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BlackEagle Girls
and The Quest to See

Chapter 11 - The Moonflower

'So what's it like?'

It was lunch time on the following Monday and Priscilla and the other BlackEagle girls were back at Hopewell. Her mind was still in turmoil over not reading the diaries as she did her best to disguise her feelings. That she had succeeded with Henry, Granny Black and Louis, was something of a minor miracle.

'What is what like?' queried Marsha Hope, her hand rubbing John-boy's head as he sat quietly beside her, his eyes alert to those sitting cross-legged around him on the close-cropped grass of Hopewell's football oval.

'Well...Ummm... I mean...' Priscilla stumbled to a halt.

'Ohh! I see. What's being blind like? Is that what you mean Priscilla?'

'No! No!... I mean like having such a wonderful friend and stuff... and I really shot my mouth off then without thinking I'm really sorry I didn't mean it to come out like that...It's just like wow! How do you do it...'

'Please excuse Cilla. She is not quite herself. It was a very exhausting weekend for her.' Monique interrupted.

'Thanks Monique,' Marsha answered, slowly standing, 'I get the feeling that your best friend is really forthright and it can get her into hot water at times, but for all that, she means well and is naturally inquisitive.'

John-boy was up, ready to guide his Mistress toward the perimeter of the ground.

'Priscilla, you know you might make a good magazine reporter or even a newspaper journalist.' Marsha suggested, her hand resting on the frame bar of John-boy's harness rig.

Priscilla shook her head as if to chastise herself. 'Sorry Marsha, I didn't mean to be so unfeeling. It must be such a terrible thing, losing your sight and somehow getting by...'

'I didn't lose my sight. I never had it. I was born blind.'

John-boy plodded forward and Marsha confidently strode after him.

'Really?' Priscilla and the other girls were on their feet and following.

'Truly. But I do have all my other senses, and in some ways I think that they are heightened because I can't see. And what's more, while we're all alone together, Harry allowed me to give you a message from Terri and Tsuang Tsu...'

'You are one of us? A Black Eagle girl?' exclaimed Belinda, awed.

'No, I'm not. You kids are the Pod, the Black Eagle Girls. I'm part of another Pod working in other areas. Harry and his pals assigned me and Johnny, along with my parents who are both Army Personal and so at times move from place to place, to do a tour around Australia, and Hopewell Hall in Melbourne is on our list.'

'Are you like... for real? Or are you one of Harry's people?'

'No Priscilla, and yes I can tell it was you who spoke, my ears are perfectly tuned to all your voices, even yours Narenda, and you only said hello.'

Narenda looked astounded, but then broke into a grin. 'Oh Miss Marsha, I am trying so very hard to overcome my shyness, and sometimes too it is better to listen than to be doing talking, yes please.'

'Your parents are in on all this too Marsha?' Priscilla asked, uncertainly.

Marsha nodded. 'Grown-ups? Sure Priscilla. Why? Because they weren't adults when they were enlisted. They were kids and they were the children of their parents who were also kids when Harry's people began to come to Earth.'

'Are you saying that we have an enlarging population, not only of Alien people, but of converts such as us?' Belinda asked.

'I'm saying and confirming. That's why Johnny and me are strolling here on this big football ground, and by the way, Tsu and Terri want you all to know that everything is fine with them and their families. And yes you can do the same stuff by Email or Twitter, but you can't speak about what we are all hooked into. Harry can pass it on sure, but he wants me to do it for several reasons: first, we make contact with each other. Second, we spread the word, human to human, without Harry and all his other brothers and sisters doing it for us. Yes, they are growing around the world and more of us human beings are seeing... understanding what is happening. Eventually we, or the coming generations, will make a difference. Already we're beginning to understand and accept that there is more, more than anybody ever imagined could be.

Human science will discover much for our race, yet our friends from outer space will give us the means to feed and nurture, to find ways to combat poverty, to end aggression, to find peace amongst the savagery that still is the dreadful lot of this planet.'

'You're beginning to sound like a brain-washed robot.' Said Priscilla before she could stop herself.

'Shoot from the lip Priscilla. But I'm not a robot. I'm not a Blank. I really am a blind girl with a caring-trained, seeing-eye dog. And... I have another dog named Harry to back me up. Also... I'm informed that you, Miss Priscilla, have a terrible dilemma to confront and overcome. The problem of your Mother's suicide, the horror for not only you but your younger brother and the upheaval in your family.'

'It's alright Marsha. Not your problem. Henry and me have just got to get over it. Gran and Dad and...and Rachael...They want to give us all they've got...love and support...and stuff...

Priscilla's lip began to quiver and she choked into silence, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Monique made to put her arms around her friend's shoulders then thought better of it and offered a hankie.

'Look over there! Is that Roseanne and that ruffian she's been associating with?' queried Belinda, pointing to a pair of distant figures on the far side of the oval and also attempting to defuse and calm the situation.

The others followed her gaze and nodded.

'It's them again, the lovey-dovies.' Priscilla snuffled, wiping away her tears.

'They do not look exactly like a pair of doves to me,' Narenda commented, shading her eyes. 'Look at that. He seems to be shouting at her and she is shouting back at him. And he is waving his arms about. They seem to be arguing. What can that mean? Perhaps they have fallen out of love, or decided that what they want from each other won't work. Maybe he is just too bad for even Annie.'

'Serves them both right. We know what she's all about, and he's already muscled Henry and some other kids. Let 'em go for each other's throats.'

'Oh Cilla, do not make yourself angry over two nasty people. You have much more important things to think about.' Monique said, patting her arm.

Priscilla couldn't think of any reason to argue and turning back to the others said, 'Whatever. Let 'em crash and burn, they aren't worth our time.' Then, on a sudden impulse she added, 'I know it's crazy Marsha, but I really wish you could somehow help me to find my way. You're so brave and I'm so frightened. I just can't bring myself to... to find out what happened... Even though you're blind, I wish you could help me to see.'

Marsha reached out her free hand, beckoning Priscilla closer and, finding her arm, drew her forward away from the others, saying in a low voice as they walked, 'Harry tells me that you have the diaries. Just open them and read. What more do you want from me or anyone else?'

'Anyone else can't give me your courage, your inner strength.' Priscilla whispered. 'Not even my dearest, truest friend Monique, not right now. But for some reason I can't explain, I feel... sense... that you can. I'm scared Marsha. I've never been so scared in all my life. My Mother must have been insane to do what she did. Something must have just snapped in her brain. Why else would she have suddenly written a suicide note and abandoned her own little children to ride up into the mountains and throw herself off a cliff? In my dreams I wonder... think perhaps that my mind is losing control... What if Henry or me have whatever it was... What if one of us suddenly goes crazy? Maybe it's better that I never tell him about what Moni and me saw just before Mum went mad? But then I can't tell him anyway because that all happened when we were both little and I shouldn't... couldn't have known, anymore than I could have know about the diaries and where to find them and oh, it's all swirling about in my head and I can't see! I'm looking at you but my mind is slowly going blind!'

Marsha halted John-boy, patted him and considered for a moment before moving on. v 'I might be able to help you, if you could help me first?'

'How can that be?' Narenda asked, as the others caught up and continued to walk the perimeter of the ground.

'There is a place I have wanted to visit ever since my Mother told me about it a few years ago.'

'Well, what is stopping you?' Monique asked.

'It's kind of out of the way.' Marsha smiled. It was almost a grimace, though as a blind person she could never know that.

'There are lots of out-of-the-way places in Australia. Harry could get you there in our BlackEagle tree-house or maybe your Pod has other ways of travelling?' Suggested Belinda.

'We aren't talking Australia.'

'Where then?' Priscilla asked, puzzled.

'South America. The Amazon river. A long way up it.'

'But that's pretty dangerous.' Said Priscilla. 'Like jungle and wild animals. Meat-eating Piranha fish, crocodiles, tribes of natives with poisoned darts. What the heck do you want to go and find and how can you see it anyway?'

'I have a way if you will help me and Johnny get there.'

Priscilla and the others were mystified.

'Well... If that's what you want... sure. Whatever. Now explain. What do you want to see?'

'I want to see the Moonflower.'

'What is a Moonflower? Could you not find one somewhere closer?' Monique asked.

'The Moonflower is a rare and exotic plant. You can't get one at the nearest florist. It's only found in a few places along the Amazon, hidden places, and... it is only ever seen at night when the moon is risen. That's the time it blooms. By morning it's petals close and the flower is finished. A wonderful English woman, Margaret Mee, went on many trips by boat to finally find the flower and paint it. She was seventy-nine on her last visit. That was when she got the chance to draw her subject by torchlight. Apparently she was a brilliant artist and lover of nature, especially plants and flowers. She was filmed by a crew who went with her on that last trip and a book was produced about her adventures.'

'Well why don't you just get the book... the video? Errrm! Of course they wouldn't help... stupid of me!' Priscilla berated herself.

'But how would going there be any different? You still won't jolly-well be able to see it.' Belinda said.

'Yes I will. I know I will, and Harry says I will if you will go with me and John in the BlackEagle, Priscilla.'

'What about the rest of us. Can we come too?' asked Narenda.

'No. I want it to be just Priscilla, Johnny and me. There are a couple of reasons, but I can't tell you what they are just now. That will have to wait until we come back, then everything will be explained. Will you do it Priscilla?'

'I said I would, didn't I? Even if I don't get it... but if somehow the Moonflower can make you see, that would be really great!'

'Thank you Priscilla.' Marsha opened her arms and blindly waited for Priscilla to hug her.

The other girls looked on, smearing away a few tears. John-boy yawned, as if he didn't have a care in the world.


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