Bewildering Stories

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The Bridge

Conclusion of part V

by euhal allen

“The Bridge” began in issue 99.
Part V, installment 2 appears in this issue.

The village noticed the strangers almost immediately. Not that strangers were not always popping up in the village; it was a tourist attraction, after all. These strangers, no matter how they were dressed, acted a little differently, had different goals than just taking pictures of the town and the old Bridge pillars.

The Dream Singer, in better health now, sang of new challenges to their future. She sang of those now becoming awake to this new challenge to their old ways of war and hatred. Word was passed down when one of these was identified as from the government and, though everyone was especially nice to them, as would any villager anywhere seeking to lighten a tourist’s pocketbook, no real information was given to them.

So the Intel agents went back to their offices and reported that there was nothing to be found in any of these places; that they were just common tourist traps and that was probably where they got their money. They mentioned that even some of them had been conned into buying local souvenirs... made in China, of course.

* * *

Denzo Kurihara and his family had only moments to get out of their house before the police came to take them away. Gathering what they could carry, they ran down to their boat and, waiting just a little while for the crew and their families, they sailed out of the harbor only minutes ahead of their pursuers.

Someone had heard little Mitsuyo, his granddaughter, singing Seiji’s song and, hearing the extolling of the Bridge, had gone to the police and reported it. It was only because one of their people worked for the police as a secretary that Denzo and the crew had any warning at all.

Now, sailing out to sea, they hoped that they could get far enough away to elude the coastal patrol boats that must now be searching for them. They knew that the chance of escape was very small and that if they were caught they, all of them, would spend many years in prison, if they weren’t killed outright.

The authorities called the demise of the Bridge the second Kamikaze, the second Divine Wind; one that had protected the sacredness of Japanese culture and values. Those who would defend the Bridge were never treated with mercy.

Then one of the crew pointed to the west and they all saw the coastal patrol boat coming towards them at high speed. They had only minutes left of their freedom.

“Denzo,” came the voice that Denzo knew so well, “Denzo, sail near the pillar to the east of you. I will delay the patrol boat a little.”

Denzo spun the wheel and sent the boat heading directly for the eastern pillar, hoping that the Bridge could, indeed, delay the pursuers enough for them to reach it.

Looking back, those on the boat saw the patrol boat come to a dead stop, and they felt better immediately. Soon the pillar was dead ahead and they slowed down a little and they steered in very close to it. A door opened and everyone, except Denzo, entered the pillar, leaving, as they were told to, their jackets, and packs in the boat. Denzo sailed on, tying the wheel on course for international waters.

Then he slipped over the side and swam back to the pillar and was soon inside and safe.

The patrol boat got its engine started and was once more in pursuit of Denzo’s fishing boat. Seeing that they could not catch it before it crossed into international waters, they commenced to fire on it. On their third shot the little fishing boat blew up and sank. The patrol boat crew couldn’t believe they had actually hit it.

When they reached the spot where the boat sank they picked up some clothes and backpacks but did not stay long to look for bodies. The many sharks circling in the still bloodstained waters made it clear that there would be nothing to bury.

Still, proud of their marksmanship, they radioed in that they had destroyed the boat, and that there were no survivors.

* * *

In all his life Ernest Bellingham would never have thought that he would be the owner of a pizza place. The very thought of it shocked him at first. Then Sheila had said that she thought it would be fun, like a party every night, only being paid for it. Boy, was that a wrong guess. Still, much to his surprise, it had been fun. In a very short period of time he knew, and was known, by almost everyone in the village, and he found that he liked that.

The other choice had been more up his line of expertise, a brokerage; a solid money management type of business. Piotr had told him that the choice was his, but that the pizza parlor offered more usefulness to the Dream Singer’s followers since anyone could show up at anytime and no one would wonder about it. Everybody ate and drank.

Ernest thought it over and decided to go into the pizza business, and soon, with the application of some money; several weeks of hard work, some paint, and some new equipment to renew the old and worn out kitchen, he was in business. To help out in the cooking department, he came into possession of some to the finest Italian bread and sauce recipes available, straight from Italy and the Dreamers there.

To make things better, when he, noticing that there was no donut shop or bakery in the village, and finding out the Merle and Hannah Johnson, (his and Sheila’s Dreamer partners) had once run such a shop, he added some first-rate equipment to the big old kitchen in the building.

Soon, the place was full all day, with baked goods selling in the morning and pizzas going like crazy in the afternoon and evenings.

A little sharp thinking and some hard work had made him the biggest calorie pusher in the village. A prestigious position, indeed.

* * *

Denzo had thought that he and crew would hide in the pillar for a short time and then be placed in another part of Japan to continue his work of awakening the Command Pillars. So he was very surprised to find that he and his crew were taken to a large room filled with desks.

His crew of three, plus his father, Kanaka, and their families counted eleven persons. The four who had some clerical skills were assigned to desks to work at. Others were assigned to various jobs in support of their fellow crew members. Cleaning, cooking and, for the children, school.

Around the room doors led out to other areas that contained apartments for each family, a gym for their physical well being and a supply room where they could go and get food, cleaning supplies and most of what any family needs in everyday life.

Those at the desks found themselves working over forms much like those that were needed by any authority to keep things operating. And there were reports to write about the situation in Japan from a Japanese perspective and how the Dreamers could be more effective in countering the government propaganda that was sure to be used against them when they could no longer hide in the shadows of their culture.

There was also the monitoring of the Japanese communication system and helping the Dreamer organization, which now numbered almost a million, understand the unique problems that arose in their culture. They also sought to counter any information that some careless Dreamer might let loose.

Too, they became a part of the infrastructure being built to eventually harness new populations into the work. This was a very important part of their work since the number of new ones, small and carefully picked, who came into contact with their goals, was increasing each quarter. At some time soon near they knew some smart person or group was going to notice things happening in their areas of authority that defied their normal explanations.

When that time came the Dreamers had to be ready for those expected attacks before they started. Lists of what to do had to be made up and sent to the other clerical offices around the globe. Then those lists had to be broken down and each Dreamer group needed to receive the instructions that were most fitting their group and area.

* * *

Katia learned now to rest a little each day or, rather, under the watchful eyes of Cyr and Alexis, she was being programmed to rest a little each day. She grumbled that she did not have the time but, knowing that they would not be swayed, began to like the short time each day when she and Alexis could talk.

Of course, the rule was, she could not talk about current business. She was to keep her mind on things that she could relax with. She was also to enjoy a cup of something to drink and a small snack to fortify her for returning to her still heavy schedule later each day.

So sitting with an English muffin and a cup of tea one day she decided to talk about something that had been somewhat painful, saying, ”Alexis, you know I really hated the von Seltzen woman. People like that cause so much trouble and hurt by their pride and their disdain of others. I was really glad when she died.”

Alexis, startled by the confession, just smiled and said, “She wasn’t so bad, and she did keep the ladies in the village so involved in gossip about her that the rest of us could do what we had to do with a lot fewer questions from them.

“Yes,” he continued, “her type of obstinate, fussy, high-toned woman was just what was needed at that time. Maybe there should be a statue of her in the village park.”

“You try that and I will start singing about all your faults. That could take many songs, believe me.

“Still, perhaps you are right; she did serve a purpose even if she did so in the most disagreeable manner. Of course, her husband, Dr. von Seltzen was such a kind and gentle man. He was a wonderful asset to the community. And the way he killed himself was so dramatic. Maybe a movie should be made about him after all this is settled.

“If our hopes are fulfilled, soon enough you would look young enough to play him, again.”

“Only if you can make yourself revive your exquisite Gloria.”

With that, both of them started laughing at the things they had made themselves do in their quest for that better future they wanted.

To be continued...

Copyright © 2004 by euhal allen

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