The Prophetic Encounter
The Grandfather clock bonged twelve times. I glided down to the dining hall where the attendant, Novice Scratch-It, led me to the banquet table. To my disappointment, all the women sat on one table and all the men on the other.
‘This is definitely boarding school!’ I muttered sitting down.
A tall blonde lady greeted me. She was one of the Wend contingents who had been staying in the Convent as a part of their annual spiritual pilgrimage and retreat.
There are people one meets who transcend time, space and reason, and who guide one’s destiny. This lady seemed familiar to me; she would become one of these people.
‘Do I know you from somewhere?’ the willowy Wend asked. ‘My name is Frau Biar, by the way. But you can call me, Jane.’
‘I am Holly. Pleased to meet you. And you seem familiar to me too. I wonder where we met,’ I replied. ‘Have you been to Switzerland?’
‘No, I don’t think I have,’ Jane said thoughtfully. ‘We are from what is currently Poland, you see. One does not travel far in the Nineteenth Century, unless you are our village and end up in Outer Space—with a little unwanted help from Boris—or migrate to Australia or the Americas. What century are you from?’
‘Oh, the Twentieth—the late Twentieth—with cars and planes and plenty of travel. Perhaps we met on the Mother Ship recently,’ I replied.
‘Oh, no, we haven’t been on that for years! Not since—’Jane sighed, ‘Oh, never mind. We have been settled on this planet, across the sea, you see.’
‘So perhaps we’ve never met.’ I paused. How strange that I can meet a complete stranger for the first time and yet it’s like I’ve met them before. I picked at a strand of fettuccini and twirled it around my fork. Had I met Jane in my dreams? Minna had mentioned the Wends. She and Günter in disguise had lived in the Wend colony…before it all went wrong for her. Did Jane visit Minna in hospital? I stared across the room trying to make sense of my encounter with Jane.
She peered at me. ‘Who are you—really? You do remind me of—someone. Your eyes seem familiar.’
My mouth went dry. I gulped down a mouthful of water and almost choked. ‘I—I’m Holly.’ I could not understand why I was so nervous in Jane’s presence. I sensed Jane was going to strip away the outer layers of my personality to reveal some real me that not even I knew existed. I was a gifted seer, but Jane seemed super-gifted as a seer or a prophet.
Jane eye-balled me and smiled politely. ‘Excuse me,’ she said, and then rose and left the table.
The way that she had looked at me and then departed made the hairs on the back of my head stand on end—as if I were a criminal. I grew stuffy and woozy. I needed fresh air, or at least a bathroom-visit to wash my face.
I got up and made my way to the bathroom. ‘I am Holly. I am Holly!’ I muttered.
After splashing cool sheets of water over my face and neck, I checked the mirror. Minna, with wide round eyes stared back at me. ‘No!’ I bleated and flushed my face again. I glanced back into my reflection. Holly had returned. ‘Thank God for that!’ I breathed out. ‘Perhaps Driver is right, I’m becoming delusional.’
I steadied myself for the world outside the bathroom. The bathroom’s black and white checkered floor made me dizzy. I avoided looking at the checks.
Exiting the bathroom, I observed Jane and her husband, in the hallway, arguing with a short-looking man whom I assumed was one of the Italian chefs. The Italian also had an air of familiarity about him. I dismissed that thought as absurd.
I looked through to the dining room and noticed Driver picking at her ravioli fungi. That’s unusual for Driver. I mused at the reasons Driver would be off her food. Maybe my Boris-spy revelation had affected her appetite.
I almost collided into someone walking towards me. Günter stood millimeters away from me. He was breath-taking. I could not get over his pony tail and how it suited the Seventeenth Century army uniform he had chosen to wear. I wanted to do his portrait then and there.
He reminded me of those portraits I’d seen in art galleries around Europe. I used to browse the galleries with my father who was an avid art collector and himself an artist. Günter appeared as though he had jumped straight out of one of the paintings from the Renaissance.
‘Hi,’ I greeted him while glancing down to smooth my dress; a lacy off-white number from the Eighteenth Century.
‘Naice!’ he replied looking me up and down.
Feeling hot all over, I curtseyed before leaving him in the hallway. ‘Better get back to my seat,’ I muttered.
I completed what I could of main course; a pile of spaghetti bolognaise. I tried to distract my churning thoughts by admiring the variety of fashions and assortment of aliens—Greys, Ape-men, a couple of mutants, and some Lizard men—adorned in period costume ranging from the Sixteenth to the early Twentieth Century, as well as everything alien in between.
However, my sight wandered as if magnetically to Günter across the room. I sensed him looking at me. Repeatedly, our eyes met, and I glanced away. Jane had resumed her seat opposite me and bantered to Novice Scratch-It seated beside her. The contents of her banter were of little consequence to me.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature Photo: Dining Room, Le Mont St. Michel, France © L.M. Kling 1998
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