This story begins with Globe Without Goodbye – The Shore (1). To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.
Jeffrey approached the cave slowly. After he had looked at gray for so long, the peach rock of the cave, with its shallow tan cracks that turned mahogany as they ran deeper, blazed in his vision. Then he realized the world around the cave had changed. No more gray sky; now, not a single cloud marred its blue. Nor did a sun, moon, or stars. Beneath this impossible sky, the weathered surfaces of the dunes were the palest brown possible. Jeffrey turned to look at the ocean, and whistled involuntarily.
He had never seen anything so beautiful before. The water jumped with color! Its hues ran from the deepest depths of midnight blue up into teal, and then higher, brighter, striated with lines of electric blue. Jeffrey felt like he could stare at these vibrant ocean blues for the rest of his life, until he remembered the cave, and felt curious about what its darkness hid. He should be able to fit through its entrance.
He looked again at the cave. Its shape reminded him of cartoon depictions of igloos. Was it a natural formation? He looked hard at it, but could not make up his mind on this point. Its isolation at the water’s edge prevented it from looking truly natural, but its craggy surface didn’t seem crafted either. Rocks around its base prevented him from discerning whether it welled up from beneath the sand, or if it had been constructed. He did not find its appearance threatening, but at the same time he felt no more desire to laugh; the cave’s mystery constrained his sense of freedom. The regal ocean behind him still did not make the susurrate sounds that it should. The calm remained eerie. As he considered the cave, he felt somber.
The thought occurred to Jeffrey to look back the way that he had come. Would he see his tracks? He did, and he felt relief. When he had ran more enthusiastically, he had torn up the sand. Observing the distance between his tracks and the beautiful water, he reasoned that the tide had yet to come in. How low could the tide sink in this dream, he wondered. More importantly, what was inside the cave? It looked serene, almost friendly despite its mystery. It might be a good place to rest after his long run.
In case the cave’s appearance concealed a threat, Jeffrey picked a fist-sized rock out of the sand. The dark tan of the damp rock contrasted with his pale hand. He didn’t particularly want to enter the cave armed, but his circumstances required prudence. If he died in this dream, what would happen to him in real life? The blackness beyond the cave’s entrance hovered, waiting for him.
Thank you for reading! Coming up next week: Jeffrey enters the cave, where he discovers a doll – and a skeleton…
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