Fairy Faith 2: Friendship Walker

by Font Bookfarthing

"I know this wounds weird. And you two ladies are just gonna tell me that it's someone playing some kinda practical joke on me. But yesterday afternoon, after working in the back yard for some time, I came back inside and found this note sitting in the middle of the dinner table." The old man handed me a half sheet of lined notebook paper. The paper had been torn neatly in half, and the message was in sloppy handwriting with what looked like a black ballpoint pen.

For the benefit of the audio recording I was making for my radio show, I read the note out loud: "To John, I'm Friendship Walker."

I slipped the note over to Faith who was sitting next to me on the couch, and then I turned back to the old man sitting on the wooden rocking chair facing us. "And you live here all alone in this house?" The house in which we sat was your usual uninteresting suburban, two bedroom dwelling. Absolutely typical of the community of Beachwood in Northern California, surrounded by a pine forest to the east, south and north, and the ocean to the west.

"That's right, ma'am."

"Was your front door locked?"

"Always."

"Could somebody have gotten in the back door without your seeing them?"

He shrugged. "Well, Angel, I wasn't more than twenty feet from the door. But then my eyesight isn't what it used to be. I guess it's possible. But who would do a thing like this? And why? That's what I don't understand. Why? And what on Earth does this even mean? Are they gonna come back? I'm gonna have to keep the house locked at all times from now on." He sighed and looked nervously through the sliding glass back door. He was just a frightened old man who hadn't asked for this, and my heart went out to him. Unfortunately there's no manual for dealing with the supernatural.

I looked over at Faith who was frowning at the piece of paper in her hands like it was an annoying drunken loser trying to pick her up on a bar. "Faith?" She only shook her head slowly, not wanting to commit to any words at this point in time.

She held the paper up to the light coming in from the nearby back door. Finding nothing to interest her that way, she got up and took the note into the kitchen.

The girl frequently baffled me. She was a fairy after all. And bringing her along with me on my interviews with the public, I had to worry about her fairy features, which were just different enough for her to more or less fit into human society. Her skin was slightly more pale than average Caucasian human skin, in fact it almost shimmered. It was a rare day I could get her to do something with her very long orange hair. And to hide her larger than usual eyes, I made her wear large black sunglasses. To make matters worse, she didn't like to wear normal clothes because of the restricted feeling it gave her. But most of the time she could at least be talked into wearing an extra-long t-shirt and a loose, knee-length skirt.

Her look contrasted sharply from my own precisely cut, short, black bob, heavy mascara, long black leather jacket, blue jeans and well-worn hiking boots.

When she didn't return from the kitchen a few moments later, I picked up my recorder and microphone, got up and followed her. When I got there I found that Faith had already switched on one of the burners on the stove and had stuck the piece of paper into the flickering flame.

I didn't know if it was some strange fairy ritual she was performing, or if she had simply lost her tiny little mind. So I asked, "Just what are you doing there?"

But she held the burning paper out of my reach, letting it burn away to ash. John finally hobbled his way into the kitchen a moment later. "You mustn't help him," Faith said to him. Her vaguely British accent frequently made people stop and think, unable to place it. Could be Scottish. Could be Welsh. Could be both, stirred up in a bowl and left to simmer for half an hour.

"Help him?" John was quite baffled at this. "What do you mean?"

Faith went on, "This guy Friendship Walker is... well, he isn't right somehow." She shook her head, still not quite able to put her feelings into words. "He's just... he's just mean. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. But I know I'm right. He's really bad." She then returned to the living room.

I gave the old man a sympathetic look which clearly told him that I too was baffled by this odd behavior.

When we joined Faith in the living room once more, we found her whispering to a potted plant sitting on a small table at the side of the couch. "Can I ask how long she's been here?" she asked John, indicating the plant.

"About a year. I bought that a couple a' months after my wife passed away. It was a spur of the moment kinda thing. And I don't really know why, 'cause I never had plants in the house before. But I just got a good feeling from that one. It seemed to call out to me in the store." He laughed lightly, embarrassed

I asked him a few more routine questions, assured him I was hard at work on the case, and then Faith and I left.

Once we were both in the car and driving home again, I asked, "So I was wondering if there was anything you'd like to share with me?"

"Aye, there is actually. Could we share a pizza?"

"I was talking about information you might have about this case. Like what made you burn that note?"

"Oh, that." She took a deep breath to prepare herself for the task of telling me whatever it was she had to tell me. Though how taking a deep breath actually does prepare anyone for anything, I never have been able to figure out. Even though I do the same thing myself. Then she changed her mind and exhaled the deep breath. After several normal breaths, and staring out the side window, she spoke, almost too quietly for me to hear, "I don't know. Something was just creepy about that note." She turned to face me and said very sincerely, "And it was even more creepy than that awful man selling second-hand cars we saw on the television advertisement the other day." I remembered. That commercial had really freaked her out. The man advertising used cars was under the mistaken impression that if he shouted, he might engage the enthusiasm of the audience. Faith got so upset at the commercial that she had thrown my ghetto blaster through the TV screen.

"Creepy, huh? You can't tell my anything more than that?"

She shook her head, frowning deeply in her own private concerns. That was all I was going to get out of her.

"What kind of pizza?"

"Numero Uno pepperoni, please. Thanks." She grinned widely and wrapped her arms around me, leaning her head on my shoulder as I continued driving awkwardly.

#

It was two days later. I had just finished watching the delivery men install our new TV when the phone rang. Faith was so startled by the sound that she let out a yelp and ducked behind the sofa. Being somewhat braver than she was, I picked it up and spoke into the thing. It was a woman called Martha. She explained that she too had received a mysterious message from someone calling himself Friendship Walker. "John told me you know all about this. So, like who the hell is it? And like how did he get inside my friggin' apartment?"

"Listen," I said. "While it's true that I'm investigating this case, I'm a long way from knowing all about it. I still don't know who's doing it or why. That's going to take a little more work on my part."

"Well, I'm like panicking over here, okay? Can't you at least tell me what you do know?"

"Sure..." I hesitated, not knowing how she'd take the news. But she asked for it. "My working theory is that Friendship Walker isn't an actual human being. He's most likely some sort of incorporeal entity who may or may not be indigenous to the planet Earth. Oh, and my girlfriend's theory is that he's just mean," I added a moment later.

Martha chose to greet this piece of news with a long pause on her end of the line.

"Hello?" I prompted.

"Are you friggin' crazy?" she asked.

That was a deep philosophical question I've frequently asked myself over the years. I believed in and investigated virtually every aspect of the supernatural. In fact most of my colleagues at the radio station frequently accused me of being mentally unstable. Add to that, my girlfriend was an honest-to-goodness fairy... only without the wings. On reflection maybe I was some kind of kook. So I said, "Maybe I am." And in a small way, I found it therapeutic to say it out loud. So I thought I'd share the feeling, "Of course we're all a little bit crazy, don't you think? I mean look at you. You're receiving messages from some weird incorporeal, non-human entity who's just mean."

She was so relieved I was on the case that she immediately hung up without another word in order to let me get straight back to my investigations.

#

The next time the phone rang, Faith jumped nearly a foot into the air. But at least she didn't scream and hide this time. Maybe one day I could teach her how to use the thing correctly. And God help me if I'm ever away from the house and need to call her.

"Angel? I saw him. He actually appeared this time." It was John.

Twenty minutes later Faith and I were sitting on his sofa once again, recorder rolling on every word we said.

"Can you tell me what he looked like?"

"You're gonna think I'm crazy." There was that word again. I sometimes got the feeling that the universe was trying to tell me something. But before I could decipher this cryptic message from beyond, John continued with his narrative, "He looked just like me."

"Like you?" This was great; it made absolutely no sense.

"Exactly like me. Could've been talking to a twin. Or looking into a mirror." He paused for a moment, then asked thoughtfully, "Do you think I have a big nose?"

"Um..." I had to shift gears to answer that one. My first impulse was to tell him that I hadn't noticed. But then a good investigator shouldn't let anything get by her. So I had to let him think that not only had I noticed his nose, but that I had also given it some thought as well. "No, not at all."

Faith clandestinely nudged my arm and gave me an urgent, wide-eyed nod.

I tried to ignore her and turned back to the old man, "So this cat really looked like you?"

"Yep. Just like me. Like looking into a mirror," he said again, in case I had missed it the first time.

"Did he say anything?"

"He asked me for help. Except he didn't really speak. He sort of... didn't use words. But he did." He squinted and shook his head, trying to get a handle on these bizarre events that had happened to him. Finally he settled for, "I can't describe it. It was almost like a dream... not really real."

"But he somehow got it across to you that he needed your help?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Did he say specifically what kind of help?"

"No," the old man said thoughtfully. "No. I kinda got the impression that I'd find that out if I said yes. Which I didn't, by the way."

"That's good. That sounds like the right thing to do. When supernatural entities break into your home and leave you cryptic messages, I say screw 'em." I almost said the f-word, but then suddenly remembered that I was recording this conversation for broadcast later on.

"My very thoughts, ma'am. Except I might'a used the f-word."

"Was there anything else?"

"No. Nothing."

"I wish I could tell you what to do at this point. Other than the obvious: call me again if anything else happens."

As we got up to go, Faith wrapped her arms around John like she was saying farewell forever to a close friend. "I want you to be extra careful, young man. Okay?" she said with a very serious expression on her face.

"I will, dear," he said. Then he turned to me, "I do have one more question... am I gonna be on your radio show?"

#

Several days went by with no phone calls before I realized that this was because the telephone was in fact missing. I found Faith dancing around in the kitchen singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight. She was mixing a batch of brownies, her long, wild hair dangling in the bowl, getting covered in brownie mix. "Have you noticed," I asked casually so as not to upset her, "how the phone hasn't rung lately?"

Her guilt was as obvious as a cheap toupee. She stopped singing and stood still. Her whole body stiffened and she started stirring much more slowly, self-consciously. She pointed her gaze down into the bowl and shook her head.

"Sweetheart, I need to know what you did with the phone."

Sinking her head down like a dog who had been caught making a mess on the carpet, she set her bowl of brownie mix on the kitchen counter, turned and walked out of the house. I followed her out into the garage where she showed me the mutilated remains of the communications device in the bottom of the trash can. If the phone had been human, Faith would have been a psychotic killer. We stood there looking down into the trash can for several seconds before I said, "What did you do?" somewhat rhetorically.

"It keeps making these awful sounds. Anyway, it's just a lot of plastic. It isn't alive. Only living things should make noises. Not dead things. This is... it's like a zombie." She wiggled her fingers menacingly towards me and adopted a lower, husky voice to imitate a zombie, "I'm going to get you! I guess I got startled. And when I said, 'be quiet,' it just wouldn't."

"It makes those sounds to get our attention. But you killed it."

She shook her head sadly, "It was never alive. So that doesn't count."

I tried to think of what to say to her. But since she wasn't from this world, there were all kinds of assumptions which I took for granted that she didn't. It made explaining things like this difficult. She had no way of knowing she was being a bad fairy.

Finally I said, "I'm going to have to get a new phone now. And I'll try to make sure this one makes a more pleasant sound. But even if it doesn't, I want you to leave it alone. Okay?"

She breathed deeply for several seconds like she was going to start shedding tears. Then she nodded and sighed the word, "Okay."

"Okay," I smiled.

#

The woman Martha christened the new telephone mere hours after it had been installed. She told me that Friendship Walker had appeared to her and asked for help.

That evening we all sat in her small apartment. And just like John's experience, this entity had appeared to her in a copy of her own body. And as freaked out by this as she was, she finished her story with, "I don't know who or what she even is, you know? But like she needs my help."

Faith put a comforting hand on Martha's shoulder and said, "That is so sweat. You are such a good person. But this time you really shouldn't help. He's bad. He's a bad, bad... thing. You simply mustn't give him what he wants."

"Why not?"

"Because he'll hurt you. He wants to eat your soul."

I nodded, "Yeah, that'd probably hurt."

"What are you two talking about?" Martha wanted to know.

"He's bad!" Faith said urgently. "He doesn't want your help."

"Then what does he want?"

Faith rolled her eyes and said very slowly like she was talking to a complete idiot, "He - wants - your - soul!" And when neither Martha nor I spoke, Faith continued, "Look, when you're helping, you're doing good things. When you're doing good things, your spirit goes up and down... like a thing that goes up and down. And it'll taste good, like... like a brownie. Brownies go up and down..." Even she realized she was making no sense at this point... but she continued anyway. "Well, some of them do. If you throw them... in the air." Finished with her brownie analogy, she continued somewhat more confidently, "Anyway, when you're bad, your soul goes left and right."

"Unlike brownies," I interjected.

Faith sighed, annoyed with me. She didn't like being made fun of. But sometimes I just couldn't resist. Then she went on, "Your soul will only taste good for him if you're doing something good at the time he eats it. Can you understand?"

After a whole two seconds of no doubt serious thought, Martha had to disagree with Faith's assessment of the situation. She rose to her feet and said, "Okay. That's it. I thought I'd give you a second chance. But clearly that was a mistake. I want you two friggin' lunatics out of here like right now, okay?"

I thought I had explained to her earlier that I was not insane. But obviously she had taken the time to re-evaluate my mental faculties.

So we left.

As we got back into the car, I said to Faith, "You and I are going to have to work on something called tact."

"Tact? Tact..." She frowned at the sound of the new word. "What's that?"

Not even knowing how to begin that particular conversation, I changed the subject, "So how come you know so much about this Friendship Walker all of a sudden?"

"Oh, I just figured it out because of how he's been treating John and Martha." She bugged her eyes and stuck her tongue out of the side of her mouth to show me how foolish she thought I was for missing the obvious.

"I'm afraid I'm still in the dark there, Faith."

She took a moment to switch from "silly Faith" to "serious Faith." She then closed her eyes and began speaking slowly, very sincerely, "I'm not like you. You know that. I am aware of the connection of all the life forms that surround us. We're all part of the same thing. When I touch your cheek," eyes still closed, she reached over and lightly brushed her knuckles against my cheek, then touched her own cheek with her finger-tips, "I can feel that. That dog over there," with eyes still closed, she pointed straight to a dog sitting glumly on the sidewalk. "He's sad because he's missing another doggie who passed away recently. And that tree surrounded by concrete... she can't breath, and there's never enough water." Faith lifted her head slightly, "It feels like someone in a stuffy room breathing in what everyone else has been breathing out all day long." She finally opened her eyes again and turned back to face me. "I can feel what every other living thing on this planet is feeling; whether they're on two legs or four, flying through the air, or are rooted to the ground. All life feels, Angel. All life is the same. And the more we learn about Friendship Walker, the better I can lock onto him. He's out there right now. And he's hungry."

She couldn't figure out the phone, but she could figure out evil supernatural creatures. They say the best couples each make up for what the other is lacking. That would be us.

#

On our drive home we swung by John's house to make sure he was still all right. Unfortunately he wasn't. We were greeted at the front door by a man in his early twenties. He was John's grandson. "I'm just watching the house for my granddad."

"Is he all right? What happened?"

"I don't know exactly. But they had to take him to the emergency room last night."

I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Mainly guilt. When I investigate something like this, my clients depend on me to make everything okay again... to make the monsters go away. The trouble is that because of the nature of the work, it's not always possible to make everything okay again. And monsters don't always go away.

Faith and I headed straight over to the hospital where John's doctor informed us that he was in a coma, not expected to survive. When I whipped out my recorder and explained to the doctor that I worked in local radio and asked if there was anything unusual about this case, he put on his best speaking voice and used big words to tell us about a note they found in John's pocket: You should have helped me. - Friendship Walker.

#

It was well past midnight when we left the hospital. But Faith and I both agreed that we had to head right back to Martha's apartment to warn her. I knew she would in all likelihood simply continue expressing her theory that we were both mentally unstable. But unfortunately I'm burdened with compassion for my fellow human being; I actually care about people. I always try to find the positive side of everybody I meet... which can be extremely difficult when there are so many assholes in this world.

As soon as we pulled up in front of the apartment building, Faith's eyes widened in fear and she began to tremble. I opened my door, but Faith made no more to leave the car. She looked upwards and whispered, "He's up there right now."

"You mean Friendship Walker?" She nodded silently. "I might need your help in there," I told her.

Breathing very heavily, she followed. The whole walk up the stairs she stayed right behind me, clutching tightly onto my arms.

We arrived at the door to Martha's apartment on the second floor and rang the bell. Nobody answered. So I grabbed the knob and found that it was unlocked. I opened the door a crack and peaked in. "Careful," Faith whispered urgently from behind me.

I turned to look at her over my shoulder, "I am being careful." And we stepped cautiously inside.

The apartment looked perfectly normal. Martha was lying down on the couch, still breathing, apparently asleep. I was about to check on her, when Faith's fingers dug into my arms, "He - is - right - there!" And she froze, pressing against me like my body was a shield. Normally when frightened, she would vanish faster than I could hiccup. But this time she was rooted to the spot. Then she let out a scream that sent a jolt straight down my spine and actually physically hurt my ears. And half way through the scream, Martha joined her, still lying down on the couch. The two of them continued screaming together for several seconds before Faith bolted out the door.

Then Martha leapt to her feet and stared at me with blind fury. There was no recognition in that look. There was no person in that look either. Just vacant, wild bug-eyes. The Martha we had met just wasn't there anymore. She began panting, looking frantically around the small apartment like a caged animal, anxious and feral. And on finding the open door a moment later, she ran out, shoving me aside on her way.

I followed her out of the building and onto the sidewalk just in time to see her distant form running blindly down the middle of the empty, well-lit street. I checked my car for Faith, but she wasn't there. Nor was she anywhere to be seen as I looked up and down the street.

I wasn't about to continue running after Martha, so I got in the car and drove in the direction she had gone. Unfortunately she was now well out of sight. So I just continued to drive around the Beachwood suburbs looking for both Martha and Faith.

It was four-thirty in the morning by the time I finally located Martha. She had apparently collapsed in the middle of the street where she eventually attracted a couple of on-lookers, the police, and an ambulance. I pulled over, got out and explained to the police what my involvement was as best I could. As I gave them all the facts I had, they seemed under the impression that this Friendship Walker was simply a human being, probably some kind of stalker. And by the time I finished with them, I heard it announced over their radio that Martha had died of a heart attack on the way to the hospital.

One more person I had let down.

#

When I finally got home, an early morning gray was creeping across the land. I just sat at the dinner table and stared out the back sliding glass door that looked out into the valley below in the back of my house. My house was actually a cabin perched on a mountain road, over-looking a magnificent pine-covered view just outside of town. I started to nod off. And maybe it was when I blinked, but all of a sudden I noticed a slip of paper sitting on the table in front of me. It hadn't been there when I sat down. I picked it up. On it were the words: To Angel, I'm Friendship Walker. That woke me up.

#

It was late the next night. I was in bed. Faith still hadn't returned yet, and I wasn't used to sleeping alone. On top of that I had taken a long nap the previous afternoon to make up for the sleep I had lost the night before. In between tossing and turning, I heard the floorboards creak, like there was somebody at the foot of the bed trying to sneak quietly by. I sat up, switching on the light. There was nothing there. I looked over the foot of the bed: nothing. I craned my neck to peak around the corner of the darkened doorway: still nothing. So I turned the light off and lay back down.

And then the floorboards creaked again. From the sound of it, it was right at the foot of the bed. Eyes wide open, I held perfectly still, not even daring to breath. Another slight creak, like there was someone standing there, adjusting their weight from foot to foot. And then a light in the dark room caught my eye. I moved my head very slowly so that I could get a look at the light. It was a kind of purple light right there in the bedroom. I half expected it to vanish now that I had noticed it. But it stayed. I sat up and looked right at it. There in the middle of the room was a fluorescent light which seemed to be coming from nowhere. It hovered in the air almost like a cloud of glowing smoke. There was quite simply no obvious source for te light. The middle of the bedroom was just lit up like from a Halloween black light. I pulled the covers off and got to my feet very cautiously. The light didn't react. So I stepped very slowly towards it. After several nervous seconds I was finally about three feet away from the cloud of light. I reached my hand towards it...!

And then I suddenly saw another me. Standing right there in the middle of the glow was another Angel, dressed in the same baggy night shirt and socks that I was wearing. I waved my hand at it to make sure it wasn't some kind of reflection. But my Doppelganger just stood there, looking confused or awkward, almost like she wasn't feeling all that well and couldn't quite identify the problem. And then it was like a skip in a record; suddenly she said something, but I somehow missed it. Even though her lips never moved, I just remembered her as having spoken. The whole thing had the surreal quality of a dream. I couldn't recall the actual words. But she had definitely made a plea for my help.

And then she was gone, and with her the fluorescent light. I was left standing alone in the dark room.

#

I spent the rest of the night in bed, but with the lights switched on and with absolutely no intention of falling asleep again. But as always happen when you try not to sleep: you do. Apparently I drifted off shortly before dawn.

Then something climbed onto the bed. I jerked back, nearly falling onto the floor.

"Oh, sorry," Faith whispered.

I was so relieved I nearly wet myself. I instantly wrapped my arms around her. And it was another few moments before I let go again. When I did, I found that a few tears had made a surprising appearance on my face. And when I had regained my composure, I told Faith about Friendship Walker showing up and asking for my help.

"Angel, you mustn't do it! You can't!" She was desperately serious. "He sucks out goodness! He consumes souls! If you have a good soul, he'll eat it!" She then made Cookie Monster eating noises to make sure I got the point.

"I get it. Trust me. But is that really all this guy wants from us?"

"Basically."

An idea began gestating in my head. "When we got to Martha's apartment, you knew that he was already there, even though we were still outside. Can you sense when he's nearby?"

"Aye, of course I can." Silly question.

#

It was Friday, two days later. Most of the afternoon had been spent teaching Faith how to use the phone. And as evening came on I was in my office in the front of the house preparing my script and sound bites for my four hour radio show the next day. I was interrupted an hour later when Faith came in announcing that I hadn't eaten lately, and that she had made us some pizza. It was almost completely burnt. So it was something of a relief when she dropped her slice on the floor and said in a frightened whisper, "He's coming!"

I stopped chewing and looked around the house. I saw nothing. "I need you to get our of here," I told her after spitting out my mouthful of blackened pizza.

She sat there, looking utterly terrified, but not making any move towards the door.

I took her face gently in my hands and said, "Listen to me. I have a plan. I'll be all right. But it's very important that you get out of here right now."

She darted around to my side of the table, kissed me very passionately, and then was out of the house before I even had my tongue all the way back in my mouth again.

And then I too became aware of his presence. There was just something else in the house. And it wasn't Faith. It was bigger... and definitely not nice. And then there it was. It was an image of me standing in a fluorescent violet glow. Only this time the other me looked nasty... almost hungry. For a second I was reminded of how I had looked during my "rocker chick" phase several years ago.

And then it communicated. Like before, it didn't actually speak, but I suddenly had a memory of it having asked me to confirm that I was ready to provide it with whatever help it needed.

Somehow it opened its mind up. It was reaching out to me. I felt its mind connect with mine. For a moment we shared the same thoughts. And for just a fraction of that moment, I felt like I was slipping into unconsciousness. It was like falling into a dark hole with no bottom. Then it froze! It had located my true thoughts. It finally discovered that I had no intention of helping it. I still had no idea how I was going to hurt this creature. I felt like I was taking a test for which I hadn't bothered to study. But that was the only thing on my mind: hurting it. And then I realized that that intention alone was enough. As Faith had said, it wanted to eat the souls of people with good intentions; people who were thinking good thoughts. And at that moment, I had nothing but bad intentions directed towards this thing. And by temporarily sharing its mind, I could tell that the creature was choking on my mind, like I had laced its dinner with poison.

In the next instant, it ripped itself out of my mind. I dropped onto the floor from a kind of mental whiplash. For several seconds, even though the floor was pressing against my cheek, I had no idea which way was up. I somehow had the impression that I was stuck to the ceiling and was about to fall back down to the floor at any moment. All I knew was that I was stuck against something big and flat.

There was a sudden blinding light in the house! A burning hot light. And then something exploded.

And then I was able to move again... but slowly. I was so drained of energy I felt like I had after that one time I actually went for a workout at the gymnasium. I got unsteadily onto my hands and knees and looked at the house around me. I found I couldn't see all that well. Had the monster damaged my eyes before leaving? And then I looked up to the ceiling and saw that only a small amount of light was coming from the lighting fixture. This was because it was on fire and all the power in the house was out. I'd probably have to do something about that.

It wasn't a large fire. Still I thought it would be best if I got the hell out of there. But before I could manage to get to my feet, Faith suddenly reappeared and dragged me out of the house and onto the front lawn. And she then utterly amazed me by actually using the phone to call 911. I was so proud of her!

#

The fire didn't last long. In fact by the time the firemen were finished putting out the flames and declaring the cause to be faulty wiring in the ceiling, and after I had interviewed a couple of them for my next day's show, it was still only eleven thirty at night. Only the one room, the dining room, had been damaged. The rest of the house was still intact. Except of course for the reek of smoke.

It then took a further twenty minutes to convince Faith that it wasn't her burnt pizza which had started the fire. By that time we were both so zonked that we just flopped into bed and went straight to sleep.

#

After my radio show the next day, at Faith's request, I drove her over to John's house. She sweet-talked his grandson into letting us take the old man's potted plant with us. We then went directly over to the hospital where she set it down on the small table next to the head of his bed. And then she sat down and waited.

"How long are we going to be here?" I asked.

Faith shrugged, not taking her eyes from the old man.

I sat down in the other chair in the room.

Faith was gazing intently from the plant to John. Back and forth.

I looked at the plant to see if I could detect any strange, healing vibes coming from it. If I was lucky it would even make a strange healing sound which I could then record with my recorder I always kept on me. But the thing was as quiet as every other plant I've ever encountered.

Then after only about twenty minutes John himself began making noises. His breathing became suddenly deeper. He moaned lightly. He opened and closed his mouth a few times. And then the patient whom the doctor had told me wasn't expected to survived, suddenly opened his eyes. "Hello," he whispered.