~Journey to the Cave~ Part One
The journey has become long, odious. I feel at a loss for words, and for the first time I am overwhelmed with loneliness. It seems I must depart from Heathcliff. We have become reliable comrades. I lean my head between his vast face. His smell is comforting where once it had been repelling. I kiss the warmness of his skin.
In exchange for Heathcliff I am given a donkey named Gillian Pontine. She nudges me and finally speaks in a shrill voice. She convinces me to join the others and we depart. My long legs drag the ground as I begin begin to feel sorry for Gillian. It occurs to me I have somehow become her burden.
Gillian starts to speak in a calmer voice. She begins the story of her long and laborious life. I say nothing and just listen, as it seems to lighten her burden. The night wind shifts, the path becomes less in width and low lying vines begin to snap at my legs. My hair is ruffled as a thin vine whips across my face. I feel the sting and realize I am bleeding. My legs are burning as the thicker vines tear at my trousers.
Gillian and I decide it might be easier if I walk on the ever shrinking path. We are both shaken as the branches reach out for us, they laugh out loud in an array of tones, mocking our attempts to continue. As far as one can view down the path other members of the party are having similar difficulties.
The velvet pouch I was given still hangs safely from my belt. It seems intact and still full.
The vines hold my feet and I am unable to move. The laughter becomes louder, almost unbearable. I hear the sound of pounding hoofs, and my heat beat is heard in my head.
Could it be Heathcliff? - perhaps he senses the danger and returns with the other horses.
Large black horses approach with great speed - damp clouds of dust travel with hooded giants upon their backs. I want to run, but the vines hold my feet - all I can do is hold the velvet pouch.
I am suddenly scooped up. I am lifted off the ground and find myself on top of a black horse. I feel the hot breathing down my neck, a clammy chill takes over my body. A manly smell penetrates my nose. The horse continues on - he seems to know exactly where he is going. His gallop is thunderous - the dust is thick. Every so often I hear screams and crying. I believe if I am still and quiet I can collect my bearings. I must find my way to ~The House of Serpent~. I cannot miss this celebration and dinner.
We suddenly stop - there are a number of warehouse doors and each has a grunge appearance. The double doors open I am abruptly put inside - the hooded man towers above me. I cannot see his face. He lingers over me, heavy breathing is all I hear. I cannot hide my fear and I begin to tremble. I am angry that my fear is exposed.
Suddenly, he turns, steps outside the doors and closes them quickly. I am in complete darkness. I run in the direction of the doors, closing. My body falls into them and I beat them with my fists. I begin to cry and slide down to the hard cold floor. I can smell damp earth and feel a certain chill in the air.
I remember the pouch and remove it carefully from my belt. I feel the contents. Fearing I will drop the pouch, I pull out the first item my trembling hands touch. They are a pair of eye glasses. A sort of half mask large to the touch. I feel texture of some sort over the hard frames. The glass is thick and heavy. I find I must trust that they will not hurt my eyes, and so I put them on with closed eyes. I take deep breaths and open my eyes.
To my shear delight and amazement the entire dwelling I am in is with light. I am no longer in darkness. I adjust the glasses with my finger. Being in the dark for so long my eyes take time to adjust and burn slightly. As my vision clears I realize I am in some sort of cave. I hear running water. I collect my strength and stand up slowly. I begin to walk towards the sound of the water.
The cave is painted with mysterious hand prints, going in different directions. Each has a unique symbol carved on it. The prints almost seem coded. I am in awe of the beauty on display. I feel humbled and yet intrusive. It occurs to me I have been thrown into a sacred dwelling. What does it all mean?
I remember the pouch and look once again to it's contents. I find a small book, no larger than the fountain pen attached to the spine. I begin to draw the hands and each symbol in the book. I make notes. When I have finished there are 365 hands, each unique and yet containing some sort of order. There is a message here which I know will be revealed if I can decipher the code.
Time is not on my side. I am still due at ~House of Serpent~. I must find the way out of the cave. Going back, towards the doors is out of the question. I choose to follow the sound of water. With the pouch safely on my side once again and glasses still on I begin my walk to find the waters.
Ms. Lovelace ( Patricia )
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