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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The lonely traveler

    It’s a misty early morning and I hear a lonesome howl of a wolf in the distance. Its silhouette can be seen on the hilltop down yonder searching for something it has lost. The crescent shaped moon makes its journey across the empty skies and seems to give me the mournful look of the days that have slipped by, never to be found again. Yes, I am an old man now and many countless years have flown by, yet the time which has flown by was so different from the one I lived now. With a heavy mind and heart, I wander out into the lanes and by lanes of my mind dimly lit except for a few pools of lights that seemed to flicker every so often.

    As I move from the bedroom window to the hallway, I feel the darkness solidify around me and intrude into my mind once more as if sensing the deep, dark thoughts I was floating in. The images which I thought long gone returned with a vengeance as the blood rushed thru my veins and the intense hunger seemed to grow once more. Something seemed to growl, snap and nip at my heels as if it wanted to go on the hunt once more, yet quickly receded as if it was done toying with me for the moment. As I stretch out my hand, the mist solidified and rested its head in my extended palm. As I started to rub it, it started to purr and I saw its diamond like eyes glint with malicious glee as it read my mind.

    The sun was just peeking over the horizon and the passing landscape outside the window was covered in a fine mist and the sun bathed it in an orange light which slowly turned into yellow. Looking out of the solitary window one last time as I walked away, I noticed that the sky was starting to cloud up and a torrential downpour might happen anytime. The winds from the north were already rocking the city and hardly anyone was venturing outside. The streets and the shops wore a deserted look and most of the shops were closed even though shops around the station stayed open till late everyday to cater to the crowds that disembarked from distant town to make a livelihood. Looking at the meandering river which flowed next to the window, the river looked so cool, refreshing and it seemed to call me out. I wanted to hop off and walk barefoot on the green grass and slip into the river to drive away the coiled up stress. Rivers always had a free and untamed look to it and it always seemed to hold me under a spell whenever I ventured near. Looking at my own reflection on the exposed window made me realize where once stood a young man now I saw a white haired wrinkled man who had the haunted look in his eyes.

    Walking down the hallway, I stepped out of the front door. Stepping into my car, I headed off to a place which I had not been to in awhile. Hearing the shrieks of seagulls, the pounding of waves on the sandy beach, the setting sun, feel of the water as it laps up against my feet seemed to mesmerize me and made me realize that I have not been here in ages. Pulling up a beach chair, my eyes start to wander down the beach and see that life is in full swing. Children building sand castles, pretty young things tanning themselves and an odd couple or two walking down the beach whispering sweet nothing to all that were willing to hear their secret enlightening messages. Time seemed to float by at its own pace as the sun lazily made its way across the clear blue sky. Packing my stuff, I dropped off the chair and umbrella at the drop point and started to wander off to the lone building to satiate my hunger. The lingering smell of perfume and cologne mixed with the heavy smoke greeted me as I entered my long forgotten hunting ground. Time had flown by, yet it seemed to have stood still in this place. The juke box near the entrance was still there pumping out some long forgotten Willy Nelson song, an empty stage once full seemed to cry out for attention while the bar at the other end seemed as lively as ever. The burly bartender who was once young and now old and balding still seemed to the only permanent structure besides the other items and his eyes seemed to light up seeing me. Pulling up a stool, my hands reached out as a tall frosty slid comfortably into my hands.

    Time seemed to flow by slowly and I had lost track of time. It was almost closing time when I heard a voice as soft as s yet as silk yet as sharp as the sharpest knife reminding me its closing time. Turning my head around, I saw a sight that seemed to mesmerize me and kept me under its spell till a booming laughter startled me. A chiding voice asked me if I didn’t recognize her whom I had last seen many moons back. The deep blackness of the eyes hypnotized me and drew me in like a moth to a lone street lamp. As I started to tumble into those depthless eyes, I realized time had indeed flown by and the young lady which I had left behind in pursuit of other adventures had transformed into a young woman which I simply could not recognize.

    I had known Jane since childhood, yet she was always the type that kept to herself and mingled only when she wanted to. Today was one of those days which reminded me of my childhood days when the fireside talks and camping trips used to last from dusk to the break of dawn where her soft silky voice and hypnotizing eyes used to melt my heart. Time flew by as the food was finished, drinks ordered and drained to the last drops and the food joint emptied out till there was no soul in sight yet it seemed like we had not caught up on our lost lives. The joint slowly started to shut down and we were forced to seek refuge upstairs to seek other adventures.

    Still half asleep, I started to mumble Jane’s name and started to extend my arm to drag her a little closer. An empty bed, wrinkled bed sheet, the smell of perfume and cologne hung heavy in the air, an empty pillow yet no warm body. I slowly came to the senses like a snake waking up from deep sleep. The bone deep weariness fell off me and I slowly started to felt refreshed.

    My body was stiff and muscles sore from the events of last night. Looking at the empty bed, I called out Jane’s name out loud yet the empty house just echoed back. Throwing the bed sheet off, I sat on the edge and wondered what happened and what my next course of action will be. The old clock hanging on the wall down in the hallway boomed as the hand struck ten. It startled me out of the deep thought I was in and I only realized this by the fact that the alarm clock radio had stopped playing the same old songs I had heard for the last many years and the lights were shut off except for the place where we were lying on bed. The clothes were scattered all over the room. The little diversion had turned minutes into hours. The bed sheets were soaked and I hunted for a new set before the maid came in the morning to chide us for making such a mess. I turned my head to look out the window. Rubbing my face to drive away the weariness, I saw that it was partly cloudy sky; a full moon seemed to look down at the land as if looking for something. The star lit night made me wonder what my future holds.

    The memories still seemed to haunt me as I had asked her “You still awake?” as I ran my fingers down her bare arm. Taking a deep breath, she shook her head she mumbled in the negative. I started to massage her neck as I heard her sob quietly as the bittersweet memories flooded back into her mind. A tinge of sadness at the loss of her humanity and the promise of immortality made me wonder why I agreed and I realized that she was ready to give it all up for the guy she loved. Not able to find neither my pants nor shirt, I walked around the bed to stretch my legs hoping that the curtains were drawn and hoped to find my way back home before I fell asleep here. Looking out the door, I saw that the street lights showed empty streets and the town seemed deserted except for the few drunks who weaved through the roads and the sounds stray dogs that were busy chasing a few cars that passed through the town main intersection.

    As if sensing something, I felt drawn to the door leading down to the basement. Turning the brass knob, I started to venture into the darkness, yet could see and sense all. Reaching my hand out, I shook the shoulder of the figure that was rolled into a ball and deep asleep. Head snapped up, a feral growl let out as the jaws seemed to quickly descend towards me yet stopped as recognition dawned upon Jane. As I sunk into a sleep of forgetfulness to wait for the darkness to return, the sounds of long haul trucks were heard humming nearby and a lonesome train horn went off somewhere in the distance reminding me how far from home I was.

    Something seemed to nudge me roughly and I heard a blood thirsty growl. Startled, I wake up to see the coiled up darkness staring down at me as it sat on my chest. The diamond like eyes glistening like raging wildfire as it read the blood thirsty thoughts in my head. Pushing it away, I got off the floor, headed off to the closet to get my jacket, money and house keys. Sensing my thoughts, it dissolved into a fine mist and floated out into the waiting car.