Below you will find an interview with Nathan. Read it and find out more about an Angel we only know by name – and by a perfectly tailored suit.
Excerpt from ‘Soul Taker’:
He looked over my shoulder, and I turned around, watching two beautiful looking men walking toward us. One of them was dressed in a suit and tie and looked elegant and chic like a businessman. The other one wore old jeans, cowboy boots, and a long-worn leather coat.
Joseph smiled. He introduced me to the business-like guy. “This is Nathaniel. He’s your replacement and will take your job over from here.”
The Guy shook my hand. “Please, call me Nate,” he said with a laugh.
Hello Nathan. It is great seeing you again. How are you doing?
Hello AJ. Nice to see you too. I’m doing okay. Unfortunately, I’m far too busy. Sometimes I wish I had more time off.
We know you took over from Katie when she wanted to become a Guardian and met Raphael.
Yes, I did. I was quite surprised to hear the two fell in love. I was invited to their wedding but unfortunately couldn’t go because of an emergency.
Why were you surprised? From what I hear, Katie is breathtakingly beautiful, and Raphael, from what I heard, has celebrated quite some success with the ladies.
Yes, but we were taught that it is almost impossible for an Archangel to find his consort. Raphael found his consort, and now we all are curious to see who of the Council Of Twelve is going to be next.
How about you? Is there someone special in your life?
I admit, there is someone I love. But I am not permitted to talk more about all that, remember? You told me to keep my mouth shut about that.
(Oh, yes. *AJ laughs* I forgot)
But now, tell us a little bit about you. Who is Nathan?
I am a Soul Taker, as you know. I have been one for about a millennium. I pick up souls and take them to their respective final destinations. Usually, it is Heaven, but occasionally I have to take them to the gates of Hell. Rarely we Soul Takers are attacked by the other side who try to steal the soul we are working with.
Now, we know Katie got tired of doing this job for three hundred years. Aren’t you tired out by that job?
Well, Katie and I are two completely different personalities. She is younger than I am, for one thing. Also, she is quite emotionally sensitive. I could easily imagine that a soul she takes to the portals of the Underworld is trashing, crying, regretting, screaming, is almost breaking her heart.
And we shouldn’t forget: We are taking all kinds of souls… not only bad ones, not only good ones, and in particular, we do have to pick up innocent souls too. That was very hard on Katie.
I had to harden my emotions and heart against this kind of compassion, or I could never have done that job to my satisfaction and the satisfaction of my bosses.
We met you briefly in Katie’s story. And now we learned a bit more about who you are. Are we going to meet you again?
Yes, you will meet me again. You will learn more about me. Just be a bit patient. I’ll be back.
Thank you so much for dropping in as my guest today, Nathan. We really appreciate it.
Today I’d like to share one of Master Gallacher’s blog posts with you. In this post, which is several years old, he shows once more, what an amazing, caring, sensitive and unique character Seumas Gallacher is. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this, Seumas. It is touching and emotional.
… ‘come …dance with me,’ she said… that was 46 years ago… we were living in Tobermory on the beautiful Scottish Hebridean Island of Mull… I recall it today as if it were only hours ago… have a wee look at the date on this piece I came across in my papers while I was searching for sum’thing else… of course, I danced with her… and in the full fury of teenage indulgence, fell completely under her spell… prob’ly my first ever real immersion in the twin joys of Love and Heartache of youth… then, just as swiftly, she moved out of my life… but I still have this collection of WURDS I penned for her… when I read it again this morning, strangely, across all the decades, it felt good… it felt warm… and it felt right to share it with yeez…
… ‘come… dance with me,’ she said…
THOUGHTS ON A WILD THING
A kindly evening breeze
blows its welcome cool
where damp, perspiring beads
their burning course have run.
Last year, sometime in October, I published a hilarious story, written by Merlin Fraser. I named it “On a different note” and the ones who read it had a good laugh with Merlin’s humor.
With this guest post, Merlin shows us that he’s not ‘only’ a great writer, and has his well known, a bit rough humor; but he is also a talented author of great sensitivity and treasures his memories with a warm heart and a trace of sadness many of us would not have expected.
I wanted to share this side of Merlin with you and I’m sure you will read his guest post and find it as valuable and admirable as I do.
“And now for something completely different,” to coin a phrase, I pinched it from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in case you were wondering where you heard the expression before.
I’m sure you tire of my exploits with trees so a change of tack is required as I explore some of the many characters I have met during my country upbringing.
Journeying back to the 1950’s I think this character reflects a slightly cruel streak in our past due to a complete lack of understanding as to the causes of what is now considered a mental illness.
Bernie was a gentle soul never known to harm anything or anyone but to all he was cruelly known as the village idiot and to my everlasting shame I have to confess that as a kid I was no better than the rest.
To this day I have no idea what the problem was within Bernie’s brain, as I remember he was looked after an old lady at the far end of the village but as to their relationship, I have no idea. To her great credit, Bernie was always clean well fed and fairly well dressed in hand-me-downs’, presumably donated from other villagers.
Bernie would do odd jobs, take letters to the post box, that sort of thing and could always be relied on to hold one end of a long skipping rope for the girls or go in goal for a friendly football kick about. Although I suspect today’s parents would have a different view of a Bernie in the midst of their offspring and would probably demand his removal from the community, however, as I said Bernie was absolutely harmless.
For a while, he did the daily village paper rounds, until one dark stormy winter’s day all the daily papers were found thrown inside the door of the village church. With hindsight, I think that in that thunderstorm Bernie just got scared, panicked and ran home. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that was the end of the only paying job he ever had.
After that, the paper delivering job fell upon us kids, and we took it in turns to bugger it up as best we could but in a crafty way so as not to raise too much suspicion or acquire a thick ear. Whether this was a childish attempt to get Bernie his job back or just a piece of rebellion I cannot say, but in my case probably the latter. However, whichever kid had the duty Bernie was always a constant companion chattering away and pointing at anything and everything that caught his eye. Except on Sundays, his guardian always insisted Bernie went with her to church.
Not very far away from our village there was a large agricultural college and quite a few of the students had their own transport, mainly vintage motorbikes but there was the odd Ex Army Land Rover that could, somehow or another, manage to hold about ten students, more depending up the season or how drunk they were.
Back then, any such college was way beyond the means of the average family and the agricultural college more so and it seemed to be populated by the children of the landed gentry or well to do Farmers. In other words, ‘Privileged OIKS,’ who because of their often-rowdy behaviour would get banned from more and more pubs and have to travel further and further afield to get a drink. They used to invade our village pub on a regular basis. Now our pub landlord was a genial host, far more tolerant than many and more than happy to take their money, and it is the subject of money that brings me back to Bernie.
Most days, thanks to his never-failing routine depending on the time of day you could always find Bernie. If there were cows or horses in the fields close by that’s where he would be feeding them handfuls of grass stroking and talking to them.
As kids it took us ages to win the confidence of big animals, Bernie, on the other hand, was always surrounded by them. Even little birds would take food from his hands. While if it were me the little sods would sit on the ground about twenty feet away with their head cocked at that jaunty angle and that look in their beady eye that said, “you have got to be joking!”
On sunny summer evenings Bernie had a favourite seat on a wall across from the pub, he never went in unless he had found or was given an empty bottle and then he could reclaim the three pence deposit. From his perch, Bernie had a grandstand view of the pub and as he sat there in his own little world, he would sit swinging his legs and waving at all who came and went.
On the occasions when the invading hoards came from the college, some would try to engage Bernie in conversation, which was impossible. If he wanted something he would ask or more often just point, he talked, more often than not any response to your reply was never connected. Therefore, we learnt to simply listen and smile in understanding.
However, one Sunday evening there was much hilarity outside the pub close to Bernie’s wall and Bernie seemed to be in the centre of the action. To Alan, my best pal, and me it looked like the college students were picking on or making fun of him and we went to investigate. What exactly we intended to do was unclear since there was about twenty of them and only two of us and at that time there was a considerable age and size difference. Thankfully, it never came to that because as we got closer, we discovered that there was some sort of game going on and by the happy look on Bernie’s face, he was winning.
To explain the game, I have to take you back to pre-decimal British coinage, I won’t bore you with the confusing facts as to why there was 240 pennies in a pound or 12 pence in a shilling but the size of the coins of the day played a significant part in the game.
Therefore, a sixpenny piece was half the size of a shilling piece. A shilling was half the size of a two-shilling piece and there was another coin, which was called half a crown that was slightly bigger than a two-shilling piece and worth six pence more.
I’m already confused, and I grew up with this crazy system, but fear not it’s not critical because the game here is based upon size and as you can see from the above description size relates to value, all very logical, however, I doubt Bernie had any notion of logic.
The students seemed to be taking it in turns to challenge Bernie by showing him two coins of different sizes and demanding he chose one. Bernie always took the smaller coin and therefore the one of lesser value, this was the cause of the hilarity and so the game went on until the students tired of the game, they sweetly called ‘idiot baiting’ and returned to the pub to throw beer and darts at one another.
Allan and I tried as best we could to explain to Bernie the error of his decisions, even showing him the difference in size from the collection of coins he had won by playing the same game between Allan and me, Bernie just frowned and shook his head.
We gave up, well I did, Allan had one more question, “Bernie why can’t you understand?”
Bernie emptied his pockets and at a rough guess he had at least two pounds in loose change, by kids standards a King’s ransom in those days, he looked at us and said, ”If Bernie take big coin they don’t play with Bernie no more !”
I learnt a valuable lesson that day and I suspect Allan did too.
What happened to Bernie?
Sad to say I have no idea after I joined the Navy in the early ’60s my family moved away from the village. When I eventually went back for a visit a few years later he was gone. The old woman who looked after him had died and I suspect the local authorities moved in and sent him off to an institution somewhere.
Nowadays in the mad rush and tear of modern living, I often think of those far off days, it was a far gentler time, the pace of life was far slower, and I can’t help thinking the world is a sadder place without the Bernie’s and the gentle humanity of a close community.
Author Jemima Pett has published a wonderful and very sensitive guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog – about the reality of online friendships.
I wish I could tell I had ‘enjoyed’ reading it… of course, in a way I have. Her writing is excellent! – But the experience she made about losing online friends by them passing away, reminded me of a few of my online friends I have lost. I never met them personally – but still, it hurt to lose them. I grieved.
Thank you for this sensitive post, Jemima.
How real are online friendships? How do you handle the inevitable?
If you don’t have a companion animal, and avoid all those Facebook memes of cuddly puppies, cute kittens and ridiculous antics of parrots, you may have flicked over some of TSRA”s guest posts recently.
What you may not realise is that those pets bring people together too.
Friends I haven’t met
Of course, any shared hobby brings like-minded people together. The power of Facebook and other social media sites is that people who like the same things—whether actual people, or hobbies, music, animals or books—find each other. And just as regulars feel they ‘know’ the Story Reading Ape, so we get to ‘know’ people we interact with on Facebook, Like on pages, or visit on blogs.
Many of my writing ‘friends’ I have never met, and I’m never likely to meet, in truth. Some of them I know by…