“He came in here earlier, and bought some beers” The old man continues, his eyes reading my expression, as if waiting for me to fold and finally reveal that okay yes, he’s caught my bluff.

“Sorry” I begin, utterly unsure what’s confounding the old man.

“Listen, son, I don’t know what you’re playing at, but we get a lot of strange folk come through here.” The old man begins to patronize me, and I cut him off. I’m in no mood.

“Hold up. Have you got my jacket or not! I’ve been walking 3 hours and I ain’t come in here for this.” I’m snapping, my blood sugar’s crashing, it’s been a long day and it’s getting late.

“No. No I ain’t. But the guy that came in here to buy those beers, he had a jacket, and he looked just like you. Same boots, same jeans, same hair, same eyes.”

~ XXII ~

I buy myself a Coke, in the classic glass bottle. The carbonated sugar water tastes so good as it soothes my parched throat and rushes my blood with a boost of raw cane sugar.

I make my ways across the forecourt and approach the Motel. The evening light is fading, the sun not yet set, but there’s only an hour or so of good light left.

Looking through the passenger door window, I can tell it’s her car, and I notice the weekend case is gone from the back seat.

I turn to the Motel room window, the curtains pulled, but for an inch, and there’s no light coming from inside.

There’s no one around. I look back toward the garage, wondering if the old man is watching me. Probably. But I can’t tell from here. And besides, I got the sense he’d sooner let folks be about their business than poke his nose in where it’s not wanted.

I walk up to the window, cup my hand to the glass, shielding the last of the outside light and enabling me to peer inside.

Fuck. I look in. Stunned. I see you in the bed. Your shoulders bare, the lace and silk of your finest chemise tenderly covering your breast. My leather jacket hung on the back of a lone chair.

The bathroom door opens.

~ XXIII ~

“Can you hear me?” Your therapist asks gently, unsure if he can reach you, unsure if you’re still within your dream state.

“Yes” you offer softly.

“Good” he soothes.

“Where are you?” he tenderly enquires.

“I’m in a dream” you whisper.

“How can you tell?” he sensitively asks, lowering his voice to meet yours.

“My feet are bare” you offer, and he frowns, he’s unsure how to question this, but before he can redirect, you continue:

“I’m in a forest, the ground is soft beneath my feet, springy like moss, after so many years of fallen leaves and woodland decay, thousands and thousands of years, layered beneath my feet.”

continued…