The story so far:
After a quick argument over who would drive, I gave in, if not just to get moving. “Where are we going,” Franco asked, revving the jeep to warm quickly.“I don’t know,” I said. Then, as clear as the seat next to me, the voice said “Go to the desert. The Lost are West.”“What did you just say?” I asked Franco.“I said I called and left a message with Officer Bohac.”“No, before that.”“I said ‘Where are we going.’ Is that what you mean, Adara?”About time, she thought, then told Franco, “No, wait. Head west, toward the desert.” “Where in the desert? Franco asked. I wish I knew.
“Franco, just drive!”I pulled the side lever to lower my seat back and quickly drifted off. I needed Franco to drive, so I could hopefully do some traveling of my own, through the dimensions of my subconscious and hopefully get some clearer radar on that dark place where Paige is. The humming engine facilitated my journey like the wind under a carpet ride, but I couldn’t seem to get any clear readings. But the mind is tricky here. Before I could locate the dark cave, I felt like I was jerked awake at a stoplight. Franco seemed to curse the yellow light turning crimson too soon.I sat up feeling worn, and rubbed my eyes. I couldn’t tell whether I was awake or stalled somewhere in my subconscious. I’ve known since an early age that I can seem to wake when really I have only entered another chamber of the subconscious, a dream within a dream. The litmus for determining consciousness is whether I can fly. If I can fly, then I’m not awake yet. I’m still traveling.But oh, how the mind tricks work. Before I could leave the ground, I am distracted by Franco’s voice. “Hey Adara, you’re awake. Look who we picked up.” I follow his thumb toward the back seat. Methra. Methra. Never under estimate this one, I remind myself. This one should have a super cape.I want to ask the flood of questions that rush my mouth but I can’t quite ask them all at once. It doesn’t matter. Methra is the first to speak. Her necklace is missing, I notice, and her hair is different, much longer than shoulder length. Unusual. But I listen. “Dr. Davis, I have seen your daughter…” Oh no, please no. I want to vomit the pit in my stomach. Don’t say it. Don’t say it! Methra inches closer, methodically, “Saint Anthony is with her…” Trying to weigh the direction from which this feeling of dread is coming, I notice that the static charge is growing stronger with Methra’s each movement closer. Franco continues driving, lacking the gift to be anything but oblivious. With the burn of a cornered cat, I can’t prevent the hair on my neck from standing stiff. Am I out of body, I wonder? Because this is too intense, too surreal. Methra’s words morph into a voluminous barrage of unchartered symbols as she reaches her hand forward with what seems to be the missing necklace adorned with the Crux Commissa. Words can’t describe the power of the symbols that I am witnessing coming from Methra’s mouth, so powerful that I feel dizzy, trying to decipher the vast message. From somewhere inside, my Instinct is the first to comprehend Methra’s message, which is so powerful that I need to open my mouth wide to scream, if for nothing than to simply release the tension. Methra is with Paige and they are a stone’s throw from my car, but underground.” The hair on my neck is thick as steel bristles, channeling static, a metallic –tasting sweat forming on the pores as a result of the stress that my body cannot absorb. My heart is pounding. Although my mouth is open wide, I can’t scream, and I know for sure that I am in a subconscious chamber. I breathe deep and manage a half breath to scream myself awake. Returning to consciousness in waves, I realized I was screaming now, and I was able to stop, but unable to stop the tremors that were seizing my body for the next few moments. Screaming from Franco. “Adara, are you okay? Wake up!” Immense relief to hear Franco’s voice. He had pulled to the side of the dirt road with a skid, unbuckled his seatbelt and hugged her. In those moments in his arms, Adara’s heightened sensitivity confirmed that this hug was more than a hug that could be written on paper. She could feel with her skin under her triceps, which touched Franco’s arms under hers, that his touch was caring. Love seemed to spring out of his pores into her. Not the pure Love that can sometimes be felt by those of pure heart. Franco was no angel, but he was true. His Love couldn’t save Humanity, but it could probably enable him to lift a car by the bumper in order to free a loved one who might be pinned underneath. “I need your help, Franco. I know where they are.” Franco sighed. Glad to have Adara back. “I can’t wait to help. What can I do?” “I don’t know yet.” I replied. “Let’s go.” Why all these random thoughts, she thought, but the answer seemed to be, Don’t ask. At first, she thought maybe the intensity from Methra was the source to be feared, but no. Just as the word “hug” on paper could not fully express the communication emanating from Franco’s pores to hers, Adara knew that she could not interpret the full value of the symbols she had seen. But the last symbol stood out: A most vibrant pine green leaf, with all its needles healthy and alert, like antennae absorbing the carbon dioxide necessary to sustain its own life. Again, the flurry of thoughts didn’t amount to much, but somehow the relevance was clear. “Franco, look for any place that might lead underground,” I said, relaxing our embrace. “And let me know if you see any pine needles or a pine leaf of any kind.” “Okay,” Franco said, “But it’s not like basements grow on trees out here in the desert. And I don’t expect to find a pine leaf within 500 miles of here. But I trust you.” A short distance away, Franco paused and pointed, “Hey Adara, is that your assistant’s car? Adara!” Franco pulled back from the hug and motioned to the side. Yes it was, even in the dark I could tell the unique beady-eyed shape of the tiny tail lights was uniquely Methra’s car. I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t know why, but I knew I had Methra to thank. Paige was close, I knew. I realized now that, while I was dreaming, travelling, I was in my comfort zone. The out-of-body experience where I could see Paige, could “be” Paige, or at least be a witness from Paige’s perspective. Then it all seemed to click. Just as I had seen Paige in the background of the news report, and Paige had been a witness to Eliza’s murder, I had seen Methra in the background of the photo behind Paige. I couldn’t put the words or the math on paper, but somehow, St. Anthony, Patron Saint of lost and stolen articles, walked with Paige, according to Methra. Methra, Mithra, sun god, paganism. Somehow, Paige’s card was drawn, by whatever card shark was out there, and her number was put to the test: You shall have no other gods before Me. A cross recognized by pagans and later associated with St. Anthony, Methra’s presence with the Crux Commissa was critical to Paige’s safety. I opened Methra’s passenger door and looked around, fairly confident that the clues were coming together.