The Cauldron By Charles Goodwin Chapter 5

The Founding of Chiron


Belief Systems Crumbling

‘Subjects are entering a restaurant. Do we continue the surveillance?’

‘I’ve told you - as long as those two are together, you stick with them!’ snapped the heavy voice through the mobile.

‘Yes sir, Mr. Van der Hyde.’

The driver turned sullenly to his partner. The corners of his protruding lips turned down like a pouting chimp. ‘It looks like we’re in for a fiendishly cold evening.’

The seafood restaurant Oesterbar-Sluizer, proved to be for Rebecca, a most memorable culinary discovery. Memorable that is, in more ways than one. Paul led the way down the rustic stone steps into, what must have been originally, she thought, the large basement of an old warehouse. The entire basement, lit with flickering reproduction ship lanterns, was now impressively refurbished into a busy restaurant with an imaginative nautical Dutch sailing ship theme.

Mural sized oil paintings hung on the walls representing Amsterdam’s Golden Age, namely the first 6 decades of the 17th century, when the small city on the River Amstel dominated the world’s spice and silk trade. Billowing sails were stretched overhead between the wooden rafters. Rope ladders dangled from the ceiling to the floor and turned spindle railings and steps divided the different ‘decks’ of tables.

‘Please follow me. I will show you to your cabin.’ The head waiter, fancifully dressed as a deckhand complete with eye patch, spoke in English with only a slight accent.

He led Rebecca and Paul to an intimate booth representing ships officer’s quarters - with portholes that peered into a large well lit aquarium.

‘It feels we’re in the bowels of a ship under the water line rather than an old building,’ exclaimed Rebecca light heartedly and elated at the Disneyland atmosphere.

‘Aye! All the waiter needs is a wooden stump leg and a parrot on his shoulders - and he’d really look the part,’ quipped Paul winking. ‘Perhaps I should have brought my Viking’s helmet!’

Rebecca chuckled. ‘Personally I think the gaudy decor is quite brilliant. It gives the restaurant a warm and happy feeling.’

Paul relaxed back into his seat. ‘Gaudy or not, the quality of the seafood here is definitely first class. I’ve been here before for a business luncheon - although I have to admit, at the time I thought the place was strictly for the romanticists.’

‘And do you feel romantic tonight,’ asked Rebecca, teasingly stroking Paul’s leg under the table with her foot.

Paul red faced, feigned a self-conscious smile. ‘You obviously have no idea what you do to me. Kindly stop teasing.’

‘Maybe I do. Why? Are you complaining?’ she asked cheekily.

Paul grinned and ignored the question. Instead he virgoanly studied the menu. ‘Perhaps we should order. What would you like to eat?’

Rebecca only glanced at the English menu and responded fleetingly. ‘May I have the spicy prawns with a side salad? I need a little spice in my life and I certainly still feel ravished!’ She peered up provocatively at Paul and added, ‘And no doubt you will go for oysters, I presume.’

He looked at her bewildered. ‘Now how did you know that? - I absolutely love natural oysters! I eat them by the cart load.’

Rebecca laughed out loud.

‘I’m missing something. What’s the joke?’ he asked insecurely, shrugging his shoulders.

‘Oysters are known to help the appetite,’ teased Rebecca.

Paul felt perplexed. He shrugged again, then turned and summoned the waiter.

‘A bottle of your best vintage Bollinger please.’

‘Ah, yes sir. You are celebrating, sir?’

‘Indeed I am! I’m celebrating the fine catch of a mermaid who didn’t get away!’

‘Of course sir. I’ll get the champagne for you right away.’ The waiter signaled to a waitress. ‘Yvonne will take your food order when you are ready.’

‘By the way,’ asked Paul thoughtfully to the waiter.

‘There was something else sir?’

‘My lady friend just told me that oysters assist the appetite. Is that so?’

The waiter glanced at Rebecca and fought to retain his formality. ‘They are sometimes considered an aphrodisiac sir. Perhaps that is what the lady is referring to.’

Rebecca’s face displayed a controlled smile of embarrassment.

‘An aphrodisiac, that’s a sexual stimulant isn’t it?’ asked Paul naively.

‘I believe it is sir. Will that be all?’

‘Yes, thank you.’ Paul blushed like a ripe tomato as the waiter left. ‘Well I sure fell for that one, didn’t I?’

Rebecca broke into a teenage giggle. ‘I naturally thought you knew what I meant. I didn’t think for a minute that you would go and ask the waiter.’

‘The embarrassment could have been worse. I might have asked the waitress,’ he replied, finally realizing the humor of the situation.

Rebecca studied Paul affectionately while he ordered the meals. She observed how the young waitress reacted to Paul’s endearing charm. And she thought, he seems to have that certain charisma about him that makes him so unique.

Rebecca recalled Wakonda’s parable about the prisoner in a dark dungeon being blinded by the sudden exposure to light. If she’d interpreted the visions correctly, she rationalized, Paul too, would have to become gradually accustomed to the truth of his parentage and destiny. Perhaps the experiencing and acceptance of unconditional love will be his first step out of the darkness.

‘You seem miles away. What are you thinking?’ he asked, interrupting her thoughts.

‘Oh love, and how illusive it can be,’ she answered quietly. ‘But then I’m a romanticist at the best of times.’

‘Love! Ah, now there’s a subject I know little about. Perhaps you can enlighten me,’ he mused, more to start a conversation, than to discover any omniscient truth.

Rebecca was reticent and thought carefully before replying.

‘Love cannot really be explained Paul. Love springs from the heart rather than the intellect. Love is experienced - not analyzed.’

Paul was undeterred. ‘Well if you can’t explain to me what love is, perhaps you might explain what it isn’t. Does that seem a logical question to you?’

‘No, not exactly.’

‘I mean - I once heard a story about an Italian sculptor. He created beautiful angelic beings out of marble. A journalist asked him how he did it. ‘That’s simple,’ he replied. ‘I take a block of marble and chip away all that isn’t an angel.’ Paul imitated the sculptor, by shrugging his shoulders and gesturing with his hands, as he spoke.

Rebecca had heard the original Vedantic Hindu version of the profound parable before. However, instead of angels, the sculpture created elephants. She knew that the story was really alluding to the long torturous path of the spiritual aspirant. Namely the painful chipping away of all impermanent desires and attachments from the rock of ignorance until all that remained was the Divine unchangeable soul or Brahma.

Yet she was enjoying both the light hearted conversation and Paul’s company. She replied jovially, ‘All right, to show you how absurd that principle is - let’s say you have never in your life experienced the sight, touch or taste of water. It would be futile for me to explain water by describing what it isn’t. As an example - this is a rock - water is not at all like a rock! This is a tree - water is not at all like a tree!’

‘Yes I take your point,’ agreed Paul meditatively. ‘But seriously, I did feel a fantastic oneness - it was like a wonderful sense of belonging - when we kissed tonight.’

‘Have you never felt that feeling of closeness with anyone else before?’

‘Regretfully no. But who knows, maybe I have yearned for some degree of love all of my life,’ he answered and his eyes became glazed with desolate tears.

Rebecca felt compassion. He really is like a lost little boy, she thought. She caressed his hand with precious tenderness. ‘Paul darling, believe me, on a scale of one kilometer, the oneness you experienced earlier tonight, is only the first centimeter.’

The deck hand, minus the parrot, refilled the champagne flutes.

‘All the same,’ said Paul after the waiter had left, ‘thanks to you, I have now experienced love. So even if love is difficult to talk about, you are a teacher - you could try to teach me.’

Rebecca didn’t answer immediately. The discussion was sailing into unchartered waters. Paul’s innocence on such matters touched her heart, but she also sensed his emotional vulnerability. She would have to lead the conversation away from the subject.

‘I intend to leave the teaching profession. It’s too frustrating being a teacher in these tumultuous times.’

‘Oh, why is that?’

‘Teachers should be able to assist or guide their students to discover themselves - their true potential as worthwhile individuals. But teaching the human values is virtually impossible in today’s education system. I can no longer be a part of a system that seeks to destroy children’s spirits by force feeding their impressionable minds.’

‘So what would you like to see changed?’

‘The whole global unification policy for a start. Secondly the principle of competitive achievement...’

'Hey, what’s wrong with competitive achievement? Competition is healthy,’ interrupted Paul, straightening his back..

Rebecca paused. Her eyes sparked indignation. ‘Paul it’s like putting all of the children in a race. Forcing them to strive against each other. There can only ever be one winner. The others re-enforce the loser complex in themselves. Even the winner loses eventually. All competition is a subtle form of violence.’

‘You seem most passionate on this issue - too idealistic perhaps?’

‘Perhaps I am. But at least I care! Children first need to learn self love. They will never learn to love themselves while they are forced to compete with their fellow students - or are compelled to live up to some egotistical false ideal or model.’

‘So here we are, back to the word love again.’ Paul grinned as he spoke, but also partly related to the points she was making.

‘I’m being serious, Paul.’

‘I know you are,’ he answered softly. ‘But you are also getting all fired up. And I don’t want to risk you being upset with me again.’

Rebecca relented, took a deep breath and sipped her champagne. And she knew he was justified in making that assumption.

Yvonne brought the meals to the table. Paul remained contentedly silent as he relished the ‘oysters aphrodisiacs’, and he wondered how quickly they would start working?

Rebecca still deep in thought, wanted to explain so much to Paul but felt restrained. The conversations stayed light during the meal. Paul ordered a second bottle of Bollinger.

Barriers slowly evaporated, assisted by the champagne - the romantic background music - and the relaxed atmosphere.

‘I suppose you believe in God?’ asked Paul, stunning Rebecca by the suddenness of the question.

‘You don’t - I take it,’ countered Rebecca, stalling for the time to refocus her mind.

‘No. I’m afraid I am a devout atheist.’

‘Tell me Paul, what is the nature of the God you don’t believe in?’

‘Well I certainly don’t accept there is a wise old being or creator up there in some heavenly sphere, who meters out justice to all,’ he answered, pointing upwards with his fork as he spoke.’

‘Could you expand on that statement? ’

‘Are you asking, if I feel there is a continuing conscious existence after death?’

‘Yes I suppose I am. I mean by definition, an atheist only denies the existence of a God. An atheist still might believe in life after death.’

A studious expression appeared on Paul’s face. His voice lowered to a more serious tone. ‘As a matter of fact Rebecca, I do accept consciousness continues after physical death - in expanded states or dimensions, of course. However, as in the physical universe, natural scientific laws must prevail to those states. The existence of these higher dimensions isn’t yet provable by science. But the day will eventually come when a communication breakthrough will be possible.’

A satisfying sparkle of acknowledgment beamed from Rebecca’s eyes. ‘Well, if that is your definition of an atheist then I also must be an atheist. I accept totally what you have just said.’

‘But you haven’t answered my original question. You purposely turned my question back on to me,’ persisted Paul playfully.

Rebecca grinned. ‘I always ask self proclaimed atheists - what is their particular concept of God that they don’t believe in. I then accept the fallacy of the concept. The technique is always successful, and saves lots of heated arguments.’

‘So you don’t accept that a God exists either?’

‘I didn’t say that. You asked me if I believed in God. It’s the word ‘believe’ I find unpalatable. I don’t believe in ‘belief.’

‘Aren’t you being a little pedantic? You have to believe in something. I mean, you believe the earth is round don’t you?’

She sighed and shook her head knowingly.

‘Paul I ‘know’ the earth is round. It is a fact. Not an intellectual concept evolved from past conditioning or customs. A belief is just an opinion - given special validity.’

Paul’s curiosity began to intensify. ‘I don’t understand what you are driving at. I live by my intellect My mind is a collection of beliefs and attitudes.’

‘Wisdom is true knowing borne out of experience. It is the knowledge of the heart entwined with love. Wisdom is beyond debate or argument and never divides or causes conflict. Beliefs on the other hand, end inquiry. They imprison the believer in ignorance from reality. Beliefs divide! Humans will go to war and kill for their beliefs. They are prepared to even die for what they believe in. But if you proclaimed that the earth is flat, they would simply laugh at you. They would know the statement to be untrue. So you see there’s a huge difference between knowing and believing!’

Paul leaned back in his chair and remained silent for a few moments. ‘Wow! I’m impressed. And part of what you say, I certainly relate to in business.’ Paul thought of the likes of the idealistic Fernando. ‘Peoples belief systems are viewed as their Achilles heel - to be used and manipulated for profit.’

‘I could never condone exploiting anyone’s weaknesses for personal gain,’ replied Rebecca frowning, ‘That might be your present world but it will never be mine.’

Paul’s lips tightened, then quickly accepted the wisdom path of postponing his response for a later date.

‘Anyway, as I was saying,’ Rebecca continued. ‘The word ‘God’ is not God - but a label in each of us, symbolizing our particular concept of God. A belief in a concept of God can never be a substitute for direct experience. Hence the question - Do you believe in God? - is irrelevant! ’

‘And do you feel that beliefs are also a barrier to love?’ asked Paul.

‘The ego mind by its nature, wants to possess beliefs and material commodities as well as people. The ego needs to dominate because of the inherent fear of its own death. The ego mind is the ultimate barrier to complete freedom.’

Paul contemplated deeply, before replying. ‘I suppose we are all scared. Everyone is scared of something.’

‘Yes, our fears are like anchors around our necks. We fear the unknown. Even the need to hoard wealth and possessions is based in fear - arising from our insecurities. I hope to see a world where all fear and suffering is abolished.’

‘I’m afraid you will be disappointed,’ said Paul sympathetically.

It was Rebecca’s eyes now that grew moist. Paul hadn’t said, that she could be disappointed or even might be disappointed. No - he had said she will be disappointed. And that’s the problem in a nutshell - the consciousness of the whole human race has been conditioned to the acceptance that fear and suffering is a natural state of existence - as if life was a traumatic slave-train ride to death and oblivion. Only some souls either by fate or choice are traveling express! No, Paul, she thought, you are wrong - you have to be wrong!

‘If love is given a chance there is hope - hope for the survival of the planet - and hope for all its inhabitants. At least the word LOVE is universal.’ And then she added pointedly, ‘Even an atheist can embrace and experience love, Paul’

‘Ah, the circle is complete. We have returned to love.’ He gazed into Rebecca’s glistening eyes and spoke tenderly. ‘All I know right now is that I love being with you.’

She stroked his hand across the table. ‘Be patient with yourself Paul. Remember, learn to love yourself first. And expect to feel naked and vulnerable as you begin to drop the protective walls and barriers.’

‘Yes Frau Professor. And you should never give up teaching. I can see you are a born teacher.’

As they drank their coffee and Benedictines their minds drifted with the haunting background music. Dolphin calls, beautifully combined with the sound of soothing waves and meditative French horns, serenaded peace into their heart chakras.

And he looked up searchingly. ‘Rebecca.’

‘Yes Paul’

‘I cant help feeling that fate has brought us together for some strange reason. Do you understand what I mean?’

‘Yes I do. I admit I have the same eerie feeling. Time will tell.’

‘Yes - time will tell.’


Paul cruised unhurriedly back to Rebecca’s apartment. Both virtually oblivious to the passing of the three hours that had sped by in the restaurant, and utterly oblivious to the sedan following in close pursuit.

Neither wanted the magical evening to end.

He stopped reluctantly outside. The rain drizzled morbidly. Paul glanced at the clock. The time was 11.04.

Rebecca refrained from mentioning her intended move to Australia. Likewise, Paul chose to keep off the topic of his pending business commitments.

‘Paul, the evening was wonderful.’ She held his hand with resolute affection. ‘Please don’t think I’m rude. But I can’t ask you in tonight.’

‘I understand - your flat mate Monica,’ he replied, hiding his disappointment.

‘Thank you for your understanding. Besides, I’m now really tired. It has been a long and eventful day.’

‘So when can I see you again?’

‘Oh Paul.’ Rebecca looked into Paul’s pleading eyes. She put her arms around his shoulders and embraced him lovingly. ‘Tomorrow is Monday. What about ringing me tomorrow evening. We could organize something for Tuesday night.’

‘Six o’clock tomorrow evening?’

‘Six will be fine.’

Paul hugged and kissed Rebecca. ‘It’s hard to say goodbye to you. I don’t want us to separate.’

‘I’ll still be here on Tuesday. Give our relationship time Paul.’

She gave a quick parting kiss as she opened the car door. ‘And thank you once more for the enjoyable evening. I’ll wait with baited breath for your call.’

Rebecca could hear Paul’s Mercedes drive slowly away as she tip toed up the stairs to her apartment. She opened the door quietly and turned on the lights.

‘Monica!’ she gasped in terror.

She gaped down at Monica’s sprawled out body lying face down on the carpet. Blood visible through her blond hair on the back of her head.

‘Oh my God.’ Rebecca crashed to the carpet along side Monica. She gently turned her over.

Monica was still breathing.

‘Monica, can you hear me? It’s Rebecca. What happened?’ Rebecca carefully lifted Monica’s head onto her lap as she spoke.

Monica groaned. Her eyes painfully opened. She strained as she gazed - as if her vision of Rebecca shimmered through a distant haze.


‘Dear sweet Monica. Oh thank God. When I came in - seeing you out on the floor - I thought you were... You can hear me can’t you?’

Monica nodded - her white face grimaced. She managed a brave forced smile. ‘I think I’m all right. But my head - oh my head throbs.’

‘I’ll ring for an ambulance. Try not to move.’

‘No please don’t,’ she replied. The words came slowly but in earnest.

‘I don’t want to go to hospital. You know I loath hospitals. Please Rebecca.’ Monica’s disarming innocent eyes, could not be argued with.

‘If I help you, do you think you can manage to walk to the couch?’

‘Yes... I think so. Thank you.’

Rebecca leapt to her feet and nervously shut and bolted the apartment door before assisting Monica. Monica carefully stood up, holding her head, her drawn face drained of color. She swayed weak kneed and flopped onto the couch.

‘There now. Put your legs up. Lay your head on the cushion. I’ll get you an ice pack and aspirin.’ Rebecca looked at Monica’s bloodied head. ‘You sure have one large lump there. It’s been bleeding. I’ll get a bandage as well.’

Rebecca returned with the first aid kit from the bathroom and washed the wound. ‘I think I should ring for the Doctor, just in case.’

‘No, let’s see how I feel in the morning - Please!’

‘You are probably concussed. Hold this ice pack - that’s right. Now tell me what happened.’

‘There was this horrid man with a gun. Here in the flat when I came in. He made me turn around. Oh Rebecca, I thought he was going to shoot me. I was so scared.’ Tears welled in her eyes as she recalled the terror.

‘What did he look like? What was he doing in our apartment?

‘I don’t know. It happened so fast. He wore a balaclava so I didn’t see his face. He must have been a thief - I think I surprised him too.’ She began to slur her speech, panting in short gasps.

‘Easy now. Take your time. I shouldn’t have pushed,’ consoled Rebecca apologetically.

Monica paused. ‘I’ll be all right once I’ve caught my breath.’

‘Take some deep breaths.’

Monica wheezed and felt dizzy. ‘He was talking into a phone of some sort. His partner must have been out in the street watching the front door... I arrived home early and popped up to Kasandra’s apartment for coffee... It’s her birthday tomorrow and I had a present for her...’

‘That’s probably the reason you surprised him. So he ordered you to turn around and then knocked you out?’

‘Yes.... Rebecca, the stupid man lifted up my dress with his gun to look at my knickers. He called me ‘pretty knickers’ to his friend. How sick!’ I was so embarrassed.’

‘Did he molest you?’ asked Rebecca protectively.

‘No not really - he felt my bottom. He put his hand up under my pants. Said he wished he had more time. Isn’t that queer? Can you believe it?’

‘The bastard.’ Rebecca could believe it, and her resentment began to boil. ‘It’s more than sick. It’s lower than an animal.’ She shuddered. Images of what could have happened - if he’d had more time - flooded her mind. Monica’s life would certainly have been disposable!

‘I’ll be fine Rebecca. Stop worrying. I’m all right,’ she whispered.

‘Monica, you really are so sweet. I hope you never lose that refreshing innocence.’

‘I don’t know what you mean. I must look horrid.’

‘If you know you’re innocent - you’re not,’ replied Rebecca, quoting an ancient Zen proverb.

Monica shrugged her shoulders and smiled sheepishly.

Rebecca’s mind fought to understand.

‘You could be right about the intruder being a burglar. Amsterdam has such a mammoth drug problem. He could be any one of thousands, looking for money or valuables to buy drugs. Not that we have anything worth stealing.’

‘My silver locket my mother gave me. He didn’t steal it, did he Rebecca?’

‘I’ll check, don’t try to get up.’

Rebecca went into Monica’s bedroom. ‘No, it’s still here,’ she called. ‘There doesn’t appear to be anything missing. I’ll have a quick look through the rest of the flat.’

After a few minutes, Rebecca returned with Monica’s yellow night dress.

‘I’ll put a bandage on your wound and then get you undressed so we can get you to bed. Then I’ll bring you in a nice cup of hot chocolate with a marshmallow.’

‘Make it two marshmallows and I’ll be a good girl,’ giggled Monica.

‘It’s good to see your color returning. God I was worried.’ said Rebecca relieved, as she helped Monica to sit up.

‘You are like an older sister to me - such a wonderful friend. I don’t know how I could get along without you. What’s going to come of me if we part? she asked as she undressed. ‘I feel so secure when you are with me.’

Rebecca hugged her with loving affection. ‘Don’t worry, I am sure everything will work out for the best.’

‘I do hope so.’

‘Now wait there while I make the hot chocolate.’

Over the three years, Rebecca had flatted with Monica, their relationship had bonded steadily into a strong friendship. In Monica’s eyes, the world appeared as a beautiful fragrant botanic garden, and she the butterfly, flitting joyfully from flower to flower. Monica exhibited a natural humility that allowed others to feel elevated in her presence. To Monica, evil and selfishness didn’t exist. She had an honest way of sharing how she felt, without being judgmental or critical. Her English was fluent with just a cute hint of a musical Dutch accent.

Monica is correct, pondered Rebecca as she made the hot chocolate, I protect her like the way I protected my frail sister, before she passed over. The sense of guilt I used to feel when poor Ruth needed to exert herself so while I enjoyed such perfect health. I didn’t really know what leukemia meant at 7 years old.

‘Into bed with you, and I’ll tuck you in.’ Rebecca leaned over and kissed Monica on the forehead.’

‘I love you Rebecca.’

‘I love you too. You are such a special person - in both mind and spirit. You are sure to meet the right man soon. I know you need someone to shield you from the world.’

With more a cheeky grin than a smile, Monica replied in her customary cute way by raising both eyebrows, while shrugging her shoulders and nodding her head twice. ‘I noticed the flowers. They are so beautiful. Who gave them to you? Oh, please tell me. Is he a secret admirer? she asked, her eyes lighting up with the excitement of a child’s at Christmas time.

Rebecca’s smile widened. ‘God, you are a romantic. No he isn’t a secret admirer. But I admit, he is different. I met him for the first time yesterday afternoon.’ An extra glow came over Rebecca as Paul’s face flashed into her mind.

‘So that’s where you were last night,’ exclaimed Monica, her face wreathed in smiles. ‘I bet he’s good looking and filthy rich. He swept you right off your feet, and you fell instantly in love with him. Didn’t you?’

Rebecca blushed, and at that precise moment couldn’t answer her friend.

‘There you see - I’m right - you are in love. Your eyes betray you. Oh Rebecca, I’m so happy for you. When are you getting married? Can I be your bridesmaid?’

‘Hey, slow down. I didn’t say I love him. We have only just met. And besides - I don’t think there will ever be any chance of marriage.’ Rebecca’s eyes now showed that far-a-way look. ‘You are right though. He is rich and in a way he did sweep me off my feet,’ she added cryptically.

‘But why can’t you marry? If you love each other?’

Rebecca’s expression turned sad and serious. ‘Monica I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’ve decided to fly to Australia. Remember, I told you about the teaching position with Wakonda in the Blue Mountains? My work permit has finally been accepted.’

‘And he wont go with you. Is that why you can’t get married.’

‘You don’t understand. I’m thinking of you. I’ll have to leave this apartment. We may never see each other again.’

Monica frowned and her words were the forlorn sobs of a little girl. ‘You don’t want me to come with you do you. You want to go alone.’

‘No, you are wrong. I assumed you’d prefer to stay here in Holland. This is your home - your birthplace.’

Monica’s sulk instantly disappeared. Her face lit up. ‘I have a little money saved. I can find the rest. To see Australia will be wonderful. A real adventure. Oh, how exciting. When are we leaving?’

‘I would like you to think about it first - before you go making up your mind. Right now, we both need a good night’s sleep,’ replied Rebecca. ‘Now goodnight and sweet dreams.’ She turned to leave the bedroom.



‘What is his name, you know, the one who gave you the flowers?’

‘Paul... Paul Ravenscroft.’

‘Mrs. Rebecca Ravenscroft. I somehow know every thing is going to work out right for you,’ yawned Monica. ‘Goodnight, and thank you for being so kind to me.’

After switching off the light and quietly closing the door of Monica’s room, Rebecca fell wearily into the lounge chair. The worried strain showed on her face. She felt exhausted - her mind almost at meltdown. What on earth is going on? she grappled. It served no purpose to upset Monica even more - but the intruder was no clumsy burglar. The lock would have been smashed - the flat left in a mess - articles would be missing.

She began to murmur to herself. ‘No, the apartment has been professionally searched. They must have waited for Paul and I to leave for the restaurant. The assailants were obviously watching and waiting.’ And she pictured Monica sprawled out on the carpet. ‘The bastards! The search must involve Paul somehow. It’s too much of a coincidence. Poor Monica just happened to be in the way. What on earth am I getting myself into?’

Rebecca stood up and switched off the light. She crept to the window and nervously scanned the street below. She noticed a dark blue van parked a few doors down. She could make out through the drizzle an antenna and scanner protruding from the roof of the van’s cabin.

It took a few tired moments for the coin to drop.

‘They’ve bugged the apartment. That van is the receiver unit. Those bastards have been listening to every word!’ Rebecca’s heart stopped with a thump. Keep calm. Think. You’ve always prided yourself on your rationality.

‘Rebecca?’ Monica’s plaintive voice called from the bedroom breaking the silence. ‘Are you all right? You turned all the lights off.’

Rebecca recoiled from the window. ‘I’m fine - I’m going to bed now - try to get some sleep.’

‘Goodnight and God bless.’

Rebecca found herself trembling. Fatigue and fear engulfed her. She felt desperately alone. Subdued light from the outside street lamps beamed through the window and threw distorted images and threatening shadows onto the ceiling and walls. She stood mutely - deadly still - in the centre of the room. ‘Oh Paul,’ she whispered into nowhere. ‘I do love you darling. And by God, I need you right now - so badly!’


‘Now listen clearly!’ The voice thundered. ‘If Don Ormsby fails to get rid of this Rebecca woman within the next 48 hours, you are to make sure she disappears out of Paul’s life once and for all. Do you understand?’

‘I presume you mean a lethal disappearance?’ Hans Van der Hyde’s eyes narrowed with pungent cunning.

‘You know damn well what I mean. And if Ormsby does fail - he is to be compromised also. I will not tolerate disloyalty!’

'Yes sir Mr. Ravenscroft, that is for certain. You can definitely rely on me. Your orders will be carried out most efficiently - you can be rest-assured.’

Hans gingerly replaced the phone. He’d arrived at his office twenty minutes later that morning, having slept in, after being pre-occupied the previous night, eavesdropping in on Rebecca. ‘The plot thickens,’ sneered Hans to himself. ‘That’s the first time Heinrich Ravenscroft has rang me in person. It’s indeed an honor. My excellent record is at last being noticed.’

Hans had given in his usual crawling manner reserved for his superiors, a detailed account of Paul and Rebecca’s meetings. He’d also bragged to Heinrich about the surveillance he had personally organized. ‘Hmm, a most interesting situation. With a little cunning mixed with a measure of ingenuity, promotion might well be on the horizon, that is for certain.’With a sadistic smirk, he reached for a fat cigar from his burn-marked ceder cigar box.

He lit up.

His huge frame leaned back on his creaking reclining swivel chair. He placed his feet with a thud on top of the desk.

Acrid cigar smoke quickly filled the room.

‘Yes indeed, promotion! And a pretty English school teacher thrown in to the bargain as a bonus.’
His adrenalin began to pulsate. His eyes watered and his ugly face flushed beetroot red. His perverse fantasies fired. He imagined Rebecca stripped naked and strapped to one of his adjustable interrogation tables. He could almost hear her writhing and moaning through her gagged mouth as he fiendishly pierced and pinched her bare body with his special instruments - instruments of torture he’d so proudly collected over the years.

His hot mouth became as dry a tandoori oven. His thick long tongue slithered across his protruding cracked lips. Greasy sweat formed on his high forehead - and he sucked harder on the cigar. Without shifting his gaze, he reached for the intercom.

‘Suzanna, come in here.’

‘Yes sir,’ came the timid reply.

‘Don’t just stand there. Come on in. And shut the door behind you,’ ordered Hans, wheezing, almost breathless.

Eighteen year old Suzanna stood trembling before her hated evil monster of an employee. Her eyes lowered - too fearful to look at the sordid face of Hans while he was in his now familiar, crazed mood.

‘Come here my girl. This side of the desk.’

Suzanna meekly obeyed.

‘Now that’s better. You look so lovely today. Let me feel you.’ mocked Hans, and he ran that large hairy hand up her legs.

‘Please Mr. Van der Hyde. Please don’t,’ she begged, tears now ran down her pale cheeks.

Hans pretended to be offended and angry.

‘What did you say? How dare you!’

His fingers ripped and tugged at her underwear till they found their objective. He squeezed her vaginal skin together with an excruciating pincer grip - his strength lifting her - forcing her painfully up onto her toes.

And his salacious eyes stared like a cobra ready to strike.

Suzanna screamed. Her eyes cramped shut. ‘Let go you are hurting me,’ she cried, her acute pain and misery feeding his unquenchable sadistic appetite.

He yanked her light body spread eagled across his knees. ‘I need your tight little arse,’ he hissed without releasing his grip. ‘Let’s get you out of these pretty undies.’

‘No not again - I’ll do anything - please don’t do it to me.’ She pleaded in terror as he blew cigar smoke directly into her face.

‘You will do exactly what I say. Do you hear?’ His fingers squeezed harder as he spoke. Suzanna squealed in pain. ‘Your fiancée will be mince meat for the dogs if you don’t, that is for certain. And you know I am deadly serious when I say you’ll be forced to watch.’

Suzanna suddenly lost control of her emotions. She began to scream and kick hysterically. She intuitively clawed at Hans like a fierce cat protecting her kittens. She scratched deeply into his cheek, drawing blood. Her venomous rage took Hans by surprise. He released her and abruptly jumped to his feet nursing his wounded face.

‘You fucking bitch!’ he howled with a roar of a wounded grisly bear.

Suzanna crashed to the floor.

‘If you touch me again I’ll kill myself - I hate you - you’re an animal....a pig!’ she screamed, half crawling across the floor to escape and sobbing uncontrollably.

Suzanna’s hell had started just six weeks earlier. Hans had personally selected Suzanna from over sixty applicants for the position. He knew of her recent engagement and her vulnerability. Two days after she began the job, he forced her into his interrogation room where he viciously raped her. She submitted because he’d threatened to kill her boyfriend. There was no escape. Hans was the police. She dared not even tell her fiancée of the rapes. Her mental health now deteriorated to a point of utter collapse.

‘A pig! You dare call me a pig!’ thundered Hans, his oxygen starved face shaking with blue rage.
The telephone rang piercing the tension. He snorted at Suzanna and grabbed the phone.

‘Van der Hyde.’

‘Hans good morning. Don Ormsby here.’

‘One moment Don.’ Hans turned to Suzanna. ‘Get out of here you sniffling bitch and shut the blasted door behind you.’

‘Yes Don,’ he gasped remaining breathless, but with a calmer voice at least an octave lower.

‘I was wondering how the surveillance of Rebecca Childs was going. Has she seen or spoken with Paul yet?’

‘Why no Don, definitely not,’ lied Hans. As we thought, it’s all only a storm in a coffee mug. But you can be sure, that’s for certain, I’ll let you know the minute they do.’

‘Oh great. That’s a relief. Then we’re keep our fingers crossed that the situation stays that way.’
‘Of course we will - keep our fingers crossed!’

Hans threw down the phone and roared with laughter. ‘Don Ormsby you are not only a Yankee fool but a dead man. And I’m going to have my promotion and my English school teacher’s fanny to play with.’

Hans picked up and relit his cigar from the floor. His heavy steel reinforced boots thudded back onto his desk. He once again leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers together behind his podge neck. He stared at the ceiling.

‘All I have to do is to wait most patiently - forty eight hours at the outside. An engrossing situation indeed.’ Hans puffed relentlessly on the cigar.

He spoke into the intercom - his voice a snorting whisper, ‘Suzanna my dear, all is forgiven. You may come back in now!’


‘Mr. Ravenscroft sir, good morning. Reception here. There is a young lady at the front desk, by the name of Miss Childs. Would you like me to direct her to your suite?’

‘No, that won’t be necessary. Ask her to wait a few moments and I’ll be right down,’ said Paul excitedly, jumping to his feet. ‘Offer her tea or coffee in the lounge.’

‘Madam, Mr Ravenscroft will be with you shortly. May I direct you to the guest lounge. Would you prefer tea or coffee while you wait?’

‘Thank you, strong coffee would be lovely,’ replied Rebecca, more than relieved to hear that Paul hadn’t left for the day. She felt uneasy at being at the Amstel Hotel without first phoning Paul. Having her own phones monitored had not only violated her privacy, but had left her with an irrational distrust for all telephones. She sat with legs crossed, uncomfortably erect but dignified on the front edge of the lounge.

In a chair opposite, she noticed a middle eastern businessman with sheet black hair and moustache and wearing a white suit, eyeing her from behind his Arabic paper.

He smiled at her, flashing his gold fillings, and looked her up and down as if he was selecting a woman in a brothel. She shuddered and pulled her skirt down defensively over her knees and looked away.

And she could smell the distinct aroma of the freshly brewed coffee arriving.

All my senses feel stretched to the limit since the visions, she thought as she poured herself a black coffee. Perhaps I’m in love. At least that would explain why I am so darn horny. She sneaked a glance at the Arab. God he’s still smiling at me. And this time she offered a tentative smile and re-crossed her legs a little more gainfully.

Or perhaps I’m remembering how it feels to be a woman again!

But Rebecca knew the evolving events were more sinister. She could feel herself steadily being caught up in powerful opposing energies or polarities. Her immediate problem was facing her own surfacing repressions and doubts. She earnestly desired to experience spiritual totality or oneness, but she thought, If God is all - and love is God - where lies evil and all the shades of gray between the polarities?

And what does the esoteric term ‘resist not evil’ mean?

Certainly the illusory and judgmental boundaries between right and wrong - goodness and evil - seemed to be gradually fading into confusion. Certainly her spirituality, sexuality and sensuality seemed to be driven by the same energy source. And she was certain that the Arab’s tongue was now drooling as he attempted to peer up her now slightly parted legs.

‘Rebecca. This is a pleasant surprise. You don’t know how glad I am to see you. You look deep in thought and reflexion. Is there anything wrong?’

Rebecca turned smiling to face Paul. His positive welcoming voice and beaming face gave her spirits a much needed lift. He was dressed casually. His fresh aftershave fragrance smelt paternal and secure.

Rebecca’s impulse was to jump into his arms for a hug. Instead she relented.

‘Good morning Paul.’ Her smile became a trifle shy, even a trifle insecure. She gazed into his morning bright eyes and realized instantly the magical mutual attraction still existed.

‘You look so beautiful. I’ve had such a restless sleep missing you. And here you are,’ said Paul, sitting down next to Rebecca.

‘I’ve missed you too.’ She hesitated and glanced about her. The Arab was now eyeballing Paul - but with less ardor.

‘Look can we go some place private. We have to talk. It’s most important.’

‘Of course. There’s a coffee house just a leisurely stroll through the gardens. Would that do? You know you are welcome to come up to my rooms,’ offered Paul, a little clumsily.

Rebecca shook her head. ‘Actually I’d prefer the gardens. A walk will do me good,’ she replied ruefully.

Paul mis-sensed Rebecca’s agitation and blushed.

‘Hey I didn’t mean for a moment that we should.... I mean I didn’t want to insinuate that we should go to.. Look please don’t go getting upset with me.’

She surveyed Paul fondly and sighed. If you only knew what I’m thinking - cuddling up in bed with each other - feeling all safe and warm with you - God it would be wonderful. You could hold me tight until all my anxieties vanish, and then - well we could make passionate love under the soft eiderdown. Instead Rebecca said teasingly, ‘Paul, convention dictates that a lady should never accept an invitation of that nature so early in a relationship.’

‘But I honestly didn’t mean...’

‘You are so cute when you’re embarrassed,’ she interrupted, ‘I am joshing you Paul. I didn’t suspect any ulterior motive on your part. However I admit my thoughts weren’t so noble.’

‘I am relieved.’

‘What again? You are quick. I’m impressed,’ quipped Rebecca feigning surprise.

‘God. Rebecca you are impossible.’ Paul was exasperated.

‘Shall we go?’ she asked, noting that she may have gone a little too far with her gibe.

‘I think that might be a good idea. I need the fresh air,’ countered Paul defensively and loosening his collar as he stood up.

‘I’m sorry. I was trying to be humorous. I didn’t intend to embarrass you.’ And from the corner of her eye, she saw that the chair upon which her Arab admirer was sitting, was now vacant.

‘There’s something else wrong, isn’t there? You seem nervous and upset for some reason.’

Rebecca could not dispel her trepidation. ‘Yes Paul. Something is odorously wrong! I’ll explain why I’m so agitated when we are in the park.’




Copyright 2004 – 2006 © Charles Goodwin. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, copied or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, storage in a retrieval system or otherwise, without the prior express written permission of Charles Goodwin.

All characters - other than obvious historical figures - in this book 666 The Cauldron are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Prospective publishers with expressions of interest are invited to contact Charles Goodwin at


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