Chapter 5: On the Path Between
I had never felt so confident in my life. It was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Even considering my current circumstances, I felt great. I had stared that monster in the face and had beaten it. Not only that, if it ever came back, I knew I would have the strength to beat it again.
Walking along the dirt path, for the first time I noticed how amazing this place was. The brilliant midday sun bathed me in warmth as ever-shifting clouds floated seemingly just beyond my reach above me. The fresh smell of the tall grass enveloped my nose. I heard the distinct crackle of the rocks under my shoes. The air was filled with cicadas chirping. Off in the distance, I saw some deer grazing. Two big deer and a little one. A family. The little one was galloping wildly around, enjoying its freedom in the thick grass, while the parents trotted carefully behind, ready to swoop in in case of danger.
My guide was walking carefully in front me, not far enough to be out of earshot but far enough that I couldn’t reach out and touch them if I wanted to. They had appeared shortly after I had defeated that monster and had gestured for me to follow them. They still could not talk, though I could not see their face as they kept their hood low enough that it was shrouded in shadow.
I had been walking on the dirt path for a while now, and the storm ahead didn’t look much closer than before. I thought about Dad, and how he must be doing. I wondered how long I had been asleep for, how much time had passed in the real world. Hopefully it wasn’t too long, I know Dad would be worried about me.
I climbed a large rock in the pathway, and hopped off of it, only to see the hooded man turn quickly around in panic. After seeing I was safe, he continued forward.
He was strange, I wasn't sure what he was really. Was he an ally? All I know is he is leading me forward, towards that storm. For reasons I don't entirely understand, other than that it might be a way out. It looked really dangerous though. Maybe I could get him to talk.
"Hey," I half-screamed at him. He didn't break stride. I tried again.
"Can't you give me some clue of why you're taking me this way? And also maybe some clue of what even is this place?" Again, no response. He didn't seem interested in engaging with me. If anything, his pace quickened. I rushed to keep up.
If he wasn't going to give me any answers, I guess I had to come up with some myself. I knew there must be something waiting for me in that forest. Something that could help. Something that would give me an answer. There didn't seem to be any other way to go either, there was only forward on this path.
The deer again caught my eye. Playful to a tee. They looked so happy. So complete. I hate that I believe that, but I do. I watched as the little one nuzzled against his mother in the shade, tuckered out from all the running.
My dad and I are a complete family, but I've still always felt like I was missing something. And I couldn't understand why until I read that letter. And now I'm in this Dream, potentially cut off completely from the only family I have. A loving Dad. I had to get back to him somehow. That would be reason for going into that storm. My reason for staying on this path between. To see my family again. No matter how difficult.