The Beginning of Another Story
Emmylou was the first one wake, her mind full of the events that seemed more a dream than what had just faded from her mind as she came awake. She stretched cautiously and crossed to the window looking out on the flattened Porsche. It looked like a bug hit with a fly swatter, juices leaking in dark stains amid the puddles and debris.
That really happened, she thought and then thought of Larry. She threw a robe on and walked quickly to the room across the hall and, opening the door just wide enough to peer in with one eye, she was relieved to see him sleeping deeply with a healthy color to his face. She went quietly down the stairs. Maddie lay sprawled on her back, arms spread and snoring loudly. Jered was slumped in the ancient overstuffed arm chair of an undeterminable color. His face held the look of someone without regrets, like a child who has spent all of his energy in frantic and curious games, finally stops and falls instantly asleep. She moved into the kitchen thinking, I don’t know these people. Even Random has changed so much that I have no idea who he is now.
She bustled about starting water for coffee and tea. Then a thought floated into her mind like a black bird in a brilliant blue sky. Essie will have to come and live with me. She needs to be here. The thought pleased her, imagining sharing the house with someone she didn’t know, little by little filling in the blanks. I wonder what will come next?
Random woke from the feeling of being a world into the world of his body that was next to Essie’s body. He drew her close and put his face in her dark thick hair. What next? He thought as she made little sounds of contentment. He looked at the wall where the snake mouth tunnel had been and saw a wall. He looked at the blue sky of morning through the window in the opposite wall. What next?
When everyone was awake, they all sat around the table in the kitchen. Emmylou stood cooking the last of the bacon. Larry sat with his leg propped as Essie examined the wounds.
“Eet don’ look too bad,” She swabbed the clean holes with antibiotic. “I wonder eef dream wolves have dream germs.”
“I just don’t ever want to have any beasts teeth in me dream type or real world they feel about the same I’m thinkin’.”
“I’m just glad they weren’t trying to kill you,” Emmylou said without turning.
“Not more than I am.”
Emmy picked the last of bacon out of the pan, plopped it on the paper towel covered plate amongst the other gnarled pieces, and carried it to the table. She stopped across from Essie and said matter of factly, “You know you have to come here to live with me now.”
Essie drew back her face into a question.
“Somehow I’m supposed to just lose the end of this story. I need to know how our story turns out.”
“I would love to leev here,” she glanced hopefully at Random.
“I still have to work, but I could keep my apartment and only commute a few days a week.”
“You mean, you would be up here helpin’ Emmy with the ranch an’ I could come on the weekends and be the little sister you never had.”
“That would be nice,” Essie said smiling and touching Maddie’s arm.
“Well, I am glad things are working out. I for one have had enough of all this interference from the beyond,“ Jered added.
“I guess you’ll be needing a lift into town.” Emmylou said in as casual a manner as she could manage.
“Yeah, that car out there isn’t gonna get me very far.”
“I think my ride is shot, too.” Random said looking down at his plate. “Dream snakes are hell on cars.”
“I’ll need a ride to school, if it isn’t too much trouble.”
“Everyone will fit in the van. We need to go get Essie’s things and check her out of the motel.”
Later they all got in the van and headed into another story. Life goes on that way.