Dreaming of Home
By John Andreula
Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk
“I’m going to do something. I’m pretty sure you’re no going to like it,” Blanks said from the empty air just in front of Ty.
The young traveler replied worriedly, “I haven’t liked any of this.”
Blanks flashed into focus. She stared directly into Ty’s eyes and gritted her teeth.
She swung her leg back and then kicked her foot forward. The laces of her shoe struck Ty in his genitalia. He immediately hunched over and grabbed his sore private parts. He let out a howling “Owwww,” as he fell down onto the ground. He rolled onto his side still clutching himself.
“Still nothing, huh?” Blanks asked. She winced a bit as she thought about what she had just done.
“Owwwwww. . . Not anymore now, thanks to you.” Ty forced out. He began hyperventilating as he lay in the grass and dirt. He let out some more wincing, pained cries.
Blanks looked off into the woods around the park. “This is no use. You’re not ready and now we’re out of time.”
A lock of Blanks’ red-streaked hair had fallen in front of her eye. She brushed it away casually.
Ty was beginning to regain his senses. He rose up to one knee and slowly go to his feet. He looked angrily at his beautiful but menacing companion.
“This isn’t how it is supposed to happen,” Blanks went on. “The writer’s tale said you were going have these epic powers. She said you’d be like the rest of us. . . but something else. . . something even better. You’ve got nothing!”
Ty grimaced as he strained to find his voice again, “She’s obviously wrong about all of this.”
Blanks avoided Ty’s eyes. She had spent the better part of the day teasing and testing him, trying to find something, anything, to get the supposed powers lying dormant deep within him to awaken. Nothing had worked and she definitely crossed the line with that last blow. “Her visions aren’t always accurate. . .”
“Aren’t always accurate?” Ty repeated himself in frustrated disbelief, “Aren’t always accurate? Genevieve, what am I doing here?”
Blanks placed a hand firmly on Ty’s shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. She met the Traveler’s gaze. “You’re here because you’re going to aid us in keeping a helpless girl from falling into the hands of a psycho and his twisted family.”
She paused and let the silence have its say before continuing, “You’re here because you’re supposed to be. . .And you’re here for you.”
She pointed at Ty’s head, “You’re here to fix this. . .”
Then she poked her index finger softly into his chest, “And this.”
Ty swallowed back the remnants of his anger from moments ago. No one had touched him like that in longer than he could remember. He didn’t mind though.
Ty rolled his head around his shoulders and a few audible cracks erupted from his neck. “I was happy before.”
“You weren’t happy,” Blanks retorted through a pleasant smile.
“I was content.”
“No. You were running. You always have been.”
“Tomato, potato,” Ty responded with a bit of rare, dry humor.
Blanks was glad to see it. His joke was a welcome reprieve from the young man’s incessant seriousness. She had been pushing, grinding, and abusing him so much.
Blanks bit the corner of her lip and searched Ty’s eyes. “I don’t know what we are going to do with you. You might make a good shield. Or maybe I can use you as bait or some kind of diversion.”
“Sorry to spoil your genius plan, but I’m not any better at being either of those.”
“Figures. . .” Blanks enjoyed the genial banter.
“In any case, it’s time.” She looked back out into the forest. “We have to go see Gigi. This whole thing’s in motion already. The train’s gonna leave without us.”
Ty nodded, but he had no idea what his new comrade and friend was talking about. He was already so worn out from all the abuse she had put him through today, as well as all the recent days on the road with Glitch.
Maybe he was tired, but he thought he really liked Blanks. He hadn’t felt this way about another human since his childhood.
Ty limped gingerly over to the tree where he had leaned his bag. He bent over and scooped up the old brown rucksack. He heaved it over his shoulder and the two set off toward the road.
About an hour down the byway Ty and Blanks arrived an unmarked dirt road. It was obscured by foliage and rocky hills on both sides. The two hadn’t said much while venturing on the road.
Blanks halted at the entrance. “Here we are.”
It wasn’t much of a road. It was more like a rutty path. The shadows of the trees on either side masked the bright sunlight around them. Ty couldn’t see past the first curve just a short way up.
“That walk didn’t help my privates any, by the way.”
Blanks had almost forgotten about the beating she had dished him not much earlier. “Yeah. . . Sorry about that. I had run out of ideas.”
Ty changed the subject while continuing to stare up at the road. “You know you’re wrong about me. I’m never going to be like you. All my hope died a long time ago.”
“You’re the one that’s wrong, Ty. I think you’re going to turn out better than the rest of us.” With that Blanks smiled at Ty. She walked up, leaned in, and kissed him on his cheek. Ty’s face went pink. Blanks turned and walked onto the dirt path and toward her home and her tribe.
Ty stood there, momentarily dumbfounded. He raised a hand to his cheek where Blanks had kissed it. He considered that this whole strange trip might actually be worth it, if he doesn’t die. He hitched his pack higher onto his shoulders and followed Blanks. He watched her hips sway with every step she took onward.
A mile down the dirt road the two companions came upon a dilapidated mountain house. Its sides were made up of dark wood. Most of it had gone gray. The panels were weathered from years of harsh winters. Ty could feel the splinters in his skin just from looking at it.
Red shingles made up what was left of the roof. Many of the rough tiles that remained were raised along their edges. Each threatened to escape and join the ones that had already blown off.
There were sections of the roof that were separated, exposing the interior of the house below. Ty spied a squirrel jump from a nearby tree branch and bound across the roof before disappearing into one of the roof’s many holes.
Blanks watched Ty as he stared quietly at the run-down estate. “It isn’t much, but it’s home. . . for now, at least.”
Ty’s attention returned from his daydream. “I think. . .I think I’m ready.”
Blanks nodded. She walked up the stairs leading to the front door. Ty followed closely behind her. The porch’s floorboards creaked underneath his weight. They hadn’t produced a sound for Blanks’s steps, however.
A mouse squealed in protest to Ty’s intrusion of its rodent business. It scurried across the porch and disappeared off the side.
Blanks shot a mischievous smirk at Ty. She lifted a hand up to her shoulder and placed her thumb against her bent index finger. She rubbed the two fingers together slowly. For a brief moment Ty could hear sound caused by the friction of her dry skin rubbing. Then the sound was gone. A brass key appeared clutched between her finger and thumb.
“Magic,” Banks told Ty jokingly.
“Cute,” Ty replied. He tried not to seem impressed, but he was. He gave his best effort not to show it.
“Thanks. I’m glad you noticed that about me. . .What did you think of my key trick?” Blanks snorted, pleased at her own effort to ease the thick tension, yet her attempt fell flat with Ty. There had been too much build-up and anticipation thrown toward this moment. The dark-skinned woman sighed and turned toward the door.
She put the key in the old hole and turned it clockwise. She pressed on the knob and gave the door a slight push inward. The hinges howled from their years without oil.
Just inside the doorway stood a woman. She had long, wavy hair that glistened in the light coming in from outside. She wore a lengthy powder blue dress. Her feet were bare. She was stunning; a deep contrast to her stark surroundings.
The lines around the woman’s eyes and forehead flattened as she beamed at Blanks and Ty. She looked right at Blanks. “Genevieve, it’s lovely to see you again.”
The woman stepped forward. Blanks didn’t wait. She lunged into the woman’s arms in a warm familial embrace.
The woman closed her eyes as she hugged her younger friend. The two held each other for a long moment before she finally opened her eyes and regarded Ty once more.
The older woman disengaged her hug with Blanks and stepped out into the doorway. She put out her hand toward Ty.
“Traveler, thanks for coming to us. We are so happy you’ve chosen to join our fight. My name is Gigi, as you’ve probably already figured out.”
Ty took in a deep breath and took Gigi’s hand gently in his own. Gigi placed her other hand softly on his as the two shook. He followed the woman inside.
The Dreamer is an ongoing fiction epic about some very special people.
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