This is the fifth and sixth chapter of a book draft. I am writing it with the hope it appeals to a youthful audience, both chronologically and spiritually speaking. I will continue to share at least on chapter weekly. If you have read the previous chapters, thank you. If not, please go there first.
Chapter Five –
“I’m starving, and I am sure this young man is too!” Martha exclaimed.
“OK, I could definitely eat something. Let’s head into the middle of town and see what’s available. This is the town the Dalton brothers got shot down in when they tried to rob the bank. Do you remember hearing about that?” Ben asked.
“No, that doesn’t really ring a bell for me,” Martha replied. “But I don’t know what that has to do with finding somewhere to get some supper, anyway.”
“I just happened to remember a little something about it, is all. Just trying to distract myself from thinking about some of these unexplainable things that have been happening because I don’t know what to think or say about them. Maybe we will find out what this is all about someday, maybe not.”
“How about that place right up there? Coffeyville Diner?” Martha spotted the sign up the street. There were several cars parked around it and people walking in. That had to be a good sign, she thought. She was also thinking about what kind of strange event might be in store for them while they were here. It already seemed like some kind of pattern was beginning to reveal itself.
They walked into the diner and were promptly seated in a booth next to a window. Ben was hoping that the boy would not do that feel good thing while they were in the diner because they were in a confined space that might be difficult to maneuver out of if they had to and he just didn’t want the attention right now. He just wanted them to be able to eat a quiet supper and go find a place to sleep for the night. He was thinking maybe he could spot a sign in the yard of someone’s house offering a room for the night, instead of getting a hotel room. It would be cheaper and more private. It was common for people to rent an extra bedroom in their homes to travelers. So, after eating, they would drive around the streets just off the main business district and look for signs.
A young lady wearing a white apron who appeared to be 20 something approached their booth. With a friendly smile on her face, she asked, “Good evening folks! Having an early supper today? What can I get you?”
As Ben studied the menu board up on the wall nearby, he asked, “How about that chicken fried steak, there? Is that pretty good tonight?”
“It’s wonderful! We have been selling that dinner a lot today. Ma’am, how about you and your little boy, there? I bet he would enjoy a glass of milk, for sure, right?”
Martha said, “I would also like the chicken fry, and let’s see if our little man might like a hotdog and some of your macaroni and cheese? And we will take you up on that glass milk, too!”
“I’ll get you all that right away. Would you folks like some water or coffee to go with your dinner?”
“Sure, how about both?” Martha answered as Ben nodded.
The waitress hurried off to get their order in and bring their drinks.
“Is what I ordered for you OK?” Martha asked the boy when it seemed everyone was out of earshot.
He just looked up at her and smiled, and she took that to be a yes.
“I’m going to go find a restroom,” Martha announced. “Young fella, do you need to go? It’s been a long time since you had a chance.”
He shook his head no. She got up to go find the room. Ben and the boy just looked at each other as Martha walked away from their booth. He decided to plea to the boy to keep his thoughts or powers, or whatever it was under wraps while they were there.
“Look, little guy, what do you say we agree to the plan that you don’t do anything, you know what I mean, that causes anyone to feel anything, or whatever else you might be able to do. Is that OK?”
The boy just looked back at him for a moment, then he smiled. Suddenly, Ben started feeling that warm, tingly sensation and the blissfulness that came with it. Even though he was really enjoying what he felt, he also was feeling a growing sense of dread. Looks like this young man doesn’t always do what he is told, and that could be a problem, Ben thought to himself.
At that moment, Martha returned and noticed a strange look on Ben’s face. That made her feel a bit uneasy.
“What’s the matter, dear?” she asked.
“I just got served up that feeling again,” Ben replied. “And that was right after I asked him nicely to just sit on it while we were in here. This might be trouble!”
“I’m not feeling it,” Martha replied.
“Perhaps he can control it, you know, point it at someone specific or something like that,” Ben surmised as he felt the sensation begin to subside. Then the feeling of dread went away and Ben wished the euphoric sensation had stayed around a bit longer.
The boy was studying Ben and Martha as they discussed him and his action, and he was very aware that they were concerned. So, instead of bathing them both in euphoric good feelings, he just kept calm and did nothing. He didn’t want to upset them. He only wanted to show them his appreciation and do something they would enjoy. He would also move his gaze to outside through the window as he listened to their discussion. He was totally aware of their feelings and concerns and he knew it was important to not do anything that might make them feel uneasy or threatened. They had not made any demands of him and he was glad for that. He was not ready to reveal anything about who he was or where he came from this soon. He was not even sure how long he would be in their company, but they certainly seemed to be nice and helpful for what he was in need of at this time. He would be patient. He had only been with them for part of a one day, after all. And he was able to give them some help they clearly were in need of. He recognized that he needed to do something to show that he would not cause trouble, but only be helpful to them. So, he moved closer to Martha and wrapped his arms round her right one and looked up at her and smiled his most reassuring smile.
“Ben, I really do not think he wants to be a problem. Let’s give him a chance. We are a bit flusher now because of him, and we are going to be having a nice meal in a moment thanks to him. Let’s just give this a bit more time, OK?” Martha pleaded.
“You have a point, Martha. I can go along with that idea, at least for now if nothing happens to get us in a scrape,” Ben agreed.
As if on cue, the young waitress arrived at their booth with all their food arranged up her left arm, and a small tray in her right hand that contained all their drinks. Ben thanked her for the quick service, and they all dug in as if they had not eaten for days. They had their faces almost in their food so intently that neither Ben nor Martha noticed the man who casually walked in and took a seat in the corner of the diner where he could keep his eye on the group of them. But the boy took notice. Nothing escaped his attention and the man in the corner was no exception.
Chapter Six –
If only his physical size were taken into account, it would be likely to presume he was about five years old. He was just less than four feet tall, and he appeared to be the normal weight for that age. There were two traits that a closer look caused the observer to take pause. First, the youngster displayed sure-footedness not common with a five-year-old boy. He moved about with a grace and coordination belying a much older person. The second clue was his facial features. There was a sharp definition to his features that made one think they were seeing how he would look as a young man, rather than a child. The set of his jaw, the sharp angularity of his nose, and the wise look suggested by his steady gaze was disarming, if not slightly alarming. The study of this apparent child’s appearance tended to make the observer ponder what was noticed, and then with a shoulder shrug just walk away and let it pass because there weren’t any obvious answers to the questions that filled one’s mind. If you were to see him just from the neck up from a bit of a distance you might mistake him to be as much as 25 years old.
He had an adult level comprehension of any language he was within hearing distance of, and if one had to guess what race or nationality he was from, there wasn’t an easy answer. It could be said he represented most of them. Not really Caucasian, possibly some Asian features, then again middle eastern cues could be identified, or perhaps some Serbian features? There was just no way to tell for certain from looking at him. And 1930’s Midwesterners were not accustomed to being exposed to very much international culture, especially other than western European influences such as Irish or Germanic.
No one really was aware that he was multi-lingual because he responded to whatever language was spoken in his presence. And in 1930’s Midwestern America, that of course was English. However, if he were to encounter anyone whose native language was Chinese, Mexican, a Native American tribal dialect, etc., he would be able to communicate with them as well as if that were his native tongue. This was generally unknown because it had not been observed by bystanders.
He seemed to have an uncanny ability to be completely aware of everything going on around him. He even seemed able to anticipate events in the near term, like what might be just ahead. And to the close observer, as Ben and Martha were quickly becoming, there was the presence of an unexplainable resoluteness about him, as if he was absolutely purposeful about everything he did or was about to do. He didn’t make overt demands as a matter of routine, but when he wanted something in particular, he would not be denied, and he seemed to always know what to do and how to get his desires fulfilled.
But as remarkable as many of those characteristics might seem, they were not what made this young boy special. There was much more, and the part of the world he was in was about to learn this in some profoundly interesting ways. It was no accident or coincidence that he planted himself squarely in the Midwest. Events were about to unfold that were going to require some uncommon, other worldly knowledge and skills to cope with them, and he was exactly the right source to deal with them in part because he was the last likely source to do so. The element of invisibility and surprise was just what the situation would call for. And his current hosts were about to get their plans permanently changed even though they thought they knew where they were headed and why.
Ben and Martha remained puzzled about the origins of this youngster, but they were not yet as curious as they would later become. So, they just continued to watch and learn with the hope that clues would begin to emerge that would satisfy their questions and curiosity. Add to this that he was beginning to grow on them in important ways and this magical union of man, woman, boy was taking form.