I left Hamish in the bed at the hospital. The endless tubes, wires, and monitors took their toll until anxiety took my breath from me. I ran from the room, out the door, and far from the discouraging faces of my family. I finally took in fresh air when I arrived at his cottage. Hamish loved the countryside and made his home in the simple two bedroom stone building. In his front yard, the wreck of the main house. Scrambled stones marked old walls destroyed by a tank shell in the war long ago. He lived in the guesthouse behind it, which had become the house away from the road.
I placed my keys in a dish by the door and wandered into the kitchen. A broken plate lay near the table where it had fallen when Hamish slipped and hit his head. The sharp pieces of ceramic poked my fingers as I picked them up. I took a water bottle from the refrigerator before moving to the greenhouse.
Not more than a lean to with a glass roof and sides, the greenhouse offered a warm place to think. Hamish loved the room and often sat with his thoughts. No one bothered him in the greenhouse. The warm sun, errant plants, and the smell of soil made it the perfect place to write, paint, or think.
I needed to think about what would happen to Hamish? He was nearly 90 years old and couldn’t live here by himself anymore. But where would he go? His brother died two years ago and his parents died in the war. He often talked about his childhood home: a magical place with a bright sun, fresh grass, white horses, and red billowing flags. I looked at the wreck of the main house. It must have been quite a place where Hamish grew up.
Sunset turned the brick wall a bright orange. The greenhouse darkened in the afternoon shadows. Yet, in the far corner of the room a bright light shot out of the floor. Odd, I thought. The beam of light touched the roof of glass creating a rainbow in the reflection. I went closer to where the light shot out of the floor.
The light leaked out of a small hole and when I moved away a stone I saw a grass promenade below me. It seemed as though I was looking down from the sky and I looked around the greenhouse to make sure it was real. Below me, a small parade of ladies in finery rode white horses. Following them, knights dressed in blue rode tall black horses. The parade marched toward a large castle with billowing red flags, a drawbridge, and mote. I drew closer to the hole and reached through in an attempt to touch the castle to prove it a toy.
I felt a force pull me into the hole and I began falling. Above me only sky with clouds floating where the hole had been. Below me, an approaching expanse of green grass, the castle, and the parade of knights and ladies. I tumbled around like a stick doll and waited for the eventual crash.
I shut my eyes tight and prayed for a quick death. I felt a breeze push me and I began to slow down until I rested in a field of clover. I opened my eyes and jumped up off the grass.
“Steady boy,” said a voice. “You might fall after such a long sleep.”
I looked behind me to find a much younger Hamish standing on the grass. He wore a tunic, brown boots, and a sash around his waist.
“You look ready for the feast,” said Hamish. “Shall we go?”
I offered the younger Hamish a puzzled face. “Where are we?”
“Why we’re at the Festival of Exvius and you’re the honored guest.”
© 2018, Michael S. Sommermeyer. All rights reserved. To republish this post, you must include a link to the original post.