There is a reason that they don't want you to read it! A thrilling yet sweet adventure, action packed with miracles, mystery, and intrigue. And, oh, by the way, prepare to discover a diabolical plot that threatens to destroy Heaven and Earth.
Chris is woken up at 11 A.M. by his phone. It's Mark. Chris picks it up, "Hello. Interesting times we're having, aren't they?"
"Ah, yes they are. Can you keep a secret? I mean, a big one?"
"You can count on me, Mark."
"Nathan is here with me and we're having a party at my house. Of course you're welcome to come. Come as soon as possible. You'll definitely want to bring your video gear, if you dare to bring it near the pool. We could end up filming a best-seller. There is just so much to talk about."
"Oh yes, many stories to tell, friends to meet, contingency plans to make. Perhaps we're on the cusp of inevitable fame whether any of us like it or not."
"That's true, danger and all. We must meet in secret and think about what we are going to do next. The one staff member from the orphanage who came to the funeral does not want them to know that Nathan is alive. She asked me to let them use my house as a secret meeting place since I had no known connection with him. This could end up like being in the witness protection program. You know the place. Come up right now if you will."
"O.K. See you soon." Chris hangs up the phone and drives over to Mark's place.
There are about 6 cars parked on the side of the road. The house is a lake front, but what used to be its private beach has been fenced off. Chris rings the doorbell and is let in by the boy he saw in the front-row-center bench at the funeral. He has blue eyes, and dark auburn moderately long curly hair. He's wearing a green athletic-style training tee with white stripes, and shiny dark purple swimsuit shorts with a white line pattern on them. The boy says, "Oh, it's you!" He gets down on his knees, and says, "Christopher Raphael Joshua, My name is Ethan."
Chris picks Ethan up off the ground and places him upright, and says, "My friend, no need to bow before me. I know that what wonder I have wrought could not have been done without you, for you have prophesied by what John Adramalech Balor called an act of mischief, and I was anointed by your tears. You must have loved him greatly to be able to do something like that."
"But he was just a friend. I never was aware of love like this until the tragic event."
"It is like a whole other world. Isn't it?"
"You mean it's like a whole other world because it is a whole other world? That would be a clever pun."
"Maybe there is more to it than meets the rhyme?"
"It was as though something were drawing me to a higher realm of thought. While alive, he was just an acquaintance. Once he died, I was as heartbroken as a mother losing her son. I do not understand it."
"There are some who say that even the stranger can be loved. To a few this is not just a philosophical statement but a powerful reality. You could sense the wrong that was happening."
"Yes, I didn't know how I knew. Sometimes you just know, you just know, and you just know."
They walk through the house to the back yard, except for Ethan, who says, "I just don't feel like going to a pool now. In fact, I don't think I'll ever feel like it ever again."
Nathan is near the pool. He's wearing a blue athletic training tee with tiny vented holes and a diagonal diamond pattern, over gray swimming shorts with a white Hawaiian pattern.
Through the window, Ethan watches the back yard in deep thought. A minute later, the back door opens. Ethan walks out.
Nathan shouts to Ethan, "Hi Ethan! Let's play!" Nathan jumps in the pool.
Ethan watches in shock as Nathan produces a cute splash, forming a rainbow from the sunlight. Ethan asks, "What? You? You still like water? Really?"
Nathan climbs out of the pool, hugs Ethan, looks him in the eyes, nods, and giggles. Nathan takes Ethan's hands and makes a swing-dance move with him, and they both fall in the pool. They both climb out. Ethan still has a surprised look all over his face.
Nathan says, "Hey, what are friends in a swimming pool for?" and throws Ethan back in the pool with a palm to the side of Ethan's shorts. As Ethan's head is about to surface, Nathan jumps on Ethan's shoulders in the pool. They both climb out again.
Mark watches, and says, "Nathan and Ethan, they seem so happy. At times like these, I often wonder if maturity is overrated."
Nathan sets up and sits on a large blue inflatable ring with stars on it next to the pool. Nathan says, "Hi Chris! I can't wait. Turn that camera on. You won't believe this 'till you hear it. It'll be well worth the pain of coming back to the mortal form when we're all film stars. I'm so excited that even now it almost doesn't hurt anymore."
Chris sets up the video camera on the tripod and adjusts for a good view of Nathan and the pool. Nathan is in the center of the picture and the pool to the right. He pushes the red button and says, "Action!"
Nathan looks at the camera, and gives a little grin. "Hi. My name is Nathan Anthony Tobit. I'm about to tell my story about my little journey to the other side and back. How little was it? Well, time works very differently there. You know how some people have dreams in one night that span a storyline of weeks? It's like that but even more-so. A lot can happen over there in five days of our time. It began when I was swimming in the Eagle Lake. It was a hot summer day with gusts of wind. I got the hiccups. I tried to come up, but a big wave hit me at the same time."
A boy apparently about the age of eleven comes into the picture from the left, just within the shot of the camera, and watches with a grin. He has brown eyes, dark black hair at one inch below collar length, and wears shiny dark blue swim shorts with the name "Joey" printed on the side of it in white. His bare chest is quite smooth, with almost no hint of ribs. Nathan continues, "I felt my head thrust down quickly. My heart began racing. I could not control the water shooting up my nose. I opened my eyes and saw blue everywhere as you would expect, the golden sun yellow mixing in with the ripples and waves. I started to move my arms, but they seemed to fall asleep. In twenty seconds I started to see white stars shooting all around that got more intense by the seco-"
Joey pushes Nathan off the ring into the pool. Joey says "Whee!" and laughs. In the familiar five-note teasing melody he sings, "Nathan's drownding, he's buddy-buddy drownding" and just can't stop giggling.
A girl apparently 19 years of age says, "Joey! Cut that out! He has already drowned once."
Joey says to Chris, "Well, you did say, Action?"
Nathan gets out of the pool. He says to Chris, laughing, "Wow. That was awesome! I hope you got that on the video."
Chris smiles and nods.
Mark says to Joey, "Son, go to your room now."
"O.K.," Joey heads for the back door, walks through it and closes it.
After Joey goes into the house, Mark says to Chris, "Joey better watch what he's doing. For one thing, he can't swim."
"Oh, we tried to get him to learn several times. He could not do it, as we found out from the doctors. He has muscular dystrophy in his shoulders. He can barely carry four pounds. In fact, when he was ten months old we had almost lost him in this very same pool."
While Mark's eyes are fixed upon Chris, the back door opens. Joey walks back out and hides behind the diving board ladder.
Mark continues, "We found him floating face down. It took the paramedics about two minutes to get here. It took seven tries with the electric pads to resuscitate him. They assumed it was a lost cause after the sixth try. I had to beg them to give it the seventh try. That's when he said his first word. Four, actually. He looked at me with his eyes wide open and said, slowly, 'Wow! . That was fun.' Once he really learned to talk, I asked Joey for more details about this incident, but he does not remember anything about it. At least, he says he doesn't remember anything."
Chris sees Joey walking up to the diving board. Chris points to the board and says to Mark, "Look!"
Joey is standing on the tip of the diving board. Mark screams, "Joey! Stop! Get back down from there now!"
Joey says, "O.K.," then jumps in the pool. A swoosh of water flows sideways, soaking the mat on the back door of the house.
Mark gets up and starts to run to Joey. Joey swims quickly to the edge of the pool and climbs out without using the ladder. Mark says, "Wow."
Nathan and Ethan stand on the edge of the pool to pose for another video, with their hands over each other's shoulders. Chris starts the video camera. They do their hug and swing-dance move again. They climb out. Joey walks up to Ethan, says, "Hi Ethan, I'm Joey!" and shakes Ethan's hand. Joey throws Ethan in the pool. Joey and Nathan laugh and jump on Ethan together. Chris records the action.
Nathan says to Ethan, "We wear these shirts swimming to protect from sunburn, let's get pictures both with and without them."
Mark's cell-phone rings. It's the waitress from the bar. He picks it up, "Hello?"
"Mark, you know that key to the liquor case that I forgot to get back from you the last time we were there? I need it as soon as possible. We're reopening just in time for the big game tonight. You know that some like to have. ah. a little something extra with their beer, of course."
"I'll come, but you'll have to make it quick. We're in...