Disclaimers in Part 1
There were two healers. A man and woman. Amon and Amir. Sounded middle eastern. They pointed Elizabeth and I to a chair and we sat down. Amir began to speak. I can sense great frustrations within you, Major. You need to get past all that for this to work.
Elizabeth watched as I signed. "He wants to know how he's supposed to do that."
Amon smiled. "He needs to close his eyes and meditate on his situation. He needs to realize that he's not alone even in the silence."
She signed what Amon said. Do you think you can do this?
I hate to admit that I haven't been sleeping because it's too disconcerting.
Don't worry. As Amon said, you are not alone, John.
Elizabeth… I watched as she waited expectedly for me to continue. I didn't really know what to say to her. I had waited my whole life for someone to tell me I wasn't alone and now someone was. It was a great feeling, but also a little scary. Thanks. I think I'm ready now.
She glanced over at the couple and listened to their explanation. Amir wants you to relax and take deep breaths. Close your eyes only when you're ready. After that, just remember that no one is leaving you alone.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It was unsettling at first. I wanted to reach out for Elizabeth, but I knew I had to do this on my own. Suddenly I was standing in front of my parent's house.
I recognized what day it was. That was one day I could live without!
"HAHA!" The children continued to laugh in my face (my 9 year old face, that is). "Sneak up on him, Mikey! Scare the crap out of him!"
Mikey obliged and I jumped up in fright. I could see my eyes were wide with fear. My hearing didn't fully developed until I was 12. The doctor's never really knew why. I could see my hearing aide lying 10 feet away...
The children had stopped laughing. There she was. Just like the last time I saw her. They ran off and she knelt beside me, handing the aide to me. After I had adjusted it, I glared at her.
"Why did you do that, Jillian? It's bad enough they pick on me for this! Now they're gonna think I need a girl to fight my battles!"
"John, I'm sorry, but…"
"No! Shut up! I never want to talk to you again!"
I watched as I ran into the house. I stared at my older sister. I walked closer to her and saw the expression in her eyes. She was lost, confused. "Jillian," I whispered. She looked up into the sky. Could she hear me?
"Mom, I can't do this anymore. Dad is always away on business and John is getting too headstrong. I'm trying. I am, but I need to start my own life and I can't do that with these two pulling me down. Please help me!"
This was not what I was expecting. I mean, I knew Jillian left, but I never knew why. No one ever told me she felt overwhelmed. All my Dad said was that I was an evil child. That I drove her away.
Why am I here? Am I supposed to resolve this? How can I? I'm nowhere near Earth. Even if I was, why would Jillian want to hear from me now, after all these years?
She turned to face me and smiled. "John."
I was shocked, to say the least. "Wait. How is this possible?"
"I am just your conscious. John, you have to forgive your sister before you can regain your hearing."
"Of course I forgive her. I understand what she was trying to do now. What she had to face. Unfortunately, I can't speak to her at the moment and you should know that. Can you help me? Is there anyway...?"
My conscience nodded. "There is and the Athosians know how. You must ask them for their help and in two days time, your hearing will return."
"This is almost the craziest thing I've heard, but I'm in a whole other galaxy so I've been around the block a few times. How do I get... back?"
"Think of Elizabeth. She's right behind you. Just look."
I woke up from my meditation to see Elizabeth's eyes staring at me in concern. Are you all right?
I think so. I need some time to sort things out, but I also need more help from Amon and Amir.
I know, John, I was there with you. I saw everything.
I swallowed around the lump in my throat. So you know what I have to do?
Yes. I want to help you get through this.
The Athosians set me up in a Dream Hut. It reminded me of the Navajo hogans. I had a friend who was Navajo. He told me of the religious uses of a hogan and how they used sand paintings and chants to heal their sick.
I looked over at Elizabeth as she began translating for Amon again. They want you to remove your socks, shoes, and shirt and step into the hut. Sit down in the center of the circle and close your eyes. I won't be able to come inside, but I will be sitting right across from you out here.
I nodded slowly and she gave me a reassuring smile. I removed the articles of clothing as requested and entered the hut. There was a sweet, sticky smell inside of it. Almost honey-like. Honey. That's something I missed from home.
Snap out of it, John!
I shook my head, sat down and closed my eyes. I immediately felt dizzy and had the sensation that I was flying. A few minutes later, I felt solid ground under my feet. When I opened my eyes, I was not in the Dream Hut.
In fact, it looked very much like my hometown.
Before I could take a step, someone barreled into me. I look down to see a young boy, about six. "I'm sorry," he said.
I knelt down in front of him. "It's all right. Where's your Mom?"
He pointed towards the benches. "She's over there," he said, pulling me to her. "You should meet her. She's nice!"
I was going to tell him never mind, but when the woman looked up from the book she was reading, I recognized the face immediately. "John, where have you been?"
For the first time, she noticed me. She had called the little boy John. However, now I had her attention and she stood up and walked over to me. "Oh my God! John, is that really you?"
The boy yanked on Jillian's shirt. "Hey! That's my name, Mommy!"
"I know, sweetheart. This is your uncle. You're named after him."
He beamed and held his hands out for me to pick him up. "Uncle John!"
"I've missed you," she said as I picked up John. "I've been trying to locate you for some time, but all I keep getting are dead ends. They said you were on a classified mission."
"I still am, Jillian. I don't know if I'll ever be able to come back home, but if I do..."
"If you do, I'll be here. You can meet your niece as well. She's at school right now. John and I are waiting for her bus to arrive." She paused. "I am so sorry about what happened between us. I'm so sorry I left alone with him."
"The reason I survived was because of you."
"How is that possible?"
"You're all I've thought about. You're the only part of Mom that I have left. I love you, Jillian."
"I love you too, John."
I smiled at her and my nephew. "John, I have to go now," I told him as I set him down.
"Will you come back to see us, Uncle John?"
"I will try my hardest."
I felt myself floating again and the dizziness returned. Suddenly, there was a cool wetness on my face. I opened my eyes to see Elizabeth next to me, her back turned and reaching for something. I heard the dripping of water...
She smiled. "John!"
"I can hear you. How long was out of it?"
"Almost 10 hours. I was about to send for Dr. Beckett, but Amir assured me you were fine. It seems he was right."
She helped me to sit up and I noticed that we weren't in the Dream Hut anymore. "Where are we?"
"Amon and Amir's home. They said that an hour after the ceremony, you were to be taken to the closest relative you had. Since that wasn't possible, they allowed you to come here and insisted I stay as well."
I took a deep breath and I could tell she was hesitant to ask me. I grinned at her. "It felt so real, Elizabeth. I got to talk to her. I even got to meet my little nephew. If we ever gain access to Earth again, I need to find her. I don't know if any of it's true, but I need to know she's still out there."
She smiled. "I understand completely, John," Elizabeth replied, handing me a glass of water. "But first, Amon and Amir would like you to take a nap before we head back to Atlantis. The powder they used to put you to sleep was pretty powerful."
I yawned. "Good idea."
Maybe for a couple hours, at least, the nightmares could go away.