Sunday, May 17, 2009

More for Monday - Allison, Part IV

As promised, here is Allison, Part IV. If you’re just getting to this story for the first time, you might feel a bit lost unless you start with Part I, followed by Part II and Part III, before reading this installment.

Part IV
By Rick Higginson

The first order of business the next morning was a visit to the old chamber. Marta had decided the previous afternoon - when Allison had been too tired after the dancing to make the short trip - that fulfilling her wish would have top priority for the day. She let Allison and Erin know the plan, and reminded Charles that he had lessons that morning which precluded him from accompanying them.

She played with her own children in the shallows while their guests finished breakfast, and through the time when the two disappeared to where Allison could get suited up for the swim. Once the girl returned in the wetsuit and carrying the mask and fins, she entrusted the kids to Leanna, and gestured for Allison to join her.

Sitting down at the water’s edge first, Allison took a moment to slip the fins on her feet and rinse the mask before donning it. A couple of easy kicks brought her within Marta’s reach. “You want me to grab your wrists again?” she asked.

“Not this time,” Marta said. Pulling the girl into more of an embrace, she added, “Wrap your arms loosely behind my neck, and hold on that way. I think this trip will be a little easier if we stay closer.” Starting with a slow lap around the pool on her back to make sure the tow would be okay, she then dove for the exit with Allison held close in front of her.

Startled seabirds scattered as she surfaced outside, voicing their displeasure at the interruption of their morning foraging. She lingered only long enough for Allison to take a few breaths, and then headed for the still familiar passageway in the stone.

The tunnel flared open to the subterranean lagoon, and she first dove a bit deeper before charging for the surface. She breached with sufficient speed to carry both of them a few feet into the air, rolling so that her back would take the brunt of the splash as they crashed back into the water. With a flick of her tail, they turned upwards again, and their heads bobbed out of the brine.

“That was awesome!” Allison said.

“I thought you’d enjoy that,” Marta said, releasing the girl to float on her own. “This is it; this is where we lived before the Family Room was built.”

She slowly turned about to take in more of the view. “It’s so beautiful in here,” she said. Looping the strap of the mask over one arm, she gazed at the ceiling with her mouth slightly open. Tears began to trickle down her cheeks.

“Allison? Are you all right?”

She gave a small nod in response, but continued to stare at the ceiling.

“What is it?”

“God whispers in this place,” Allison said.

“You’re probably just hearing the breeze through the cracks in the ceiling,” Marta said.

She gave an emphatic shake of her head. “I hear the breeze, but I also hear Him.”

Just what kind of meds did your mother give you this morning, Allison? She thought. I’ve spent as much time in here as any member of the Pod, and I’ve never heard anyone whisper to me, but that they weren’t right beside me in the water where I could see them.

Allison closed her eyes and continued to just listen. The lower lip trembled a bit on the thin face, but she made no attempt to speak.

If God whispers in this place, Allison, then why hasn’t He ever whispered to me? With all the questions I’ve had over the years, why can’t I hear Him answer?

“Thank you, Lord,” Allison finally spoke, just barely loud enough to be heard. She opened her eyes and smiled. “Of all the things on this trip, I think this is the one I needed most. Thank you, Marta, for bringing me here. It’s been so long since I heard God whisper to me.”


Erin sat on the stone bench, overlooking the steep hill that dropped to the surf below. Joshua Cardan had suggested it was a good place for quiet reflection, and she was glad that she had followed the modest path to the vista point. She could find solitude in her room on the island, but this place had serenity.

She sang a hymn, letting the lyrics focus her mind on her faith instead of on the storm that having a sick child presented. Her pastor taught often that worship and praise were a means of entering into the presence of God, and her daughter’s illness had proven that time and again. When she concentrated on singing His praises, she found the awareness of His loving arms around her.

Oh, the deep, deep, love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean,
In its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of His love,
Leading onward, leading homeward,
To my glorious rest above.

When her mind had quieted, she opened her Bible and looked up a Psalm.

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

Powerful and majestic
, she thought. Louder and more persistent than even the waves of the ocean. Speak, Lord, Thy servant hears. She bowed her head, and let the words of her Bible speak to her.


Allison lay on her back, using the removed wetsuit for a cushion between her and the stone floor. The sunlight beaming through the cracks overhead were almost directly vertical, meaning it had to be around noon, and she thought she should head back to the Family Room for lunch. I don’t wanna leave. Just let me stay right here and listen for a while longer.

From time to time, dolphins would come into the cavern and accent the ambient sound with their noises. The occasional splashes, spouts, and whistles didn’t detract from the spiritual atmosphere, as far as she was concerned. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord; they praise Him in their own way.


“Huh?” She lifted her head and looked towards the water. “Eva? Where’d Marta go?”

“She was needed back in the Family Room. I came down here to tell her, and now you get me for a while,” Eva said. “Whatever you were looking at must be pretty interesting; you didn’t even hear me the first time I called.”

“I’m sorry; I was just listening.”

Crawling up beside her, the eldest mermaid gave her an interested look. “You were listening? Just what were you listening to?”

“The voice of God; He’s whispering to me. I don’t think Marta believed me, though.”

“Does it matter? If God is speaking to you, then all that matters is that you hear Him. If I told you something, would it change the meaning at all if no one else believed I’d done so?”

She sat up and pulled her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. “No, I guess not. She probably thinks I’m nuts, though.”

“If she did, she would also have to think Diego was nuts, and Sally, and her parents, and her brother, and even me.”

“So you’ve heard God whisper, too?”

“God speaks in a lot of ways, Allison. I’ve heard Him speak through Diego and Sally, through things that I’ve read, and even in the forms of the stones around this island. For some of us, one form is better than another.”

“So, what form is better for Marta?”

“I don’t know; I can’t even guess whether she’s ready to hear Him if He has been speaking to her.”

“I hope she’s ready.”

“So do I. Now, are you ready to head back for lunch?”

She listened for a moment. “I think so; I think He’s done whispering for now.”

To be continued; Allison Part V will post on Friday, May 22.

1 comment:

Joanne Sher said...

Beautiful, Rick. I love the atmosphere especially. Off to read part five.