The Journal

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: House of Ghosts
The Ol' Man teaches his son a new trick...

Submitted: August 15, 2017

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Submitted: August 15, 2017




The Journal

Quinton B. McKinney


The morning air was chilling yet invigorating, much like a needed drink of water on a hot summer day. Mac was busy splitting wood and Jackie was watching her husband, whom the doctors and specialists had given only two or three years to live; but here he is 10 years later swinging a sledge axe with as much vitality as any one half his age.  Spectral steam was rising from his bald head and muscular shoulders, giving him an aura of natural masculinity that most people spend years in the gym to obtain.


“Are you gonna bring it to me, or will I have to come to you?” Mac said without turning to look in her direction and bringing down the splitting maul in a smooth arc, the halves of timber leaping off to either side of the stump being used as a cutting base.

“I haven’t figured out how you do that” Jackie replied, stepping gingerly so as to not spill hot coffee on her hands. 

“Figured out how I chop wood? Oh, that’s easy; the axe does all the work.” Mac knew what she was referring to, but he felt like horsing around a bit. Walking over to the wood pile, he stacked the newly cut firewood on the pile and covered it with tarp; picking his denim shirt off the double bit axe he had propped near the cord of wood and putting it on. Walking over the wood chips and small branches in his heavy steel toed boots, he met Jackie with a few long strides. He took his mug of coffee from her in his left hand and with the right, playfully smacked her on the seat of her jeans. “You make a great cup of coffee, that’s how I know you’re behind me without looking.”

That was only a half truth, since getting diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor more than a decade ago; Mac had developed the ability to sense the presence of others before they arrived. The “feeling” became more acute with his use of holistic medications and other natural herbs, as well as his sense of hearing and smell. The only thing that hadn’t changed was his vision, as he was constantly reminded of this whenever his glasses began their snail-like descent toward the tip of his nose.

“You know what I mean, smart-ass” Jackie said, reflexively rubbing the pocket that had been spanked. “The way you always seem to know when I’m around, even when I quietly try to tip-toe and surprise you.” Once she had tried to follow Mac at a distance while he was taking one of his “meditative hikes,” only to realize that she had lost sight of him. Unbeknownst to her, he had doubled back and was following her. This went on for about thirty minutes until she heard a staccato blast of flatulence and a mumbled “aw shit” behind her.  

“Oh, and Jason called…” Jackie added casually as she was heading toward the back door.

“Yeah, he should arrive sometime around lunch. I overheard you two talking.” This also was a half-truth. Mac knew that their youngest son was coming for a visit twelve hours ago.


“For the love of Pete, would you settle down? My folks will adore you.” Jason told Tabby, his new pet yellow Labrador/Golden retriever mix. She was still full of puppy energy and the extended ride in the passenger seat was torture. “Go lay down in the back seat, you’ll have more room.” As if she knew what he had said, Tabby wriggled her way across the center console, hind legs splayed and tail whisking. She made the characteristic doggy-three-circle before plopping down; placing her muzzle on her crossed front paws and letting out a sigh of annoyance.  “We’ll stop soon for fuel and you can stretch your legs then” Jason told her with a chuckle. She lifted one eyebrow in acknowledgement and thumped her tail twice.

Jason had opted to remain in St. Louis partly because he grew up there and also because the house his parents left him there was a readers’ dream. To say his old man was an avid reader would be an understatement. He had thousands of old books of every type, mostly reference material with a healthy spattering of novels about a gunslinger protecting worlds from the man in black, a crazed killer using an expensive car as a weapon, also one about a clown in a sewer; among other such memorabilia. Jason had stumbled across a hidden bunker in the basement while helping his older brother clean the place and donate a few books to the local library, when he began studying some of Macs’ notes and investigation material. One such source of interest was the leather journal with handwritten notes predicting a few disturbing events which were due to occur in the near future. The dreadfully near future; to be precise.


After dinner was the time Mac liked to enjoy a fine cigar and a glass of Scotch whiskey. Jackie knew that Jason wanted to pick the old mans’ brain, so she left the two of them alone for a while and took Tabby for a short walk.

 “The internet is full of information, if you know what you’re looking for” Mac said after getting his cigar lit; shaking the flame from the cedar stick before dropping it into the oversized ashtray.


“How did you …” Jason stammered, a look of amazement raising his brow.

“How did I know why you came to visit? Or how did I know you wanted to ask about the notes in that journal?” Mac said motioning toward the worn, leather-bound book.  The questions were one in the same to Jason, but Mac was feeling him out to see if he was ready for the truth or would he have to sugar-coat the information.

“How did you compile the information” Jason finally vocalized. Sweat was beginning to bead on his forehead even though the evening air was rather cool. “I read all of your notes and cross referenced the events with the books you have in your library. It all adds up, but it seems too far-fetched to believe.” He took a sip from his glass of whiskey, grimaced as it went down (“rookie” is what Mac would have called me) and visibly braced himself for the history lesson.


“I started my inquiries with the search of the “right” religion, the one that didn’t seem to hate everyone for not believing the same as them. You know what I mean? If you’re with this group, they say ‘we have to only true religion and all others are false’ but when you start with another religious group they say the same thing.” Mac chuckled and shook his head, took a drag from his cigar and said as he exhaled “and you know what? They all have a thread of truth to them.”

Mac cleared his voice and, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly; he continued “You see we humans are the third or fourth incarnation of an “intelligent” species to grace this place we call Earth. The thing that most people are not ready to recognize is that we are not the first people to walk this ball of dirt, when the dinosaurs were here there were gigantic people here also. Do you remember the story of the Nephilim that you were taught when you were a kid? Well, these cats were even bigger than that. They walked around pissed off because they had lost their birth right for an act of willful defiance against the Universal All.

Fast forward to our immediate progenitors, we have an influence of one of the fallen ones turning them against the will of the One whom created us through trickery and deception. He promised the first murderer of his brother the ‘kingdoms of the world’ and to his progeny the ruler ship of these kingdoms. This brings us to the predicament we are challenged with today, global destruction or as they like to term it new world order.”


“See, that’s what I mean!” Jason exclaimed, virtually pogoing out of his seat with animation; “how do you know these things about ancient times that are not written. I’ve searched everywhere and can’t find a doodle scratch; zip, nada, nothing.”


Mac interlaced his fingers and placed his hands behind his head. Reclining in his chair and closing his eyes, for a brief moment Jason thought the old man had fallen asleep. Then he heard his calming, baritone voice say “you just have to become skilled at how to be silent and listen;” but it came from within Jasons’ head. The connection was temporary, but enough to leave Jason mystified and sitting with his mouth a tad gaping; perfect for Tabby to bound into his lap and give him a slobbery puppy kiss.

After the bundle of energy finally exhausted the last of her reserve chasing her tail, (along with anything else that was moving and caught her attention,) she found a cozy spot in front of the wood burning stove and dozed; tilting an ear toward Jason’s voice whenever he spoke. Jackie joined the ‘fellas’ in the den and after mixing herself an Amaretto Sour in a tall glass, pouring Jason another shot of whiskey to get rid of the doggy taste of Tabbys’ affection, and pouring a double Scotch for Mac; she settled into the recliner next to her husband.

“What are you two talking about?” Jackie queried, stirring her drink and watching the two cherries pirouette around the mixing straw. She knew Jason would spill the beans eventually, but Mac would be tighter than a miser’s pocketbook. Much to her surprise, Mac started the conversation with “It’s probably time you should know this as well.” He gave an abridged version of how he first came about his “information,” with the finding of an ancient book at a bookstore that was marked for demolition. Since then his ability to “see” events before they happen, hear conversations from an unusually great distance, and even smell subtle nuances of diverse fragrances; all of these “miracles” (a word he plucked from Jackies’ thoughts) began manifesting around the same time the headaches began.

The others in the room sat with a perplexed expression of skepticism; even the pup was watching Mac and cocking her head from side to side as if trying to gain an understanding of what was going on. “Okay, I see you all either don’t believe me or don’t know what I’m talking about. So I will have to show you.” Mac said after a brief moment of silence; repositioning himself in his recliner and relaxing. “Hold on to your knickers, this may tingle a bit.”

Jackie watched as her husband closed his eyes and in an instant she was viewing the conversation he and Jason had an hour prior to her returning from walking the puppy. Her point of view was that of Macs’, all to the detail that she could feel the heat from the cedar strip he used to light his cigar. She smelled, tasted and heard the sound of the cigar as he took his first long drag. Jason watched as Jackie exhaled as if she was blowing smoke from her mouth, pursing her lips in the familiar way Mac does when blowing smoke rings. She then lifted her hand as if sipping a drink, but she had nothing in her hand. Jackie then heard Mac ask “How did I know why you came to visit?” and saw the surprised look on Jasons face. Just as quickly as the visions appeared, they ended. Jackie sat quietly in her recliner with her mouth slightly agape…just like Jason did a few moments earlier.

“Well…?” Mac questioned when his lovely wife finally snapped out of her trance. She looked around the room as if trying to remember where she was, Mac remembered the first time it happened to him.
“ did you…” Jackie started to say, but her mouth was too dry to finish. After taking a sip from the melted ice left over in her drink glass, she continued “how did you do that? It was like I experienced everything you did; even to the point of tasting your cigar. How is that possible?”

Mac rose from his recliner with his empty glass in hand, stretched his frame to its full 78 inch height and said “that story will take some time to tell. Anyone need a refill on drinks?” Jason and Jackie nodded in agreement, even Tabby gave a quick “yip” of concurrence. 


"Time in a Bottle"

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty, except for the memory of how
They were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with

Jim Croce


© Copyright 2018 Q.B. McKinney. All rights reserved.

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