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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 17: Takano 3
Table of Contents
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As she walked, Tommy took out her cell phone and activated it. It showed no signal and no GPS connection. It also showed low power. She wasn’t likely to find a power outlet around here anywhere, but she could charge it from her tablet--as long as it had power, but it was nearly fully charged the last time she used it. She turned the phone off. She wasn’t going to get any calls or messages until she found her way back to civilization anyway.
That puzzled her. After all, if this were a dream, why would the phone be here? And since it is here in the dream, why doesn’t it work? She had never been anywhere that didn’t have cellular service, at least, not for quite a few years. In a dream, wouldn’t the phone just work because it was a phone in the dream?
Her thoughts were interrupted by her companion.
“What’s that?” he asked.
She snorted a quiet laugh. “Right now it’s a piece of junk,” she said. “Normally it’s my phone.”
“Phone? Some kind of sound?”
“Something like that. It lets me talk to people who aren’t here. Except it isn’t working right now. It does a lot of other things, like tell me where I am, and play music videos for me, and let me send messages, but right now it’s not doing anything at all.”
“I see,” Fleeblegar said in a voice that suggested he didn’t, really, but then, Fleeblegar was a fantasy world character in a dream, and it would be really weird if he did understand cell phones. “Well, here’s my home.”
There was a wooden door in a hillside, and Fleeblegar produced a large key--not huge, but probably two to three inches long, an old fashioned sort of key with a long pole and a rectangular piece sticking from the side near the far end. Some of the doors in her grandparents’ house had keys like that, so she had seen them, but they didn’t usually lock their inside doors other than the bathrooms. Fleeblegar unlocked the wooden door, and it swung inward to reveal something of a dark cave.
“Normally I’d say ladies first,” he said, “but you’d better let me go inside and light a few lamps and maybe get the fire going so you don’t hurt yourself bumping into something in the dark.” Not waiting for her agreement, he went inside. She stood in the doorway, a bit uncertain again as to whether coming home with a satyr was an entirely wise decision, but again uncertain what alternatives she had.
The interior began to glow warmly, and she could see ahead of her stone steps up to a low landing, and beyond that a descent into a larger room where her host was seemingly trying to get a fire started in something like a wood stove built into a stone wall. “It should be all right now,” he called. “Come in and make yourself at home. I’ll see if I can find us something quick to eat. Do you like cheese?”
“It depends on the cheese,” she said.
“Well spoken,” he answered. “I think this is rather good cheese, but then, everyone has different tastes.”
Climbing up to the landing and then descending to the room below, she found it to be comfortably appointed with something like wicker furniture. She chose a chair, and in a moment he had placed a plate on a small table, pulling one of the other chairs to the other side of it. There was a block of cheese and a small loaf of bread. He cut the latter with a serrated knife, and while the crust was clearly thick the interior was fresh. He ripped out a hunk with his fingers and handed it to her, and then took one for himself and stuffed it in his mouth to free his hands for cutting a few slices from the cheese block.
The bread was tasty, and in a moment she tried the cheese, which had a buttery flavor, not the sharp cheeses she preferred but definitely creamy and satisfying. She had not realized just how hungry she was until she started eating, and had to check herself so as not to eat too greedily.
“Where are my manners?” her host suddenly said. “I have beer and water. Would you care for something to drink?”
Beer was something that her peers drank at parties for the specific purpose of getting drunk. She’d been drunk a couple times, and didn’t really like the feeling or, for that matter, the taste of the beer. Besides, getting drunk in the home of a stranger was never a good idea. “I’d better go with the water,” she said, and in a moment he placed a ceramic mug of clear water next to her--not cold, exactly, but cool enough.
“We’re going to have to figure out to get you home to, what did you call it, Dell Ware?”
“Mm-hmm,” she said through a mouthful of bread, then tried to swallow. “Delaware, but that’s probably close enough.”
“It’s late in the day. If you don’t mind sleeping on my couch--and I promise to be a gentleman--tomorrow morning we should make the trek to visit a centaur I know who knows about geography. That’s the best plan I have, anyway, if you don’t have another suggestion?”
She shook her head. “No, I don’t know anyone around here. That works for me.”
Besides, she thought, this is a dream, and if I go to sleep and wake up again I might be home, or I might be anywhere. Who can say, with a dream?
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #323: Verser Crises. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: