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Old 03-22-2008, 03:25 AM   #1
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Earth, Sky, Fire and Rain - Chapter 19 (22/3/08)

Usual disclaimer - All made-up nonsense, etc...


end of chapter 18:
--------

"I need to get going," I told Ed.

"In this weather? I might as well send out a search party now."

"If it looks like clearing, I'll be out there before you can blink. And I imagine you'll be gone just as fast. So I want to be ready."

"An excellent point." Ed's expression grew serious again. "Will you think about it?"

I didn't make him elaborate this time. "It seems I can't help thinking about it. At least, when I'm not... when I don't have other things on my mind." Glen.

I saw that Ed understood.

"Good luck with your mapping," Ed told me.

"Good luck with the airports," I replied. He nodded, gave a small smile, and went on his way down the street.


The rest of the week passed in a haze of rain, rocks, mud, mapping and dreams. I didn't see Ed again. I managed to ignore the dreams while I was working, push aside all the questions. None of it mattered, I told myself, because they meant nothing and they would stop as soon as I got home.



-----------
Chapter 19:
-----------

I drove back to Cardiff in a state of ever-increasing anxiety. I hadn't spoken to Glen again, except for a brief call to tell him when I'd be home, and I had no idea what sort of reception to expect. In eight years, neither of us had ever had any serious cause to doubt the fidelity of the other. This was new, and frightening territory. I didn't know how Glen would react, and I couldn't imagine how I would react if I'd been in his shoes. I didn't like this sort of uncertainty, not in an area of my life that had been comfortable and secure for so long.

I finally pulled up in the garage as the world was darkening, rain blurring the buildings in our street. Lights were on in the house. I turned off the car, and sat there for a long moment, listening to the engine ping as it cooled. My heart was thudding in my chest, my hands shaky and weak. I forced myself to move, to turn off the headlights, unbuckle my belt, open the door, and get out. I went to the back of the car, pulled the boot open, and began dragging my camping gear out, stowing it on the shelf. I'd have to dry it out properly, once the rain stopped. Normally I would leave unpacking the car until the next day, but now I was just delaying going into the house, and facing Glen.

I put everything away in the garage that I could, until I was left with just my backpack and a small suitcase of clothes. I locked the car, went out into the rain and closed the garage door. The light in the house had been turned off. Had Glen gone to bed at 6pm? Was he pretending he wasn't home? Both ridiculous. Maybe the light bulb had just blown. I fumbled in my pocket for the keys, took a breath, and opened the door. Which was unlocked, of course.

The hallway was dark, and I put down the suitcase while I pulled my boots off. Picked it up again, with the intention of heading upstairs to unpack it, as well. I walked past the door to the dining room, which we rarely used, and stopped dead.

Glen sat at the table, which was set with two plates of steaming, elaborate-looking food. The room was lit only by the three candles on the table, and classical music was playing softly from the stereo in the lounge room. There was a small vase of flowers before the unoccupied place – a red rose surrounded by jasmine, my favourite. And the look on Glen's face, as I took all this in, showed the same fear and uncertainty that I'd been feeling all this time.

Something in me broke. I dropped my suitcase and burst into wretched tears.

"I don't deserve this," I managed. "I don't deserve you!"

I heard him get up, and I felt his arms fold around me. I cried harder, and clung to him like my life depended on it. "You do deserve it," he murmured into my hair. His voice sounded thick.

"I'm sorry!"

"It's okay, love. I thought... I thought it had been too long since I showed you how I feel about you. I was afraid..."

It was a while before I could speak again.

"You silly bastard," I sniffed at last. "You don't need to do this. You show me all the time. I'm the one who should be making you candle-lit dinners... Is that the Four Seasons?"

"We don't have much romantic music," Glen said, stepping back, but leaving his hands on my shoulders. He looked into my face.

"That's 'cos it's sentimental pap," I said. I looked back at him. His mouth twitched.

"You should've seen your face," he said, obviously suppressing slightly nervous laughter.

"Likewise," I replied. We both started laughing, and it went on for rather longer than the situation warranted. I suppose we had both been tense, and laughter and tears aren't so very far apart.

The food was nearly cold by the time we ate, but I didn't care. The conversation over dinner was stilted, however – there was still a lot that we needed to talk about. I was greatly reassured, and deeply touched by Glen's gesture, though. He didn't seem ready to leave me over this incident. He still loved me. He had been afraid that I'd stopped loving him, which was absolutely untrue.


"That was delicious," I said, finishing the last bite. "Thank you. For all of this." Glen just smiled, and took my plate into the kitchen. I followed, and helped him stack the dishwasher. We worked in silence.

"I need a shower," I said when we were done.

"All right, but afterwards, we need to talk." No jokes about my body odour, real or imagined.

I considered making a plea for sleep as well, but I knew he was right. We needed to get this out of the way as soon as possible. I just nodded, and went upstairs.

The hot water did something to ease the tension in my neck and shoulders, but only up to a point. I showered for a long time, and I was starting to prune by the time I decided I was clean enough. I dried, wrapped myself in an over-sized bathrobe, and went back downstairs. I was back to being nervous. I knew he'd want to hear it all again.

Glen was on the couch, the TV muted, classical music still playing on the stereo. I thought it was Beethoven, but I didn't really know. That was Glen's department. I sat at the other end of the couch, and tucked my feet under me. Glen looked at me as if wondering why I hadn't sat right next to him, but said nothing.

"All right," I said.

"Tell me about these dreams," Glen said after a moment. "When did they start?"

Not quite what I'd been expecting. "While I was in Australia. In the first one, the stone circle was newly built, and then in the next one, it was before the stones were raised. There were wooden posts there instead, inside the ditch."

"And you were someone else, in the dreams?"

I nodded. "This woman called Mag. She was... well, in the dreams, she became the Ritemaster of this village that was in the area. It was her role to conduct rituals and generally interpose between the Earth and the people of the village, and all that stuff."

"Is that the same village you were staying in? Ystradffin?"

"No, it was in a different place, closer to the circle. You could see the village from that hilltop. The one in the dreams, I mean."

"Who else is in these dreams?"

I hesitated. Glen had a look of curiosity on his face, and he seemed to be taking it all very seriously. Which was understandable. But I didn't like discussing this in so much detail. Suck it up, I told myself.

"Well, there was Eleri, she was the Ritemaster before Mag, who was her acolyte. She was teaching her, right up until she died." I paused, swallowing a lump in my throat, then scowled at myself. A glance at Glen showed he had noticed, and was wondering. But I went on. "Mag was quite young to become the Ritemaster then, but there was no one else. She was mated to a man called Alun, and they had three children together, although the youngest one, a little boy, died in infancy." Another lump. "There were other people from the village... Fenwyn, Moryn, his mate Gwenna... and Ewain."

Glen recognised that name. "And Mag was having an affair with Ewain, in your dreams?" His tone was so carefully neutral, I knew he was struggling not to form the obvious connection between dream and reality.

"Yes," I admitted. "I mean, because she was Ritemaster, certain things were permitted..." I stopped myself. It sounded like I was making excuses for this probably-imaginary woman. I sighed. "I know what you're thinking. It sounds like I've been screwing around, and I've concocted this little dream-world to explain it all in, where it's acceptable for the woman who I am there to do that. Barely acceptable, but acceptable nonetheless. But it's not like that. I swear." I stared at Glen, willing him to believe me.

"Tell me about Ewain," he said after a pause.

I sighed internally, and forced the words out. "He came from another village, when Mag was still an acolyte. They didn't... get together until years later. Eleri never liked him, I think."

"These people in the dream seem very real to you," Glen observed.

"Of course they do. I've been dreaming about them every bloody night I was in the field. And more than a few times before that. But I know they're not real. And they do not represent any real events in my life."

"But this Ewain is supposed to be Ed?"

Ah. "I thought he represented you at first," I replied.

"Oh?"

"But that was before I saw Ed again. I mentioned on the phone that I was going back there..."

"Wait, when did Ed phone you up?"

Dammit, I'd forgotten I hadn't told Glen this part. "He didn't. His phone number was in that email he sent... and when he didn't reply to my email, I rang it."

"I see."

"I just wanted to apologise! That was all. Then he started going on about having dreams again, and it all spooked me. But not until after I'd said I was going back to that area again, which I know was stupid of me. He said we had to talk, that he was going to be there too, but I didn't have to see him if I didn't want to."

"And did you want to?"

"Not really, but I didn't see how I could avoid him in a place like that, if I wanted a decent meal at some point."

"So what happened when you did see him?"

"It was a few days after I got there, I was kind of hoping he hadn't shown up after all. But I ran into him in the pub, and we had a nice enough chat..."

"Did he buy you a drink again?"

"No, I bought him one. By way of an apology." Glen just nodded, and so I went on. "Then he brought up these dreams again, and I told him how ridiculous it all was, and how none of it meant anything, and it was all a co-incidence. But then..."

"But then, what?"

I sighed, and scrubbed a hand through my damp hair. "He told me what he'd been dreaming of, and it was the same. Exactly the same. He told me the same names I'd been dreaming of, Mag and Ewain. Except he said he'd been dreaming he was Ewain. It scared the living daylights out of me... but then I thought, he must have seen my notebook. I'd started writing my dreams down in it. It was the only explanation..."

"You wrote them down?"

I nodded.

"Can I see them?"

I hesitated for only a moment. I hadn't gone into any sort of detail beyond the fact that Mag and Ewain were sleeping together, and I wanted to be completely honest about this whole thing. "Sure." I got up and fetched the notebook, handing it to Glen before I sat down again, on my end of the couch. I watched, still apprehensive, as he flipped through the pages.

--------------------

(The break's in kind of an awkward place, and I suspect this bit is kinda slow anyway... I'll probably post chapter 20 tomorrow so we can move on and get into the good stuff again )
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Old 03-22-2008, 04:47 AM   #2
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this is cool . and confronting.
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:47 AM   #3
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oh freaky hell!!!


interesting to see Glen handle this!
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Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 03-22-2008, 01:28 PM   #4
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Nice...

...again...


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Old 03-22-2008, 04:02 PM   #5
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Maybe Glen is Alun, and he's having the same dreams.
I know, that's silly
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:30 PM   #6
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i like it.
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by sue4u2
Maybe Glen is Alun, and he's having the same dreams.
I know, that's silly
Not that silly... I did consider it for a moment, but I figured that Ed and Lisa having these dreams was enough... and it kinda drives a lot of the story that it is Lisa and Ed, and not Glen.
Anyway, shutting up now...

Thanks everyone
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:11 AM   #8
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More more more!!!!


I know, I know. Patience. I hate being patient.
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:46 AM   #9
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Ali!

I've just caught up on five chapters here and, again, I feel like I'm in another world. This is all so fascinating and a really good read! What will these eyes see next?
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:41 PM   #10
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more plz
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