This is now the 23rd chapter of “Of Wind and Wings”. See the table of contents here.
“You seem awfully distracted this evening.”
Ed jolted himself back to the present and smiled.
“You have a good day with The Grubb, then?” Liza asked.
“Yes. We went up into the mountains this afternoon. It was lovely.”
Ed’s mind drifted back to the mountains, to the little lake with its pure, clear waters reflecting the high peaks. He had sat beneath a tree just enjoying the peace and quiet while The Grubb studied a leaf. Ed decided that this would forever be the place he would go in his mind when he needed to relax, his happy place.
Thinking of The Grubb, Ed remembered a question he had for Liza.
“Are there caves around here?”
“Yes. A cavern system. If not, perhaps mines or tunnels or something?”
Liza shook her head. “There are some shallow caves here and abouts, but nothing I would consider a ‘cavern system’. There wasn’t any mining and no tunnels. No.”
“What of Richard Barrow’s cave?”
“If such a place existed, it was most likely little more than a shelter from the storm, not a deep cavern. Why this interest in caves all of sudden? Have a strong urge to go spelunking?”
“No, it was something The Grubb said. I asked if what he calls ‘The Others’ lived in the mountains. He said they might visit, but they lived other places. He said they didn’t live where we could see them. He said they lived beneath. When I asked ‘beneath what’, he shrugged and said ‘beneath’ again. So I was wondering if they were supposed to live in caves or what.”
“That’s a common mistake. Perhaps only people thinking they are ‘little folk’ is more common. To answer your question, they live beneath the surface.”
“The surface?” Liza nodded. “The surface of what? That lake in the mountains?”
“Of course not. They are a race of people, not fish. Beneath the surface of reality.”
“Beneath reality?” She nodded again. “What in the world does that mean.”
“I thought you knew all about the time that didn’t exist.”
“Yeah, I remember talking about it, seeing relics and such. So that’s it, then. Those relics are the remains of the culture of ‘The Others’, the Sith or whatever.”
“What a bizarre, totally silly idea. No, no. Those things you saw are like bumps on the surface of reality. Most people can feel them, though they don’t understand that they are feeling anything more than the breeze. Those with eyes that can see. And a small number can experience them and know them.”
“Oh. And beneath?”
“So, you have what is happening now. This is reality. Those lumps on the surface are the things that never happened, yet for whatever reason became attached to time and place, stuck to that flypaper surface of reality without ever joining it, except in myth and legend. But then there are other planes. Other places. Other…” She shrugged. “They say some people can see this place beneath. And if one has the blood of the Sith, well, they should be able to go there with no problem.”
Ed thought about it for a moment. People had told him that eh had the blood of the Others, the hobs, the fearies, the sith. Could he go there?
But then he thought of the places he had been, the things he had seen. Bumps on the surface of reality? He also thought about Liza’s mother and his dreams. He thought about The Grubb talking about Gossenmare Park.
“You say that only some people can see the time that never was. To me it’s like memories, but memories I see and feel on the outside, not the inside.”
“Yes, it can be like that,” Liza said. “For me and my mother’s family, it is richer and fuller, but it can be like memories.”
“And so this is where the ghosts come from. Some are shades or shadows. Others are stronger, but are just memories imprinted on the place. Some are stronger yet and are aware. That’s what The Grubb said.”
“What does The Grubb know.” Liza frowned deeply. Her face became lined. Why was she upset? Was she mad? “No, there are no ghosts. They are just legends to scare little kids.”
Liza turned and seemed to stare off into space. “I always hated it when Liza insisted that she saw them. She told me they sometimes talked to her. She once went to the Gardens and…” Her eyes opened wider in surprise. “I remember Winston said…”
Liza snapped up as if struck. “Brown.” She stood up and left the room. She didn’t seem all too happy with Ed.
Ed sat back and let his eyes go unfocused. He went to his new happy place. He was by the side of the beautiful little lake looking across at the mountains again. The Grubb was staring at his leaf. Occasionally The Grubb would answer a stray question, but mostly the two of them were in their own worlds.
After a few minutes he got up and headed to his room. He’d read for a bit and then go to bed. The Grubb had told him they might visit Richard Barrow’s cave in the morning.
Perhaps then he would discover what lies beneath.