Chapter 4 (continued)
Essie looked around at Random who sat on the bench. He saw the question in her face. “Are you ready?” He nodded. Essie opened the door the color of blood long ago dried. Random followed Essie. Outside a path ran to a tunnel that went into the city wall. They had to crawl through the tunnel. Essie led the way. They crawled in the darkness toward a circle of light. At the end was a small opening just big enough for Essie to squeeze through.
“I can’t fit through,” Random moaned. Only His head came through the opening. “My shoulders are too wide.”
“You weel have to go around and walk along de wall oonteel you come to me here.”
“But that will take hours,” Random sighed, despair and worry creeping into his voice.
“Go I weel wait here as long as eet takes. We have to get to the tree together or eet weel be useless.” She kissed his lips and pushed the top of his head to encourage him. Random thought of the miasma of the city. Would he ever be able to navigate that maze on his own?
“I can do it for her, and I will,” he thought as he headed back down the tunnel after a tangled time turning around.
The tunnel seemed to be longer coming back. Finally he came to what felt like a door made of rough wood. He panicked. He did not remember any door on the inside of the wall. How did this get here? His mind raced for answers, but then he simply pushed on the door and it opened into the dark. He fell in, on and on into the darkness, until he landed into his waking body on the couch.
Steve and Lin lay asleep on his bed lit by the early sun through the blinds. The dream was still vivid in his mind as if he was reliving it. The thought of Essie waiting by the wall stabbed him through. He could not bear it, and he wept softly. He felt like he had been in the wilderness for days, but his body and clothes showed no signs of wear or dirt. He shuffled sadly in to take a shower.
The hot water brought some of his life back. Now he was ravenous. He went to kitchen and made a 5 egg omelets with lots of cheese and ham and 3 pieces of toast and drank several glasses of orange juice as he ate. When he was done he staggered back to the couch, lay down and immediately fell asleep.
He woke up 2 hours later, and made coffee. Finally Steve and Lin woke up and drifted in to the kitchen where Random sat hunched over a mug.
“You look like your pondering the eternal questions and coming up with 43.” Steve said with compassion and patted him on the shoulder.
“I am dreaming the weirdest shit these days. Like epic fantasy and horror.” Random stretched and took another sip of coffee. He told Steve brief versions of the dreams of the last two nights.
“They all seem so real too. I wake up feeling like I’ve lived through something.”
“I don’t know. It seems like maybe this break up is getting to you more than you realize,” Steve said.
“I am still not sure how I feel about it. I know we were both thinking about moving on.”
“Eleven years is a lot just to push aside in 2 or 3 days. You have to figure out what it means to you and what you’re going to do about it.” Steve impulsively mussed Random’s frizzy hair, “Meanwhile, do you still want to roam the North Bay today. Lin and I could scoot back across the water and leave you to your pondering.”
“No, I don’t think brooding around here on my own will help.” Random felt the effects of the dreams fading in the face of Steve’s monumental good humor. Lin was rustling up some eggs and toast for them. Random decided to call the Eagle Ranch number.
He went over and throwing himself on the couch, picked up the phone from its stand and dialed. It rang a couple times and message came on:
“You have reached the Eagle Tree Ranch, we are unable to come to the phone right now as we are probably tending to ranch business. So leave a message and one of us will call you at our convenience.”
The voice was so familiar but he could not place it. He left his name and a little message about attending the Farm School and wanting to just see how it had changed and left his number thinking he had sounded like some weird place stalker.