The Non-life of Riley – Chapter Twenty-two

Kingwell By Kingwell, 8th Nov 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Fantasy

My work complete – I say my good-byes and am heaven bound..

Patrick John Turns Twelve

Patrick John celebrated his twelfth birthday on March 15, 1782 and I immediately hot-wired myself to know of his whereabouts at all times and to hear any cry for help. I was taking no chances, not only was he the eldest of my grandchildren but without his teachings I could not have progress as I had and might today be haunting some dishevelled old house or even (heaven forbid) the Tower of London. Being forced to listen day and night to the terrified shrieks, wails, moans, groans and desperate pleas of the likes of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, who still roamed the tower in search of her head, was not my idea of a good time. Patrick John was a serious child who was doing well in school and already talked about attending Oxford or Cambridge with an eye on medicine. Fully intending to return and open a practice in Newfoundland, the fact that there were only three doctors to tend to the needs of the population of St. John’s was not something that was lost on him.

Honest Businessmen

Being an unseen guest at the weekly meetings of Riley Brothers had been a real eye-opener for me. Shocked at the profits being made, I had at first expected the worse, that they were cheating their workers and the fishermen. A quick check of the company’s books soon showed any such thoughts to be unfounded, in fact fishermen were paid five cents a quintal more than most other merchants were offering. As was the case in all of Newfoundland at the time, fishermen were not paid in cash but in goods purchased at the company store. The same held true for those who worked directly for the merchant, most of whom earned forty cents for a ten hour day. I soon learned that, little as it seemed, this was even more than some businesses paid but to pay more could do more harm than good to the economy of the Island. Satisfied at last, that my sons were honest businessmen, I decided to eaves-drop no further into their affairs.

The Bight Light

July 15, 1782 was a warm day by Newfoundland standards and early evening saw a group of young men and boys swimming in the harbour around the Riley premises. Twelve year old Patrick John was considered one of the best swimmers in his age group as well as an excellent diver. This evening he and some friends were jumping from the wharf nearest his home. The point of the game was to see who could stay under water for the longest time. I watched for a while as the laughter grew louder and the pranks multiplied. Finally I took my leave to share some words of wisdom with an old owl that lived a mile or two back in the forest and was just waking up as the sun sank further and further toward the horizon. We had been conversing for less than ten minutes when my alarm system told me that something was wrong with Patrick John and the owl suddenly realized that he was talking to himself. At first the boys had been cheering, amazed at the length of time Patrick John was staying under this time, when his best friend Martin suddenly caught a glimpse of the boy’s body floating lifeless beneath the surface. I was there before anyone else could get in the water and I quickly took in the situation. Diving deeply into the water, Patrick John had struck his head on a rock jagging out from the ocean floor and was now unconscious. His lungs were already filling with water and I knew that I had to get him to the surface quickly. Applying all my ghostly powers I soon managed to get him afloat and relaxed for a few seconds as his friends quickly got him onshore. Patrick John was not responding as his friends started to roll him on the ground in the hope of getting the water out of his lungs. Being the only spiritual being present, I saw what none of the others did. My grandson was already experiencing the bright light that all encounter as they reach the threshold between the physical and spiritual worlds. Immediately I entered into the unconsciousness that enveloped him and Patrick John recognized me once more. Calmly I told him that he must go back, that it was not yet his time and as I did so, I noticed the light beginning to fade as if returning to the source from whence it had come.

I Bid You Good-

Patrick John was coughing as water spewed from his mouth and nostrils. His eyes flickered then opened wide. Those gathered around him looked like shadows and their voices were far away. As he became more and more aware of his surroundings, it dawned on him that he had almost died. Later at home his mother would clean the cut on his forehead, apply turpentine and bandage it. The scar would remain as a reminder of the day he had come so close to drowning.
That night I said my good-byes to the owl and his wisdom, to the insects that helped me understand the importance of even the smallest creatures, to the flowers in the big meadow that turn their faces forever heavenward, and even to the wind who whispers the secrets of life to all who will listen. I looked upon my sons, daughters-in-law and my grandchildren as they slept peacefully in their beds. Above all I gave thanks for my non-life as the ghost of Patrick Joseph Riley. Heaven bound at last I bid you all good-night.
The End
Read from the Beginning - See Chapter One

See also Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Nineteen

Tags

Anne Boleyn, Cambridge, Diving, Good-Bye, Kingwell, Laughter, Medicine, Near Drowning, Newfoundland, Owl, Oxford, Patrick John, Pranks, Scar, Swimming, Tower Of London, Turpentine

Meet the author

author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
10th Nov 2014 (#)

you done did it dear Kingwell and very well indeed! so let us have a new tale to read from you..lots o love to you...

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author avatar Kingwell
11th Nov 2014 (#)

Thank you Carolina. You have been a loyal follower. Blessings.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
11th Nov 2014 (#)

Wonderful post my friend and with Felipe this stories are one of a kind!

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author avatar Kingwell
11th Nov 2014 (#)

Thank you Fern. So happy that you enjoyed the story. Felipe will continue soon.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
12th Nov 2014 (#)

This is like a Déjà vu for me as I believe all are alive around us, even those we consider inanimate. We depend on them more than our own for our very survival. You have driven home a deep meaning to our existence and after life that is heart warming. Thanks Kingwell - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
12th Nov 2014 (#)

Thank you Siva and although this is a fun piece many of my own thoughts and beliefs have been woven into the story. I am grateful to you and others who have followed this story from beginning to end. Blessings.

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author avatar puncakceria
10th Dec 2014 (#)

Informative article. Thank you for sharing this.

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author avatar Kingwell
10th Dec 2014 (#)

So pleased that you are following. Blessings.

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28th Sep 2017 (#)

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