Jacob's Helper   
     by Clarsah 

September 21, 1996 (Journal entry)       

     The day dawns bittersweet, Jacob's birthday. Seven years
ago, as I held Catherine for the last time, she told me of our
son. How he has grown. His life so full of wonder and excitement
-- new adventures at each turn. To have the world be that
wondrous again. To feel love where now there is only emptiness. 
     Love has reached out to me, since Catherine death. Love I
could not accept. Diana offered me her heart. But the wound was
too new, too raw. The pain to much too bear. And then there was
too much history, too much that tied her to the past. Instead, I
wrap emptiness around myself -- a protective blanket -- so I need
not feel the pain. Instead love comes to me and I give my love to
those around me. My son, Father, Those who protect me, those I
protect.  Ours is a Fragile world.      
     Jacob is Above, with his friends, in search of a birthday
treat. A treat, like the sunshine, that I can not share. 

-  vincent        

     Jacob, a boy of seven, turned his face to the noon day sun.
He smiled that lopsided smile of children in the process of 
losing their front teeth. He and a group of children from the
tunnels Below came Above in search of ice cream to honor of his
birthday. The older children Below collected cans and bottles to
provide enough money for each child to partake in this special
treat. Jacob's blonde hair and blue eyes, so like his mother's,
flashed in the bright sun as he ran up the hill, dancing.   
     "Come on!" Jacob shouted to his friend.      
     Eager to secure his favorite treat, Jacob waved his arm in
encouragement. Mostly at the two older girls, Becca and Liz, who
chaperoned the children out of the tunnels. The two girls had
reached that age where it is undignified to seem too much in a
hurry. Especially when escorting a group of six younger
children,. But they promised Father and Vincent that they would
see the children safely to and from of the world Above.     
     Once outside the confines of the tunnels the children ran
and called to one another. Tumbling and playing, they made their
way toward the Merry-go-round, where they knew the ice cream
vender would be found.        
     Carefully, each child appraised the selection of ice cream
with the eye of a connoisseur. None of them wanted to waste so
precious a treat on ill-considered choice. Once a decision was
reached, each child requested his or her perference with the
utmost politeness. Each request was preceded by a "please" and
followed by a "thank you" as ice cream and money changed hands.
The ice cream vender could not remember a more polite, though
rambunctious, group of children. Such behavior would not have
surprised the adults in the tunnels Below, for this was the way
in which they raised the children of their world to behave. 
     When the ice cream was purchased and consumed Becca and Liz 
tried to herd their charges back to the drainage tunnel from
which they had emerged half an hour earlier, to the safety of the
tunnels Below.      
     "Can we stay?" Meagan, one of the younger girls cried. 
     "We promised Father and Vincent we would bring you right
back," responded Liz.  With neither Father nor Vincent present,
that promise might be difficult keep. Especially in the face of
the warm sunshine. Beside the older girls were also enjoying the
rare chance to be in the sun on this the first day of autumn. 
     "Please." " We want to stay." "Let us stay." " Only for a
little while." the children chorused in pleading voices.    
     "Its my birthday. I'd really like to stay." Jacob added to
finish off the last of the girls reserve.    
     "It would be fun to spend sometime Above" Becca whispered to
     "I guess it wouldn't hurt. But just for a little while." Liz
answered in the same tone hushed tone as they huddled together
deciding what to do.     
     "Okay, just for a little while." Becca announced, as the
girls turned to face the children once again. "But stay together"
Liz added. Too late, as the children scattered, calling to one
another, thoughout the park. Both girls sighed, they could count
on spending the rest of the afternoon rounding up the younger
children. Then they ran to catch up with those of the children
they could still see.    
     It took the girls over an hour to finally round up the
children, except for Jacob.        
     "Did any of you see which direction Jacob went?" Liz asked
hopefully. She looked around hoping she might catch sight of him. 
     "I think he went toward the lake." Andre answered.     
     "I saw him near the zoo." contradicted Krista     
     "No, Jason and I were at the zoo." responded Wesley "And he
wasn't with us."    
     This was hopeless both girls decided. They'd better get back
Below with the remaining children and tell Father and Vincent
what had happened. Besides, they knew, Vincent could find Jacob
no matter where he was. They only had to wait until dark when
Vincent could safely come Above. Until then, they hoped that
Jacob would be safe. So, they turned back toward the tunnel
entrance with children. Somewhat chagrined, the girls walked back
thorough the tunnels below. The report of their lapse in duty, to
Father and Vincent, was not going to be easy.   


     Jacob was blissfully unaware of the problems he was causing,
as he made his way out of the park. The sun reflecting, as if
from giant mirrors off the buildings surrounding the park, had
caught his attention. He knew his mother had lived in one of them
before he was born. His father had even shown him the building.
But that had been at night, Jacob wanted to see it in the
     Jacob safely crossed the street that separated the park from
the rest of the city. He explored the block. He knew it was one
of the building surrounding him. But they all looked so different
in the daylight. Jacob turned circles as he looked up, trying to
distinguish one building from another.       
     "Watch out Kid!" someone shouted. Startling Jacob as he
almost stepped off the curb into the on-coming traffic.     
     Jacob was carried across the intersection with the crowd of
people that waited on the corner for the light to change. His
father would find him later if he got lost. And he would only get
in a little trouble. Jacob never thought about the fact that his
father only came Above at night, after sunset and sunset was
hours away.    
     Jacob wandered the streets of New York City not realizing he
was getting further and further from the park, and the doorway to
his home Below. The sights and sounds of the city dazzled the
child from Below. An irresistible fascination. Jacob had no idea
that he was getting hopelessly lost amid the tall buildings. He
only knew that this place was unlike anywhere he had been before.
His Father had brought him Above a few times, but then only at
night. To explore the city in light of the sun, was a temptation
he could not resist.     
     Only when the ice cream wore off and dinner time approached
did Jacob begin to wonder how long it would be before his father
came for him.  


     Father was an older gentleman, whose light brown hair and
beard had turned almost fully grey. He walked with a cane, adding
to the air of dignity that surrounded him.  Father was the
patriarch of the tunnel community below. His real name some had
forgotten and others had never known. In most respects he was a
father to all of those who lived Below. As such everyone in the
world Below just referred to him, appropriately, as Father.
Except for Jacob, his namesake and grandson.      
     Vincent, his son, was tall man approaching forty. Over six
feet tall, his natural grace belied his size. The wide belt of
leather at his waist empathized his unusually broad shoulder and
narrow waist and hips. In his rough blonde hair a few strands of
grey had begun to appear. Both men wore the rough and patched
clothing, in layers, that was characteristic of the tunnel
     The men leaned over a collection drawings as they discussed
planned changes to the tunnels. The room, Father's chamber, in
which they worked was reminiscent of something from a medieval
castle. The furniture, old, solid and ornately craved, was
upholstered with thick brocade and velvets. Old books were piled
on all available horizontal surfaces. Books, displaced from the
table where the drawings lay, had been moved to the floor. The
room was cluttered with the collected items of Father's years
Below. Candlelight illuminated the room. A single hurricane lamp
cast its light upon the plans the two men were considering. 
     "Father, Vincent,"  two voices came hesitently from behind
them. It was Liz and Becca returned from Above and struggling
with how to tell the two men that Jacob was lost Above. Father
and Vincent turned and faced the girls. The girls stared at the
floor. Neither one wanted to face the two most powerful men in
the tunnels with their news. It was not fear that made them
hesitate. Neither girl wanted to disappoint the men that faced
them, but knew they would.         
     "Your back." Father said cheerfully,  "Although a bit late,"
he added. His voice was gentle as he chastened the girls. The
pocket watch he had consulted moments before was returned to his
coat pocket.        
     Vincent senced something amiss. "What is it?" he asked,
trying not to add to the girls obvious discomfort. Father could
be intimidating, Vincent on the other hand could inspire awe in
even the hardiest of the tunnel dweller and fear in those who
lived in the world Above. So, by way of compensation, Vincent
spoke mostly in subdued and calming tones. Especially when one or
other of the children was upset. The  girls in front of him
obviously were.     
     "Is someone hurt?" Father asked, his role as the tunnel
physician asserted itself as always whenever trouble threatened
to raises its ugly head in the tunnel world he had helped to
     The girls, one blonde and one dark, shook their heads. 
     "What is it?" Vincent questioned in a silky soothing voice,
as two steps carried him across the room to kneel before the
     Vincent, tilting his head as he looked up at the girls, saw
Becca's eyes threatening to spill over with tears.     
     "What is it?" He repeated gently, his voice beguiled his
massive size. He took both girls in his great embrace, "It cannot
be that bad." Vincent continued in an effort to comfort the girls 
     All Becca could do was shake  her head in silent
contradiction of this statement. This was worse than they thought
it would be. To Vincent should comfort them when they had let him
down. It was Liz who finally summoned up the courage to break the
     "Jacob's lost Above." Liz said in a whisper.      
     "What!" Father exclaimed as he stood and took several steps
toward the girls. Thus far he had been observing the scene in
silence from the table. As usual he trusted Vincent to deal with
the girls without his help.   
     "Vincent?" the tone in Father's voice asked if Jacob was all
right. Father, like the girls, knew that Vincent would be able to
sense if Jacob was hurt or in danger.   
     Vincent momentarily stared off in to the distance.     
     "He's fine, all I feel is a sense of wonderment." Vincent
assured Father.     
     There was a connection between Vincent and his son. Vincent
was always able to sense Jacob's state, no matter where he was.
The connection was one that Vincent had once shared with Jacob's
mother, Catherine. Now the bond had passed to Jacob, their son.  
     "We should contacted the helpers. Others of us can search
the streets." Father said, feeling the need for action. "Where
did you last see him." Father continued.     
     "By the merry-go-round" Becca finally found her voice. 
     "Then we should start by searching the park." Father said,
taking command of the situation. He resisted the urge to scold
further. It was evident from the faces of the two girls that 
they had punished themselves enough.    
     "He's not in the park any longer." Vincent said as he
straightened to stand. Vincent reached out to his son. His eyes
focused on thing beyond the room in which he stood. With the
connection, he seemed to leave the room and those in it behind. 
Father had become used to this look, even to depend on it,
especially where Jacob was concerned.   
     "Are sure?" Father asked even though he knew Vincent's
connection with Jacob was infallible. Father had always been
mystified by this connection or bond. The bond seemed so tenuous,
so unexplainable, something beyond his understanding. Father
sometime found it difficult to trust so insubstantial a thing.
Especially when the safety of his grandson, over the next few
hours, depended on it.   
     "Yes." Vincent said to Father. "You can go, Father and I
will take care of this." Vincent dismissed to the two girls. He
knew that they felt badly, they need not remain any longer.
"We'll find him." he said reassuringly as they turned to leave.  
     Both girls turned and smiled weakly a mixture of
appreciation of his concern for them  and regret for letting him
down. To have let Vincent down was worse than letting anyone else
in their community down, including possible their parents.
Vincent was like a father, uncle, big brother, teacher and
confidant all rolled in to one. They knew Jacob was special,
since he was Vincent's son. But still Vincent always found time
for each of them. Making sure they had what they needed and
sometime refusing, gently, what they wanted when it was best that
they do without. Vincent had been the one who entrusted them with
the children for the trip Above. And now they had let him down.
Hugging each other the girls made their way out of the room. 
     "Can you lead us to him?" Father asked. The tunnels they
lived in ran for miles under the city streets. He hoped that
Vincent could lead some of the others to the section of the city
where Jacob was. Although Vincent could not go Above during the
day, at least the others would know where to begin to search. 
     "No. It's like he has become part of the city. I can feel
him nowhere and everywhere all at the same time. He's caught up
in everything." Vincent's voice sounded as if he was talking from
a great distance away, his eye again focused on some unseen
vision. Father knew from experience that Vincent was with Jacob.
Experiencing whatever Jacob was. Whatever and wherever that was.  

     The sun had begun to dip lower in the late afternoon sky.
Jacob walked for what seemed like forever. At first, everything
had been mystical and magical. Now he hoped his Father would come
for him, soon. He was tired and hunger and ready to go home, no
matter how much trouble he was in. He knew that his grandfather
would give him a "good talking to" about stay with the others.
His father would be firm and gentle, explaining without talking
down or scolding.  But right now, Jacob just wanted to feel his
father's strong arm around him, holding him. Jacob wanted to curl
up against his father's massive chest, warm and safe. And home. 
     The tired boy sat down heavily on the stone stoop of an old
storefront. The windows where filled with neat things. Stars and
moons and suns. Strange statue and carving of thing Jacob could
not quite identify. Somehow,  those things seemed familiar.
Reminiscent of things he had seem in his grandfather's chamber.
Jacob found comfort in that familiarity. The smells emanating
from the door were familiar too. The fragrance reminder Jacob of
Mr. Woo's shop. But, Jacob knew he was not in that part of town.
Jacob had visited to that particular herbalist shop with his
father or grandfather many times before and this was not it.
Nothing around him looked familiar.     
     "Hi." a warm and friendly voice followed, instantaneously,
the bell that announced that the door behind him had opened.  
     Jacob looked up to see a small woman, dressed in jeans and a
sweater, looking down at him. She looked about the age of his
friends' mothers. She was about the same height of Pascal, the
diminutive keeper of the pipe chamber Below. Her short hair was
cut to the shaped to her head. A few white strands, that she did
not bother to color, had begun to appear in her copper
highlighted dark brown hair.       
     "Hi." He responded back. His voice low and filled with the
loneliness that had slowly filled him once he had realized he was
     "Are you lost?" the woman asked as she sat down beside him.
Jacob liked her voice. She did not use that weepy voice that some
people did with children. It reminded him of way his father often
talked to him.      
     Jacob just nodded his head then he stared at his hands in
his lap.       
     "Well, if you tell me your name and where you live, maybe I
can help you get home." She responded.       
     "I can't." Jacob answered.    
     "You can't what? Tell your name or where you live." She was
smiling at the joke. Jacob knew she smiled, because her voice
smiled. Looking up Jacob's blue eyes and met the dark eyes of the
woman beside him. Her eyes smiled too, sparkling. From her eyes
Jacob knew he was safe and he began to relax. The first hint of a
smile played across his face and then disappeared as he turned to
stare at his hand once more.       
     "What's your name?" Jacob asked, not yet willing to trust
the woman fully.    
     "Claire." She answered. "Now your's?" willing to play the
     "Do you have a last name?" Claire continued in the same calm
     "No" Jacob answered.     
     "How about your address or phone number?"    
     "What are those?" came Jacob's surprising response.    
     This answer Claire might have expected from one of the
city's many street children. A child with no home and no one to
care for them. Claire had seen many such children. She
instinctively knew this was not one. Someone was looking for this
child and worrying.      
     "Maybe I should call the police to see if someone's looking
for you." Claire suggested.   
     "No!" Jacob almost bolted. Claire reached out and stopped
him. Jacob, like all the children raised below, had a built in
fear of the police. Their survival depended on it. "My father
will come for me soon," He said as he sat back down.   
     "Okay, I won't call the police." Claire soothed, "But how
will your father know where to find you?"    
     "He just will. He always does,"  some of the confidence
returned to Jacob's voice.    
     "Well, I'm getting hungry, how about you." Claire changed
her line of questioning, cheerfully, to regain the confidence she
had almost lost. Jacob did not answer immediately. He was lost in
the thought.   
     Observing the boy for a moment, Claire sense something she
had not expected. There was the presence reaching out to this
child. A presence like a distant thread that communicated warmth,
concern and love. It was like an aura, surrounding him. Claire
could almost see it fill the air around him. "Yes someone is
definitely looking for you" she whispered to herself.       
     "Its my birthday. There was suppose to be a party. Now, I'm
going to miss it." Jacob finally answered. Disappointment filled
his voice.     
     "I'm sure that your family will wait until you get back to
have your party." Claire reassured him.      
     "But then it will be too late and my birthday will be over."
Jacob started to sink it to sadness again.   
     "Come on." Claire said, reaching for Jacob's hand as she
stood up. "Let's have a party of our own."   
     "With ice cream?" Jacob asked hopefully, as he looked up at
Claire once again.       
     "With ice cream." Claire promised. Laughing as she and Jacob
turned to enter the store. She did not know that the quest for
ice cream was how Jacob became lost in the first place.  


     "What should we do?" Father asked as he sat down heavily in
the arm chair next to the table.   
     "Wait." Vincent answered. He paced the floor, as always when
concerned or upset. Suddenly the room seemed too small to hold so
large man. "I'll look for him once it gets dark."      
     "But, that hours away yet." Father said, worry cracked in
his voice. "For God's sake, Vincent, sit down!" his voice sounded
harsher than he intended. He wished he could join his son's
pacing. But an injury to his hip, years early prevented him from
that participating in that particularly physical form of release. 
     Vincent took the chair opposite Father, swiped the forgotten
plans onto the floor. Then lowered his head to his folded arms.
Arms that ached to hold his son. Frustration began to creep into
the edges of Vincent's mind. He damped down those feelings almost
as quickly as they surfaced. It had not been determined if Jacob
had the same receptive abilities that he himself possessed.
Still, Vincent wasn't willing to risk frightening Jacob, by
giving free reign to his own fears, just now.  Vincent rose from
the chain to resume his pacing, waiting was not his forte. This
kind of waiting reminded him of a wait  seven years ago. Pacing
the room allowed him the illusion of running from that tragedy
and the regret that would inevitably follow.      
     William the cook. Mary, a woman of Father's age, the mother,
midwife and nurse of the community. Jaime, now grown to a woman
and others. Even Mouse, An awkward man, looking like as if he had
never quite out grown an equally awkward adolescence came in to
offer help. If not help, then comfort during the wait. Word
traveled fast in the close community of the tunnels.        
     Pascal, as everyone knew, was in the pipe chamber, the heart
of communication in the world Below. The pipes and the codes,
tapped out on them, where used to communicate from one part of
the tunnels to another. Some said, if you listened to Pascal's
heartbeat you would hear the rhythm of the pipes. The senteries
where alerted. The "all quite" was  put out as soon as Jacob was
reported missing. Pasal would remain remain with the pipes until
Jacob had safely returned.    
     Vincent settled in a chair on the edge of the group, near
one of the exits. He wanted to leave as soon as darkness fell.
Silently he sat his chin resting on his folded hands, focusing on
the connection with his son. Vincent could feel Jacob growing
tired. He could sense Jacob's fear growing with his fatigue. The
others moved around the room talking softly, giving each other
word of encouragement, reassuring Father or making plans to
celebrate a belated birthday when Jacob returned. Everyone
counted on Vincent to locate his son and bring him home safely.
They trusted that Vincent would know if Jacob was in danger or in
need of help and in his ability to lead them to Jacob should the
need arise. They hoped the need would not arise. For now, they
waited until dark, when Vincent could safely go into the world
Above and find Jacob.    
     Vincent started from his reveries. A sudden warmth
surrounded Jacob. As if a warm blanket had been through around
his son, protecting him. Replacing the sadness. In that warmth
Vincent felt the tenuous touch of something, like a breeze blown
lightly across his cheek, a feather's touch. And then, it
withdrew almost before Vincent had a chance to register it. 
     "Vincent?" Father's voice was filled with concern, "Is
he...?" Father stopped unwilling to give voice to his fears.  
     "He's safe. Someone has found him." Vincent assured them
all. With this announcements the members of the community let out
a collective sigh of relief. It was still several hours until
night would come to the world Above. At least now they could all
relax knowing the Jacob was safe.  


     "Is there somewhere close to your house that you can think
of? Someplace that you know how to get home from?" Claire asked
Jacob as they prepared dinner. Claire was at the stove stirring a
pot of soup. She had put Jacob to work making salad, fresh bread
baked in the oven and the ice cream waited in the freezer. 
     "The park." Jacob answered with a little enthusiasium. 
     "Central Park?" Claire asked speculatively.       
     "Yeah, the one with the merry-go-round and the zoo." Jacob
had regained some of his confidence since he and Claire had meet
on the stoop of her shop below. Claire considered this new
information. The park was over twenty minutes from her home, it
would be dark by the time she could get dinner into Jacob and
they could get there. Beside, Claire knew from the tired look in
his eye that Jacob would not be long for this world once he was
     "Do you know how to set a table." Claire turned toward Jacob
just has he put the finishing touches on the salad with a
childlike flourish. Claire had to smile. She knew this unguarded
display meant that Jacob was finally beginning to lose his
initial caution.   "Yes." Jacob answered.    
     "Well, here," Claire said.  Opening the drawer near the
stove, she handed the silverware to Jacob. Then she opened a
cabinet to retrieve the bowls and plates to complete the table
setting. Claire ladled soup into bowls and carried them to the
table. Then, she got the bread from the oven. Jacob served the
salad as Claire cut the hot bread. They both seated themselves at
the table.     
     "Do you say a blessing or anything at home." Although this
was not her practice, she respected the beliefs of other. If
Jacob came from a home where it was, she felt would be best for
him continue the familiar routine.      
     "Sort of, but I'm hungry." Jacob answered. Claire noted that
tiredness had started to creep into his voice. So, the two of
them started the meal. It would be best if he spent the night
here she thought. If only she could think of some way to contact
the people looking for him.        
     Dinner concluded with the promised ice cream. Claire
presented Jacob with a bowl of ice cream, complete with a lighted
candle. She made a great production of singing "Happy Birthday"
and Jacob blew out the candle. Jacob's laughter filled the room.
That seemed to suffice in lieu of a party Claire concluded. 
     Jacob found and curled up on Claire's couch while she loaded
the dishwasher. When she went into the living room Jacob was
already fast asleep. She picked up the sleeping child and carried
him into the bedroom. There she undressed him and put him in an
old T-shirt. She the kissed Jacob on the forehead and brushed the
hair away from his face as she tucked him into bed. She left the
bedside lamp on in case he should awaken before she returned to
the room.      
     Claire entered the a small room in another part of her home.
She lit a candle with a match from the shelf just inside the
door, where she kept them within easy reach. This room was
lighted only by candles. Claire could have moved through the room
in the dark if she had to. But she liked the warm familiar glow
of candlelight. She crossed the room to a large ornately  carved
armoire. Opening the door she withdrew a second candle, a mirror
and a bowl. She carried these items to a low chest. She filled
the bowl with water from a jar kept on a shelf above the chest.
The room filled with the fragrance of lavender. Claire inhaled
deeply, letting the fragrance fill her, settling her mind. 
     She placed the water filled bowl on top of the mirror and
knelt before the table. As she lit the candle, she questioned
what she was about to do. Everything she been had taught or
taught others Made her question the ethics of her plan. But, it
was the only way she could think of to contact those who where
looking for the sleeping child. No parent should have to spend a
night, any night without know that their child was safe and would
return. She held tight to that belief. It  was the only
justification she had.   
     Claire gazed into the bowl, staring at the reflected flame.
She felt more that saw the thin thread that she had detected
earlier. A thread that led back to the ones looking for Jacob.
She followed the thread. Became part of it. Following it back its
     Sensing the presence of another she let her mind rest there
gently. Claire reached out carefully, not wanting to startle the
person at the other end of the thread. Gently, she touched the
mind of another, waiting for it to acknowledge her. Forming the
word of her message in her mind.  


     Vincent bolted out of the chair with a snarl,  turning to
see who had come up behind him. The light of a candle reflected
in a mirror caught his eye. He stood, frozen, staring into its
light. The others in the room stopped in stunned silence. All
eyes were on Vincent.  But, Vincent saw only the light and
shadowy image of a woman that seemed to form there. Then feelings
of caring and warmth filled him. Feelings similar to those he had
felt surround Jacob earlier. He  heard a voice. The voice of a
woman, soft and light, like distant chimes filled his head.   Let
not your heart be  filled with dread. For the child lays
sleeping, warm and fed.  On the morn he will return. Safe to the
park near  the burn.     
     Then, images of Jacob sleeping and the entrance to the 
drainage tunnel filled his head. Somehow Vincent knew the images
were true.          
     "Thank you." he whispered into the air.      
     The contact was broken abruptly, leaving Vincent adrift. So
sudden its absence that Vincent gasped and staggered, reaching
for the chair he had recently vacated to steady himself.    
     "Vincent, what is it?" concern returned to Father's voice.
"Has Jacob been hurt?"   
     "No, No," Vincent spoke as if in a daze. His blonde hair
swirled around him like a halo as he shook his head in an attempt
to clear it of the lingering vision. His sensitive nose caught
the scent of lavender, as the vision returned to his eye.   
     "No, Jacob fine, sleeping actually," there was a gentle
laughter in his voice. "As we all should be. He's found a helper
Above. He'll return in the morning." Vincent was confident in the
message, no matter what its source.     
     The others gradually left the room, more tired than any of
them realized. The strain of waiting had exhausted them all.
Father, grey head bent in fatigue, sat down in his favorite
chair, as if his legs could no longer support him. The chair
where he spent hours reading to the children Below. Reading to
Jacob. Relieved.    
     "How do you know?" Father asked Vincent tentatively.   
     "I'm not sure." Vincent shook his head, slightly, once
again. "A vision..., a voice..., carried on the light of a
     Father thought he was use to Vincent's empathic abilities.
Especially  with those closest to him like Catherine, before her
death, and now Jacob. But this was a whole new experience. One
for which he could find no creditable explanation.     
     "I can't explain it either." Vincent said, as if reading
Father's mind. "You should follow the example of the others and
go to bed, Father." Vincent leaned down and kissed the older man
on the forehead. The filial kiss of a son to a father. He then
helped the older man to his feet. Father leaned heavily on
Vincent's arm, letting the younger man guide him to the alcove
off the central room to his bed.        
     "Thank you, Vincent." more than that was beyond Father's
exhausted resources.     
     "Sleep well, Father" Vincent replied, softly, as he gathered
his massive black cloak over his arm.   
     Sleep was still far from Vincent's mind. Instead of turning
toward his own chamber,  he took the tunnels that led to the
world Above. Night would have fallen now and it was safe to go
Above and walk in the world of men. Vincent sought out, as he
often did when sleep eluded him, the high rooftops of the tall
buildings. As he settled on one of the tallest, he sighed.
Contentment filled him as he looked up at the stars. The same
stars above same city where his son slept. The feeling of comfort
that surrounded his son filled him. For the first time in years
Vincent felt completely at peace. A peace that before would have
been tinged with grief.  


     "Thank you"    
     The words echoed back to Claire, in a silken voice unlike
any she had ever heard. But it was what she saw that caused her
to break the connection so abruptly. The room was filled with
people. Energy swirled and flowed from one to another. It looked
like a scene from a movie about knights and kings in a grander
time. But it was the face, the face that looked back at her,
reflected in water and light. The one that whisper thank you to
her heart, that startled her most. It was unlike anything she had
ever seem or imagined.   
     She closed her eyes as she tried to recreate the image in
her mind. The lion like features mixed with those of a man,
dusted with fur. The straight regal nose. The rough blonde hair
that ringed his face like a mane. The deep penetrating blue eyes
that held her own for a split second. She could have looked into
his soul through those eyes. His eyes that spoke volume about the
humanity of the strange, yet handsome, man inside. She held it
all. Turned it over in her mind. Examined it from different
angles. Cemented it into her memory.    
     Claire blow out the candle in front of her. Standing, she
stretched out the kinks that had formed from kneeling so long.
She poured the water in a watering can nearby. She would use the
lavender scented water to water her plants. Returning the water
to the earth in the only way possible while living in the city.
She returned the other item to the armoire from which she had
removed them. Blew out the candle by the door. She closed the
door and returned to her bedroom and the sleeping child.    
     Jacob had not moved since she had left him. She pulled off
her clothes and donned a T-shirt similar to the one she had put
on Jacob earlier. Jacob snuggled up against her as she climbed
into the bed. His sleep warmed body pressed tight against hers,
as if he sought reassurance even sleep. Claire drifted off to
sleep, a motherly arm wrapped around Jacob's small sleeping form. 


     The dawn promised a bright and beautiful morning. Thin
traces of fog glowed in the early pre-dawn light. Claire had
arisen just long enough ago to have secured her first cup of
coffee and now she stood on the second of three porches at the
back of her building. She stood there sipping coffee and watching
the sunrise. Jacob was asleep. Let him sleep a little longer she
thought enjoying the morning. Claire loved this time of day, the
peace and quite at the beginning of the new day.       
     She turned at sound behind her. "Your awake." she said to
Jacob who had appeared behind her.      
     "Its time to go home" Jacob responded, sleepily. He rubbed
his eyes with his forearm.    
     "Yes," Claire agreed. "But first breakfast and then I have
something to show you." She did not want to keep Jacob from those
who loved him too much longer.     
     Two hours later Jacob and Claire entered the park. "Where
to?" Claire asked   
     "That way." Jacob answered, with excitement in his voice, as
he pointed to the right.      
     "Stop!" Jacob almost  shouted.     
     Claire eased the car to the curb. Good thing she locked the
door otherwise he probably would have been out of it before she
got the car stopped.     
     "Wait for me." a motherly command tone entered her voice for
the first time in many years.      
     Claire got out, locked her door and then walked to the
passenger side of the car to let Jacob out. Jacob pulled her arm
in his excitement to be so close to home. It had already been an
exciting morning Jacob had never been in a car before. Claire had
gained a new appreciation for seatbelts too.  Without them she
would never kept him reasonably still for the drive over.   
     Claire took Jacob's hand and let him guide her to the
hillside above the drainage tunnel that lead under the park.
Vincent watched as Jacob led a small woman toward the tunnel.
From his vantage point hidden in the shadows of its entrance,
Vincent  could not make out the woman's face. They stopped far up
the hill, as if by mutual consent. Intuitively, Claire knew that
this was as close to Jacob's world as it was wise to go. It was
time to say good bye.         
     As Claire knelt down, Jacob looked up at her.  "I want you
to go with me," he pleaded.   
     "No," She said gently "You must go by yourself from here" 
     "But you can talk to them." Jacob continued, "They'll be mad
at me."   
     "You can talk to the too. Be sure to apologize." Claire
instructed. She paused to brush the hair from Jacob's eyes."Good
bye Jacob."    
     "Bye Claire." Jacob hugged her tightly.      
     Vincent watched this tableau, gaining admiration for the
woman who had brought Jacob back. She seen to have known what to
do from the beginning. Many would not have to gone to the trouble
she had. They would have turned to the authorities. That thought
was one he banished, quickly. It was too heartbreaking to even
consider. The problems of Jacob's safe return, under those
circumstances were too insurmountable to even think of.     
     As Claire rose, she saw a black shrouded figure disengage
from the shadows at the entrance to the drainage tunnel. She knew
it was the man she had seen reflected in the water. She turned
Jacob toward the tunnel and his waiting father, "Go," she
whispered as she pushed Jacob toward the last leg of his
     Slowly, at first, Jacob left her side. He turned around once
and waved. Claire waved back. Then he turned once again and ran
into his father's waiting arms. Vincent swept the Jacob up and
hugged him lowering the boy's  blonde head into the curve of his
neck. As they hugged the darker blonde hair of the father mixed
with the lighter blonde hair of the son.     
     When Vincent looked up from examining his son, he saw the
receding back of the woman who had brought Jacob home. Jacob
sensing his father's attention shift, turned in his arms to watch
Claire walk away from the hillside. Jacob waved once,
tentatively,  but Claire did not see. Vincent watched Claire's
straight back as she walked back the way she and Jacob had come.
Something in the way she moved through the park made Vincent
think of forest sprites from childhood stories he had read. She
seemed to belong among the trees and grasses of the park. She
moved with the rhythm of the gentle breeze. The sunlight flashed
off her dark hair, sending coppery sparks into the air. Strangely
she never looked back.      

September 22, 1996 (Journal entry)      

     The world above sleeps and so does mine. Jacob stirs in the
bed behind me. I have let him sleep there tonight, not willing to
part with him just yet. The candles were blown out and the feast
consumed. A belated birthday and a homecoming.              
     I should go Above and thank the one who made this all
possible. I know where she can be found. Jacob carries her
address on a card, inside a pouch he wears on a string around his
neck. The card and a quarter in case he should ever need her help
again. I should go, but I hesitate, to meet this woman. Jacob's
Helper. I do not know her face.    All I know of her now is her
kindness and her name...  

- vincent 

About the Author  

I fell in love with B&tB when it originally aired and I
religously tape and watch the reruns, although the baseball
season is really a drag. I was seeking a creative outlet to keep
me sane in a rather hectic world. I discovered FOL at the Songs
of the Blue Bird Web Site and decided I could do that. So here it
is, my first attempt at writing a B&tB story. I can be contacted
at my Beastly half's email address: Brianb@inmind.com.

fare thee well