Though I was tired I lay on the couch thinking about my strange journey so far and what could have possible left this land so desolate and silent. There was nothing that could even begin to give me answers except for the white castle.
I rolled onto my side and stared at the fire watching the flames move in twisting patterns. I didn’t even realize I had fallen asleep until I was jolted awake by a loud noise outside the cottage. I sat up listening intently. I could hear voices outside the cottage, strange unfamiliar voices. They spoke in a language I didn’t understand.
Suddenly I heard something heavy hit the front door. The whole house shuddered. I crouched down waiting in fear for whatever it was to break through. The object hit the house again, this time cracking the window.
The talking broke out again this time louder. More voices joined encouraging whatever it was to continue its work. I didn’t know what to do. I started to get up but the sickening sensation washed over me and I remained on the couch.
“What do I do?” I mentally shouted.
No voice answered this time and I knew I would just have to wait it out on the couch. I curled up in a ball listening to the voices and the thuds. The work continued for several hours and finally in the grey light of dawn they went away.
After this night I was ready to return to my hotel room and be done with this dream, but I knew I was in it for the long haul. I turned back to watching the flames of the fire until the first rays of sunlight broke across the cottage.
I pushed back the blanket and slid off the couch. No feelings halted my progress so I quickly folded the blanket and put it back on the bed. When I returned to the main room I noticed a thin white line of dust encircling the couch. I’d had my protection again. I wondered what would have happened if I had crossed that line.
Shaking my head I looked around for my handy canteen. It sat on the table where I had laid it the night before and next to it, to my relief, was a loaf of bread. Remembering my previous day I found a knife and dish towel and cut two pieces from the bread and then wrapped the remainder of the loaf in the towel. I tucked the bread in a handy pocket attached to the canteen and ate my two slices. This time it tasted like whole wheat apple muffins. I reveled in the delicious taste for a few minutes and then decided it was time to head out.