by Carl L. Biemiller,
edited by C. J. Carnahan and Eric Biemiller

lightning Copyright © 2005 by Eric C. Biemiller

Please respect the copyrights.
The chapter links are located at the end of each chapter.
Chapter 12

“As long as there has been mankind, there has been some idea of an eye of God,” said Dr. Bailiff. He and Woodie were in his private office in the university’s Department of Parapsychology munching cheese crackers, which Dr. Bailiff bought in five-pound bags.

“All religions from the earliest to some not around yet seem to accept that man is observed by a higher power. If the power lived in stones, animals, plants, sunshine, moonlight, rain or the oceans and streams, then all those things kept an eye on man and his doings. Some of them watched man to help him. Others watched him to do him in. But always people seemed to take the fact for granted whether they liked the idea or not. Mankind was still wearing hides when it started to watch itself. Men are still in that process whether or not they call it conscience or the Internal Revenue Service … or even military intelligence.

“There are watchers, and then there are The Watchers. After I tell you just a bit about them, you will consider the information to be secret even from your parents.” The good doctor paused for effect and studied Woodie. Soon he felt and knew that Woodie understood and would be silent on this issue. He continued.

“I happen to believe that these Watchers were seeded in with the creation of man on this earth right from day one, and that they are sort of moral monitors for mankind. They are people themselves of all makes and stations in life, but they are especially gifted, trained and dedicated.

“They go out a lot, you understand. Yes, I see that you do. You’ve been out yourself, and I can’t say that you’re ready for it.

“Essentially, the Watcher network which is what it is, observes everything it can but always seeking the factors which may strengthen or harm morality in man. That may mean political trends, scientific discoveries, economic forces, even individual human beings. They watch to see that there is some order in men’s affairs of his own making so that there may always be the hope of justice if not always its actuality. They watch always the darkness, which the brute within man creates with greed, and the self-love that turns so quickly into the self-hate, which may someday destroy all men. The darkness too has power.

“I wouldn’t have you think that The Watchers are any sort of a police squad or White Hats forever riding to a rescue. You don’t think that, do you?”

“No,” said Woodie.

“I hate a gabby kid,” said Dr. Bailiff.

“Would I know a Watcher if I saw one?”

“Not if you saw one with your eyes alone.”

“Are there many of them?”

“Many, but perhaps, never enough.”

“Who do The Watchers tell what they watch?”

“People who can stimulate the good in man to act for its own good.”

“Shouldn’t that be easy?”

“It should be.”

“Can the people The Watchers report to tell what’s going to happen from what The Watchers tell ‘em?”

“Sometimes, but they know in other ways too.”

Woodie raised his brows in question.

“One form of power, one of the greatest and maybe the most dangerous granted to those people is called precognition. It is known as many things, fortune-telling, sooth-saying, hunches, and intuition. There are all sorts of labels for it, but it’s simply the ability to foretell happenings before they happen.”

“Can I do it?”

“Woodie, I don’t’ know all the things you can do or can’t do as yet, and you don’t either. You have the power. You want to work some? One of the things the Russians are working on is called ‘skin vision’ or ‘dermal-optical sensitivity’. There are ‘sensitives’ that can tell colors on cards when they are blindfolded simply by touching the cards.”

Woodie did not move from his chair. He stared out of the window where the early dusk was just beginning to stain the sky.

“Dr. Bailiff,” he said slowly. “The dark power, the people that have it and use it … Don’t they have their own Watchers too?”

“I once suggested to you to be shy of people who might take an interest in you even for reasons that seem logical enough.”

“Then they do.”

“But with a difference. Words won’t quite do it. Read me.”

Woodie read and the room was quiet; the silence friendly and soothing.

“Yes. I see,” whispered Woodie. “More like individual talents for hire, sort of like gang guns and hit men on TV and in the movies …”

“Does it frighten you?”

“Yes,” said Woodie.

“I hate a gabby kid.”

“But how would I know?”

“That ring you’re wearing, the one I gave you for Christmas. If you’re attuned, the Laplanders say that the ring will make your finger prickle in the presence of evil. But then, you’d recognize any mind probe, and even from the day of your birth most of your natural blocks are set.

“Others you know about now. You’ll know danger, Woodie, and much sooner and better than anyone with only natural equipment.”

“You know something, Dr. Bailiff?” asked Woodie Kynwood Junior, high school freshman.


“I’m not getting enough exercise.”

Reginald B. Bailiff’s laughter rolled around his office like a thousand bowling balls tumbling down a tin ski slope.

“Yo’ po’ boney white pink-skin boy, a-sittin’ and’ a-plottin’ fixin’s fo’ the Newn Yited States hoss soldiers.”

“Well, if we’re going to work, maybe we ought to get at it. I’ve got an algebra exam tomorrow.”

“Go home and study then, boy. You’d be a bad study for the color cards anyhow. You’d levitate them and read them through the blindfold. Upset some of those graduate students out there no end. Come to think of it, I’m going to upset them anyhow. I promised Decker Todd I’d discuss one of his cases with him. And, incidentally, he said he wanted to see you for a check-up.”

“That was Christmas time. His nurse was going to call.”

“Well, it’s only February. Decker only knows one time, and that’s right now. I don’t know how his people get him to hold any office hours. He’s either operating or sneaking off to smell out a new technique for operating. But I’ll make sure he gets to you. And, by the way, you don’t have to close up real tight with Decker Todd. I’ve told him a few things about you. If you want to read him, ask.”

There was a faint over-lay of sadness in Woodie’s eyes.

“I’m not having as much fun this year as I had last,” he said.

“It’s the growing, boy. Goodbye.”

Dr. Bailiff watched his closed door a long minute or more after Woodie left.

“And it’s a damn time in a damn country that organizes the boy out of boyhood before it flowers and then wonders why its manhood is stunted by dreams of being young forever.”

“Dr. Decker Todd wants to see you tomorrow, dear,” said Woodie’s mother when he got home.

“I know.”

“Not really, dear. His nurse just called.”

“Pretty really then, mother. Dr. Bailiff had a date with Dr. Todd and he said he’d get right on him.”

“That’s pretty really enough, I guess. I just thought you might be doing something uncomfortable or something I don’t understand.”

“Oh, mother …”

“Like Big Woodie does half the time, although I’ve known him longer. You want a little kiss?”

“Mutherrrrrrrrrrr …”

“Well, it’s what happens when a woman grows old and loses her looks and gets thrown out to join the hospital auxiliary or the Friends of the library or some cell of the Liberated Females. Your date with Dr. Todd is at three-thirty tomorrow. Go right there from school. And Tinker called. He said something about an auction that he forgot to tell you about in class.”

“An auction?”

“He mentioned dogs too. Does that help?”

“No,” said Woodie.

“I guess his mother sits up nights breaking his code.”

Dr. Decker Todd had two adjoining offices in which he saw patients and two adjoining waiting rooms that abutted them. There was a nurse and a receptionist for each waiting room. The two private offices were linked by a short corridor so that when Dr. Todd tired of one office he could scoot into the other.

“But that ain’t the real reason,” he explained to Woodie. “When I leave one office I tell the receptionist to tell all the patients that I’m out, which I am since I’m in the other office. Then I leave there and have the receptionist for that office tell all those patients that I’m out which I am since I’ve left there and am now here. Pretty soon all the patients have gone. Why not? The doctor is out. The trick is not to have any patients. I am a great believer in preventative medicine.”

“Why don’t you sit in a chair in that corridor? Then you could be out of both offices at the same time.”

“Woodie, you are a genius.”

Dr. Todd pushed a button on his deck which brought a nurse into the doorway.

“Miss Beauchamp, would you please have a chair put in the middle of the corridor which links my two offices?”

“No,” she said.

“If the doctor business gets taken over by the government, it will be your fault. Vanish! Woodie, it is hard to find help these days. Why don’t you lie down on this very expensive doctor table? You may think it is odd to lie down for a noodle examination, which I could do by patting you on the skull. But if I just patted you on the bean, you’d go home and tell your parents they got gypped on the bill. Sometimes I have patients take off their clothes, which is good for another ten bucks right in my pocket. Oh, I tell you Woodie, between the doctors and the big oil companies there won’t be a loose dollar left in the country.”

Woodie draped himself upon the sheeted table and relaxed. Dr. Todd busied himself and muttered to the same audience.

“Damn kid packs as much meat as a rope. Well, we’ll give a peek at the reflexes … see if all’s well with the gunk in the cerebellum for movement and coordination … “

Dr. Todd worked quickly and thoroughly with tappings and tickles and thumpings. He shined lights into Woodie’s eyes and ears. He made him breathe through his mouth as he listened to his chest and his back with a stethoscope. He touched various areas of Woodie’s body and asked if he felt anything and what. He ran his fingers over the scar on Woodie’s head now covered with his hair.

“Oh, by gollies, what we don’t know about healing and repair. If I could only get in there and stroll around, particularly in the cerebrum which distinguishes man from all the other animals, how I could help…” Decker Todd muttered and muttered. “Damn kid, all wire and fire and life and, thank God, I got him in time and had the hands for it.”

“Maybe you will someday,” said Woodie quietly.

“What? What did you say?”

“Maybe you will be able to get in and stroll around.”

Dr. Todd was silent, but Woodie could see the thought shape in his head. Is there a way? There must be a way and there must even be a handful of doctors who know it.

“There’s a way, maybe more than one way,” said Woodie.

“Are you reading my mind, you damn kid?”

“A little,” admitted Woodie. “But Dr. Bailiff thought you might give permission if I asked.”

“Beetle Bailiff is a big black windbag. He has been on my zap list for more than twenty years. He said that, did he? Of course, he said it. Read away then, but you’ll set the cause of witchcraft back another thousand years just when we need it to run the country since we are fresh out of common sense.”

Right in the front of Decker Todd’s mind Woodie found concern for him almost as strong as his parents. It embarrassed him. He was always surprised to discover that people liked him. He found self-concern for Decker Todd too. Dr. Todd wondered if Woodie’s ESP powers were something he had stimulated inadvertently during the operation. Had they just plain arrived out of nowhere due to the accident? Could they be a part of the actual brain damage? Something sick? Maybe warning of madness?

“I think I always had the power, but that, yes, the operation made me use it or else die,” said Woodie quietly. “Dr. Bailiff says the power may appear in some sick people but that it is really an enormous strength. He also says that if there were brain damage the power would do much to correct it. As for wacky …”

“Yeah, who knows what’s for wacky,” mused Decker Todd. “I notice you say ‘power’ and I tend to think of ‘powers’ in the plural…

“I don’t know except that I think that power all by itself has many forms. I just don’t know much at all,” said Woodie forlornly. “Except that there has to be a reason I have it. And I know it isn’t any toy for fun and games although …”

“You can’t resist playing with it. Woodie, some people would stone you to death, but I think you’re strong enough to carry that load. Physically you’re in good shape but like all damn kids your age you’ve got to cope with normal problems like gland-crazies, the metabolic shifts in growing, cloud-busting and nose-diving emotions, all the animal stuff that comes before you shift gears into maturity. Do I make any sense?”


“Some is better than none. Well, I’ll do what I can to help you anytime, you know that. But blast-ding-it, where’s the science in the stuff?”

“Dr. Bailiff says that first you have to accept it, then you find ways to prove that it exists and when you find them you forget what you set out to prove and call what you find something else.”

“Dr. Bailiff, Dr. Bailiff, Dr. Bailiff… blah and blah, and blah…Beat it, you damn kid, and tell my receptionist that I’m out.”

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five
Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty One
Chapter Twenty Two Chapter Twenty Three Chapter Twenty Four Chapter Twenty Five Chapter Twenty Six
Chapter Twenty Seven Chapter Twenty Eight Chapter Twenty Nine Chapter Thirty
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