WHAT LIES WITHIN, Part II:
"I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can be together all the time."
-Hobbes, (of "Calvin and Hobbes")
At first it seemed like I was watching a strange movie or something. I was floating above a grassy meadow, watching myself down below...and yet; I was still inside myself at the same time, if that makes any sense...
I vaguely seemed to remember that grassy meadow from somewhere, but my mind couldn't quite grasp it at the moment. I realized I was searching desperately for something. I didn't know exactly what it was I had to find, but I knew in my gut that it was really important...like, life or death important. I simply HAD to find it, whatever IT was...
I paused and scanned across the meadow. Huge, dense stands of trees framed my view on each side, but straight ahead the opening seemed to grow wider. Something told me that was the right direction...my heart kept telling me to just keep going...don't give up...you can find it if you just don't give up...
Yet, I could feel myself growing weaker with every step. Soon, it felt like I was fighting off total exhaustion with every little movement. But, I was determined not to give up. I just had to find it...
To my disappointment, the grassy plain ended abruptly at the edge of a river valley. Upon reaching the edge of the steep cliffs, I collapsed to my knees in exhaustion. I was just sooo tired...sooo thirsty...every muscle in my body seemed to be screaming out in protest.
With great difficulty, I crawled to the edge to look down, and groaned to myself in disappointment as I surveyed the view. The sheer rocky cliffs plunged hundreds of feet down to another peaceful looking valley, with a lazy river meandering through its center. It looked totally impossible...there was just no way down, it seemed. As I sat there wondering just what I could do, I heard a familiar-sounding voice behind me.
"He's waiting for you down there."
I quickly turned my head in surprise to see a young teenage boy standing there. He had short buzzed light brown hair, a scattering of freckles across his cheeks, and blazing bright crystal-blue eyes that sparkled in the sunlight. He gave me a warm smile.
" W...Where did you come from?" I asked in amazement.
"I guess you could say I live here," he answered with a slight tilt of his head. "I thought maybe you could use some help. You looked kinda lost. Maybe I can help you find him," he said kinda shyly, as he knelt down beside me.
HIM? That was it! Suddenly, I seemed to be remembering just what it was that I had been searching for...I needed to find...HIM!
"But, how did you know? I mean, I didn't really know what I was looking for until you said it just now, and I remembered. Who are you?" I asked incredulously.
"I'm Billy. It's good to see you again, Ian," he said with a knowing smile.
This wasn't making any sense to me, whatsoever.
"But, I don't know you, do I? At least, I don't think I've ever met you before, have I?" I wondered to myself out loud.
"Well, let's just say I know who you are. I've seen you around, but we've never properly met before," he explained calmly.
Okay...this is pretty strange, I have to admit. While I was pondering that thought, I gazed down over the cliff again and I frowned to myself.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"If I have to get down there, I don't see how I'll ever make it," I observed sadly, looking down the sides of the impossibly steep canyon walls. "I just don't see how. It's too steep...I'm sooo tired...I just can't..."
"You CAN make it, Ian. He needs you to make it. He's trying really hard to believe that you can," Billy replied with heartfelt conviction. "As long as you TRULY BELIEVE you can, I'm sure the rest will take care of itself," he said confidently.
With great effort I hauled myself up again, and looked for a route down the steep canyon wall. I spotted what appeared to be a small trail leading downwards, and I slowly began my descent with resignation. I knew I simply had to get down there, or...well, I didn't know exactly, but it wouldn't be good. That much I was sure of. Absolutely sure.
I looked back at him one last time, and he gave me a little wave and another warm smile. I have to admit, it gave me a much-needed boost of confidence.
I managed only a few tentative steps before my foot landed on a rock that had looked quite stable, but I had been completely fooled! As it quickly gave under my foot, I felt myself tumbling over the edge. My arms flailed wildly, and out of instinct I closed my eyes tightly, afraid to witness my own gruesome death on the rocks far below. I waited for several long moments for the inevitable impact, but it never came. Still afraid to open my eyes, I just waited for something to happen.
Suddenly, I became aware of a warm, wet sensation growing on the back of my left hand. I could feel someone holding my hand gently, and crying softly.
Cautiously, my eyes fluttered open, and my heart soared.
It was HIM! He was sitting on his knees beside me in the soft grass beneath a huge oak tree. As I lay on my back, he was holding my hand to his face and weeping to himself. I didn't understand why he would feel so sad, so I squeezed his hand gently. Surely, he had to know how much I loved him...
He opened his eyes instantly, and stared at me with wonder and surprise filling his gaze. I smiled at him as best I could. Then, his eyes closed tightly again, as he held my hand firmly to his chest.
"Oh God...thank you...thank you...thank you," he sighed to himself with a shudder. "Thank you for bringing him back to me."
"No," I said softly. "Thank Billy."