P.S.I. Part IV -- Finding Maria

Chapter 3 -- The Alcove

Chapter 1 -- The Shrine
Chapter 2 -- To Build or Not to Build
Chapter 3 -- The Alcove
Chapter 4 -- Popery Aloud
Chapter 5 -- The Scream

Mike moved his bed from the smallest bedroom to the Alcove.  At long last, there was an odd sense of completion.  He stood in the open area before the breakfast bar and observed the Alcove; the "wedding portrait;" and the starkly blank outside wall in the kitchen where Brin's winner's circle photos had been displayed in the dream.  Surely he could find a horse racing-themed clock somewhere.
Perhaps it was a guy thing, but he had at least part of his "kingdom," even if his queen wasn't physically present.  He could feel her watching him at times.  Silence increased the reception.
Marco related what Christine had said about Mike's third eye: it would only grow stronger.  There were days when he felt as if he were in two scenes at one time.  One scene was reality; the other, prophesy.  The only time this annoyed him was when he was trying to concentrate on work.  Christine had suggested keeping a journal, and he was trying, but there was so much!

Some days, the dream seemed to relive itself all over again.  He wished it would stop.  Then he received insight that he hadn't written it down.  He sat at the breakfast bar and journaled.  When he finished, he was finally at peace with it.
Or was he?
He was led to call Bardstown.  What was going on there?
"There are a couple of priests from the Chancery in Louisville here talking to us about Betsy," said Elizabeth.
"What's a Chancery?"
"The bishop's office."
"Whatever for?"
"Oh, it's good.  Very good.  Very humbling, in fact.  Seems the Triple Crown winner's owner thinks Betsy needs more recognition than what she's received. . ."
That's for certain.
"Our local bishop's office is opening an investigation into her life."
"What?"  Mike was stunned.  His soul told him this was bigger than anything Hollywood could produce.
"I have to go now," she said quietly.  Mike said good-bye and hung up.
He was still trying to absorb what Elizabeth had just said when he remembered how Betsy came to him that night and he and Marco both were cured.  He sat on his bed in the Alcove and tried to gather his thoughts.  They were elusive, though.
The only thoughts that made any sense were those recounting his and Marco's cures.  When the house was completely dark, he got his wits about him and prepared to retire for the night.

Now he had to get used to the new shadow arrangement.  He wondered where the Tanners were--he hadn't heard from them in a while.  Construction was complete, so he figured they had contentedly returned to . . .wherever.  Meowzie jumped up at the foot of the bed and traipsed up to the pillow.  She settled in purring.  Usually, this would lull him to sleep, but he couldn't. 
Too hot.
And he couldn't hardly breathe, to boot.
In his plans he had forgotten to add any air conditioning vents.  His eyes were drawn to the recliner in the den.  He was revolted by the prospect, but that was better than suffocating.  "Yeah," he mumbled to himself, the sound of his voice startling him.  "I go sleep in the chair just like the dream. . .and "Without You" will probably be on the radio."
He longed for someone to talk to about the dream and its similarities.  Perhaps he should draw the line on how far he would go in making the house and other stuff come to pass.  Christine had mentioned that prophesies were often given to change the course of events.  Maybe now was the time to make the dream stop ruling his life.  He took his blanket and wind-up alarm clock to the den, left the radio off, and settled in for the night.
No, he was too sentimental, and attached to Betsy, to lose that which had been given him in the dream.  He had been robbed of their life together, and the dream was all he had.  He immediately felt guilty for feeling that way and thought of the extremely short conversation he had with Elizabeth earlier that evening.  "So what's my role in all this?" he asked as he inhaled the cool air from the vent overhead.  Ah, air.

Meowzie jumped into his lap, then settled on his stomach.
"Up there," he motioned with the upward thrust of his thumb to the top of the recliner.  She got up, climbed over him, and settled in with feline finesse.  Now to get to sleep, he thought.  He had work in the morning. 

"She said what?" Cap exclaimed over coffee the next morning at work.
"Said something about priests from the Chancery in Louisville looking into Betsy's life because the horse's owner thinks she deserves more recognition."
"They're trying to make her a saint," said Marco, wide-eyed.
Marco's words were like running into a brick wall.  Mike didn't know how long they all sat there speechless as their coffee cooled to an unpalatable goo.  The alarm startled them back to their senses.

After the run, Marco caught up with Mike.  "You'd better be thinking about your relationship with her," said Marco.  "Since you two were engaged, they are definitely going to talk to you."
It took a moment for the words to sink in, but Mike understood.  "I'll start doing that," he said.
The alarm went off again.  Structure fire.  He had a feeling they would be out the rest of the shift.
And they were.

Truly inspired. . .