Greer has been begging to be written. He might yet cross over to the Another Life series.
Title: Friends of Past and Present
Series: What Lies Between
“Life sucks,” Lennon announced. No one was around to care as he drove down the rural highway. He’d heard that a gas station in a small town a couple of hours away was hiring. Since he was between jobs, Lennon thought he’d apply. Nothing was keeping him in his home town and he needed a job. What sucked was that they’d hired someone the day before.
Lennon wasn’t upset that he’d spent the whole day on this errand; it was the gas gauge inching toward the big E that drew forth the proclamation of the suckiness of life. If bank accounts had the same symbols of F and E on them, his account would be the same as his gas tank.
Looking up from the dashboard, Lennon saw a brown sign that the government used for state parks. The sign pointed the way to a Native American historic site. A glance in his rearview mirror assured him no one was behind him, he pressed his foot hard on the brake and sharply turned onto the street the sign had directed.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Lennon groused. “This isn’t a street!” The road he’d turned down was a narrow, one-lane dirt path that resembled some of the long driveways into the farms that were scattered about the countryside. He squinted his eyes and leaned forward. “Come on, let me find a place to turn around before some farmer comes out with a rifle in hand.”
As he searched, Lennon reached out and turned down the radio. “Yeah, like that will help me find a place!” He left the volume down as he continued to look. Had he not been looking so hard he would have missed the second sign directing him down another dirt road. Following the arrow, Lennon started to doubt his decision to try and find the historic site. As much as he loved history, he didn’t want to run out of gas out at the far end of nowhere. He’d be lucky to make it home if he turned around right now.
Finally, he saw a small gravel parking lot. Pulling in with the intention of using the lot to turn around, Lennon noticed the information board for the park.
“Oh, fuck it. I’m here now. Might as well take a look around.” Excitement bubbled up inside him. Lennon parked his car several yards from the only other car that was there. Hopefully, the car belonged to some childless couple and he could enjoy the site. Learning how people lived before all the modern conveniences had always fascinated him. History was the only class he’d made decent grades in.
Turning off the car, he opened the door and stood up. His back cracked as he stretched. The stress of not having a job and then the bumpy ride down the dirt road, it felt good to stretch. He walked up to the information board. A clear container held pamphlets that explained at one time a Native American village stood just beyond a hill.
Lennon shaded his eyes as he looked at the hill. It wasn’t a paved path, just a mowed line up to the top. It didn’t seem long, maybe the length of a football field. Not that he’d ever played football, Lennon thought. He was lucky not to trip over shadows. But the little trail seemed manageable.
The sun was still high in the sky and felt good. He inhaled deeply as he walked. The air held a hint of hay and something he couldn’t quite define. A small trickle of sweat rolled down his back as he continued. Just as he crested the hill, a small gust of wind drifted over him.
A small gazebo stood on the hill. A map of where different buildings once stood and drawings of Native American life alternated on the walls of the structure. The details about the gardening skills captured Lennon’s attention.
“Hi, you having a good time?”
Startled, Lennon jumped. A man with black hair and startling blue eyes stood just a few feet away. He looked to be about the same age as Lennon. He thought the guy must be one of the Mennonite farmers in the area as Lennon didn’t see another car near his. “Um, hi. You scared me.” Lennon gasped out a laugh. “Yeah, I’m having a good time. Well, I mean, I just got here. But so far it’s pretty cool.”
“It is cool! The people here were a peaceful nation. Oh, they had their squabbles. But they enjoyed life to the fullest. I’m Greer.” Greer held out his hand with a smile.
Lennon reached out and shook his hand. “Hey, Greer. I’m Lennon.”
“Ahh, the dear one! I’m so happy you came!”
Greer’s excitement puzzled Lennon. “Excuse me? Why are you happy I stopped?”
“Oh, well, it’s your name. Lennon, it means dear one. That’s all I meant. Come on, I’ll show you the village.” Greer smiled encouragingly.
Lennon followed alongside him as the other man pointed out areas of interest. Greer pointed out where the smokehouse had been and where the fields had grown grains.
“Can’t you just imagine the women scraping the hide of a deer? Or children playing tag?” Greer asked with a wistfulness in his voice.
Lennon looked out over the field. He could imagine it. Men riding in on horses. Women grinding corn. The kids laughing and playing. He’d always had an active imagination. He could idle away a day letting little movies run in his mind.
“Come on! Over here is where they’d bathe and get fresh water.” Greer took him to a small creek that wound through the fields.
The water shallowly flowing over the rocks sounded like music to Lennon. He could see dark-haired children splashing in the creek on a hot summers day.
“We’ve not had much rain, I bet you could find an arrowhead if you looked.” Greer’s voice broke through the vision Lennon had just seen.
Lennon looked down at the rocky creek bed. “Gawd, that’d be so cool. I’ve always wanted to find an arrowhead.”
“Come down here a bit. The warriors would have probably sat right over there to work the stones.”
Lennon kept his eyes on the rocks as he followed Greer. He didn’t know what language they would have spoken, but he had no trouble imagining the deep tones of the mighty warriors. Finding an arrowhead would turn the sucky day around.
“Here! I bet they sat here.”
Lennon looked to where Greer sat down. A bit of grassy land jutted out close to the creek. He doubted he’d find anything in the grass but decided he’d be polite and look around on the grass. Then he’d go back by the river and look a little harder.
He plopped down on the grass beside Greer. He hadn’t had this much exercise since....well, ever. Lennon thought he’d rest his legs a bit and then wander back down by the creek. “Do you come here often?”
Greer chuckled. “Every chance I get. The fresh air. The sun. It all feels so good.”
Lennon nodded. It did feel good to be outside. No pressures, just open space. He breathed in and leaned back to let the day wash over him. Shifting a little, he felt underneath his butt where a rock was digging into him. Pulling it out of the earth, he started to toss the stone away. But something about it caught his eye.
“No way! It’s an arrowhead! I was sitting on an arrowhead!!” Lennon couldn’t believe it. He wasn’t a lucky kind of person. He never won anything. He never found anything. But right there in his hand was a worked stone.
Greer’s laugh echoed over the land. “Ha! You got an arrow in your butt!”
Greer’s laugh was infectious and soon, Lennon joined in. He had sat right down on an ancient artifact! “Can I keep it? Do I have to turn it in to the park rangers or someone?”
A thoughtful expression crossed Greer’s face. “No. Just put it in your pocket. You really like this stuff, yes?”
Lennon nodded. “Yeah, I do. I thought about going to college to study history, but what can you do with a history degree? And why take out loans that I’d never able to pay off.”
Greer tilted his head and looked closely at Lennon. “I have a friend who likes history. Come on, I’ll introduce him to you. He’s doing what he calls a “dig”.
Lennon stood up. “A dig? He’s an archaeologist? Here?”
Greer jumped to his feet with more grace than Lennon had. “No, not an archae...whatever you said. Something else. It does have the ologist thing though. And yes, here. Just over that ridge. It’s not open to the public but Sasha won’t mind.”
“Are you sure?” Lennon asked but the other man had already started to walk away. Lennon jogged a little to catch up. He followed Greer even after the trail had stopped. The grass was much higher. Lennon knew he’d have to check himself all over for ticks. he continued to follow the other man through a thicket of trees.
The trees stopped after a few hundred yards and a large open field stood before him. In that field, a canopy stood. Lennon struggled to keep up as Greer ran toward the makeshift shelter.
“Sasha! Sasha! Lennon’s here!” Greer’s voice floated down and over the field.
Lennon watched as a tall, blonde man stood up. It always shocked Lennon to find someone taller than his own six feet, 3 inches. But as he drew closer, he could see the other man had several inches on him.
The taller man stepped forward. “Greer? What are-”
Greer interrupted him. “Sasha. This is Lennon. He likes history like you do! I couldn’t remember what you are. What ologist you are. Lennon, this is Sasha.”
Lennon held out his hand. “Hi. I hope we aren’t bothering you.”
“Tell him. Tell him what you are! I forget!” Greer was almost jumping up and down in his demand.
Sasha shook Lennon’s hand. His voice held an odd tone. One Lennon couldn’t quite figure out as the man said, “I’m an anthropologist. I’m on a research grant studying the culture of this tribe.”
“Oh, that’s cool.” Lennon felt out of his league. He liked history. Like reading about people and how they lived in the past, but this man was a professional. “I was telling Greer that I liked history and he wanted me to meet you.”
“So are you two friends?” Sasha asked suspiciously.
Lennon shook his head. “No, we just met. Greer’s been showing me around.”
“He’s looking for a job,” Greer blurted out.
Lennon didn’t remember telling Greer that he’d been job hunting. He thought about asking how the other man knew, but Sasha had raised one eyebrow in the most fascinating way. Lennon couldn’t tear his eyes away from him.
“He is, is he?” Sasha’s dark brown eyes seemed to see inside Lennon. “How’s your typing skills?”
Lennon shrugged. “Average,”
“How about a spreadsheet? You know how to enter data and get averages, sums, that kind of thing?”
“Um, yeah. Do you know of a job somewhere?” Lennon couldn’t believe his luck. He tried to keep his desperation out of his voice.
“Yes. With me. I need an assistant. One who can log in what I find and keep it updated. You think you could do that?”
Lennon’s heart was racing. Of course, he could do that! “Yes! Yes! I can do that! Is that why you brought me to meet him?” Lennon turned, asking Greer the question. But Greer was nowhere to be found. “Greer? Where’d he go?”
“To the other side,” Sasha said quietly.
Lennon looked around. “The other side of what?”
“Of life. To what lies between here and there.” Sasha inhaled deeply. “Lennon, this is going to sound crazy, but Greer’s a spirt. A ghost. He died over a hundred years ago.”
“Ok, where’s the cameras? Is this some punk joke show?” Lennon felt the flush of shame and anger rise in his face. The assholes! Getting his hopes up for a job and playing a stupid prank! He didn’t wait for an answer but turned to stomp away.
Before he could take a step, Sasha’s hand grabbed his arm. “It’s not a joke. No cameras. I really do need an assistant. Please, here me out. Come on. I’ll buy you dinner. You can follow me to any restaurant you want. I thought I’d lost my mind when Greer first showed up. Let me explain. Please?”
Lennon heard the sincerity in Sasha’s voice. He still didn’t believe Greer was a ghost. But maybe the job was real. “I’ll follow you.”