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Chapter Thirty-one 


 

A Guardian Angel Named Hanna

۞

There was a knock on his door. From his dream he heard the voice of John the Christian yelling his name. He wasn't sure at first where he was but then he heard John's voice say: "Thomas! Time to get up!" He knocked on the door loudly.

"Okay. Thank you John!" he said from under the covers. "I'm getting up. I will see you at the train station." For a minute he pondered returning to sleep because he didn't think he'd get a ticket, and even if he did it would be in steerage. Lying in bed Thomas could still see the large green wall with white writing like a big foundation stone. It made him feel safe like a blanket, light enough to carry and secure enough to withstand force. It remained the center stone for all the subsequent temples built in celebration of scripture that cured moral and spiritual ills. The white lines were etched into the stone of the wall in 13 points with the date of its creation in the left corner at its base. There were signatures of the founders: Joshua and Thomas, who later became known as The Twin Messiahs.

His body ached and screamed for more sleep but something urged him on, perhaps the goodness of John's heart for acting as his alarm clock, completely above and beyond the call of duty.

When he checked out in the lobby, the Chinese man behind the counter handed him a note.

"Telephone call for you last night sir. Message sir." He slipped it into his pocket and rushed out the door. The sunrise creeping up from behind the mountaintops, he felt for a moment that he had reached the point of origin from where the rising sun was born. It made him recall an old South African proverb that said the night is darkest just before the sun rises. Thomas saw its wisdom when the timid orange hue edged upwards, pushing the darkness aside and cracking the horizon. There, where the earth and sky kiss, was the end of the world where the dull pallor of the land in an instant changed into the brilliant possibilities of the heavens. It was where they, the birds of fire, flew over the sky and fed on the Hyperon's light in the empyrean.

When he arrived at the train station and found John, he took me to the front of the line that stretches back twenty-five feet. In rapid fire, he spoke Burmese to the ticket seller.

"Okay, we go behind the counter into the office. Come on." Sleepily and purposely keeping all hope at arms length, he followed John into the office where there was a massive Indian man sitting at a desk. Carefully, he looked in his direction keeping his head down in respect. He pulled out a chair.

"Sit please."

"Thank you, sir." The stationmaster, upon hearing the word sir, stopped for a brief instant, and then took out a pad of paper full of tickets. Thomas kept quiet with his eyes averted, letting his moustache do the talking since the stationmaster also sported a bushy upper lip.

"Rangoon. We have first-class. Is it okay?"

"Yes," he replied, startled. "Yes it would." The stationmaster wrote out a ticket for him. He couldn't believe his fortune.

"That is $28," he said. Thomas handed the man $30. The stationmaster and John spoke in sudden burst of Burmese.

"Do you have any change?" John asked. "He has no change to give you."

"Please tell him it's okay. He can keep the change. I don't mind. Put it in the petty cash." They exchange more words and then the money was handed to the man who sat behind the window. Suddenly the stationmaster handed a ticket to him.

"Hurry," said John. "There isn't much time." Thomas followed him to the train where he found his seat right beside the window. John stood on the platform just outside his window and dealt with people asking last-minute questions.

"I cannot thank you enough John. Really, I am very grateful." In his eyes he could see that such a heart felt thank you meant something.

When Thomas said goodbye to him through the window John asked him to send him a letter, which he promised. When the whistle blew and the train began to move, the tension in his stomach disperses and the wind dried the sweat from his face. He shut is eyes to close off the mayhem of the outside world, images floating through his mind of the last twenty-four hours in Upper Burma, candles and black hair, and head bobs and insects. He effused a sigh and extracted the note the Chinese man gave him earlier at the hotel. It read: They know. Be careful. Hanna.

A pungent paranoia came over him, his mind racing with unfounded flights of fancy. If they know, what are they doing right now? But what about fate? What about God acting as my guardian angel? Faith in destiny and awareness of insects; Thomas was half amused at his waking interplay between paranoia and confidence.

  

 
 
 
 
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Part One - Canada
1.      The Twin From the East Returns  
2.      The Sundancer  
3.      Waxing Gibbous 
4.      The Second Coming of the Messiah 
5.      The Sacred Twin Story 
6.      The Sign of the Pahana 
7.      Palongawhoya and Poqanghoya 
8.      Rainbow Thunderbird and Red Phoenix 
9.      The True White Brother 
10.    The Lost Louis Riel Notebooks 
 
Part Two - Hong Kong
11.    A Mixture of Revulsion and Pity 
12.    A Classroom of Scallywags 
13.    Illegitimati non Carborundum 
14.    The Distant Fire of Empyrean
 
Part Three - Burma
15.    The Monastery of Sacred Tablets 
16.    The Outpost of Tyranny 
17.    When the 12th Moon Comes 
18.    The Pigeon Left & the Crow Took His Place 
19.    Go North and Find Your People 
20.    Finding Orwell 
21.    Though the Monkey is in a Hurry, the Tree Branch is Not 
22.    The Castle at God's Toes 
23.    The General and Sergeant Betel Nut 
24.    The Tattooed Station Master 
25.    Reverend Crow's Life's Work 
26.    Yield Not to Adversity, But Press on More Bravely 
27.    A Bitter Cuppa Tea 
28.    The Thirteenth Tribe 
29.    When a Lamp is Lit You Must Expect Insects 
30.    John the Christian 
31.    A Guardian Angel Named Hanna 
32.    The Bar Car & Betel Nut 
33.    The Son of Light 
34.    Slipping the Karmic Knot
 
Part Four - Hong Kong
35.    The Tonsure Warning 
36.    The Phoenix Reborn 
37.    Touching the Empyrean 
38.    Joshua the Gatekeeper 
 
Part Five - Canada
39.    Lapsit Exillis 
40.    Thunderstones 
41.    The Time of Great Purification  
         
 
 
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