Laura, out of breath, whispered, “It was unbelievable! I’ll never forget it!”
“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it,” said Michael. “You’ve seen Carly then and now. That should brighten up your history lessons a little!” The twins laughed.
“What a lot of changes! Tell me, if you had to mention the most important change in Carly that you noticed, what would you say it was?”
Jack and Laura look at each other for a moment and then answered in one voice. “The vibrations have gone.”
“Right!” said Michael. “And just in case you’re asking yourselves, ‘If these changes were going to take place in the future, was Carly really waiting for the Bringals? Were the Bringals right to settle there?’ The answer is an emphatic, ‘yes!’ You’ll soon know why. OK, I think that’s enough for today.
“No, no! We’re not tired!” Jack exclaimed.
“It’s been a lot for one day,” insisted Michael.
“But we have loads of questions to ask you!” exclaimed Jack.
“Keep them for next time, Jack. I have a lot more to show and tell you so be prepared for some surprises Goodbye for now.” Michael turned and disappeared into the upper branches of the tree. “Remember your promise!” came his voice from somewhere above.
There was no point in answering. Michael had gone.
Jack and Laura climbed down out of the tree and made their way home. What a day it had been! They were bursting with excitement.
“This is terrible,” shouted Laura, pulling her hair .
“Why is that?” asked Jack.
“We have the best story anyone ever had in the entire history of the planet and we can’t tell anyone about it!”
Chapter 5: An Early Start
The next morning Mary McQueen, Jack and Laura’s mother had a bit of a shock. She came downstairs early to prepare breakfast as usual before she went off to her job at the supermarket but this time she found Jack and Laura already in the kitchen putting the final touches to a scrambled egg on toast breakfast for three.
“My goodness! What got you two up so early in the morning? It’s not Christmas is it?”
“No mum,” laughed Laura, “We just wanted to give you a nice surprise.”
“Well it is a nice surprise alright. I wonder if there’s going to be another surprise after this,” she said with a smile.
“Come on mum, we just did it for you,” said Jack. He knew how hard it had been for her since their dad had died. “We’re going out early today so we thought we’d make breakfast for you, for a change.”
“Did you indeed?”
“Laura’s going to help me with my ‘Tree Project’ and we have a lot to do. And you don’t have to worry about lunch, we’ve made some sandwiches to take with us.”
“That’s fine,” said Mary She was proud of her kids. “It’s nice to see you so interested in your school project.” Since her husband had died, Mary McQueen had become the sole- supporter of her family. Life hadn’t been easy, even there were two incomes, what with the mortgage, three kids at school and the general, rising cost of living, but now she had to do extra shifts at the supermarket whenever she could. It meant a lot of time away from home. The kids were great, though. She knew they missed their dad as much as she did, but they were so considerate towards her, it made her cry sometimes to think of it. They had each offered to take on chores in the house, to lighten her load, and they had even found themselves little jobs, so that they wouldn’t need to ask her for pocket-money. Janie was quite sought-after as a babysitter and even Jack and Laura were kept busy at the weekends mowing their neighbours’ lawns, washing cars or doing any odd jobs that people wanted doing. They weren’t squeamish and they weren’t fussy and their neighbours were very fond of them. And to top it all, they did their best at school. Jack wasn’t quite as successful as the girls. He was dyslexic and found schoolwork particularly difficult, but he never gave up and his teachers were as supportive as they could be. He was a lovely boy, bless him. Well, they all were - lovely kids. Yes, she was very proud of them.
The three of them sat down at the breakfast table and Jack and Laura had gulped down their eggs on toast and drunk their tea almost before Mary had the chance to pick up her knife and fork.
“You don’t mind if we leave you to it, do you mum?” said Jack “We want to get an early start.”
“No, no, that’s ok,” said Mary but don’t forget to be back by 5 o’clock this evening. We are going to visit Janie.” “Right, mum! We won’t forget. We’re off then,” said Laura. “See you later.” “Bye mum,” said Jack grabbing his jacket and school bag with the sandwiches in it and heading for the door, “We’ll be back by 5.” “Just a second!” said Mary, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
The two ran back from the door kissed Mary, one on each cheek and hurried out.
“Bye!” came their voices as they went out of the front door.
“Bye,” answered Mary to an empty house.
Chapter 6: Pop-in\Pop-out Day
Jack and Mary climbed up into the tree in the village square full of anticipation.
They had been so excited last night that they hadn’t expected to sleep at all but strangely they both had a very good night’s sleep.
“Hi Jack! Hi Laura! Michael was waiting for them on their favourite branch.
How are you today?
“Thank goodness,” they both thought to themselves, “It wasn’t a dream after all.” “Hello Michael,” they answered.
“Have you been waiting for us?” asked Jack.
“Oh, no. I saw you coming so I thought I’d come and meet you. I’m glad you came now though, it’s Pop-in\Pop-out day today and you’re just in time to see it. Come with me, it’s nice to watch and it only happens once a year and it’s quite a special event.”
Michael led them over to another part of the tree that they had never been to before. Four Bringals were on one branch of the tree facing all the other Bringals on the opposite branch.
“What is Pop-in\Pop-out day, Michael?” asked Laura.
“Pop-in/Pop-out day is always a big day for Bringals. We’re all ready. You see Ma and Pa over there? They are the pair of ‘Pop-out’ Bringals. They are ready in their position on the ‘Changeover’ branch. “They have been with this family for 50 years and now it’s time for them to ‘Pop-out’ and become a new pair in another family and a new pair of Bringals will ‘Pop-in’ and become the youngest pair in our family. In 50 years they will be the Ma and Pa popping out. Our Ma and Pa have said their ‘Good-byes to everyone and now it’s almost zero hour. The couple sitting next to them on the branch are couple number 49 and about to become number 50 and our new Ma and Pa. The rest of the family is gathered on the ‘Community’ branch over there, extremely happy to see these two off to their new family and excited to see the arrival of the ‘Pop-in’ pair. Shsss. It’s beginning.”
Jack and Laura watched as the Ma and Pa became very still. Their shower of sparkling lights began to slow down and become smaller and smaller. The time had come to leave. All of a sudden, their little sparkling lights went out, “POP”! A split second later, two new sets of lights began sparkling again and …. wonder of wonders….there were two new Bringals in place of Ma and Pa. “Life goes on,” said Michael. A huge cheer went up from the 98 Bringals to welcome the new ones. The new Ma and Pa happily greeted the new pair followed by the happy throng of their new family.
That should have been the end of the process but a strange white glimmer of light remains on the ‘Changeover’ branch. It hangs there, a swirling, luminous mass of light. What could it be? “Oh, no!” says the new Pa, “It can’t be!”“It must be a mistake! It’s not been long enough. We need more time. Much more time! This can’t be happening!”
With a very loud ‘BOOOM’ and a flash of lightning, the swirling , white glimmer of light disappears to reveal a family of ten big, fat, brightly glowing potato-shaped creatures on the branch.
“Oh no!” says one of the ‘Pop-in’ couple. “They must have attached themselves to us. We’re very sorry.”
“Hi folks! How’re you doing?” says the biggest, fattest creature. “Nice to see you again. Anything to eat?” “Oh, no!” came new Pa’s reply, “Not the Gluppers!”“We had you 100 years ago. We’re not supposed to see Gluppers here again for another 900 years. Why did you come back now?” asked new Pa. “We like it here!” sniggered the largest Glupper. “I’m feeling a bit low on energy”, it said ominously waving its elephant trunk-like sucker in the direction of new Ma. Pa’s arms extended to 6 times their normal length and he tied a knot in the Glupper’s sucker. “Now, you and your family go to the Glupper branch!, You know where it is, out of everybody’s way, And if I see you out of your part of the tree there’ll be trouble”, said Pa. “Well, dat’s a dice, worb welcob after all deese years”, said the big Glupper. “Cub on”, he told his family, “We doh where we’re dot wodded. We’ll go ad wait for a apology”. Said the Glupper with great difficulty through his ‘dotted dose’. “An apology? Don’t hold your breath while you’re waiting”, said Pa. “Come with me,” said Michael to Jack and Laura, “I have a lot of things to tell you” Jack and Laura followed Michael up to a very high branch of the tree where the foliage was quite thick and the atmosphere very pleasant.“This is a nice place for chat,” said Michael, “You’ve seen a lot in a very short time and I have to explain some of these things to you.”
Chapter 7: The Question
“First, before I go on, I’d like to mention something about our communication.” said Michael, “When I use Bringal terms or words, like, ‘Bringal’, or, ‘Home’ as in ‘Home’ tree, or, ‘Squawker’, or ‘Glupper’ and so on, these are not the actual words the Bringals use themselves. You see, Bringals don’t have a language like humans do. We communicate with each other in thoughts. We don’t read each others’ thoughts, we project them to each other. When you hear us speaking, as I am doing now, I’m really projecting my thoughts to you in a way that your brains can convert them into the sounds that you are able to recognise as your own language. Think of it as something similar to a computerised translation but without using your ears or eyes. So, you’re not really hearing me, you are understanding my thoughts in the context of your own life experience. When you think about it, this is how you process all the information that you gather through your five senses all throughout your life.”
Jack and Laura look at each other, somewhat baffled.
“I know it’s not easy for you to understand but the main thing is that we are communicating with each other in our own ways. “Right, now I know you have lots of questions to ask me so please, just go ahead.”
“What is ‘Pop-in’ and ‘Pop-out’ exactly?’ asked Laura. “Well, it’s what you might call in human terms being born again or re-incarnation. Actually, Bringals don’t die and aren’t born. We just change families. When 2 new Bringals ‘Pop-in’ to a family it means they have just ‘Popped-out’ of another Bringal family somewhere else in the world. And, of course, those that ‘Pop-out’ of a family, ‘Pop-in’ to a new one. So, now, if I tell you there are 10,000 Bringal families, we know how many Bringals there are in the world.” “10,000 families, each of 100 Bringals, brings the total world population to exactly one million Bringals,” said Jack. “That’s right. I’ll stop for a minute to let you have a rest. It’s a bit complicated, isn’t it? “It is but I think I understand it so far,” said Laura. “I understand what you said,” said Jack, “But how long do Bringals live?” ”Well, we don’t really age in years like you humans do,” said Michael. “If we were to grade ourselves it would be in maturity because although we seem to move upwards and then back to square one in a ‘Pop-in/Pop-out’ system we do retain and increase our experience and knowledge which makes us more mature. We don’t get old and die. We just go on and on, except in very special circumstances such as war where we do sometimes sort of die. We call it, “Giving up our energy to the Universe.” “So, you have wars?” asked Jack. “Not very often, I’m happy to say. The last wars were the “Glupper Wars”, a long time ago. I’ll tell you about them another time. Shall I continue what I was saying? Or would you like a break” “Oh, please go on, it’s very exciting,” said Laura. “Do you mind if we eat our sandwiches while you’re talking?” asked Jack. “No that’ll be fine with me,” Michael answered. “Ok, I’ll go on. Bringals have lived on planet Earth for 20,000 years. The entire community of one million Bringals came from a far away planet that was dying and could no longer support life in any form. “The ‘Home’ trees that we live in supply our needs and we live in our tight-knit family groups in total peace and harmony. One very important rule the Bringals have always kept is that they must never interfere in the lives of the humans. This rule was kept strictly, with very few exceptions, until the Bringals ‘Conference of Elders’ about 50 years ago. At that conference, the Bringals decided that they would do their best to protect human children from all kinds of dangers they were in due to the actions of human adults. “Bringals have deep feelings of affection toward human children, perhaps because we don’t really have children ourselves,” he added thoughtfully, “but in any case, we can’t bear to see injustice or suffering. Our aim is to bring back those vibrations that we spoke about earlier and live in harmony.
There is a saying that describes the Bringals way of life very nicely. It goes, ‘Don’t do anything to others that you wouldn’t want them to do to you.’ It’s not a Bringal saying, it’s a human one. The Bringals wouldn’t have a saying like that because we would never dream of doing anything to anyone that we wouldn’t want done to us.” “Very soon, there will be another ‘Conference of Elders’, and the two Elders of the Carly family, will ask for a change in the rules again. It will be difficult to change the rules as at least 80% of the 20,000 elders must vote in favour or no change can take place. Do you want to ask have any questions?” “Yes, I have a few questions,” said Jack, “But one of them seems stranger than the others.” “Yes, Jack, what is it?” asked Michael. “Well, I just don’t understand. If you Bringals have always been so careful not to allow us humans to know that you exist, why are you showing yourselves to Laura and me and explaining to us everything about yourselves? I know we’ve promised to keep it a secret, but still, it seems to go completely against your own rules.” Michael was silent for a few seconds. “Jack,” he said in a very serious tone, “That is a very important question. The answer to that question is the reason we are opening ourselves up to you. I will answer you soon, I promise, but first I have to be sure you are ready to hear the answer. I have a bit more to say about the Bringals and then I will decide on whether it is time to give you both the answer. Please wait a little longer. Is that alright with both of you?” “Sure, Michael,” said Jack though his disappointment was obvious. Michael was walking a very fine line here. If he told them too much too soon he would undoubtedly scare them off. On the other hand, if he kept up this secrecy much longer, they’d leave through sheer frustration. He had to be sure. “We’ll wait,” said Laura, “It sounds very mysterious.” “I hope it will all become clear to you in the end,” said Michael. “I’ll go on now. I want to explain to you who the Gluppers are.” “Oh yes” cried Laura, “those funny, fat things we saw at Pop In/Pop Out Ceremony.” “Yes, those are Gluppers. And yes, they are a bit fat but they’re not funny. They are different from us just as we are different from you.” “What were the Glupper Wars you mentioned earlier?” said Jack. “Gluppers and Bringals have always had a difficult relationship. Gluppers have evolved into beings that need a very long time to process their own energy from natural sources like food or the sun and so, when available, they prefer to obtain already processed energy from another source. In this case that other source is us!” “The reason that we are so suitable may be that Gluppers are distant relatives of Bringals, about as close as the Great Apes are to humans and it seems that the energy we produce somehow suits them perfectly. It’s also probable that having lived for thousands of years in close proximity to each other, it’s natural for them to look on us as their energy suppliers.” “Just like most creatures, Gluppers take the most convenient path open to them as long as that path does not break their own code of behaviour, whatever that may be.” “Of course, being so large compared with a Bringal Gluppers can totally drain many Bringals of their energy in a very short time. This makes life very difficult for us to say the least.” “20,000 years ago, when the Bringals were brought out from our planet Xrig to planet Earth, by the Quilogs - they’re a race of star-travelling adventurers..” “Cool! Like Star Trek!” exclaimed Jack. “Sound right, Jack. Anyway, when the Bringals were brought out from Xrig, unbeknown to them, 10 families of Gluppers had sneaked onto the space ship as stowaways. They boarded the space-ship secretly because they wrongly supposed that nobody would take them willingly. That supposition was wrong! Bringals would never refuse to help any living creature in danger. X