound of serious banging from underneath the rear axle and then an ominous silence. It started to sleet, white dabs of snow in the grey rain, a landscape of urban solitude.

`Max – we need you.’ Isabel shouted.

`Me? Shit – hold it’ He swiveled around and jumped out of the van side like a parachutist. I looked up at Michael.


`Michael – I’m sorry about telling them everything without you – but it all came out when Liz started throwing up this morning. She looked so scared, I just couldn’t fake not knowing it was going to be alright!’

`Jamie man, relax! It’s a fucking massive relief, to be honest. I said we should have let Max see the codex in the first place!’

I felt my stomach tighten but before I could say anything, Michael asked me how Max had taken to Brandon. He was watching Max in the mirror.

`He seemed to take it fine, he didn’t even seem too taken aback by Davies either –‘

`Fuck! You told him that!’

` Yeah, the only thing we didn’t tell him was who Wilcox is, but given my track record at keeping secrets, it will be out by the end of the week.’

`Tonight, probably!’


`Did you show him the codex? I mean, the actual thing, the disk?’ I felt sick.

`What have you done!’ said Michael mechanically when he saw my face drop. I told him what had happened, how it slipped through my fingers. I told him about the spooky conversation with Brandon. He slapped his face with his hands and then rubbed his face hard. He looked tired.

`Great, and this guy has just spirited Liz and my girlfriend off to some fucking mansion!’

`It’s ok Michael, really! It is something to do with the library doors, a prophecy, the opening to the Granolith, remember, in the library?’

`Yeah I remember’ he said `Have you told Max? I thought not – shit! That’s just what we need now, a fucking prophecy!’

`We’ll get to the bottom of it all as soon as we get to Bone Hill House, really – don’t worry!’

`You’re worrying!’ he said, poking me affectionately. `I leave you alone for less than two fucking hours and!’ I started laughing and went to put my hand over his mouth.

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Post by Patroclus76 » Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:14 am

I thought Michael would pull away or fight. Instead he allowed me to slam my hand on his face and feel his wet lips on my fingers before he pushed me away, laughing. At that moment Max climbed in, dusting himself down.

`And what are you two up to?’ he said.

`Planning the children’s education Maxwell, if you must know! Jamie wants them educated on Earth, I am suggesting Antar!’ Max smirked slightly but before he could say anything, Kyle shouted for Michael to start the engine. He did so amid a roar and a healthy puttering sound.

`Warp engines engaged!’ shouted Michael above the din. It sounded more like Chittychittybangbang to me. There was a scurry of activity and then the metallic slamming of the door. Michael shoved up against me to make room for Kyle and then we were off!

`Into the Blue!’ I shouted – but everyone just looked at me.


We drove off towards Lake Sammamish, heading for Interstate 90 that would take us to Preston and the Snoqualmie Pass, up into the Cascades. There was some doubt in Kyle’s mind exactly where Bone Hill House was.

`We need to come off the inter-state at Cle Elum?’ he said.

`Is that a place?’ Michael frowned.

`But you guys have been there, haven’t you?’ Kyle pleaded, sounding uncertain.

`Not in the conventional sense! We were whisked off, Kyle, carried through space and time. We didn't go by bus! Anyway, Jamie’s been more times that I have?’

Michael was making a mess of the fold out map. I sighed theatrically and took it off him.

`You’ll tear it!’ I said softly. `I think it’s east of Wenatchee actually.' I suggested rather hopelessly.

`What, in like Montana?’

`No! As in somewhere near Lake Roosevelt, somewhere up in the Pallisades?’

`Doesn’t a bit of Idaho come in between?’ added Max helpfully from the back. He was reading letters with Isabel, and they had been laughing and sighing together as we crawled away from Seattle. If Isabel has read the news of Jesse’s planned remarriage she had taken it well, silently.
I squinted at the map. It looked incredibly blank east of Wenatchee.

`Bone Hill House must be a well known Folly – it’s fucking big enough!’

`Washington state is bigger dude, and the Palisades is just wooded country up to the Canadian border, most of it national park!’

I was going to say something – something relevant to Bone Hill House when I felt a strange, weird rush of heat to my head. It was an odd sensation, almost like I was going to faint. I snapped my head back and saw that Michael too had felt something. Kyle, frowning, was about to say something as well when there came a sort of rattled screech from the engine, and at that precise moment the van grounded to a halt. We had been driving for about forty minutes.

`You ungrateful bitch!’ shouted Michael and banged the dashboard. For one bizarre moment I thought he meant me!

`That was weird! Michael!’ Kyle reproached him, and then, rubbing his head slightly, `She’s angry with us for leaving her to rust. It’s the sparkplugs, I think? She isn’t firing properly.’

`I know absolutely nothing about cars but that didn’t sound like sparkplugs to me’ piped up Isabel.

`Where are we?’

`I think we’re still in Seattle.’

`Escape from Seattle, jesus!’ Michael climbed out, followed by Kyle. We had stopped on the outskirts of Lake Sammamish State Park, on a long straight road. Behind us the I-90 curved up to a large interchange and then snaked away into the dusk.

`I am going to meditate for a while.’ Said Kyle calmly.

`Mediate for me too!’ called back Michael, who was taking an obvious piss behind a tree, despite being scolded by Isabel.

`Michael this is a residential area for god’s sake!’

`It is NOT!' he shouted back, and waved his arch of piss at her in defiance.


Michael zipped his jeans up and emerged looking satisfied. Kyle was duly meditating, sitting in the back of the van, his eyes closed lightly, like someone taking a nap. The night was already cold, with a spiteful, persistent wind coming off the park, snagging the trees, making strange eerie howls and moans. Max and Isabel stood close together, holding onto each other affectionately. I tried to hunker down into my coat. From above - suspended in the gloom – came the rumble of traffic. In the end I climbed in next to Kyle and tried not to look at him, in case somehow I disturbed his piece of mind. I need not have bothered, since seconds after Michael bounded in and the whole van shook violently.

`How long does this normally take?’ I whispered to my fellow conspirator, nodding at Kyle.

Michael shrugged, biting his nails. `Depends. He can be like this for hours.’

I felt a sudden and dangerous urge to smoke a joint, but I wasn’t convinced that the breakdown constituted an emergency as such. I heard Max talking to Liz on the cell phone. She seemed to be describing the scale of Bone Hill House to him. Max sounded impressed, even excited. I climbed out again, and walked off the highway. The verge was open, with just a chain-linked fence and low bushes screening the sidewalk from the park itself. It was a strange place, mixed houses, mostly warehouses and retail outlets, closed and shut up.

`Don’t go far, Jamie’ said Isabel protectively.


I smiled as I walked off.

Despite the rain, there were still traces of snow on the ground. Until my eyes became accustomed to the gloom I thought the white grey patched were clothes or rubbish, thoughtlessly discarded. After a few minutes I felt ground under my feet, and saw that the trees now appeared at regular intervals, ringing a wide dark space that was either a massive series of playing fields or a parking lot. The damp air seemed to swallow what little lighting there was. I leaned against a tree. I could still see the van dimly. I thought how spooky it was to be in a familiar place at night, to see it so transformed, mysterious, even somewhere as pedestrian as a public park! I undid my bag and groped about for Jono boy’s biscuit tin. Delicately I felt for a pre-rolled ciggy, thinking about Jonathan for the first time in ages. I had not really thought about his death, or what it meant to me.

Suddenly there came a snap of a twig or branch, something underfoot, from the direction of the dark open space. Had it been from behind or to the side of me I would have instinctively assumed it was Michael coming to supervise me, or Max to fetch me back. I froze, leaning in hard against the tree trunk and squinted ahead. I could make out what appeared to be the shape of bushes or low trees, and then what looked like a bench. I was about to dismiss the noise when it came again, slightly closer and then, I dimly made out a tall shape, someone standing up. A tramp? A fellow weed smoker?

I was not so much afraid as cautious. Had I been seen? (Would I not appear as mysterious to them as they did to me?). I contemplated making a noise, something that would at least indicate I was here. Before I had time to do this, I heard Michael coming towards me from the road. He was laughing. At that moment the shape paused and then moved, and as it moved I distinctly caught a glimmer of eyes, a familiar silver sheen, momentarily luminous. It scared the shit out of me frankly. In that instance I realised there was someone there and that they were not human.

Michael was drawing along side me. Then something really unexpected happened, really fucking bizarre! For a brief moment, a millisecond, I distinctly saw, looming up behind the figure as if they were moving independently, silently, two great panelled doors. They rose up as if they had been flat on the earth behind the shadow, as if they had been pulled upright, like monoliths. Huge and vast they appeared and I could distinctly see the cartouche on the panels.

`Michael!’ I grabbed his arm urgently.

`Fuck Jamie! Don’t do -‘ but sensed my alarm. `What is it?’

`Someone, something is over there, look?’ He scanned the darkness, and then Michael and I both saw a chink of light appear, a line or rod of brilliance, as if, through a mysterious door or window we glimpsed another world! And then nothing. Michael ran forward. I followed quickly, my heart racing. The ground sloped down unseen and we staggered forward quickly. The bench was mounted on a concrete slab and was deserted. For a curious moment there was a distinctive smell, sharp, like gasoline.

`What the fuck was that!’ whispered Michael, looking around. I saw his right hand palm out, low at his side, ready to blast anything that moved.

`I know what they were – they were the doors – ‘ I could hardly believe what I was saying `The doors to the Granolith in Bone Hill House!’

`What! You been smoking anything?’ he said suspiciously. He leaned his face extremely close into mine and sniffed.

`Chance would be a fine thing!’ The whole episode seemed utterly surreal. `Can this get any weirder!’ I said quietly to myself. `Michael, someone walked through the doors – the light – it was coming through the fine gap between two doors.’

Michael suddenly bent down to the ground.

`What is it?’

He was brushing the short, dead grass with his hands. He then collected something up in the palm of his hand. Two things, actually, but it was too dark to see. Then, with just a trace of alarm in his voice he said, `Come on, let’s go.’ The park had become suddenly very scary. Hearing someone else confirm your own fear is always frightening. Michael moved differently now. I had often seen this change in my friends, especially Max and Michael.

We ran back to the van as if the devil himself was behind us.
Last edited by Patroclus76 on Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Patroclus76 » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:18 pm

We ran through the trees, avoiding low bushes, catching our faces against branches. When we reached the road, breathless, our appearance immediately raised the alarm. Max came forward quickly.

`Michael, Jamie – what is it!’

`Something is in the park, Jamie saw it. We’re being watched!’

`What?’ Isabel’s voice sounded edgy. I looked back but could see nothing. Despite our urban surroundings we seemed in a strange and quite place. Even the wind had dropped.

`I definitely saw someone standing watching us, then it walked through –‘ I sighed, feeling stupid - `through some sort of portal, through the doors' I looked about me, helplessly. `The doors to the library of Bone Hill House, they were here – in the park.’

My voice trailed away. In normal, more complacent times Max might have laughed at this. And I would not have blamed him either. But he merely nodded, recalling his briefing from Brandon, calmly recognising their significance. `The doors to the Granolith?’

`Yes, the gates to hell’ I said. I decided to not mention the eyes yet. The implication of eyes really disturbed me.

`Excuse me?’ Max frowned.

`It’s what they’re called, Max, `the gates to hell’, the architect copied the design from Rodin.’ I felt a deep chill over my spine. Max, alert, his hands down besides him, was looking over me. Then he took my hand and brought me protectively behind him.

`Over here, look at this!’ Michael was kneeling, examining something in the headlights. In his hand he held a metal cap with rubber seals recessed inside, smelling of gas, still warm, and a signet ring, gashed on one side. I crouched down to get a better look. Max was talking to Kyle quietly and precisely.

`Let’s get a move on. Kyle, Iz , try working on the van again – we need to get out of here!‘

He then joined Michael and me at the front. As Michael handed me the ring I realised I had seen it before.

`I know this ring.’ I said flatly.

`Yeah?’ Michael stood up. He looked questioningly at Max.

`It belongs to a friend of mine, a man called Daniel Goodacre, he runs a bar on the University campus, Old Possums. He was the man who introduced me to Jonathan.’

As I spoke I recalled a distant, vague memory. On the 22nd January, sitting up in bed at the beginning of my unexpected Roswell revival, the morning of the first phone call from Isobel. A post-coital Jonathan had distinctly said Daniel in his sleep. I remembered thinking `who the fuck is Daniel?’ I laughed grimly to myself. Now I knew!

`Shit!’ I said with a certain irritation.

`Jamie? You’re sure of this?’ Max asked quietly. He took the ring out of my hand and looked at it.

`Yes, definitely! We work out – we worked out – together and I remember trying to persuade him frequently to remove it before using gym equipment, but he never would. Fuck, I am so stupid! Daniel introduced me to Jonathan deliberately because he realised that –‘ then another, more distressing thought occurred to me, but before I could say anything Kyle came towards us.

`Well, weird to report but the only thing I can find wrong is a missing distributor cap. It must have sheered away - ` but Michael interrupted him

`No, no it didn’t. It was stolen, Kyle. Here it is!’ he handed a surprised Kyle the cap, and then Michael looked at me and finished my unspoken thought:

`So Daniel is our missing Valaen!’ We both cocked an eyebrow at each other, like Vulcans, in silent appreciation of each other.

`Hold it!’ Max interrupted `A Valaen? What’s that?’ All the time he was speaking, he was looking into the trees. Seeing him alert, his body taught, was un-nerving. I was constantly half turning my head to look as well.

Kyle raised his arms in frustration, `And how can someone have stolen the distributor cap while we were actually driving? It would never have started without it, and we’ve not left the fucking van!’

`Daniel is a Valaen,’ I spoke softly. I suddenly recalled the headache, the strange sensation just before we broke down.

`The Valaen’s are one of the races of the Antarian imperium, I really don’t know much about them, but Wilcox indicated that one came through the Granolith with Maitland and several Shalloth. The Valaens have mildly telepathic abilities, mind warping being one of them.’

`Shit! So this guy is working with Davies? An enemy?’ Max sounded seriously alarmed.

`Yes’ I said with a certain degree of personal bitterness.

`Just what we need – stealth mind warping!’ said Kyle calmly, walking back to finish the repairs.

`Was he the guy who hit me at the zoo?’ asked Michael.

`No’ I mused, `I would have recognised him, and Valaen's are not shape shifters. I have no idea who that was. I think all the Shalloth who came back with Maitland are now dead?’ At the moment, from somewhere to the west of the city, we heard the clatter and throttle of a distant chopper. It was not coincidental, and the sound was ominous.

`Ok, all aboard’ Max slapped my shoulder, `Good work guys – Jamie call Wilcox and see if anything has happened at Bone Hill House, tell them they might be under some form of attack.’ My throat felt dry. Max was already on his cell to Liz. As I started to text, I heard the engine of the van kick into life, and then I heard Max;s voice, calm, strong,

`Hey, Liz – where are you? Cool, listen, listen carefully….’ He climbed into the van even as it slipped away.


We drove at speed, Kyle skilfully weaving his way onto the interstate and away East. Isabel had, as a precaution, changed the color of the van and the license plate. It was all done effortlessly, without panic. I went to call Bone Hill House on my cell phone but Michael cautioned me to wait. The helicopter, clearly intended for us, swung and plunged about, its long finger of light tracing out the silver lines of rain. It looped about stubbornly, like an angry insect, disturbed, out of season.

Michael twisted his head about to keep an eye on where it was, and I comforted myself by looking at his beautiful, curved arch of neck, warm, male, turning this way and then the other. Isabel and Max were in the back, looking through the rear windows, reporting calmly on various movements, as if commenting on a sports event. Thankfully the traffic was heavy, and within half an hour we were anonymous. By 7.30 pm the van was plunging through darkness and we left the city lights behind.

Once the chase was over, Max swapped places with Kyle, who managed to vacate the driving seat without stopping or even slowing down. Michael kept his foot on the gas, while Kyle and Max, squeezing over each other, navigated around the gear shift, and then slipped into each other’s places like shadows. At one stage Kyle had his face in Max’s chest.

`This brings back memories!’

Max laughed quietly, sharing a joke.

`Yeah? You know I can’t remember that night!’ His large hands took the wheel, and in an instant Kyle was sitting with Isabel.

`I wonder what ever happened to dog boy!’ he mused.

Max strapped himself in, and half turning, winked at me.

`Fuck you are so impressive!’ I said in genuine amazement.

`I try, Jamie!’ His smile lingered, incised curves in the corners of his mouth, his eyes dark, wide. I had a sudden urge to smudge his mouth across my chest and down to my balls, to my lips, ANYWHERE!
`Oh and you succeed’ I said dryly, like a deer in headlights.

`You’re drooling again.’ whispered Michael in my other ear. `Besides I taught him that!' He had his arm behind me, curved over the seat rest, expansive.

`Yeah? Is that right Max?’ Suddenly the whole buzz of excitement hit me, the escape, the events in the park, the rush of our escape.

`Michael taught me almost everything I know Jamie, surely you know that!’ he winked again and Michael snorted to himself. I felt momentarily puzzled.

`So, Jamie – Valaens? Antarian races?’ Kyle leaned forward, his face strobe lit by passing cars, `Any small talk you want to share with us? Or how about just answering any random, twenty questions on Antar? What’s the capital city, does it rain –‘

`I’ll call Wilcox.’ I said evasively.
Last edited by Patroclus76 on Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.