I was saving that rusty key, for the day I would open my freedom. It was the only gift my late father bequeathed to me, and when I fit it into the rusty lock and it turned, opening the door, I felt a sense of relief. I looked back at the lake where a lonely dock stretched into calm waters and then I walked inside. There were books on shelves, half eaten by rats, molded, at least 150 years old. Many of them were in Latin, a dead language for a dead house. And I walked up the rickety staircase into the master bedroom, hearing the groaning trees. It was a mournful, solitary space, as I lay on the dust covered bed, staring up at the ceiling.

I went to sleep, and in my dreams a creature spoke to me, whispering things… wisdom, hundreds of thousands of years old. A brain as large as a continent, not prone to forgetting things, enduring, since the inception of the world. My mind spoke to it, and the creature was more than happy to download things. Forbidden knowledge, hidden knowledge, knowledge that wells up from places people are afraid to go. It was like a nightmare I didn’t want to wake up from, and I could have continued dreaming if it wasn’t for the earthquake, sudden, and lasting, under the lake. When I woke, I was thirsty, checking my watch, I’d laid there for three days, in my own filth, like an addict. So, I drank a Gatorade and ate some nuts, and walked to the end of the dock under heaven. The adjoining cliff had sluffed off, and the once green water was dark at the center. I went to the shed and pulled a rowboat to the beach. I fit the oars into the locks and glided under the wide-open blue sky, watching the clouds floating in the water, while tremors rippled across the surface of the deep, like soundwaves, pondering knew knowledge, ancient philosophy from a thinking age.

While I rowed through the lily pads, I noticed the perimeter of the shore, covered in slithering mud where carcasses dried in the sun. It looked like several snakes had swallowed and then regurgitated unsuspecting animals, and I thought about my boat’s shadow cast on the bottom of the lake. Needless to say, I rowed back, and thought about civilized life in the city, where people got robbed, but seldom eaten.

To be continued…

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