If you’re a writer, you’ve experienced it: that span of time when you’re not in control of the story; when it fairly flows out of your fingers as they fly over the keyboard, taking you down a path you didn’t expect. The story takes on a life of its own. So it was with Cloud Warriors.
Cloud Warriors wasn’t intended to be about paranormal activity. It was to be a fictional story of historical and scientific events, centuries in the past, and their influence on modern-day lives and the pharmaceutical industry.
Then the spirits of the ancients intervened.
“Amaru Topac sat on his long, bony haunches, chewing seeds of the Devil's Trumpet. He removed the small pouch of prongbuck hide from around his neck, pulled open the drawstring and dumped the contents in front of him. Circled by the adult male members of his tribe, all watching silently, Amaru carefully arranged the talismans in a pattern intended to summon the spirits of his forefathers.
Amaru carefully arranged the talismans in a pattern intended to summon the spirits of his forefathers.
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Long, tapered fingers caressed each talisman: a bone from the ear of a cougar to hear the wisdom of the spirits, flanked by two tiny feathers from the wing of an Andean condor to carry the spirits to this place. Seven tiny freshwater pearls were positioned below the cougar bone in the shape of the head of a dart, the point aimed directly at Amaru so that the spirits could find their way to him, and, finally, an orb of pure gold, two centimeters in diameter and polished by centuries of use, delicately laid at the point of the pearl dart so that they would know that he, Amaru Topac, was one of them.
Now he needed only to wait for the Devil's Trumpet to take effect; to conjure the spirits. He closed his eyes and rocked back and forth on his large feet as the plant's drugs fused with his mind.” .”
Had the unseen fabricators of this tale been content to bend the story only to include spirits and ancient rituals of a lost tribe hidden deep in the Peruvian Amazon basin, there would, in all likelihood, have been less controversy. Less criticism. But they weren’t. They chose a frumpy millennial, Carrie Waters, to give voice to modern mediumship, to link past and present, to traverse the mystical world of the Amazon and the harsh world of big business in the Bay area.
“It was Glass who had suggested to a distraught Mahogany that using a medium to connect Leon and Sonny might be an alternative way for Leon to ease his guilt. He gave Mahogany the phone number for Carrie Waters. It took her several months to convince a reluctant Leon to meet with Waters.
Leon had expected a mysterious person dressed like a gypsy with tattoos, smoke, and a crystal ball. What he got was a plain, plumpish, twenty-something dressed in slacks and a blouse off a ready-to-wear rack at JC Penney, with a friendly, unassuming manner. Her only tools were a pen, a spiral pocket notebook and a business card that said “spiritual consultant.”
“How does this work?” he had asked.
“How do you want it to work?” she had replied.
“I want to contact my brother....err.... ah...on the other side. We had some issues.”
They were in his office in his home in Tiburon, Leon seated behind his massive writer's desk with Carrie facing him. She had declined the plush wingback guest chairs and had asked for a straight-backed chair, preferably with no padding.
“Will I be able to talk directly to him?” Leon asked.
“No,” Carrie replied. “If I can make contact with your brother, he will communicate with me and I will relay it to you. Then anything you have to say to him I will communicate back to him.”
“You mean you can talk to him, but I can't?”
“It's not like I'm talking to him in structured sentences,” she said. “It's more like a sense of what is going on the other side. Sort of a 'disturbance in the force'.” She made air quotes as she said it.
Day pondered this for several minutes.
“Are you in a trance during this 'communication'?” Day finally asked. His emphasis on the word 'communication' reflected his skepticism.
"Sort of, but not really,” she replied, unruffled by his tone. “I'm totally conscious but I'm not really in control. The communications just come...or sometimes they don't.”
“Mmmm. Do I pay you if they don't come?”
“That will be up to you even if there is communication,” she said, again matter-of-factly. “I don't do this for the money. I have been given ability and I try to use it to help people.”
She wasn't boasting or looking for a compliment. That impressed him.
“Let's try it,” he said, his skepticism forgotten for the moment. “Do we need to sit holding hands around a table or something like that?”
“No,” Carrie said. “We can just sit where we are. Can you tell me a little more about your brother: his name, when he died, how old he was?”
Leon gave her the facts.
“Now let me concentrate for a little bit,” she said, closing her eyes.
It was the quickest Carrie had ever intentionally made contact with a spirit, and what she heard left her shocked. She opened her eyes and looked at Leon. He had been watching her, had seen her eyes roll under her eyelids and her body flex, as though recoiling.
“Whoa!” she said, shaking her head. “Your brother wanted to say something to you.”
“What did he say?” Leon asked.
“Do you want it verbatim, or should I paraphrase it?”
“He said 'F**k you, you sonovabitch'.”
A shaman communicating with spirits. A medium communicating with the dead. Nothing so unusual here, but the spirit guides of the story were not finished. They brought together two living mystics, half a world apart and from radically different cultures.
The blessing of the curare had ended and the village had scattered back into the safety of the rain forest. Amaru, as was so often the fate of the shaman, sat by himself, thinking, his back against the trunk of a bamboo tree, his legs splayed out in front of him. In his one hundred years, he had heard many spirits.
He had conjured his shaman ancestors, had spoken with the spirits of creatures that inhabited the earth with him, had communicated with his dead sons and, once he believed, had communicated directly with the Great Spirit, but he had never before fore come in contact with a spirit of this nature. He had never even given thought to the idea that women had spirits, but this spirit was a woman. How could this happen? Who was the person who wanted to communicate with him who had chosen a woman as an intercessor?
When the voice-first appeared, it confused him. The spirits of the past shaman were fading, and his first thought was that one of them was speaking as they retreated into the netherworld. But the voice repeated itself after all the shaman were gone. It was then that he realized the voice was female. Amaru had not audibly responded, but he knew that his reaction of surprise had been enough for the spirit to know that he had heard her. He also understood that this would not be the last time the female spirit would reach out to him. If someone in the spirit world wanted to talk to him, they would not give up until they succeeded.
When spirits had reached out to him in the past it had meant change for the Chilco; change that usually meant disruption in their lives and, sometimes, disease, injury and death. He knew his time would end soon. Was this the promised messenger from the Great Spirit coming to take him so soon? It was too early, he fretted. He had not fully prepared Urco. But was one ever fully prepared? If it came from the Great Spirit he could not ignore the summons. But a woman? Could the Great Spirit be a woman? Impossible, he thought. Even a messenger from the Great Spirit in the form of a woman challenged his concept of how the world was ordered.
Nothing short of survival is at stake, and only this paranormal odd couple stand in the breach as the sentinels against extinction.
An interesting look at an ancient culture as it comes into conflict with science. Anne Foster
Wow, I loved this book! Such a unique read...a long lost tribe of blond, blue eyed warriors is discovered in the Peruvian Rainforest by an archeology professor and his pupils. The tribe is on the verge of extinction when the professor is accidentally poisoned; it threatens not only his life but the fate of the tribe. A medium tries to find a remedy and voila..the poison seems to have the ability to triple life expectancy. The pharmaceutical world gets involved and the threat to the tribe and even our world looms large, posing all sorts of ethical questions.
I loved the setting, so exotic. With a hint of the paranormal this story took me out of myself. An adventurous trip, with a good cast of characters. Highly recommend! Hannelore Cheney
Rob Jung was born in California wine-country and raised on a farm in Wisconsin. He studied at Winona State University and earned his law degree at Harvard Law School. He is a lawyer, writer, entrepreneur, historian, world traveller and thespian. Described by a friend as a Renaissance man, Robert is publishing his first novel at age seventy-five. He lives with his wife in Minnesota
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