Mr. Barnaby
by P.S.Gifford
forum: Mr. Barnaby
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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Mr. Barnaby


       I shall never forget that fateful morning. It was a typically bright and clear June day, as I sat contently in the early sun devouring the idyllic scene on Brixham rocks. The ocean seemed exceptionally soothing to my mind on, perhaps, just perhaps, the universe for just a few moments was at peace-and for a few blissful seconds there was nothing but contentment in this world. Or maybe, far more likely, I conceded it was just my own overwhelming sensation of well being affecting my version of reality. It was after all the morning after I had received the contract from my publishers, my first ever. As I sat there enveloped in my perfect little existence, I was momentarily distracted by an unexpected gust of wind. This seemed to reel me hastily from my day-dreams straight back into the confines of reality. As my concentration regained I noticed a slight figure of a man, casually approaching from the hotel above. From the distance he seemed as if he was an elder gentleman, his posture being crooked, and his clothes reflecting a bygone era. Yet, as the mysterious presence loomed closer still, I saw that I had been mistaken, as I could plainly distinguish it was the face of a younger man, features much more youthful than my forty years, approaching. I could not help but feel sorry for his hunched shoulders and poor posture. Possibly some sort of accident, or maybe a mutation from birth, at this point I could only endeavor to guess, and I would not want to bore my reader with such trivial supposition, at least at such an early stage in the narration.

       When the figure was all but fifteen feet from me, he smiled, revealing a remarkable manicured set of white teeth. He spoke in a deep, well educated voice, again not as I had anticipated.

       "Hello there!" He barked enthusiastically towards me.

       I nodded and countered the greeting appropriately. At this point I was unsure and, I confess, rather weary of the stranger. It seemed an odd set of circumstances, very odd indeed.

       In due course the figure was standing directly in front of me, extending a hand.

       "Allow me to introduce myself" the stranger spoke confidently, and soon was to be a stranger no more.

       "My name is Mr. Peacock, a Mr. John Peacock…"

       I dutifully shook his hand, I am after all an Englishman, and anything else would have gone against my breeding.

       "And my name is Barnaby, good sir, Philip Barnaby."

       And there we have it, the unremarkable introduction of two men upon that rocky beach at Brixham. Little was I to grasp that from such an innocuous beginning, that such woe and misery would soon beset me. How was I to realize that when this stranger had began walking my way, I should have quickly exited that beach, making our introduction one of life's near misses.

       Yet, I did not, I sat there, and allowed the peculiar Mr. Peacock to acquaint with me a most unusual and horrific story, and in doing so transform my life for evermore.

       Mr. Peacock began, as most good stories do, at the beginning. He spoke of a time fifty plus years since and yet conversed as if he had experienced the events personally; despite his young appearance. Was he a charlatan? Or worse a madman? Yet, the soothing tone of his voice and the resonance in his gray-blue eyes convinced me against common sense, persuading me beyond my comprehension of reality that he spoke nothing but truth.

       Mr. Peacock told of a time in the early twentieth century, an exciting period for the human race; the age of enlightenment and discovery. As a young scholar he had been caught up in the mysteries of the world, and as a result had become an academic of some note. He elaborated with the finest details of how he had embarked upon a journey of great discovery, attempting to find the illusive key of eternal life. He had traveled throughout Europe, and beyond into Asia and Africa. He told of conversing with witch doctors, shamans, mystiques, philosophers, and apothecaries. It was, I learnt, a six year trek of discovery in an attempt to amass the vast source of knowledge from each of the wisest men to uncover the one everlasting truth to the secret of eternal life. Mr. Peacock informed me that it was on a humdrum rainy October evening, whilst contemplating his dreadful lack of success over a liter of second-rate red wine in Venice. He felt a pair of eyes scrutinizing him, as if attempting to unearth his deepest thoughts merely through the power of stare. Mr. Peacock informed me that he finally succumbed and stared back. His eyes were greeted by the image of a tall man, a very tall man, at least seven feet tall. The peculiar figure had broad strong shoulders, and was dressed in the finest clothes that Europe had to offer; a long finely woven black cloak adorned his back, covering white ruffled shirts, his trousers were cut from the finest of English tweed and his boots surely from the best cobbler in Italy.

       Mr. Peacock explained that he had been terrified, yet intrigued all in the same instant. He apprehended immediately that this was no ordinary man; indeed he believed the imposing figure to be nothing more than the greatest of men.

       The figure beckoned to Mr. Peacock, who unresistingly walked over to his table. The stranger apparently replenished my story tellers wine glass, and prompted for him to take a seat.

       Mr. Peacock made clear how he had stared at the bearded man, sitting directly in front of him, and how without any introduction he began to speak. "I know of your great quest and I have knowledge concerning the answers for which you are searching, and indeed answers to questions beyond your comprehension. The great trouble with the human race is that its constituents do not rightly appreciate the wonderful imagination with which they are granted at birth. It is imagination, recognized as a liberating power, that produces the gems of poetry and art which we so much admire, and it is the mind properly guided by this power which will elevate us all. I do not believe in miracles, but I hold that the imagination has a wonderful and creative power. I hold further that if we let it soar in the world of spiritual and creative thought - and are not afraid to let it soar - it can create what truly seem to be miraculous things. Yet the imagination, like all things, is dual. Along lower lines it is as disintegrative in its power as it is creative and constructive on higher lines.

       You are looking for the divine secret of eternal life, you hold that answer deep within the connected intellect of all living of all the creatures that have ever existed. Visualize! Visualize! You touch a mystic law when you create in imagination the picture of mighty things, for you open a door to new powers within yourself. Something in the way of potent energies is awakened and called into life and strength both without you and within. If you aspire, visualize your aspirations. Make a mind-picture of your quest, a picture of the eternal life as you know it to be, and carry that picture with you day by day. Cherish it as a companion. Carry it with you for breakfast, dinner and supper, and before you know it a new life has been born. Before you know it the ideal has become the real and you have taken your place as a creator, truly, in the great, divine scheme of life."

       Mr. Peacock told me that he just sat there silently for a brief moment. Almost overwhelmed at what he had just heard from the strangers lips. How could he be familiar with so much about him, his imaginings, his pursuit, his journey?

       He expressed to me he felt that the stranger seemed to perceive his new acquaintance's trepidation.

       I listened on as Mr. Peacock continued to share his story; he retold it with vivid clarity.

       "'Allow me to introduce myself' he offered, presenting a large burly hand, with rings festooned with vivid ruby gem stones on every finger.

       "My name is Ozona-The great one". His timbre was strong and confident, yet, somehow also gentle and heartening."

       Mr. Peacock informed me he responded almost flippantly to the firm hand shake. "And I am Mr. Peacock-the inquisitive, yet, I feel confident that you are fully aware of this".

       Ozona's outsized iridescent eyes revealed that he did indeed know this, and indeed a great extent more!

       Mr. Peacock continued his account…

       "'I am in search for someone to share my great obligation of knowledge' Ozona continued. 'And when I say that vast knowledge is a burden, I do not embellish. It is a responsibility beyond the capacity of just one man. Even a man as great as my imposing self… I need to discover just the precise individual to share this burden with. An inquisitive man, a man with high and noble ambitions, a man who has the capability and deep grounded acumen to grasp the vast endowment that I can proffer; a man such as yourself…'"

       Mr. Peacock narrated how he had gaped at Ozona, carefully dissecting the giant man's features for further indications of his true intentions. Was he to be believed? After a few moments he seemed to assure himself that the face he was staring at was undeniably indisputable.

       "Where do we begin?" he explained how he has questioned Ozona, his speech pattern accelerated as the exhilaration began to form in the pit of his stomach.

       "'I have explored this magnificent world all over, in an attempt to find the precise point to call home; a place where the earth's energy is in concord, a place that can be a sanctuary. I did indeed find such an ancient mystical location, in England, your very homeland. In a place called Berry Head…'"

       "Berry Head?" Mr. Peacock told how he had echoed this in amazement.

       Ozona face had, according to my story teller, cracked into a large grin, revealing oversized pearls of flawless teeth.

       "'Yes, Berry Head…Allow me to explain. I discovered that the Earth's ley lines all directed me to that magical ancient place…'"

       "The large man took a deep breath, and took a rather gentle sip from his wine glass. The taste evidently pleasing him, as the sparkle in his eyes seemed even brighter still. He then continues in a hushed voice, to prevent anyone from over hearing.."

       "'Ley lines, I discovered are alignments of ancient sites spanning across the Earth. I pursued and studied them. They led me to ancient sites and holy places ranging over every continent. A ley is simply an aligned placing of marker sites. I learned ley lines are part of the Earth's energy system rather than just mere meeting places of old. Taking it a step further, I found that ley lines to be the energy grid of the mother Earth. The Ancients, such as the Egyptians, Mayans and druids knew that the areas where these lines crossed over one another held the greatest concentrations of the Earth's power. Out of these areas are where places such as Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt arose. These ley lines allowed the ancients to communicate. I discovered that an ancient great temple had been constructed at the strongest convergence of these lines; a vast temple lost and forgotten for a thousand years since. That place, as you have surely surmised, is known today as Berry Head.'"

       Mr. Peacock sat there silently as he shared his marvel of a story. He informed me that he had considered it fate that had created the meeting between himself and Ozona, yet, now he feels it was something much darker and deeper.

       I was considering a similar notion.

       "So that is how Ozona and my self traveled here to Brixham, all those distant years ago…"

       As he had studied Ozona all those years ago, I too studied Mr. Peacock.

       'Why was he telling me all this?' I silently pondered. Yet, soon it was all going to be blatantly clear.

       "You see" Mr. Peacock continued… "I did learn the secret of eternal life… Ozona shared with me his great amassed secrets, and still does…"

       I shook my head in amazement.

       "Ozona is still alive?" I questioned. "How can that be?"

       "All shall soon become clear…" came the cryptic retort. "Assuming that you too would like to know the secret?"

       My fear was being surmounted by my curiosity, my quest for knowledge. Imagine what books I could write if I had the entire wisdom of all mankind…

       Mr. Peacock stared at me intently and spoke in a hushed whisper. "Time for your answer is quickly fleeting."

       I took a deep breath, and stammered my reply.

       "I want to know everything!" I bellowed into the night.

       Mr. Peacock seemed please.

       "So be it!" He announced jubilantly, "then please accompany me!"

       Ten minutes later we had climbed the rocks up to the hotel and kept on walking. He walked surprisingly quickly and nimble, and it took every effort to keep up with him.

       We kept on walking beyond the hotel, to an old fort overlooking the rocks below. Then he began to climb down the rocks, and as I watched he suddenly disappeared. I followed, not quite believing my own eyes, and proceeded to also climb down the treacherous rock face, and I discovered how Mr. Peacock had vanished in front of me, there was a hidden cave.

       I looked about me in awe. How could such a place exist? If you have ever read Ali baba and the forty thieves you can envision what this cave looked like; full of fantastic gems and gold. Satin sheets in vibrant colors adorned every corner and pillows lush and luxurious were spread all over.

       Mr. Peacock was sitting in the middle of the cave, on a red oversized pillow, in front of him was a similar pillow and he prompted me to sit.

       "This cave took thirty years to construct he explained. Yet, it is on the most critical place on Earth; as this is the spot where the Earths entire energy is most harmonious and strong. This is the place Ozona had brought me all those years ago, he explained the secret to having the knowledge you desire, and in doing so live for eternity."

       I suddenly became scared. Mr. Peacocks face began to Morph in front of my very eyes and within moments he became a large faced man…Then as quick as I could glimpse it, it was gone.

       "Yes, that is Ozona," Mr. Peacock explained… "he shall live forever on in me, just as the both of us shall live inside of you…"

       With that he grabbed both of my hands. The pain was excruciating, an agonizing throbbing overcame my mind and I screamed. Yes, I remember I screamed. Then I have no recognition of what occurred.

       The next thing I knew I found myself lying on the floor in the cave, alone. Yet, I surely was not alone. As within in my mind hundreds of thousands screamed. I heard animal cries too- birds squealed, tigers shrieked. In the distance I could distinguish Mr. Peacock's voice, louder than the rest…Certainly he wasn't laughing?

       That was ten years ago…I eventually discovered that I could restrain the voices in my head, and concentrate… Ozona was there, as was Mr. Peacock, as indeed was every living creature on Earth. I can just about stand the pain now. Every time a creature dies I feel it. Hundreds of creatures die every single second of every single day. I feel all of their grief, and share in all of their misery.

       There is only one escape from this great burden. To find a new carrier …I need to find just the right person, someone imprudent enough to have a yearning to live forever, someone also foolish enough to want to understand everything…Maybe that person will be you?

The end.




copyright 2005 P.S.Gifford.

P.S.Gifford is managing to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a published writer. In fact he has more than a sneaking suspicion that 2006 will be a brilliant and rather rewarding year. He is an Englishman who, by a bizarre twist of fate, now lives, dreams and indeed writes, on the Southern Californian coast. His website is