The Heart of Memory
The Heart of Memory
Someone was definitely in the room with Jay.
He could see the figure standing on the far side of the carousel.
It did not move when Jay took several steps towards the carousel. He didn’t want to turn away from the pictures on the wall, but he had to know what was in the room with him. The picture on the wall changed just as he glanced away from it, but he forced himself not to turn back, not to be drawn in by the mystery of the metamorphosing image. He wanted to focus all of his attention on the figure that had appeared in the room. Had it appeared in the room? Perhaps it had always been there but he just hadn’t seen it? Was it possible that he wouldn’t have realized he wasn’t alone in the room? Was that even conceivable? He did not know. But he was desperate to know what the creature was standing on the far side of the carousel.
He knew that it wasn’t Magdalena. Nor was it his brother. It might not even be a person.
Jay took another step. He thought perhaps the figure would move. But it did not move. It remained motionless on the pedestal of the carousel.
Jay wanted to call out to it, but he didn’t know what to say.
Jay didn’t walk directly onto the carousel. Instead, he stepped gingerly around the massive construction. He actually moved farther away from the creature with every footfall.
The thing was standing on the contraption. It was between one of the horses and a carriage. So by moving around the amusement ride, Jay put more distance between himself and the stranger. He didn’t know if he should speak to something when he didn’t know what that something was? Would it understand his language? Could it hear him?
The logical part of his brain said he should run for the door. The door to the room was still open. There was nothing preventing him from escaping the confines of the room. However, he didn’t feel afraid. His hands were trembling. There was a knot in his stomach. Not knowing what it was made him anxious. However, there was no fear clouding his mind. He knew what fear was and that wasn’t what he felt. But he did not feel peace either. He felt disconnected from normal sensations. He felt at odds with himself. He felt untethered from what he would have called his reason. If someone asked him what he felt he wouldn’t have known how to describe it but he would have been able to tell that hypothetical person that it was unreasonable to feel the way he felt standing in a room with a creature that clearly wasn’t human even if the shape and contours of its body had human characteristics.
There was something strangely familiar about the color of the fabric of the material that shrouds the creature. He felt as though somehow he had seen it before. It had the appearance of clothing, however, he knew it wasn’t any kind of clothing he had seen before in his life. It didn’t glow in the way he thought a ghost or spirit might glow. But the fabric has a sheen and luster that he couldn’t reconcile with the materials he had come across in any store where he ever shopped.
All of a sudden it hit him. In a rush of memory, he saw the color and the material clearly. It was a dress. He could see the dress in his mind’s eye. It took him a moment longer to put together where he had seen the dress before. He was standing in a long stretch of march with high seagrass shivering in a passing breeze. He was standing at the mouth of a river looking out to sea. The dress was being blown by the wind. He could see it moving. He could see the same dress in his memory as the dress that was on the far side of the carousel.
In his mind, he moved closer to the shape wearing the dress in the marsh. He felt safer exploring his memory rather than physically approaching whatever was in the room with him in the castle. The memory was so real, he could feel the sea grass as he pushed it out of his way as he wandered deeper into the march. The woman wearing the dress had long, brown hair and it moved in the sea breeze. Jay could smell the tang of salt and the slight rank of dying crustaceans that created the borderlands between the river and the sea. There was another smell that mingled with the odors of the ocean. The smell flooded his brain and made him dizzy. He couldn’t believe the memory was so real. The memory seemed to invade his present day life with its tastes and smells. The smell was vital. The smell almost brought tears to his eyes.
In his memory, the woman turned around. He had not seen her face so clearly for years. He knew the face, but it had been cloudy by distance and time. But when she turned around on the marsh flats he felt his breath catch in his lungs.
It was his mother. She was reaching out for him. In the memory, she had a hand outstretched beckoning him closer.
His dead mother reached out to him in his memory...