A Night in the Motel
When she got around the corner, Essie took off her shoes and ran silently just outside the slashes and pools of light that came through from the highway. The Motel was one block up and two over. She sprinted across the street seeing no sign of her pursuer, and made it into the alley behind strip mall on the corner. She worried about stepping on glass or sharp metal, but kept moving through the darkness. She made it to the next street, and slowing a little to check for cars, scooted across the street. She quickly crossed the Motel parking lot and slipped into her room, locking the door as she closed it.
It was a small uninspiring room with a bad painting of cannery row on the wall over the bed. The colors were all wrong.
Essie was suddenly struck by how tired she felt. She undressed quickly and dug through her backpack for her nightshirt, an oversized flannel work shirt, found it and put it on. Flopping on the bed, she grabbed the TV remote and flipped channels for a while. She finally gave up; Saturday night TV sucked. She did not have any books to read so she switched out the light and thought about things, about Random and how she hated to leave him. She thought of the wolf. She was almost certain it would not hurt her. She panicked at the strangeness of its golden eyes. She knew the wolf carried a message she was not yet ready to receive, and so she escaped into Maddie’s house.
Essie’s thoughts drifted to her life, and how hard it had been for her and Random these last months. They had both felt stifled and unable to find a path that included their relationship. They were from two different worlds. He didn’t understand what she needed sometimes. She wanted to move to a cheaper place and take things slower, live a little more and spend less time working. He wanted to finish his studies and work enough to keep the apartment in the city, which meant Essie had to work more too. She had felt her soul, the spirit of her youth fading into her work. Then the dream of the turtle came and told her of the farm. She did not know why she must find the farm, but it had to do with waking something up. She had a vague idea of vast spans of time as She drifted off to sleep thinking of the farm she had never seen and golden eyes shining in the dark.
Essie sat on a long beach of fine white sand. A huge mountain loomed behind her. She watched the sun set over a completely still ocean. There were no waves. A breeze came from over the water making her cold. She huddled tighter down into the sand and began to sink. She struggled wildly, but the sand was so fine it was like a gritty cloud that she fell through. Suddenly, in the flurry of sand and movement, her flailing hand grabbed hold of another hand, which gripped and pulled. She came up looking into Random’s lovely calm face.
“There you are I’ve been looking for you,” he said grinning broadly.
As Essie looked into his gray green eyes, a feeling of panic came over her. She knew they must get into the city before the sunset or the gates would be locked forever.
“We must go now, to the ceety. We must run or the gates weel close,” she yelled over a roaring sound of waves, which had resumed their relentless pounding of beach.
Essie grabbed his hand and pulled him as they ran. They reached the city and slipped in as the gates closed, clanging and reverberating like a tremendous gong.
As she dragged him through the maze-like streets, Essie could see the wolf gaining on them. The wolf was a messenger, and the message was what she feared. The wolf had almost overtaken them when they came to a doorway with the symbol of a black bird in flight above it. She frantically pushed the door. It opened so easily they fell inside, Random on top of her. He was kissing her and taking her clothes off. Essie was wrapped in his body.
“Stop!” she yelled. Angry and frightened Essie struggled desperately. “You don’t understand! We must get to the end of the hall.”
But he would not stop and Essie could not resist. She had to respond to the contact of his skin against hers. She felt her body explode into fire on the sandy floor. With her last sliver of composure she pulled herself free of Random’s embrace and staggered, gasping down the hallway. At the end was a pool of water covered in lily pads. She stumbled to the edge and tumbled into the cool water.
Essie woke drenched in sweat. Groggily she glanced at the clock. It said 7:16. She gathered some clothes and went into the bathroom to take a cool shower.
As she stood the water falling on her cooling body, Essie thought of the dream. The fact that the wolf pursued her in her dreams and in the waking world left a numb little seed of terror just under the surface of her thoughts. Memories from childhood came slowly sifting through. She began to remember vague pieces of stories and words. “Tegethnot” echoed in her mind’s ear, and stories of how the beings that dwell there have powers to reach out into the waking dream of life. The stories of the old indian woman that lived next to her mother’s house on the edge of jungle, were full of turtle, wolf, the black bird of night, and the monkey people who taught humans how to speak the language of the jungle and the water people.