posted on Apr, 30 2015 @ 10:01 PM
To Death and Beyond
“Hey Bill! Come take a look at this.”
Professor Jansen wasn't used to hearing his usually reserved friend Kirk sound so excited. He stood looking where Kirk was pointing and at first
didn't recognize what he was looking at. Until he saw the one next to it. And the one next to that. Six in all. Old, crudely made tombstones.
Characters were barely visible on a few of them, but Professor Jansen didn't need to see any more.
Professor Jansen, or Bill to his friends, was a Senior Professor of American History and one of the worlds foremost authorities on the American civil
war. It was his passion. In fact, that passion is what led him to the place he was now standing. After years of teaching on the east coast, Bill
finally realized his dream of owning land where an actual civil war battle had been fought, and he got it for a song. And he landed his dream job,
teaching American History focusing on the civil war, at the University just a few miles away. It didn't seem like life could get any better.
“Looks like these stones were marked in a hurry, probably in the night during breaks in the battle. Can you imagine Kirk, what it must have been
like?” Kirk shook his head, staring at the humble stones. “I can honestly say I can't. But it must have been hell.” The two men stood there,
one trying desparately to envision the events that led to the arrangement of tombstones before him, the other trying desparately to not think about
it. “I wish I could share your enthusiasm Bill, I really do. But this stuff gets to me. I feel it in my bones, like something is wrong and I should
be doing something about it but I can't because it happened 200 years ago.” “Actually, 150 years. 1861 to 1865, remember?” “OK Professor,
class dismissed.” The two men laughed and started back toward the house when they saw their sons, who had also become good friends, approaching.
“Tom, you wont believe what Kirk found – a set of six tombstones, laid out side by side in rows of three. We haven't looked too closely at the
inscriptions yet, but I have a pretty good idea what the date will be.” Bill knew his son Tom, named after Thomas Jefferson, would be as interested
in the discovery as he was. “Dad, thats awesome! Where are they?” Tom asked while looking back where his father and Kirk had just come from.
“Just this side of the old barn. The stones are visible, but pretty worn. I don't think the inscirptions were that good to begin with, but we will
get a better look at them in the morning.” “Dad, is it ok if I hang out here this weekend? I'd like to see those stones too,” Kirk's son Grant
asked. “Sure, if its ok with Bill.” “You know it is Kirk. You two are always welcome here.”
Molly and Danielle, wives of Bill and Kirk respectively, prepared a sumptuous meal to celebrate the finding of Bill's very own archeological site.
“We have to do this right,” Bill said excitedly. “We can get some of my students to help. We can even make it part of the intern program. Oh,
this is going to be awesome!” Molly could hardly contain herslef watching her college professor husband beaming like a schoolboy looking at a brand
new bike. “Bill, try to cheer up a little,” Molly chided.
Bill and Molly climbed into bed both knowing Bill was far to energized to sleep. “Think of it Molly. Right here, this is where it happened. 150
years ago there were hundreds of union and confederate soldiers right here on this land. A good many of them never left.” “Bill, honey. That's
not what I want to be thinking about as I lay down to sleep.” “No, I guess not.” Bill reminded himself that not everyone was as thrilled about
knowing so many men had died right there on his land 150 years ago. “That must have been one hell of a battle though,” Bill mused. “I wish I
could have seen it.”
Kirk awoke with a start snapping up in bed and looking at the clock - 2:26am. As the dream slipped away from him, Kirk remembered seeing the war as if
he was looking through the eyes of a confederate soldier, right down the barrel of a union rifle, the bayonet almost touching his nose. He thought it
was odd that the union soldier has a tatto on the back of his left hand that looked like a pyramid with a rounded bottom. Then the dream was gone. He
laid back down and closed his eyes trying to remember more details but they had vanished into the night.
The next morning Bill insisted on biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. Not his usual fare, but this was going to be an amazing day and he wanted
to get it started off right. The two families headed out for breakfast, with Molly wondering why Bill was so adamant about a breakfast she had never
seen him eat in twenty five years of marriage. Bill tore through his breakfast as if he thought someone would take it if he didn't finish it fast
enough. “Slow down Bill, you are going to choke if you keep eating so fast.” Bill stopped and looked around the table, a smear of sausage gravy
clinging to his chin. He glanced as his plate which was all but licked clean. The waitress stopped and said, “Wow, you must have been hungry. Can I
get you something else?” Molly was about to say no thank you when Bill barked, “Flapjacks!” like it was a life or death situation. Aware of the
eyes on him but not caring Bill sat waiting patiently, almost, for his flapjacks. When they arrived he made short work of them too. He gulped his
coffee and looked around like he had misplaced something. “Bill...are you ok hon?” Molly asked. “You seem a little...off...today. Maybe we
should head back to the house.” “Yes,” Bill replied. “Mount up!” The families looked at each other and started to laugh at Bill all excited
and acting like a kid again.
Back at the house Bill went straight to the six stones are started poking around. He poured water over the first stone and rubbed it lightly with an
old towel. The characters were barely visible but with the right equipment he should be able to read them. The right equipment was a laser surface
mapping device that could detect even the slightest change in depth or elevation of surface contours and hopefully read the inscriptions in the
stones. Bill called the University and asked for a team of students and the appropriate equipment. When he mentioned extra credit, the students lined
up for the chance to help with the dig. “You know, I can kind of imagine what it was like here 150 years ago Bill.” “Oh yeah?” Bill asked.
Kirk told Bill about the dream he had the night before. “The tattoo obviously has some significance since it figured so prominently in the dream,
but I dont know offhand what it might be. “Do you remember anything else” Bill asked. “Nothing. The dream was fading away as I woke up. The more
awake I got the less I remembered.”
“Professor Jansen, I mapped all six stones and I think I got characters on five of them but the sixth one has me stumped. All I got from that one is
a figure that looks like an ice cream cone.” “Huh?” was all Bill could say. “Let me take a look at that.” As he approached the table he saw
the character from the opposide side as the student. It wasn't an ice cream cone, it was a pyramid with a rounded bottom. A shiver went down Bill's
spine as he held the print up and looked at it. It was exactly like the tattoo Kirk had just described on the union soldiers hand in his dream.