At 18:15 that particular day I stepped out of the car and went inside. The weed was nowhere to be seen (so far so good) normally whenever I arrived home I will find her sitting at the foot of the stairs in the hallway, waiting. Okay, I could understand that she was lonely (so did I) that she was alone when I was working, that we lived a practically isolated life, but that’s me and she knew it. I thrive in solitude (she was very sociable and always looking for contact; in the supermarket, in the sauna, in the street, everywhere!) For god’s sake, I want to be on my own after a day’s work; to unwind, to rest, to think, to be myself. If I find her there waiting for me, I feel guilty. I feel responsible. I feel trapped!
I went directly upstairs and that was a mistake. I saw my computer and before I knew it I was answering comments on my blog. When I looked up… it was 20:00! And I was planning to take a long walk! What now?
After weighing, deliberating and looking at the position of the sun from my bedroom window I decided to give it a shot anyway. I said to myself while studying the map:
“Well… it’s eleven kilometres to where I have to start, I can be there in… fifteen minutes? And if it’s really starting to get dark, I can cut the walk along the river by about two miles; that will give me another ten-twenty minutes allowance, and if I have to, I can always follow the highway for the remaining stretch of the walk.”
I grabbed my rucksack stuffed the pancakes leftover from this morning in, added a small bottle of water and off I went.
Some people listen to music while walking/jogging, I don’t. I need all my senses especially if I’m alone. I have to be alert. I don’t need any distraction. Instead, I kept an eye on the sun. I saw it was sinking very rapidly on the horizon. I know that the weather around late August-early September is treacherous. One time the sun is high in the sky but before you know it, it’s gone. Goes dark faster as well almost in a blink of an eye.
I looked at the map and realized that most of the paths I had to tread had no lights, no houses nearby and woods either on one or on both sides. Fuck! I did it again! How many times I promised myself never to hike in the night. But every time I made it home in one piece, I know I will do it again. Too exhilarating, too exciting, and too tempting just to let it go. I know someday I will pay for my recklessness. As for now… making it home (alive) is my main and only concern.
It went so fast! From seeing one hundred meters before me to I could not even make out my shoelaces! Damn it! Couldn’t use my flashlight even if I wanted to, afraid I might attract attention to myself so, I used my cell phone to illuminate the sign I was following instead. A quick glance at my watch told me that it was 22:15. I was really pushing my luck here. Time to hurry. If only it wasn’t so dark!
The moon was no help either. So pale, so egg-shaped, and so shy hiding behind nimbus clouds. I kept telling myself: as long as it’s not going to rain… I will be more or less okay.
I saw (with so much effort) on the map that I had to pass a castle if at least I’m going in the right direction. But where is the castle in all this darkness?
Scrutinizing the landscape, I can barely make out a silhouette of a turret somewhere. Okay, walk in that direction.
After a time I found myself on a very small muddy path between a river (to my right) and a wasteland? (maybe it only looked that way because of the dark) there was some kind of fencing on the left which I was afraid to touch (for guidance) thinking it was loaded with electric current. Suddenly there was a movement not far away! Very heavy! Very fast! I draw my diving knife from its sheath and waited. Nothing! I walked backwards facing the direction of the sound, relying on my reflex and instinct. Still nothing. I saw that the castle was very near if I could make a dash for it… then what? I did anyway.
Approaching the castle via an avenue of giant corns, I saw that there were lights scattered here and there around the perimeter of the area; for the rest__ darkness. I was reminded of Disneyland. A spooky Disneyland. All of a sudden I became aware of the fact that I was walking straight to the gate of the castle. My mind said: What if that gate suddenly opens up the moment you’re there? What about children of the corn? Remember that? I told my brain to shut up. The place was magnificent even in the darkness. And the more you walk the winding path, the more it came to focus. I walked slowly backwards. As if in slow motion, the castle unfolded its magnificent beauty; tall, dark, and solitaire, waiting for passersby to discover its secrets, beckoning me to come in.
I noticed that there were no trees or plants near the building, nothing to obscure the view, just the fortress itself sitting on an island of soft rolling baby hills covered in green luscious grasses. Amazingly breathtaking. Simply magical.
After the castle, I was plunged into total darkness once more. From a very far distance, I could make out the lighted tower of the church where I had parked my car. Okay, but how to get there? There was not a single path in sight leading to that direction? Then, I realized I had to go through the woods first, then I will probably emerge in the village where the church was. Probably…
I said to myself: “Okay, how about cutting through this surrounding wasteland to reach the big road. Good idea. But the highway is dangerous. There are people there with cars. One could drag your petite old beauty into the vehicle and the rest it’s up to you to imagine. Besides, how could you know that the big road will lead to the church where your safety is? Okay, the woods it is.”
Walking alone in the dark with your knife drawn, scared that someone maybe is there waiting for you ( how could he knows you would pass by at that precise moment?) and in the back of your twisted mind wishing, hoping that it will be true, so you can practice what you learn, wanting to know how it is to have the taste of your first killing if necessary, how it feels to sink the sharp blade into the flesh wounding intently… the feeling is almost orgasmic.
At 23: 47 hours I reached my car without any accident. Pity! Driving home, I was thinking; in all that I experienced a moment ago, still, I could not resist taking pictures of the moon. Now let’s wait and see if it works because my flash was broken.
My own castle here I come!