In this exclusive excerpt from The Dancing Church – Book 3 of the Heretics in Occupied Eden series, Cloud meets up with the architect for the new NCC church building and discovers that the two have a past connection. Though they have not ever physically met, they are connected through the Old One and the experience that is described in the opening pages of The Floating Boy – Book 1 of the Heretics in Occupied Eden series. Here is just one example of the interconnected nature of the characters that populate the series.
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“Strangely,” Skinny said, “an incident that happened when I was a senior in high school came to mind when I looked at you. But you weren’t there and couldn’t possibly be connected with it.”
“What happened?” Cloud asked.
“I was out on the desert with three of my friends. This woulda been the spring of 1950. We were just farting around. I had scrounged a few bottles of beer, and Shorty brought a rifle to plunk at cans and other things. Anyway, one of the guys spotted a cabin off in the distance, and we thought it was a miner’s shack. So we headed toward it. But the strangest thing happened. The angle of the sun caused the place to radiate colors, like a prism. It was eerie.” Skinny stopped his tale and looked at the four other people at the table. Dymock he knew professionally, but Cloud, Kina, and Lloyd were strangers to him. “I’ve never mentioned a word of this to anyone who wasn’t there that day,” Skinny continued. “It’s one of those things in life a person doesn’t talk about. I don’t know why I’m telling you now.”
“I suspect I know why,” said Cloud. “Did this happen out beyond Goodyear, southeast of the White Tanks?”
“Yeah,” said Skinny. “And if you know that much, I suppose I ought to tell you the rest. As we got close to the shack, this tingling feeling came over me. My whole life sort of played through my mind. And I felt like I understood myself and that God loved me in spite of my screw ups.”
“How fascinating,” said Kina.
“Anyway, the other guys felt the same thing, and Shorty dropped his rifle in the dirt. We just stood there for a minute like in a spell.”
“What was in the shack?” Kina asked.
“We didn’t look,” said Skinny. “We were so spooked that we turned around and ran back to the car. Shorty left his rifle behind, I remember, and I picked it up for him.”
“Eleven years later,” said Cloud, “I was hiking in the White Tanks, and I spotted something shiny in the distance, that I later discovered to be that shack you described. When I looked at that shiny spot, an image came into my mind of four teenage boys hiking around it.”
“But what was in the shack?” Kina asked again.
“Well, if Skinny had poked his head inside in 1950,” Cloud continued, “he would have seen a…person… sitting on the floor. I was six at the time and had a bad case of the measles. The person was…praying for my recovery.”
“How do you know all this?” Skinny asked.
“Well, I later met the person who was praying for me,” Cloud offered, hoping his evasive answer would suffice.
“This is all very mysterious. Cloud, you’re holding something back,” Kina said. “What’s going on here?”
“I am totally lost by this conversation,” Dymock said. “But somehow I sense the need to incorporate a clapboard miner’s shack into the landscaping of your new church.”
“Intuitively brilliant!” said Cloud. “The boards were sun bleached white pine.”
“But…” continued Kina.
“Look, Kina, this is not the place to say more,” offered Cloud, making a nodding gesture toward the hovering servers. Telepathically, he queried Sojourner about saying more and perceived in his brain a laughing yes. “But I promise to explain the rest to you and Skinny sometime when we’re together at Angel Nest. Dad already knows the story. Dymock, I’ll tell you too, if you’re interested.”
“I am definitely hooked,” said Dymock. “By all means, include me in the recounting of your tale.”
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Keep reading – get The Dancing Church here.
Have you ever discovered a deep connection with someone you have never met? What did that feel like? Comment below!