Mark of the Shadow Part 4: Dreams
Miss the beginning? Start with part 1.
I spent that mornin playing with village boys and girls. They liked to tell stories of great creatures, and times of old. I didn’t quite see eye to eye with them. While they sat in the mud, I stood. Didn’t want my clothes to get any more dirty than they were, for these were the only ones I had with me. We’d stashed our excess clothes back in town, where Rolph said they would not be seen.
Truth be told I couldn’t focus on the stories these indians were tellin. I was thinkin of Rolph. What was he talking to these people about? Why were they here, when he said the killer was back in town? Didn’t make sense to me, yet perhaps that was just the way of things as a grown up. Maybe growin up is just exceptin the world doesn’t make sense. I’m not sure I was ready for that yet.
Rolph came stridin out of the center tent, grabbing his pack from the dirt. He swung it round his shoulder and told me we was leavin. I couldn’t be more glad. I asked him what had happened, but he didn’t seem in the mood to talk.
We saddled up, and rode out without a word of farewell. Bout a mile away I decided to test my luck again.
“What happened sir?”
“The Goshute have decided not to help us.” The Goshute was the indian tribe of the land.
“And why’s that?”
“I wouldn’t help them.”
“And why-“ he cut me off.
“Enough questions, we need to find someone we can trust. You know anywhere we can go thats safe in these god forsaken lands?”
“Like I said on the train, I was going to my Uncle’s place, he owns a farmstead not too far from the city. I was plannin on taking a buggy.” I said trying to be helpful.
I didn’t think he’d actually want to go there. But we did.
That night at the campfire he told me more. Rolph was always more likely to talk by the campfire it seemed. It was his element and he thrived in it.
“Their being forced from their lands,” Rolph said, speaking of the Goshute, “and they wanted my help, but we don’t have time for that. Besides even if I wanted to help them it wouldn’t do any good.” He gave me a look. “You can’t stop the river from flowing.”
I nodded, finished my beans, same as the night before and fell asleep.
I dreamt of the train. Only it was different. The shadow reached out to me, and I took its, hand? tendril? Whatever it was I took it, and we went sailing out across the plains. I saw hundreds of furry carcasses I’d seen shot littering the plains. I saw men fighting; I was flying. Daddy was there, shooting an indian. There were dead bodies all around him. He hid behind them, and then the shadow brought me closer to him as if sensing my want, or rather my need for him.
It was too late, when I realized what was happening. I reached out my hand, but it wasn’t my hand anymore. It was an amorphous shape reaching for him, and he didn’t, or couldn’t fight it. His face burned under my touch and he screamed.
I didn’t feel remorse, or sorrow. I felt happy. We could be together again. But I held onto him too long and the light burnt out of his eyes. His face contorted, and his neck snapped, making his body crumple into a lump. He rose spinning before my horrified eyes. The sky opened into a void.
And I woke.
Rolph was standing over me with a furrowed brow. His brown eyes pierced mine and I looked away.
“What did you see?” he demanded.
I couldn’t face him. The welt on my face burned, and I tried to pick at it, simultaneously covering my face with my hands.
“What did you see!” he yelled, ripping my hands away from my face. I screamed and ran, causing the horse to panic, awakening from its slumber.
All the blood rushed to my face, and I ran as hard as I could. Then I tripped. I remembered I was in the middle of nowhere, with nothing. Silence… no, not silence. More like the sound when you put a cup over your ear. A dull sound, slowly undulating, growing quicker into a tempo.
I picked myself up, and grabbed for my necklace. Where was my necklace? It must have dropped when I tripped. Frantically I dropped to the ground searching as the sound grew louder, quicker. This was another dream I thought, thats all it was. A chill wind crept into my heart, causing my heart to work double time. I could hear it in my head, drowning out the sound, or maybe it was the sound all along. It was hard to tell.
The moon, my one source of light fell to darkness. I felt pure dread, allowing myself to push myself against the ground without a second thought. Nothing but a will to survive was left in me. My face burned hotter, I could feel my welt moving, boiling perhaps, and pouring ooze down my face.
This was not how it would end I thought. And it didn’t. Rolph came, from the shadows himself leaping forward and throwing his dust into the air all around. He was murmuring something under his breath, not loud enough to be audible. He threw a cloak on me, and wrapped me up.
“I am sorry,” he said as he swung a rock at my head.