SNEAK PEEK: Ascending Spiral by Dr. Bob Rich

Ascending Spiral by Dr. Bob Rich


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12000 years ago, a person the size of Mars destroyed all life on a planet, including an intelligent species. It chose life as a human to make restitution: a tiny planet-dweller, living many lives until It will either witness our destruction, or be part of saving us.
In 2012, Its current life is as Pip, who has the ability and joy of leading people from hopelessness and despair to strength and Love. He wasn’t always like this. Until 1966, he knew himself to be a stuffup: ugly, stupid, unlovable, unable to love.
In order to carry out his work of helping to save humanity from destruction, he needs to recover memories from a few of his many past lives:
Padraig, who died defending his love from Vikings.
Dermot, an Irish farmer who re-found his love in spirited, beautiful Maeve. He fought in the Irish rebellion of 1798 and was transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. Suffering drove him to commit a terrible crime. He needed to return as:
Amelia the squatter’s wife, a prisoner in her own home, the plaything of a cruel husband.
After her death, she wanted a life without male and female. This was as a walking plant. Love was unconditional for all members of that species, but it was a jungle world where survival was only through killing.
Finally the being became Pip, born into a Jewish family in a Nazi country. Again he needed suffering for his final growth into a healer, shaped to fulfill his purpose: to change our culture from greed and conflict to cooperation and mutual care — our only hope for survival.






Pip 2011 AD

In 2008, a young woman came to me as a victim of crime. I’d been warned that she was suicidal. She started to cry when I asked her to tell me her story. For five minutes, every time she tried to speak, tears ran down her face, sobs shook her body and she needed to wipe her nose. Hunched forward, hugging herself, all she could do was to feel her despair.

“Come on, Alison,” I said, “we’re going for a walk.” I led her outside. Speaking gently, calmly, and just loud enough to be heard over the noise of the traffic, I said, “Alison, look at the sky. See the color. Don’t put a name on it, just see it. The clouds. They’re just shapes.”

A truck went by. “Hear that sound. It’s just a sound. And now the smell. Don’t judge it, don’t name it, just experience it. And look at this wall, that pattern on it.” We walked a few steps. “Feel the pressure of the ground on your feet. Just feel it. And how your legs work. And your breath: chest rising and falling. That tree. Look, every leaf is different.”

Slowly we walked around the block. Waving blades of grass… the pressure of her T-shirt on her back… the look of a rose… the crunch of gravel under our feet… the pattern a butterfly wove in the air… I focused her on Now. This moment. This instant. This.

In ten minutes, we were back in our chairs. She could now tell me of her tragedy. She’d been pregnant. While tidying, she found the tools for shooting up heroin. When her guy came home, she confronted him: drugs or me. He bashed her up, so severely that she lost the baby.

We needed two more sessions. Then she left my area, back to her family.

Last week, I met her again. Health and contentment shone out of her. She carried a two-year-old girlie. “Hi Pip, remember me?”

“Alison. Of course I do.”

“Claire, sweetheart, say hello to Dr Lipkin.”

Kids are my joy. I made friends with little Claire.

“I’m so glad to see you! I now have a lovely husband, and this little darling, and life is terrific!” To my delight, she blamed me for her great improvement.

Then there are the emails, from all around the planet. Mostly they’re from kids. So, I have hundreds of grandchildren, most of whom I’ll never meet. Here is one I’ll call Maria Rodriguez:

Dear Dr. Pip,

I don’t really know how to do this because I never ask for help but I typed “I hate myself” in google and you came up first so I clicked it. I saw what you’ve done for other people and I was hoping that maybe you could help me.

I just turned 16. Ever since I was 14 I’ve thought about suicide. My mom found out a few months ago and she yelled at me, said I was disappointing her, and to be honest I don’t think she understands how serious I am about it.

I hate myself because I’m ugly, stupid, fat, can’t be loved, and I’m a liar. Kids made fun of me, so I made up stories about myself so that someone would talk to me and have even the slightest interest in me. However, I’ve been thinking that if something happened to these people, they’d die not knowing that I lied. So, I told my two best friends. One was completely understanding and is helping me. The other hates me and won’t talk to me which is a constant reminder of what a terrible person I am. I can’t tell some people because I have no idea how to find them and I feel terrible because I can never take back what I did. And there’s one person I want to tell but I’m afraid of her hating me too. My friend said to tell her when we get older but I can’t guarantee how long I’ll live. Then she said just to tell her. I can’t because she has been my role model since I was 5 and now she talks to me and I don’t want to lose that.

I hate what I’ve become, and I want to change. I’ve tried really hard but I couldn’t do it. No matter what I did something always kept me back whether it was the kids at school calling me fat, whore, lesbian, and retarded or my parents just making me feel inadequate to my other siblings, something always messed me up. I feel like suicide is my only way out. I don’t have money to pay you but I was hoping that you could help me despite that. Please help…I don’t want to live another day where I wish I was dead.

With love, Maria

We have now exchanged eight emails. The second-last was:

Dear Pip,

I’m sorry this has taken me so long but I’ve been meaning to thank you. You really changed the way I look at life. I just have one last question:

How can I forgive myself for all the mistakes I’ve made?

Love, Maria

And my answer:

Maria my darling, thank you for cheering me up. I’ve been very tired after work all day, and dropped my bundle a bit. Then you picked me up.

There is no such thing as a mistake, a fault, or a defect. This is my view of everyone:

You are perfect.

Some of the things you do are excellent.

Most of the things you do are OK.

The rest are the growing opportunities.

If you find that a past act was a mistake, that’s proof that you’ve gained in wisdom. If you could do it again, you’d do it better. So, congratulate yourself.

If a past mistake has caused harm to yourself or someone else, then apologize within your heart. If it’s possible and appropriate, apologize to the other people affected. If possible and appropriate, make restitution. But there is no need for guilt or shame. Celebrate the fact that now you know better. Work out how to do the same kind of thing if the situation arises.

Maria, only two things matter in this life: what you take with you when you die, and what you leave behind in the hearts of others. Everything else is Monopoly money.

What can you take with you: Lessons learnt, gained wisdom ¾ or the opposite: hate, bitterness, blame and the like. So, you either advance in spiritual development, or go  backward, or of course a bit of each.

Look after the heart, the Love, and you can let go of everything else.

Thank you for sharing the planet with me.



And finally, for now:

That helped so much. Thank you so much.

Love, Maria

I have this ability to heal hurt, to lead people from despair and helplessness to strength and Love. This gives me joy, so, whatever may go wrong in my life, I am content. I am content despite seeing all the terrible things on our world. I see the craziness, the suffering, the way people hurt themselves, each other, and the wonderful natural environment we’re a part of. But it’s all right. I hate it but accept it, both at the same time.

What craziness am I talking about? When people ask me to introduce myself, I often say I’m a visitor from a faraway galaxy. At home, I’m an Historian of Horror, so Earth is my favorite place in all the Universe. Where else do you find an organized game (called war) in which intelligent beings kill each other? Where else are child-raising practices designed to damage children? And best of all, where else do you see the entire economy of a species designed to destroy the life support system of their planet? For an Historian of Horror, that’s delicious.

Well, one day I learned that this joke is based on truth. Indeed, I am a visitor to your planet. Don’t believe me? I’m just an old guy with a gray beard, right? A professional grandfather children love, a fellow whose sense of humor keeps getting away from him… not so. I really am a visitor from off planet, and I’m here to do a job.

I was not always content with life. For much of my existence (which, as you’ll read, has lasted over 12,000 years), I was hurting. But, you see, a person is like a diamond. Put some coal into a place of great pressure and heat, and it becomes the hardest jewel known. A person is like steel. Put iron in red-hot coke and blast it with oxygen for nine hours, then drop it, red hot, into cold liquid, then heat it again, and you have hardened and tempered steel. I needed all that suffering to turn me into a tool designed for my job. That job is to help you save your life, and the lives of those you love. Like everyone on this planet, you’re in great danger, and my reason for being here, being a human for now, is to be part of the effort to save us.

When it was time, I was shown what I had to know for my task. This book is the account of what I learnt. Let me tell you my story, and you can judge for yourself. I’ll start with the earliest recall of living on your planet I’ve been given, on an island off Ireland.


805-806 AD:  Vikings

The first time I saw my love, she had long dark hair with a red band holding it in place, pansy-blue eyes, and a long elfin face that was quick to flash into a shy smile.

We were watering our sheep at a sizable creek, before descending to the next village. We followed this route every year of course.

She came striding up the path, a little bit of a girl, a yoke over her shoulders holding two wooden buckets that bounced around at every step.

I ran over. “Will I take those buckets off ye?” I asked. “The sheep done made the creek stirred up. I’ll happily fill it for a lovely colleen up above where the water is clear.”

“Oh, I can do that meself,” she replied with that smile that grabbed my heart. But she did nothing to stop me when I unhooked the buckets off her yoke and sprinted up the path.

I filled one, then the other. As I turned, she stood just behind me. “Thank ye,” she said. “You got a name, boyo?”

“Sheilagh,” I said for a joke.

Her eyes grew wide and her mouth opened. “That’s my name! Go away!”

“Well then, if I’ve guessed yours, you guess mine.”

Then Da spoiled it, “Hey Padraig, there’s work to be done!”

I picked up her buckets and started down the track. “Thank ye, Padraig,” she said behind me, a laugh in the voice. “But y’know, I carry those buckets full every day.”

I handed them over, and as our hands touched for the merest instant, I felt a jolt of lightning go through me. She hung them on the yoke and fair danced her way down the path.

Of course my big sister Meaghan had to spoil it for me. “Smitten, are we, Paddy?” she asked.

But Da chased me back to work before I could reply.

That evening, we sat around a blazing fire in the center of the village, hosted by the fifty or so people. They were hungry for news, we were hungry for contact beyond ourselves. The adults passed the whiskey along, and I managed to snare the pot, but not for long.

Then Sheilagh sat next to me. “I envy your life of moving around. Y’know, all me life I’ve never been away from this place?”

I don’t know what made me say it, but say it I did, “Come with us, and be me wife.”

Again her face got that look of surprise, like when I’d guessed her name. Then she grew serious. “I’m too young, boyo. Mebbe in a couple of years, if you still be interested…”

I grasped her hand, to again feel that jolt of lightning. I knew, two years, two lifetimes, I’d still be interested.

She squeezed my hand. “Only, Padraig, don’t you dare take up with another girl instead, or I’ll find you and cut your head off!” Still holding on to me she stood, and pulled me up. Strong little thing she was. She led me to a couple, talking with my parents. “Da, Ma,” she said, “This is the boy I’ll marry when I’m of the age.”

Well, this was a joke to everyone else, but no joke to us. And the next day, when we moved on, it was a hard parting for me. My heart dragged in my feet for many a day.

As the year turned, and the seasons changed, and we moved from place to place, often my dreams cherished her voice, the way she moved, the glint of firelight in her eyes.

Midwinter it was when we reached the village of Fearann, only the village was no more. Smoky walls stood without thatch roofs above them. Bits of rotted meat and skin stuck to scattered skeletons. I felt as sick as everyone else looked.

“Vikings,” Da said heavily. “Heathen savages from the north.”

“Why?” Meaghan asked, looking ready to vomit.

“They abduct young women and children, and sell them into slavery. May the Devil take them.”

We moved on the next day, and for many a night the horror visited my dreams. But as things will, it receded as spring replaced winter, and summer replaced spring.

Then one morning, Meaghan said to me, “Hey Paddy-boy, y’know where we’ll be by eventide? Or forgotten, have ye?”

No, I did not forget. I knew every twist of the path, every hill and tree and view of the sea. My heart near stopped for worry, because things can go wrong and people can get sick and die, and fair colleens can be swayed by others than a wandering shepherd-boy.

But she waited for us at the same place, by the creek where it is fresh and clear. She had no buckets this time, and a fine blue dress she wore, specially for me, that was obvious.

Taller she stood, and her figure fuller, but the smile was the same.

Then she ran forward and I must have too, for there we were, ahead of the others. She was in my arms, and her arms around me, and I felt the pressure of her bosom against my chest, the scent of her clean hair in my nose.

“I knew you was coming.” She pulled away but took my hand. “Last night you came in me dream, and I always know when I dream true.”

“I have to do me work,” I said, “but tonight we can talk.”

Indeed, that evening she snuggled against me by the fire. Oh, I wanted to take her off into the darkness, but you can be sure that many eyes were on us to prevent such a thing.

“And,” I asked, “Are ye ready yet?”

White teeth glinted in the firelight. “Nay, I’m but fifteen, six weeks gone.”

“They say the Virgin Mary was but sixteen when she had Jesus.”

“Oh Padraig, we have a lifetime together!”

“Oh Sheilagh, do I need to trudge around the Island another year without ye?”

She whispered in my ear, “Come out an hour before dawn and I’ll meet ye.”

Of course, I could hardly sit still after that, and hardly managed to get to sleep when it was time to do so.

All the same, before morn I was up, washed and dressed, and, careful to make no sound, walked from our camp down toward the village. Here she came, a shape lighter than the path. Our hands found each other, and for the first time her mouth met mine. I was on fire, we fit perfectly together, and I lost myself in her embrace. As my hands rested on her shoulders she wriggled, like a cat relishing a stroke does.

At last we separated.

“Sheilagh, you I love. Only you.”

“And I you, Padraig. But I will not lie with you till we’re wed.”

Did I not know that? All the same…

Holding my hand, she led me along a path till we came to a cliff over the sea. There we stood, my arm around her shoulder, hers around my waist, looking out at endless peace, until the dawn light started behind us.

“I must go back,” she said, but I’d seen something below.


Two long, lean shapes swooped along the water, seeming from here like beetles with many legs. Those legs were oars, pulling hard.

She whirled for the village.

“No!” I shouted. “Go wake me folk!” That’d put her further from the danger.

But she paid no heed, and I had to chase her. I shouted as loud as I could, “Awake! Vikings!”

It was too late. Big armored men were sprinting into the village, swords and axes waving. Some carried torches, which they threw onto thatched roofs.

I grabbed Sheilagh’s arm and spun her around. “Run! To my folk!”

I found a spade leaning against a wall, and used the handle to trip a raider. He sprawled in the dirt with a yell. I thrust the blade into the throat of the next man. Blood spurted.

Dawn light shone on the bared teeth of the third raider. His axe was coming for my face.

Then terrible pain.

Then darkness.

Then, somehow, I was up high. I saw a man catch my Sheilagh and knock her down, and I saw the unequal battle as men and women were slaughtered, and girls and children dragged onto the longboats, aye, my sister Meaghan and my brother’s wife Caitlyn with her little child, and all our dogs killed as they valiantly fought to save us. The sheep scattered mostly, but gloating big men caught a few.

And I could do nothing but witness.

Book 1: Dermot

1. 1784-1798: Childhood

Over the cliff

The second time I saw my love, she had golden hair, a square face and a terrible temper. She was two years of age, and me four, and when her parents and mine worked in the potato fields, it was my task to keep her from mischief. But as she lay in the dirt and screamed with her face going blue and her heels hammering the ground, that was when I knew I loved her, and always had and always would.

Granny came over. “Good boy, Dermot,” she said to me, “You was right to stop her going into the creek.” Then she scooped Maeve up and carried her to their cottage.

After this, I sometimes saw deep blue eyes looking through the sky-blue, and dark hair shadow the gold.

One winter’s day, our fathers were both out to sea, fishing, and her Ma came over. She walked carefully in the mud, because her tummy was great, like my Ma’s. I knew there was a baby in each. Maeve held her Ma’s hand and carried a small basket of her own.

I rushed to open the door. Being a big boy, I could now reach the latch on tippy-toes.

In they came, and we shared some fine baking and a hot drink of milk, then were sent off to play in a corner. I had some bits of firewood I’d polished up into dolls. Some I called people, some horses or sheep or dogs. I got these out. “Hey,” I said, “this is you and this is me.”

“Nah. No it isn’t.”

“Jus’ pretend.”


“C’mon Sheilagh…” Huh? Where had that name come from? I knew no one called Sheilagh.

“Me name’s Maeve. MaevEEEE!”

Her Ma shouted, “And Maeve, keep it down you hear, or I’ll paddle your bottom!”

She did grow out of being Tantrum Monster Mistress No. Then my fun was to play with the other boys, but all Maeve wanted was to tag along behind me, and I couldn’t get rid of her.

The first time Da took me out fishing, she stood on the beach, great tears wetting her face for being left behind. So, on my return, I triumphantly made her a gift of the first fish I’d ever caught. “Oh Dermot,” she said with a great grin, “doesn’t it even look like you!” With that she whirled, fish clutched to her chest, and ran to her Ma, cooking at the fireplace. As I followed, she said, all sweetness, “Ma, look at the wonderful fish Dermot caught, just for me!” That was her, during all our childhood: the needle and the honey.

Sometimes, I needed to get away from her. Twelve I was when I made a fishing rod, and learned to tease the trout in the creeks above the fields. I cut a long willow branch and carefully seasoned it to stay supple, and saved the long strings that came on the occasional parcel from the city of Dublin, over on the other side. This string was the thickness of my finger and rough, but it made do. I fashioned a hook from a knot on a twig, and a sinker from a stone, and on the first day came back with three trout.

It was good I caught them, because Ma could not say I was wasting time, but for myself I cared not. It was a blessing to be away from all people, all noise, the smell of the pigs, the chatter and worry. I could be alone under God’s sky, at peace, dreaming of nothing much.

I was now old enough to listen in on adult conversations. This was most interesting when traveling traders passed through. One had a name I thought funny: Mr. Connor O’Connor, but he was a wise man with gray in his beard, so I kept the laughing inside. On one of his visits he talked about a new kind of gun the English had, and used against the French. It had rifling in the barrel and so could shoot accurately for surprising distances. Only, and I found this funny too, Mr. O’Connor told us he had no idea what rifling in the barrel may be.

Trouble was brewing in the land. The accursed English took everything, and gave nothing but grief to anyone who complained. If you were a Catholic, or even a Presbyterian, whatever they were, you could not vote in Parliament, though I didn’t know why that mattered. “There will be bloody rebellion, mark my words,” Uncle Dan, the oldest in the village, said whenever anyone would listen, or even if nobody did. The words gave me a thrill. I dreamt of heroic deeds, of being part of a mighty army smashing the overlords, sending them back home.

On Sundays Father Liam arrived on his horse about mid-morning, and held mass. We all ate together after this, then he left for the next village. Uncle Dan got out his tin whistle, my Da his drum, and all the young men and girls lined up to dance. One Sunday, Maeve grabbed my hand and dragged me into the line. We’d watched the dancers many a time, so were quick to pick up the steps of every dance, and I will admit it was fun, even when little cat Maeve dug her fingernails into my hand, with the sweetest of grins. And after this day, I could not get out of it if I’d wanted to: when the young men and maidens danced, so did the two of us.

But life was mostly work now: hilling the potatoes, braving storms in our boats to bring in the fish, slaughtering a pig in the snow, carrying stones to terrace a new field, helping father to make whiskey, repairing a leaking thatch roof, whatever was needed.

I had a special bond with my father’s best horse, Harry, a large young gelding who was as happy pulling a cart or a plough as being ridden. He was the first horse I’d ever trained, under Da’s supervision. One summer day I was up on his back, returning from a message for my father from the next village, when somehow I felt uneasy. I looked up at the scrub on the hillside above, and out to the right over the sea, then turned to look behind. A yellow dust cloud rose above the hill I’d just descended, and that was when I noticed a vibration in the ground. Before I could do anything a group of galloping riders burst over the rise, two abreast along the narrow road. The lead man’s arm moved in a circle, then a terrible sting along my side, and Harry jumped, crashed into something, and I was falling off the edge, falling, down toward the sea.

Over the drumming of hooves, I heard laughter.


Agony beyond bearing. I opened my eyes, but made no sense of what I saw. Through a blur, I was looking at something brown. Salt water washed over my head, into my mouth, nose and eyes. I coughed, and must again have fainted for a moment from the pain.

Very, very carefully, I managed to raise myself on an elbow. Under me, wedged between two sharp rocks, was poor Harry, very clearly dead. I’d landed on top of him, missing those rocks.

My left arm was bent halfway between elbow and shoulder. Every breath was a sawtoothed knife there, but I had to move, or die. Bit by bit, I managed to kneel, holding my left arm with the right hand, but when I tried to stand, an even worse jolt of agony speared into my left leg. I looked down to see bloody bone poking through the skin. I knew I was as good as dead.

After an unknown time of despair, I heard, “Hey, down there!”

I looked up to see Mr. O’Shea, the man I’d visited.

“Oh Dermot. Don’t move, lad. We’ll get you out by boat.”

I don’t know how long it took them, but the tide was well out by then. They beached the boat, gently put me on a scrap of fishing net and the four of them lifted me in. Then they rowed out, hauled up the sail and headed north, away from my home.

When the first wave pitched the boat, I screamed, to my shame. A man gave me a flask and I took a mouthful. The whiskey burned its way down, dulling the pain. They gave me a rope to bite on, and I closed my eyes and endured. Twice more I got a slug of whiskey, and at last we pulled in to a big wharf. It was the dark of night by then. Again they carried me on some netting, into a building. I heard Mr. O’Shea say through the fog in my head, “The blessing of God on you, Doctor. The accursed English threw this lad over a cliff.” Someone held a cup to my lips. I swallowed, more burning liquid but tasting different, then darkness came.

When I awoke, my arm and leg hurt no more than from a bad cut, but my head pounded with a terrible pulsing rhythm. I’d often seen men with the hangover of course, and knew it was the price for the relief of the whiskey. I must have made a noise, for a door squeaked and a woman said, “Awake, are ye, lad?” She came into my view: an old woman with a haggard face but kind eyes. She helped me to sit, and I saw that my broken arm was nestled between two shaped bits of timber, with padding under. She’d brought a big cup with steam rising from it, and I drank, a tasty broth that filled my stomach and settled my headache. Then I slept.

Father arrived the next day. “Sorry you’re laid up, son,” he said, “and sorry to have lost Harry. Good horse he was.”

“The best, Da.” I sat up, and he put an extra pillow behind me.

“Bernie O’Shea came and told me about it. Bloody English. This can’t go on.”

“What were they doing here?”

“Surveying the land, they said.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Lookin’ over to see which bits they’ll steal next.”

“Da, buy me a gun. By the time I’m grown, I want to be the best English-killer in the land.”

“Dermot, we’ve got a gun.”

“That little old thing? It’s fine for shooting birds. I want a modern gun with rifling in the barrel, like Mr. O’Connor told us about. I’ll make it pay, hunting.”

He thought. “We can afford it, just sell more whiskey. Finding one to buy, and the ammunition for it, that’s something else. Oh… I nearly forgot.” He reached into his bag and pulled out a parcel, wrapped in a clean white cloth. “For you from your sweetheart.”

“My she-cat you mean?” We laughed together while I unwrapped it. And as I chewed the first sweet mouthful, I heard Maeve’s giggling laugh.


I healed. We did buy a rifled gun, all the sweeter for having been stolen from the English. The man selling it said that you needed the same size bullet as for a redcoat’s musket, but wrapped in a bit of paper, and that you had to keep the barrel clean. Ammunition proved easy: we bought powder and shot for our fowling gun, and re-melted the balls into bullets of the right size. Soon the rifle started paying for itself. I provided enough meat for several families, and also we made money from the skin and fur. Father and I built a tanning shed well away from the village, and several women sewed the skins I supplied into ladies’ handbags, fur coats and wallets, I know not what else for that was not my concern.

Hunting gave me many days of blessed solitude, and although tanning was a smelly business, I didn’t mind. Fishing is smelly too.

Of course, as I grew, so did Maeve. Every man’s eye shone with lust upon seeing her. I noticed even old Uncle Dan looking at her with more than appreciation. And the two best memories of my life are from this time.

One was the pleasure of dancing. She was joy in motion: curly golden hair a flag behind her, white grin, that lissome figure a moving poem. Our favorite dance was the stomp. There were six beats of double notes, followed by a rapid triple. The dance was steps forward and back with my arms folded across my chest, then three rapid stomps of the foot when the drum did its triple beat, then grabbing Maeve’s hands and swinging her around so we ended up in the place the other started from, then repeating over and over. It was a simple dance to simple music, but we both loved it. The memory of this dance has kept me alive, many a time.

Then there was the spring day she proposed to me ¾ as always, she led and I followed.

I had to get a load of furs from the tanning shed, and harnessed our mare Blackie to the cart. As I headed up into the hills, Maeve came running after me. “I’m coming with you,” she said, blue eyes glinting with mischief.

“What will your mother say?”

She laughed. “It’s easier to say sorry after than to ask permission.”

We soon arrived, and piled the cart full. I gave Blackie a drink while Maeve gazed up at the breathtaking beauty of the flower-covered hillside. “Dermot, come here,” she ordered, and I came. We meandered all over with my arm around her shoulder, hers around my waist, till she stopped, near the edge of a sudden drop, with the sea below. I had the feeling that I’d been like this before, with her, in just such a place, but of course I knew this couldn’t be true.

She turned to face me, eyes luminous, mouth slightly open.

I raised my hands, and stroked her face from temples to chin.

She stepped even closer. I felt both love and lust for her. I gently pulled her head toward me. She came willingly, and as we kissed, her arms went around me and she hugged me so I felt her breasts against my chest. My erection almost hurt, although this was anything but lewd: more like religious worship in feeling.

As my hands held her shoulders, she wriggled, like a cat relishing a stroke does. “Dermot,” she murmured, “it’s time you and me got married.”

It was arranged with Father Liam, for three weeks ahead.

Word came the next week: rebellion had broken out. The village was abuzz. Maeve came to me. “You’re going, aren’t you?”

“I have to go.”

“Yes, and you may not come back. I want your child, in case…”

We didn’t need to talk, just walked up above the tanning shed, into the field of flowers, and there gently undressed each other. Naked, she looked even more lovely. Often have I wished I were a sculptor, so I could make a statue of her.

With the soft green grass caressing our skin, our bodies and spirits became as one. Then it was my time to go to war.


Ari Bob Casey 131003



Dr Bob Rich is an Australian storyteller with 15 published books, 5 of them award-winners. He is a professional grandfather. His main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which his grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that’s now threatening us with extinction, and replacing a culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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