Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Walpurgis Nacht, or the Walpurgis Night celebration of medieval times. Aside from being an ancient custom arising in and around the Baltic states (and do recall that modern Germany is a creation of 19th-century politics, and that many such areas, notably those not belonging to Poland, were originally considered Germanic territories, including East Prussia); the use of the term has been subsequently employed by many writers, especially of the Romantic period of the 19th and early twentieth centuries. More generally, I’d call your attention to Goethe’s Faust and Mann’s Magic Mountain as most relevant to my intent with this chapter, but Mann’s specifically. Without going into nauseatingly grievous detail, suffice to say that on the night in question powerful magic is afoot, and great transformations await the unwary.
This will be slow going on my end, though hopefully less arduous on yours. Breaking this up into small sections is easier for me at this point and I hope you don’t mind. Time for tea? Probably. Oh, the last refrains in the piece below (Juliet’s Death) may be the most evocative notes ever put to paper; certainly the last two or so minutes are among the most vivid in terms of sheer cinematic intensity.
Sergei Prokofiev \\ Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 – Act 4 – Juliet’s Funeral – Juliet’s Death
Chapter 66: Walpurgis Nacht
Callahan helped Didi into her bedroom in the little studio, but he couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed by what had just passed between them. Still, he himself hardly understood what had happened, and he was still confused.
In his mind one moment he was trying to help her stand and the next she was pushing him down and mounting him, and yet he’d never experienced such a frantic coupling in his life. Didi had seemed possessed and even now, back in the studio’s bedroom, she was acting strangely — like a caged tigress pacing back and forth in a suddenly too small enclosure.
Deborah had come in with them and she’d helped Didi into the shower, and once they were free of her Deborah commented on the utter strangeness of the girl’s behavior. “Did something happen while Brendan and I were gone? When we went to get the car?” Deborah asked.
Callahan hated liars more than anything, just as he hated all deceit — for any reason given — but events on the beach now stood to put this to the test. “She was aggressive,” Harry said as they left the studio and began the short walk back to his house.
“Aggressive? How so?”
“Sexually, I think you could say.”
“Well, I was curious. I think there’s a little semen on your trousers.”
“I had no idea…” he sighed, looking away.
“No idea of what? That she is attracted to you? My goodness, Harry, any woman could see that.”
“Oh, no. I, well, you see…I had no idea I could still get it up.”
Deborah shook her head. “I’m afraid I haven’t been a good enough companion to you, Harald. ”You aren’t that old, but I think you definitely are too young to be living with an old spinster like me.”
“You mean enjoying your company and finding you to be an excellent partner aren’t enough?” he said, perhaps a little too sarcastically.
“I enjoy being with you too, Harald, but now you must excuse me if I feel a little inadequate.”
“Hey, it takes two to tango, Deborah, so don’t put all this on you. I haven’t exactly been hot to trot, you know?”
“You have been through a lot.”
“That’s no excuse,” he added with a sigh, opening the front door to the house and stepping aside to let her pass.
Brendan was standing on the deck looking out to sea, shielding his eyes from the sun with one hand — when Callahan heard someone playing the piano. His piano. Suddenly furious, he ran through the living room only to find his son Lloyd at the keyboard…
…who looked up from the piano, smiled his Cheshire Cat grin — and once again disappeared.
“Did you hear that?” Callahan barked as he walked over to the Bösendorfer.
“Yes, of course,” Deborah replied as she came up to Harry, “but…who was playing…?”
“Lloyd was here again.”
“Lloyd…? Oh, Harry, what’s going on?”
Brendan walked in and looked around the room, then he shook his head. “There are too many people interested in you, Harry. Trouble is coming, and soon – I think.”
“What are you talking about, Brendan?” Callahan asked. “What do you mean by too many people…?”
“Maybe ‘people’ isn’t the right word,” Brendan replied, grinning as he pointed at a blue mote loitering in the shadow of a ceiling beam. “You’re making a lot of enemies.”
“Enemies? Why do say that?” Eisenstadt asked.
“The orca told me. He also told me to tell you to be careful.”
“Wait a minute…” Callahan growled. “Are you telling me you were having a conversation with a fucking fish…?”
“No, I was having a conversation with a fucking mammal.”
Callahan grumbled as he walked away, bound for his bedroom and the infinite promise of a beckoning shower, but Eisenstadt turned and looked at the blue mote hovering inches from the ceiling, then she saw another one across the room, and this one was pink — and then she sighed, if only because the pink mote seemed to be hiding from the blue one.
‘This is getting complicated,’ she thought.
“You’re not kidding,” Brendan said — before he walked up to the little studio where Didi Goodman was staying. He hoped she was not through in the shower, because suddenly he wanted to join her there.
When a new aircraft rolls off one of Boeing’s Seattle area assembly lines, either in Renton or Everett, Washington, that aircraft will usually transit to nearby Boeing Field, located halfway between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac, the main international airport. At Boeing Field, or BFI, airline specific avionics are installed and tested and, after passing internal company checks, delivery flights to the ordering airline commence. Boeing Company test pilots join pilots from the ordering airline on a series of test flights that are structured to allow for a thorough testing of all the airliner’s various systems, especially those systems typically utilized during day-to-day operations. The first flight is usually a routine familiarization flight, and typically the Boeing test pilot acts as the pilot-in-command, this company pilot’s job being to ensure that the airline’s acceptance pilot is indeed up to snuff on all the airliner’s systems.
This flight typically departs BFI and turns east, where the new aircraft flies along the US-Canadian border just inside US airspace before turning south and shooting a touch and go at the international airport in Great Falls, Montana (GTF), then turning west and returning to BFI. If any of the the airline’s pilots seem rusty or in need of systems remediation, the Boeing pilot may have the airline’s offending pilot shoot an additional approach at the Boeing Co. airfield located in Moses Lake, Washington, before returning to BFI. More flights are scheduled, any bugs are run down and fixed, and only then is the aircraft delivered to the airline in question.
However…not all “commercial” aircraft manufactured by Boeing go to the airlines.
The Boeing Company’s Airline Delivery Center is located at the northwest end of the airport, the Museum of Flight located about midway along the west side of the main runway (14R/32L), while tucked away in a nearly forgotten area near the southwest corner of the airport is a small apron typically packed with P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft and the occasional KC-46 aerial refueling tanker. Security here is tight.
One morning in late January, 2009, a small group of people drove up to this small apron in two blacked out Chevrolet Suburbans and they quickly boarded an unmarked Boeing P8. The aircraft immediately took off on runway 32Left and flew to the Canadian border before turning east, apparently heading for GTF on a typical Navy acceptance flight, but then this P8 descended and disappeared from radar just east of Leavenworth, Washington. Ten minutes later the P8 reappeared on radar and continued, unquestioned, to Great Falls before returning to Boeing Field later that morning. Two pilots departed the aircraft, leaving no one else on board.
The De Havilland Beaver carrying Debra Sorensen and Daisy-Jane landed on Turner Bay, in Desolation Sound, British Columbia, and it taxied in to the floating dock at Bliss Landing and tied off. Debra and Daisy walked up to the little store above the docks; the pilot carrying her lone duffel bag following a few paces behind. A few minutes later the pilot re-emerged and soon departed, returning to Vancouver, and Ted Sorensen’s team, the team following Debra, arrived by helicopter a few minutes later.
When the team went into the store they found the woman and her dog were indeed still there, only it wasn’t Debra, and now reports were coming in that the Beaver had reportedly disappeared from radar.
Word was relayed to Delbert Moloch, and he was not amused.
Dana stood next to the General on the flat concrete apron, and for some unknown reason she had decided to hold his hand. He looked at her and returned her smile, yet he was uncertain of her motives — and after talking with Taggart he was fairly certain he was being manipulated. With his free hand he looked at his wristwatch and noted the time once again and sighed, only now he noted she was staring at him.
Then he heard the rumbling motor of an old Pratt & Whitney nine cylinder radial Wasp Jr throttling down and he looked to the northwest and could just make out a little seaplane lining up to land on the Columbia River. Another few minutes passed before a Huey lifted off from the river, and this helicopter landed on the apron in front of the General a few minutes later.
Debra Sorensen and Daisy-Jane slid out of the Huey; Daisy ran up to Dana and gave her a kiss while the General met Debra halfway and then escorted her to the waiting C-20H. Ralph and Dana Richardson were already on board, as was Sumner Bacon, and within a minute the airstairs closed and the jet began taxiing to the active runway. The jet took off and turned to the southwest, bound for San Jose, California.
Debra briefly wondered what had come of Daniel Wingren, but after one look at the General’s sour demeanor she decided she really didn’t need to know just then.
Deborah Eisenstadt heard the shower running and running and eventually decided she’d had enough; she walked into Harry’s bathroom and found the shower was indeed running – but that Callahan wasn’t in the shower. His towel was untouched, and she noted there were no wet footprints on the bathroom floor. She called his name and this was met with silence. She looked for his prosthesis and found it propped up beside the laundry hamper, and his cane was there too, right beside it, and suddenly she grew concerned…
Brendan walked into the small studio expecting to find Didi Goodman there, but after he walked in he saw her lycra skin crumpled up on the floor outside the bathroom and he heard the shower running. He didn’t want to intrude but he very much wanted to talk to her now so he called out her name.
Nothing. He heard…nothing.
He called her name out a second and a third time, and silence remained the only reply.
He poked his head into the bathroom, not really knowing what to expect but half certain he would find Didi passed out on the shower floor — but no, the shower was running but was otherwise empty. Now confused, he walked around the little apartment attached to the studio, then he searched the studio proper — both with no success.
And now he was scared.
So he turned to face the far side of the sky and his fingers went to work, peeling back layer upon layer of time and space until he came upon something so unexpectedly frightening he literally passed out.
When he came to Deborah was shaking him, commanding him to wake up, to “snap out of it!” — and she too seemed agitated, almost scared.
“Where am I?” he asked.
“In Didi’s studio…where did you think you were?”
“I’m not sure. Why are you here?” he asked.
“Harry’s disappeared. Where’s Miss Goodman?”
“They’re gone. Both of them.”
“What do you mean, gone?” she cried. “Do you know where they are?”
He shook his head. “No. I don’t think that’s possible.”
“What does that mean, Brendan?”
“I saw something. We can’t go there.”
“What did you see! Tell me!”
“Come close,” he said as he peeled away the sky once again.
And when Deborah Eisenstadt looked she tried to understand what she was seeing, and when understanding finally came to her she began to cry.
© 2016-22 adrian leverkühn | abw | and as always, thanks for stopping by for a look around the memory warehouse…