The children found Danny in the bush.
‘We heard him crying,’ said Tess.
‘But he was fifty kilometres away,’ protested Cleo.
‘Yes. And we heard him crying. So we went to see.’
This is typical of the children. They have no fear, they care about everyone, and will simply take whatever action they think is required. They can’t seem to get hold of the idea that some actions are not appropriate for children to take. They see a need and that’s it.
‘Darling, it upsets me when you put yourself in danger like this. Look at how upset Mummy is,’ said Cleo, inviting Tess to probe her telepathically. Tess did so, and tears came to her eyes.
‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she said, ‘I didn’t mean to upset you. But I wasn’t in any danger, honestly. You got it wrong.’
This is typical, too. They are always telling us we’ve got it wrong, and they are usually right.
‘He said he was lonely, Mum. He said he was a bad man. We asked him if he knew how to forgive himself, and he said, “No, I don’t,” and we said we could show him if he liked, and he said, “Yes, please,” so we did.
‘Then we asked him if he wanted to come and meet everyone, and he said, “Alright then,” but he doesn’t know how to teleport. So can we go and get him in the saucer, please?’
At this point, Cleo rang me. Now Tess is my great-great niece, and I use this as an excuse to poke my nose into all sorts of things that strictly speaking are none of my business. But on this occasion I was invited.
I suggested calling a community meeting, and Cleo agreed. If you’re considering doing something that might affect your neighbours, it’s only good manners to ask them before you do it. We asked Tess, Katrina and Timbo to come to the meeting and project a hologram of their encounter with Danny. We could have applied for the Akashic record, but that would have taken a day or two.
Well, Danny turned out to be six foot six and built to match, with a great mane of matted hair, big bushy beard, ragged clothes, and tattoos on every available surface. The sight of our little children meeting this man in the bush sent a shock wave of fear and horror surging through the room. The children gasped.
‘No!’ cried Tess. ‘That’s not right. We’ve got to love him. We’ve got to love him. You know that!’
She was right, of course.
‘Look,’ I pointed out, ‘Whatever he did, it can’t have been that bad. He must have cleared the karma anyway, or he wouldn’t have made it through the Change.’
‘He looked scary at people for the gang,’ explained Tess. ‘His job was looking scary at people. But he was there when they were hurting people, and he didn’t try to stop them. That’s what he felt bad about. Mostly.’
‘What else did he do that was bad?’ asked Brendan, her father. ‘I want you to probe him, Tess – not just repeat what he told you.’
‘Okay,’ said Tess, and went quiet for a few minutes. ‘…Okay, there is something. He hurt a man, once. The man’s friends came the next day and hurt him worse. He had to go to the hospital.’
‘Okay. Anything else?’
‘He hit a member of the gang who called him bad names. Then the man hit him with a spade and he had to go to the hospital.’
‘Okay. Anything else?’
‘He tried to kick a dog once, but he kicked the wall instead and broke his toe and had to go to the hospital. Can we go now?’
The three fathers wanted to collect Danny on their own, but Tess insisted that at least one of the children should go, or he would be frightened.
‘Anyway, you don’t know where he is,’ she pointed out.
In the end, six of us went in the big community saucer – Timbo with his father Ron, Tess, Cleo, Brendan and me.
Timbo is an excellent navigator, and it only took us ten minutes. He spotted Danny in a clearing close to where they’d met him, and Ron put the saucer into hover.
Tess was right – Danny was frightened. Great big man that he was, he was broadcasting terror at the sight of the saucer hanging overhead. Tess wanted to teleport down to him, but Brendan wouldn’t hear of it. So she used the voice projector.
‘Danny, it’s me, Tess. I’ve brought some people to see you. Is it alright if we land the saucer? No one’s going to hurt you. Is that alright?’
He nodded, so down we came. Brendan jumped out first, all pumped up, but Tess slipped past him, ran straight up to Danny, and placed her little hand in his enormous one. Poor Brendan – the urge to run after her and snatch her away was so strong. But Cleo laid her hand on his arm and he stayed where he was, doing deep breathing exercises. Tess led Danny back to us and we all got on board. His rank smell filled the saucer.
Back at the Community Centre we gave him a meal and took him to the guest cottage with the king-sized bed, where I opened all the windows.
Next morning I went over early to show him how to get breakfast from the replicator, and have a little chat. He’d almost forgotten how to talk, but my telepathy’s coming along nicely, so we managed to understand each another.
He’d been living rough in the bush all these years. He must have been pretty good at hunter-gathering, because he was quite well-nourished, though half his teeth were missing. New Earth had completely passed him by. He’d seen the saucers zipping overhead, but had assumed that the Earth had been taken over by ETs. I don’t know what he thought the children were when they materialised in front of him. Angels, maybe. (And he wouldn’t have been far wrong.)
Poor man! Living in a nightmare of his own creation, when he could have joined us in the new reality years ago. But then, you could say we were all doing that before the Change, couldn’t you?
So what next?
In the old days, our top priority would have been to get Danny into a bath, shave his beard off, cut his hair off, scrub him and de-louse him, and burn his clothes.
But we knew better now. The most important thing was to get him easy in his mind. Which was a tangled knot of anxieties about the various traps we might spring on him – prison, mental hospital, doctors, religion, and even our own expectations. Those anxieties couldn’t be banished with words. He had to see and feel that we were trustworthy by the way we behaved, and that was going to take time.
As Tess said, we had to love him. It’s the only thing that works.
Five years on, he’s back in the bush again – where he feels most at home. He’s working with the nature spirits on the re-introduction of the Moa. Nowadays he’s in excellent health, and has an energy box, a replicator and a disposer with him, so the practicalities of life are taken care of. And he’s taken to teleportation almost as easily as the children, so he can come back whenever he likes. He often turns up for an evening meal and a sing round the open air fire, or a soak in the hot pools.
We’re a little in awe of him now, what with the magnificence of his stature and the shy radiance of his face. When I say we, I mean the adults, of course – not the children, who are simply his friends. As they are friends with the whole of creation.
© Sue J Davis 2015
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