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"The River"

Hello, this is Andrew. I've decided that it's time I write an issue. (Plus the co-prezes are going on a brief hiatus for the first time in three years. They should be back with in a month.) The reason I'm writing is there is something I have to tell you all about. Do you remember weeks ago (Newsletter 63 if you want to check) hearing about the visions at Dyeland Castle? JenniAnn seeing a man resembling me and John? Audrey seeing someone looking like JenniAnn? And the strange visit to John's house? Well, nothing had happened since then so we thought whatever had been going on had stopped. We were wrong.

JenniAnn and Audrey had decided to build a planetarium (JenniAnn had become quite set on the idea after "Bringer of Light" aired). They immediately began looking for a place to put it. They decided Forever Coast would be an excellent place. There was very little there and it seemed as good a place as any. Vincent and I went with them to try and figure out where exactly to put the building. Only a day later construction had started and we stopped by to see how everything was going. Cliff had been put in charge since his magic powers made building much easier.

"So when do you think it will be done?" I asked Cliff as I approached him.

"Oh, soon, very soon. Shouldn't take more than a week." He answered.

We watched as layers of dirt began to disappear, making room for the basement. Suddenly Cliff yelled.

"Stop!!" With his words the dirt settled and he walked to what would be the middle of the basement. Lying there was a box. Audrey joined him and the two stared down at the metal box, no larger than a foot by a foot and just as deep. Audrey picked it up and brought it back to where JenniAnn, Vincent, and myself were standing.

"Ooh!! Let's open it!" JenniAnn cried as Audrey held out the box for all to see.

"No! Don't you remember Pandora's Box?" Vincent intercepted JenniAnn's hand as she reached for the box.

"Well, yeah. Andrew smashed a computer. Oh it was so cool! I loved it! Andrew, you totally showed that guy what a loser he was. But what does that have to do with an old box?" JenniAnn questioned.

"No, the myth, JenniAnn. Pandora opens the box and all kinds of evil comes out of it. How do you know this isn't a similar box?"

"I suppose...." JenniAnn answered crestfallen.

"Well, we can't just leave it here then for someone to happen upon. Let's take it back to the City, we'll keep it in *my* house where no curious teenagers will find it." I suggested smiling.

The rest agreed, JenniAnn reluctantly so, and we returned to the City leaving Cliff to finish the planetarium.

JenniAnn and Vincent had settled into the library for an evening of studying Shakespeare to prepare JenniAnn for her classes next year (and also so I could rest my ears after having heard for half an hour straight how cool I was in "Pandora's Box".)

"Now, why do you suppose Othello is so quick to believe Iago?" Vincent questioned.

"Well, I think that he's probably faced so much.... Vincent? Vincent, where are you going?" JenniAnn looked concerned as Vincent stared at her and suddenly stood up and began pacing.

"There was something here. Just now, I sensed it."

"Well, what... where...?" JenniAnn questioned him.

"I don't know but let's not stay here."

I was walking past the door of the library when I saw the two of them come out. Vincent looked like I'd never seen him before. Usually he was so collected. Now he looked.... bewildered. Like he didn't know where he was.

"Hey, you two okay?" I asked.

"Umm fine, I think. Vincent said he sensed something in there. It was probably just a draft from the windows or something." JenniAnn answered. I could tell by the look Vincent was giving her that he hardly thought it had just been a draft.

"Right. I was wondering if you and Aud and Vincent would like to join me for some coffee?" I asked. That hadn't been why I'd come over but I had to think of something to get JenniAnn away from Vincent so I could ask him about what had happened.

"Oh, yeah, cool! I'll go start making the coffee."

"Great! See you in a couple minutes." I answered. As soon as she was down the hallway a bit I turned to Vincent.

"Now, really, what happened in there?"

"I didn't want to tell her. I was concerned she would be frightened."

"Yes, I understand that but what did you see?"

"It looked like Audrey, in a way. The strangest part was she was holding a box, like the one Cliff found. She was holding it out to JenniAnn. If JenniAnn had only turned around I am sure she would have seen her. I know she was there, whoever she was."

"This is very strange. We've....." I was interrupted by a cry from downstairs. Vincent and I rushed downstairs as fast as we could.

When we came down the stairs we were immediately met at the bottom by Audrey. She was visibly shaken.

"What!?" I asked. Audrey only pointed towards the kitchen. That was where JenniAnn was supposed to be. Panicked, I ran towards the entrance.

When I entered the kitchen nothing was there. I looked around the room again to make sure nothing was out of the ordinary. Audrey and Vincent came into the room now.

"What happened Audrey?" I asked.

"I went into the pantry to try and find the cappaccino, JenniAnn had asked me to find it before she went to go get a CD, and when I looked in.... there was someone standing there holding that box!" Audrey answered still upset.

"Who was it?" Vincent asked.

"It looked like John, sorta."

At that moment JenniAnn walked into the room.

"What's going on here?" She asked.

"Audrey saw something in the pantry." I explained.

"Oh no, not this again. It's been weeks, I thought we were done with this!"

"I think we all need to sit down and be completely honest with each other about what has been going on. Andrew and I will start." Vincent said as we all moved towards the table and sat down.

I told them about John's visit and about his missing picture. Audrey told JenniAnn about thinking she saw her outside that first night and Vincent told everyone about what had happened in the library earlier. For a while everyone was quiet and then Audrey spoke up.

"We need to open the box." she said.

"No, I'm with Vincent on this. Anything could be in there!" JenniAnn countered.

"Actually, after what we've seen I'm rethinking that. Maybe that is what it will take to have these events stop." Vincent responded.

"Okay, I'm going to open the box then." I said.

"Why you?" Audrey asked.

"Because if it is something bad... I'm not human."

"Still, if it's something demonic you're at just as much danger as us." Audrey reasoned.

"Still you and JenniAnn run JABB. If something happens I don't want to be left in charge of hundreds of drooling fans alone." I said, trying to interject some humor into the situation.

"I'll open it." Vincent offered.

"Definitely not. You've got a kid to take care of. You all just wait here, I'm going to go get the box."

When I returned a few moments later they were all still waiting at the table. I sat the box down on the table when suddenly a hand jetted out and dragged it towards them. It was JenniAnn. Vincent was closest to her and pulled the box back away from her. This time Audrey reached towards him and tried to pull the box away. JenniAnn joined her and finally Vincent's grasp gave way. As his grasp gave way JenniAnn and Audrey both fell back into their seats from the force. The box flew off the table. We all winced at the thud as it hit the ground, awaiting what would happen next. When we finally opened our eyes we stared down at the box. The clasp had broken when it hit the ground.

I bent down to pick up the box and as I did a thin metal sheet slipped out. I pulled the box and the sheet onto the table and everyone gathered around. I flipped the sheet over and everyone exclaimed at the same time. It was a picture. An old tin type picture. There were three people in the picture.

They were dressed in old fashioned clothes. In the middle stood a man in his 30s, on either side was a girl younger than he. They were standing in what appeared to be a field with a small cabin in the background. If you'd looked quickly you would have recognized them as Audrey, JenniAnn, and John. Only when you looked closer did you notice differences.

JenniAnn finally let her gaze go from the picture and she picked up the box and opened it. The only remaining item was a sheet of paper on which was written:

Emily, James, and Hannah
Dyeland- 1888

Of the events following our discovery I have only heard second-hand. We'd ended the evening discussing what the picture might mean and eventually we all went our seperate ways for the night. Things were not quite over.

Audrey woke up a little after two in the morning. She'd had a very strange dream. It was one of those that feels so real you can't help but wonder if it was. Or maybe the dream was the reality and these thoughts are actually your dreams. (I hope this makes sense to you. We angels are not so familiar with dreams as you are.) Audrey was now unable to get back to sleep and went down to the kitchen. When she got there she was surprised to find JenniAnn all ready seated at the table.

"Hey, what are you doing here?" Audrey asked.

"I don't know. I just had a really weird dream and couldn't get back to sleep. What about you?" JenniAnn asked.

"Same. So what was yours about? It wasn't the one where the purple kangaroo breaks into the castle and smashes your TBAA tapes was it? I know that always freaks you out."

"No. Well, I was in this valley, alone. Well, not really. I thought someone else was there but I couldn't see them. There was a hill in front of me. For a while I just sat there and then.... three figures started down the hill towards me."

"It was the three people in the picture and they told you to get the other picture back, the one from John's house." Audrey interrupted.

"Yes! How do you know?"

"It was my dream, too."

The next day everyone met for lunch and it was then they told me about their dreams.

"Well, it seems to me that whoever that was that took the picture from John's house would know what was going on. Unfortunately, it seems just as likely that they'd not be the type of people or.... whatever they are, we'd want to get advice from." I reasoned aloud.

"Yes, it seems these three individuals we are all seeing have some relation to the two of you," Vincent nodded towards the girls, "and trying to help you with a journey you're to take."

"This is just too weird. I mean even with out all these dreams and sightings. I mean that picture!? Dyeland? In 1888!?" JenniAnn questioned falling back into her old maniacal self.

Audrey noticed JenniAnn's decreasing sanity and changed the subject. "Yes, well, I suppose we'll find out when we find out. Mean while, check this out." She handed a folded piece of paper to JenniAnn and this is what it said:

Top Ten Ways to Make Andrew Worry So You Can See That

Most Adorable Panicked Look

10. Tell him the government has moved to celebrate Halloween 4 times a year.

9. Ask him if he also sees that pink and turquoise striped tiger in the corner.

8. Tell him God contacted you and told you it's completely okay if Andrew permanently stays in Dyeland as its President, Adam and Henry will just pick up his assignments. Hahaha! There's no escaping us!

7. Tell him Monica had a bad assignment and she's down at the Cafe with a major caffeine high as the result of downing 7 espressos in a 20 minute period. He's been elected to "talk her down".

6. Tell him you're having sextuplets which you hope to name Andrew, Drew, Annie, Andrea, Drucilla, and Andrus. Furthermore, you'd like him to babysit every weekend, after all he is their namesake!

5. Propose.

4. Ask him to drive you to the hospital for your rabies shot.

3. Inform him that his place as your beloved angel has been taken over by Ernie, the angel who cleans the gum off theater seats.

2. Start giving him a musical tribute and serenade him with "I Will Always Love You", "Because You Loved Me", and other songs generally not suitable to sing to an angel. Please don't sing anything trully distressing, however, we don't want him to go insane.

1. Go up to him and simply say, "I'm sorry, who are you?"

The mood lightened a bit and we spent the rest of the day in relative calm. We hope one day all our questions will be answered.


Newsletter 75

Animation provided by the Clipart Art Warehouse.