"Softly patterned dwell I here

Hear me, sense me as I rise

For I am you and in you lie

Rising slowly in your pause

You the one of many,

And I the one of I."

There was always going to be doubt he would complete the task for his middle name was Thomas.

But was it his name that created this essential being or chance that name and pattern thus agreed?

He had come into this work by chosen chance, a chaotic pattern of no certain source. There could be none less suited for such a task, but still it seemed his path was rightly set. He travels time unknown to him. He seeds the path time travels.

The young girl had seen him in the corner of her eye but did not let it show. She did not stop, drop out of the game but continued playing. Only a quick, sharp intake of breath and increased heartbeat betraying her interest in his presence

She noticed but by her actions denied him whilst he of her seemed too aware. Her newness, freshness, enhancing in his mind these images of youthful , almost sensual, motion. Emotions lingered, arousing pleasure linking unseen feeling to this shapely physical, feminine form.

They were not alone, yet seemed so. The excited screams as the ball team threw were incidental to their private drama. A drama waiting for recognition. He waiting, she withholding that which both desired.

The hectic, dashing, rowdy game contrasted with the stillness of their waiting. A waiting stillness that lasted only moments in reality and passed unnoticed by all but her.

For ten minutes more ‘red-rover’ pursued the course well known to youth. The more vigorous, skilful evaders, gradually tagged, swelled the powers of the pursuers. Until the most nimble succumbed at last, despite his ability to bend at impact point, sending untouched ball to running, yelling players waiting beyond.

Now as a single, stiller group, voices joined in democratic choice. The girls were keen on ‘Simple Simon’ but the boys were for more ‘Rover’. Others, unable to restrain themselves, played a form of brutal ‘Brandie’, hurling the ball directly at each other’s vital parts. At last a choice was made, a compromise; one game of ‘Simon’ and one of ‘Rover’. Such simplicity of course fell foul of nature. One game of ‘Simon’ was duly played but three of ‘Rover’ followed. And then in gathering dusk, exhausted but refreshed more drifted homeward, leaving silence, where animated life had been .

Carolin was not part of this, her thoughts now tied to her visitor. As the first game ended, she said farewell and before her friends could join her freely strode away.

Her feet disturbed the dusty streets. His stepped unmarked across the ground. She had called him, both knew that, the need that for two years past had linked their vital course.

Now fourteen, her thoughts are stronger, tinged with growing unfilled fantasy. If it is sexual she is unaware of it but his absence makes her ache. And he is here as she had wished his surreal presence to share her load.

In other terms she might be called a witch, her haunting dreams, premonitions. Dreams that took her into the past where pagan rituals lead to prophecy. Dreams that gave her understanding of musicians, poets, warriors and kings. Dreams that took her to places important to man, held within the dimmer halls of history. Real history dimmed by arrogant selection but still existing within her dreams. And also dreams of the future and of future men. And of all those people in her dreams it is he that satisfied her most yet left her craving more. Attuned, she also felt his mutual need of her.

She would never know him aged beyond this vision and never see him flawed. His image here, as he paced beside her, was of a younger man, him as a boy about seventeen, but slightly stronger, taller, more graceful than he had ever been. And seventeen he would not be again for another thirty years, and thirty years beyond that would come before he would host this dream.

She did not know his name and did not ask it. She called him Tom and the future man from whence he came she gave the appellation, Tomas. In 1930 when she first encountered Tom the planet Pluto was discovered. Carolin played on the name of its discoverer, Tombaugh, to give titles to her own newly emerged beau. He had laughed when she had told him the names. Her voice and her way of speaking often had this effect.

Her voice unremembered by Tomas, the future man, but here by Tom, the youth, she was loved, revered, esteemed. A ghost in love. An asexual love derived from spirit, based on emotional, aching yearning. Her unusual insights into life expressed and bathed in tonal vibrance. Carolin’s words playfully spoken, twisted his present, old and new emotions. In future times without full remembrance, surges of responsive chords. Tomas will recall shadowy forms of this, this primeval sensual ache, the ache of Tom’s original, unique shock.

The man, the boy, both are real. The boy aware of her; a girl and witch. Bewitched, enthralled this is the fruit of being, to be with her, to shield her, deflect the burden of her visions. It is from Tom and his increasing desire that the patterns to her future form. Tom’s desire that she not be harmed and come unharmed to him. The man Tomas is only subliminally aware of this unyielding ache. Aware of ache, unaware of why, his life is affected nonetheless. The normality of a normal life seems unscarred, improved by this dreaming, prescient, timeless voyage.

Tom’s need of her and she of him could thrive only here within her vision, drawing both, with pleasure and desire, into this most physical presence.

She did not go directly home. It was twenty minutes of quick walking to her rambling home and yet it would be at least an hour before, in dusk, she would arrive. She would be scolded but Carolin needed time alone with Tom.

It was five minutes from her friend’s house to the path along the river and her determined, rapid pace left no time for thought, no time for more than casual glances, as she and he headed for their tranquil place.

Now just off the sandy path that wound along the sand dune ridge Carolin at last broke stride and settled. Tom stretched beside her and for a minute more they held to their own thoughts.

He knew this river and this place. This is not quite true. Tomas would know this place and this river but his time had not yet come. He would know this river with its width , its reedy ‘point’ and small lagoon in ‘Huck Finn’ terms, a pleasure ground, a leisure ground for boys whose yearnings for rafts would have them build, fail, rebuild, discover lost craft, drag and punt and never sail, wading, crossing, swimming, sinking into the muddy floor.

Her thoughts did not dwell on the aspects that normally delighted her; the high, serene position overseeing others in a placid water world. Her thoughts were of home, the rambling home she must now leave, the home he would also know but never as his own. Hers was an unusual home built upon some eccentric youthful whim; a multi-storied home with rooms linked by stairs and hidden passages. Rooms placed in uneven levels climaxed by an attic.

She would miss those passages. The attic with its secret doors allowing them to slide into other chambers. Its lofty window through which, on windy days, one could watch the detached world outside. People scurry by. Friends, adults, rumoured spies, baker’s horse cart all fill the frame then pass around the bend.

She was aware that in some way he had the same feelings towards this house. Through Tom she felt Tomas’ dream of this palace beneath the sand which Tom found by accident of a touch that opened up a hole. A squeeze into a sandy hole and an awesome ancient world was theirs. An empty palace of secret rooms, lofty vast chambers hung with darkly beautiful woven drapes. A palace whose enticing chambers consumed hours and days in mental exploration.

She often thought on this connection. She pondered long on this connection; the links of mental pattern to place.

But now she said what they both knew, had known, feared but could not avoid.

"Tom, in February I am going home."