After arriving back at Joe’s place, Ann helped Tom out of the car. I think I may have over did it just a little, commented Tom as he smiled up at Ann. You could tell that the stiffness from the activities of the day had set in. Ann could see by the look on Tom’s face that he needed to get some rest. Leaning close she gave him a kiss and told him she had to head home and that he needed to get some rest. Sarah looked over at Joe as she made her way around the car and putting her arms around him she reached up and gave him a quick kiss. I think Ann is right. You need to get Tom inside and let him rest. A good night’s sleep wouldn’t hurt either of you. Joe walked Sarah to her car, opened her door but not before he wrapped his arms around her telling her how much he loved her. Joe gave Sarah one last goodnight kiss before making his way back to Tom. Ann had just driven out of the parking lot when Joe turned just in time to wave goodnight one last time as Sarah drove onto the street giving a short honk of the horn as she drove away.
Come on Tom let go inside and relax for a while. After a short time of small talk, Joe got out some chips and dip and a couple of cokes. After they both had their fill, Joe told Tom he should feel free to relax, go to bed or just hang out. Tom quickly opted for crawling into bed. I’m really tired and I really want to go to church with Ann tomorrow. Joe smiled as he added; sounds like a good idea. It wasn’t long and Tom was in a deep sleep. At least that is what Joe thought based on all the noise that was coming from the other side of the wall. It sounded like it was going to tumble down for a while. Joe smiled as he envisioned Humpty-Dumpty falling off the shelf that was holding a baseball that was from Joe’s homerun when he played in Little League. Joe tried to relax but with all the excitement of the day and Toms snoring, he was having a hard time falling asleep. Joe rolled over, placed a pillow over his ears and after several attempts to find the sleep he needed, he got back up and went to his chair, leaned back and opened a book he had been reading. After reading a couple chapters he noticed Tom was finally quiet and decided to try the bed again. It wasn’t long and his eyes closed and Joe slid off into a much needed sleep.
Joe felt something hit his foot as he stumbled forward catching his balance at the last second. He quickly looked down but it was so dark he couldn’t see anything. Turning to the right he looked up and he seen a bright light that disappeared just as fast as it appeared. Not being sure what it was, Joe tried to shake the cobwebs out as he shook his head from one side to the other. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness he looked around and all he could see were trees. Joes mind was racing as he felt the sense of intrusion all around him. Standing dead still he listened for any sound that might help. After what felt like several minutes he thought he could hear something in the distance coming from his left side. He turned and started to carefully make his way towards the faint sound that was pulling on him. As he got closer he could hear voices. That was when he recognized the large boulder that was perched up the hill a short distance ahead of him. Quickly he moved forward and as he did he could something bright coming from the other side of the hill. As he crested the top of the hill and looked over the edge it was as if it was daylight on one side of the hill and night on the other. Before long he heard his name called; come on down and sit with Joe. Joe seemed to recognize the voice as someone he had heard before which eased his hesitation just a little. Joe carefully made his way down the hill and found a place to sit down behind the rest of the people that were listening to the speaker talk. Joe relaxed as his anxiety settled down. Joe’s mind seemed to be put at ease for some reason and all his fear had disappeared. It was as if being around this guy that was speaking put his mind and thoughts into a relaxed state.
Joe sat quietly listening intently to the speaker trying to understand everything he was explaining. After several questions had been answered, Joe heard a noise coming from his right. He looked over in the direction of the sound and he could see the separation of the lighted area from the dark area which he remembered he had come from. When he had walked into the light the darkness had disappeared. After staring at what looked like a dark wall for a short time, Joe spotted what looked like a glowing red orange flame coming from the ground from beyond the edge of the darkness. It appeared to look something like a bonfire. The flames began to jump from the ground when he noticed that sounds were coming from the same direction that sounded like people were talking. It sure doesn’t sound like a party. They sure don’t sound very happy he told himself. Before long he saw someone walk out of the darkness that looked like she had been up for several days, been playing in the dirt and smelled like something dead. Joe was surprised that the speaker didn’t acknowledge her like he had himself. Finally she spoke up asking; where am I and who are you and who are all these people. Joe sat back trying to grasp what had just happened. That was when he seen several others walk out of the darkness and join the woman. She raised her hand in the air and shouted at the speaker who was still just answering questions for those that were sitting around him. He did not act too concerned about the woman or her friends. Hey you, the woman shouted. Our speaker looked over at her when we heard her repeat her question; can you tell me where I am and who are you? The speaker then turned his attention to the newcomers. Do I know you, replied the speaker in a very calm voice? No, that is why I asked you who you were, replied the girl as she tried to dust off her clothes. If I knew who you were, I would have said you name, she continued with a gruff harsh tone in her voice. Look, I am tired, dirty, and totally at my wits end and need some answers. That was when Joe’s mind kicked in gear and he began to wonder how this man knew his name but not those that just showed up. What made the difference? Why was he so nice to me but totally different to this girl and her friends?
Well mam, why don’t you give me your name and I will look it up and see if I was supposed to know it. My name is Carol. Carol Highland. Well just a minute, let me look in my book where I keep all of the names I know, replied the speaker. I never forget a face, but I will look just the same. Carol looked at him and quickly added; you should know me. I have seen you before and I am sure we have met. Wait, I know I have seen your picture before. It was at the… That was when the speaker looked over at her and said; well I don’t have your name in my book and everyone that knows me is written in this book. Well check again please, replied Carol. You must have made a mistake. I never make mistakes Carol. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Just when she was about to speak the speaker waved his hand in the air and just like that Carol was gone. Joe could hear her scream for just a couple seconds then it stopped as it faded into the direction of the orange flame. Joe looked back towards the speaker just as he looked over at the remaining people that arrived with Carol. They had a look of terror on their faces as the speaker looked for each of their names in his book and one by one they disappeared just like Carol.
It wasn’t long and the speaker turned his attention back to those that he had been teaching, picking up where he had left off and finished the answer to the question he had not finished. Joe’s concern became overwhelming as his mind continued to work at warp speed trying to grasp what he had just seen. After the speaker had answered a couple more questions which Joe was not listening too, Joe raised his hand. The others just sat quietly as if nothing had just happened, which totally baffled Joe. Yes Joe, replied the teacher as he recognized Joe holding his hand up. Joe looked over at the speaker and said; well it may not be any of my business, but what just happened to all those people? First they show up, and then all of a sudden they are gone. I know they were pretty grungy looking but then their name was not in your book and then they just vanished. Well you see Joe, I know you because you know me and your name is written in my book and it will never be erased. You are my friend forever. And when you…
Joe jumped as he heard the door open. Tom looked at him as he scrambled to his feet. Hey, sorry to wake you but I needed to visit the bathroom. Joe sat back down on the side of his bed, cradled his head in his hands with elbows on his knees as he recalled every event of the dream he had just had. Tom walked back out of the bathroom and could see that Joe was in some other world of thought. Hey, what’s up Joe? You look totally fried my friend. Well I just had another dream and this time I am more confused then before. You want to talk about it, inquired Tom. No, not really, replied Joe. Anyway, you better get some more sleep and I will try to get some myself. I can tell you about it in the morning. Tom just shook his head as he headed back to his bedroom, closed the door and was sleeping within minutes. Joe got up and got a drink of water and then sat on the edge of his bed when he began to think about Sarah. The more he focused on Sarah the more relaxed he became and before long Joe was sleeping sound.
“To be continued”