First Night: The Conflict Between Hope and Cynicism
Story by Dr. Lee Brazil
Foreword and Epilogue by:
Written by Ron Breazeale, Ph.D.
All Rights Reserved
ST. GEORGES, BERMUDA
December 22, 2019, 9:45 A.M.
Cynic: A man who when he smells flowers looks around for a coffin.
~ H.L. Mencken
Lee shuffled up the dock from the boathouse, continuing to mumble and pray to himself. Another fog bank had rolled in and most of the town of St. Georges had once again disappeared. As Lee entered Kings Square, the West Tower of St. Paul’s with its clock could still be seen. The white masonry buildings of St. Georges, many built in the 17th century, gave off a ghostly appearance. The town appeared deserted. Most of the shops and pubs had not opened for the day.
The heavy wooden doors to the church were open. Lee quickly ascended the stone stairs and stepped inside. The sanctuary was dark.
Before Lee could enter, he was intercepted by a young woman.
“Emanuel?” she said.
“Yes,” replied Lee with hesitation.
“Father Allen is expecting you,” she said in a very heavy English accent. “This way,” as she directed Lee to a door on the left side of the sanctuary.
Lee smiled again, nodded and approached the door. The young woman opened it.
“Please be seated. Father Allen will join you momentarily.”
Lee took a seat in front of the large desk in a heavy wooden chair with a purple padded back and seat.
He looked around the room. He felt he had stepped into a museum. All dark wood. The desk, the bookcases and all of the upholstery a dark purple with gold trim. There was a globe and a stack of books on a side table. A large wooden cross also in dark wood hung from the wall behind the desk. There was no computer, or any kind of electronic device, including a phone visible. The only light in the room came from a lamp on the desk. Father Allen was not long in coming. He entered the room through a small door in the wall behind the desk. Lee started to rise.
“Don’t get up,” he said. He smiled as he approached Lee and offered his hand. “I am glad you are safe,” he said as he shook Lee’s hand. “We have prayed for you.”
“Well, thank you,” said Lee, not knowing what else to say.
“I can tell by the expression on your face that you are confused about all of this. Still a skeptic.” He turned away from Lee. “I was. I still am in some ways.”
Lee brightened. “You’re right,” he said, “I really don’t know what to make of all of this.”
“I’m sure David told you some of the story.”
Lee closed his eyes. “David certainly told me some stories.”
Father Allen smiled again and nodded.
Father Allen pulled his chair around to face Lee. “As I said, I was a skeptic too. I grew up on this island. Left here in my early twenties and did not return for a number of years. You see, I did not accept the things my father, a devoutly religious man, told me growing up. Strange things happen here.” He shrugged. “They always have. It is Bermuda. My father tried to explain these things in a way that put all the pieces together, that connected them. But he really couldn’t.” He smiled again and looked at Lee. “There’s a lot to try to understand here. People come looking for pirates’ gold, for the Lost City of Atlantis. I thought he was crazy. I couldn’t accept what he was trying to explain to me. I was a rebellious young man, so I left the island. I tried it my way,” he sighed. “The world finally broke me. I felt a calling. So I turned to the church. Not here, but in a parish in North Carolina. I became a priest. After my mother passed away, my father became more insistent on my returning to Bermuda. I came home.”
Lee appeared not to be listening. “Too much. Too much,” Lee muttered under his breath.
Father Allen smiled, “Would you like some coffee?”
“No,” said Lee.
Father Allen continued. “I asked my father for proof of what he had told me. He provided it.” He waited. Lee didn’t respond.
“Your patient in the reinsurance business, the one who traveled back and forth between Bermuda and Portland. The one with the dreams.” Lee looked at Father Allen. “Were you friends with him? Is that how you knew about the dreams?”
“Yes. But he knows nothing of what we are discussing.”
“So what was that all about?” Lee sounded irritated. “The dreams. Coming to see me. Insisting that I meet him?”
“It was an effort they made. Yes, an unsuccessful one, to communicate with you.”
Lee closed his eyes. Here we go again with the ‘they.’ “Who the hell — excuse me, Father — are ‘they’?”
Father Allen tried to deflect Lee’s question. “I . . . I think you will come to believe what we have told you before you reach Boston. The world is badly out of balance, I’m…”
Lee cut Father Allen off. “Yes, yes, Father. What has that got to do with me getting home?” He stared at Father Allen. “I certainly would be the first to agree that the world is, as you say, out of balance. The one percent controlling the lives of the ninety-nine percent. Our world culture is in its adolescence. And like an adolescent, we are self-centered,” his voice rising. His impatience showing. “We want what we want when we want it. And right now I want to go home. So what does all of that have to do with me getting home?”
“It has a lot to do with you getting home. You must reach Boston and deliver the package that you are carrying. It is very important that you do so. I am sorry, Dr. Brazil, that I cannot explain this better.” He looked away for a moment, then back at Lee, making eye contact. “I can only say again that the package you will be carrying could help restore balance to our world . . . and our universe. It must not fall into the wrong hands.”
“And who might these wrong hands be?” asked Lee, feeling and sounding more confused and exasperated. Father Allen appeared not to hear Lee.
Lee was beginning to have some serious doubts about Father Allen’s sanity and his own. Certainly, the human race’s culture of violence and greed had put the world out of balance, to use Father Allen’s words, but what could possibly be in the package that he was carrying that would change any of that?
“The human race,” said Father Allen, “may soon have the ability to spread the worst of our culture to other parts of the universe. This cannot be allowed. It just cannot be permitted,” he said with force. “The package that you are carrying could help prevent that from happening.” He avoided Lee’s eyes and sighed again. “What is important is that you and the package reach Boston.”
Lee gave up. He didn’t understand any of it. But Lee decided that if Father Allen could help him get to Boston, that was what was important — and nothing else.
“Well, Father, I agree with you, I want to get home.”
There was an uncomfortable silence. Father Allen stood up.
“An old friend of yours is here. She has agreed to help us.”
“And who is this old friend?” said Lee impatiently.
“Before I ask her to join us, I must tell you she knows little of what we have discussed. The less she knows, the safer she will be. This is what has brought her here.” Father Allen drew from his shirt pocket a small gold cross with seven green stones. He laid it on the side table next to Lee.
“This is the cross David spoke of?” asked Lee with interest.
“Yes. It was her grandfather’s.”
“She is from Maine?”
“Yes. She came here today to return the cross to our church. She did not realize that she was being directed here for another purpose.”
“I have explained to her that you need her help to return to Boston.
That you’ve gotten into some trouble in your work for the United States government. She is aware of your involvement with these government ‘projects.’ She said you had talked with her years ago about all of this.”
“Oh, God,” said Lee. He remembered the cross. She had worn it frequently when they were together many, many years ago. She had talked of her grandfather and Bermuda. He remembered. “It took some convincing, but she agreed to help us.” Lee stood up.
“Are you okay, Dr. Brazil?” said Father Allen, as he rose to his feet to join Lee. “I will ask her to come in.”
“Yes, yes. Please. Let’s get on with this.”
Father Allen nodded and stepped to the door he had entered through.
He opened it.
“Joann, will you please join us?”