The movement of the car then screams all around me wake me. Then I get taken to a room myself. Blood is everywhere with rusty tools. I can't move the only thing I can move are my eyes. Screams of women and men can be heard from other rooms. I try to move I can't. There are tears in my eyes and then a flash of light.
The only thing that keeps me afloat is Keifer. Our friendship has now blossomed. Star and Stream haven't been around since they started to live together. It was great to see her with someone that is like her. It feels good not depending on her as much.
Keifer and I stay up late, sometimes talking about our futures and what life will hold for us. Today we get to do our prayers and check on our souls. I dress in my soul's colors. My soul is the purple Lily. All I need to do is water my soul, just a little, then pray. We can leave when we finish, but I stay and watch Kiefer. He's getting the hang of taking care of his soul.
He chose to plot next to me. I didn't mind that a all. It's nice to know our souls are together, "Keifer, we have to leave in two minutes!" I walk around quickly, trying to gather up the bag of gardening tools. The water jug is waiting for Keifer and me to fill it up with cold water. "I'm coming. I can't find my shoes. They should have been next to the bed."
Kiefer comes out of the room. He has a yellow blouse and a pair of brown yoga pants. "I don't know where your shoes are. Maybe you can go without them. It won't make a difference if you have them on." Keifer stared at me.
I know he doesn't like to walk around without shoes on, we both start to look for his shoes. It took us five minutes until the shoes magically appear next to the watering can. Putting his sandals on, Kiefer grabs the watering jug and quickly puts water into it.
We run out of the house quickly to our souls. When we arrived, everyone stood next to their souls in silence, getting ready for the ceremony. We go to ours and prepare to lift up the watering jug. Our Guru is with her soul, the Zennia. The bright fiery red petals glow in the morning sunshine. I look over to see his soul has finally started to bloom. He stands tall and smiles at me. His soul is blooming yellow petals. My Lillies have another beginning to blossom.
The Stemtress walks into the field where all of our souls are and takes a step to hers. "Good morning Petals, some of our souls are starting to bloom, I see. That is something meant for a celebration tonight. Now, our Guru will lead the prayer. Make sure to be at the dinner tonight for a special treat."
Everyone stands still, getting ready. Our Guru breathes in slowly, raising her jug of water, "We praise to you brave and mighty Zennia, we worship the rich soil that you provide to our souls. The souls we have are yours to love and cherish. We are grateful to be with you and under your protection. Let us live long and love those and ourselves the way we are born and are intended to. Praise to you, mighty Zennia." Guru holds her hands up as we do then, she pours her water onto her soul.
We hum in harmony. Once we hum for a minute, we lower our hands and begin to pour our water onto our souls. Everyone begins to tend to their souls and pray. I always said the same prayer for my soul. The prayers are to my mother, myself, my friend, and for life. This time I pray for Joaquin. I pray that he is well and that wherever Joaquin went, he will come back safely or as a new soul.
Another person pops in my prayers, Keifer. Something about his aura makes me want him as more than a friend. A warm feeling heats my heart and stomach. I finish my prayers and turn to Keifer. He's on his knees, looking at his soul blooming in the sunlight.
"Your soul is going to be beautiful when it grows," He turns to me, "Make sure to give your soul more water." I wait for him to finish. He gets up and stares, "I'm ready to leave now." Keifer never told me what he prayed about or who he prayed for. He said it was his prayer for his soul to know.
I take Keifer's arm and set out for work. Keifer always walked me to work before going to his job. Before we leave, Star comes running in front of me. "You guys, you will never believe what just happened. I was sleeping in bed when I awoke to something around my neck." Star reaches for her neck to show a small metal bee. It is the prettiest thing to see.
"Star, that's so beautiful. Where did she get it from?" She plays with the charm, "She had it on when she arrived. Stream wanted to gift it to me when we met but, she waited for the right moment. Tomorrow will be our one month of knowing each other. She couldn't wait any longer."
I've never seen her in love like this. With anyone, we all walk together. But where is Stream? "Is Stream at work, or is she still at her soul?" Star looks over, "She's at her soul, staying longer to pray today. Keifer, Stream wants to know if you guys will be working on the house today?" I look at Keifer, "Yes, the house is almost complete. We need to finish the kitchen. We need to finish the kitchen area. I'm still working on one of the rooms."
They continue to talk about the cottage they're working on. I think about the fruit that needs to tend to, how long it will take. Maybe an hour there's not much to harvest right now. I wonder if I can sneak over to Joaquin's house and look around. I told myself not to think about the room and Joaquin anymore but, something must there. No one has gone over there. Maybe I can pretend to clean the house.
However, if I get in the house, maybe there's an answer hidden in there. There's a sign on the garden fence, "No work today." That's good, right there's no work, which means I can go to Joaquin's house now? "No work. What are we supposed to do then?" Star whines, "Don't be such a baby, Star. You can go hand with Stream while she works, maybe go shopping and rest for today."
She pouts, "Maybe I can make lunch and bring it to you guys. Do you want me to bring you anything special, Keifer?" He looks up, "No, you bring something for Stream. She'd love that."
That would be a great plan to make lunch and bring it to them. Being distracted with lunch. I can tell everyone that something came up and go straight to Joaquin's house. "I can make Keifer some lunch. I know he doesn't like me making him anything but, he will eat the food I bring him. Especially the sun-dried Strawberries and bananas. He loves them so much."
I give him my signature smile, knowing those are his favorite and weakness. I take my arm and bring his face down, eye to eye. "You know you want some, even if I have to make you eat." It doesn't take him long, "Okay, bring me the strawberries tough, maybe water. It's going to be hot today." I smile, feeling contented about going over to Joaquin's house, thinking of the objective of how I can get into his home.
I hug Keifer goodbye and head to my place. Star tells me she needs to go home and clean up. I think to myself, wondering if taking pictures would be necessary. Then again, I might not have to if there isn't anything serious. I stop by the market, picking up food and some cleaning supplies. The market is full of people walking around and shopping. I don't find much for Keifer's lunch.
I wonder if I can go to Joaquin's home now and see if anyone is there. Afterward, I can pack up for lunch and go back to clean up the place. I reach the house, my stomach lets out a large growl. Getting in and heading to the kitchen area, the kitchen is messy. Keifer and I had too much fun last night trying to make cakes.
There's not much to put away, just a burnt cake and a couple of mixing bowls. I clean everything and take out the materials for Keifer's lunch, taking the bread, cheese, and meat. I wrap them in cloth, putting them in a basket. Maybe Keifer will like some of the tea I made last night.
I get out the thermos and some fresh mint, setting them to the side. I go to my bedroom, grab a notebook, pencil, and a pair of gloves. Ironically the screams roar through my mind. I should pack something to keep myself safe. It's about noon, lunch break should be soon. The room and Joaquin come back to my mind. What if they did something to his house, changed it, and took everything out?
It would be nice to know that he's safe and to know when he would be returning. I feel the wind on my face as I walk. The dirt path towards the new home is peacefully quiet. I hope whoever moves in the house feels at peace and has a family to love and cherish. I'm supposed to meet Star and walk with her. Guess she left before me.
The house comes in view. It's enchanting and elegant, small enough for a family. It would be nice to share a cottage like this with someone in the future. Possibly Keifer.
I don't know if Keifer and Stream are in the house working still. I go up the stairs and knock on the door. Laughter and talk come from inside. The cottage is small, the kitchen blend with the living room, and it seems to have two bedrooms and a bathroom in between them. I hear the chatter coming from one of the rooms, "Hello, is anyone here? Keifer brought you lunch." I walk to find Stream and Star eating lunch, being talkative, and giving affection to each other.
Star stands up, fixing herself, "Hey, Keifer is in the other room repairing some windows. We were having a special lunch right now," She gives me a sly smile and wink, "I'll see you later." I nod and smile, understanding what she's saying. The plan to leave early is out of the question. I guess I can go after dinner. I walk out, going to the other room where I hear noises. Going into the room, Keifer is working, keeping his focus. I don't say a word to him and continue to observe him. I can't sit here all day, "Hello there," Keifer quickly turns, "I brought lunch. You ready to feast on some food?"
I come into the room, viewing the work and arches on the ceiling. The room has character and is quaint. "Did you do all of this?" I set the basket down and stare at the cover and walls, "Yes, it's my favorite room in the cottage. I thought it needed to have a special touch for two special people in love." My heart fluttered a little bit. That's what I thought too, "That's a beautiful thought, Keifer. How did you come up with it?" I put out all the food and pour some tea.
"I want to have a home like this in the future and share it with someone who loves and appreciates me." I pass him some food, my heart beating fast. I didn't know Keifer had a soft side. We got to know each other but, he never shared this with me. "So, what else do you have planned after you finish the room?"
We both look out the wind, "Well, hopefully, when I'm complete with my work, I can go home and nap. Maybe we can go to the pond and swim after dinner tonight?" Goodness. I need to go to Joaquin's house and look for clues, "Actually, one of the councilmen asked me to go out and clean up somebody's house. Maybe tomorrow morning we can go?"
I don't want to hide anything from Keifer. He should know the truth. Well, half of it, I don't believe in lying to people. Especially if they don't deserve it, "That's fine. We can pack a lunch and chill out there." I nod at him with a smile. He looks down and frowns.
We finish lunch in silence, picking up the basket, and say goodbye. The sun is shining up in the sky, it was late in the afternoon, dinner is in four hours. Maybe I can stop by Joaquin's place to check the exterior of the house. See if there's anyone around the house and if I can get in.
I have the camera now. I can take pictures of the house now. I act fast, going over to his house. It sits near the edge of the woods. I reach the area, sitting there empty it looks like no one is there. But, one of the carts we use to move furniture is sitting outside with items inside. I can't hear anyone talking or moving inside.
This is my chance. I go up to the front door and look through the front window. Could I possibly go inside now? I turn the know slowly and open the door. Before I can take one step inside, the unpleasant rancid smell hits my face. I covered my nose, pushing through the odor. The smell is unbearable. I go through the hall to his room. I don't see anything that could be important.
The house was torn apart. I take my camera out, snapping shots of the place. There's papers, clothes, furniture thrown around. I go to his room, hoping something was hidden. Chaos had happened. His mattress was flipped, lamps thrown, blankets ripped, and a picture torn off the wall. I walk over to his closet.
There was nothing out of the ordinary with his wardrobe, just some clothing and shoes. There's a box in the closet. I looked into the box and find documents. The
paperwork is about the people in the community. There's a journal too. I stuff the box in my bag. The smell is starting to make my head hurt. What could that be? I go throughout the house looking for other kinds of things that stick out. I keep taking pictures of the house.
Everything is torn up, almost as if a storm blew through here. There's a noise coming from one of the rooms. It sounds like someone is attempting to open the door. I walk to the door quietly, trying to hear what is inside the room.
The smell grows stronger and stronger as I get closer. Whoever is in here can't know I'm here. My foot is caught in a sticky liquid. I pick up my foot to find a string of blood. Bile crawls up my throat, I swallow it down. I take a picture for proof. Before I reach the door, my bag knocks into one of the pieces of furniture, making my heart skip a beat.
I bold for the front door hearing from behind me, "Come back, don't leave! They're trying to kill me!" I don't think about turning around. I keep going, running as fast as I can towards my home. As I run, my lungs burn, body aches with pain.
The screams of the man played through my mind over and over. The pain in their voice sent chills down my spine. I reach home, going inside, stripping out of my clothes, and getting into the tub. I grab my soap and sponge, scrubbing my skin until my skin was raw. I take the castor oil and soap and wash the smell out of my hair. I can't escape the smell.
My body and hair smell of soap but, the stench of blood is stuck in my nostrils. I look over to find my bloody sandal. I need to get rid of it. I get out quickly and run around the house, cleaning up the floor with stains and hiding my sandals.
I grab my bag and run into my room, throwing the items onto my bed. I light some scented candles to rid the smell. I quickly dress in my evening wear. I know now that going back to Joaquin's is out of the question, especially knowing there's someone there. I don't want to take the chance of anyone knowing I was there either.
I grab the box holding it in front of me, opening it, and looking through the papers. It shows information about the people who live here. Why would Joaquin have any of this? I need to figure out what's going on. "Dream. I'm home," O jolt goes through me. Keifer just got in. I need to hide the paperwork, "Hey, just wanted to let you know I'm home." I throw a blanket over all the items and lay back.
"Hey, sorry. I was waking up from a nap." I pretend to yawn and stretch, "I can go swimming, by the way." I hope he didn't see anything, "That's great to know, what happened with the cleaning?" My mind takes me back to the house, the screaming coming from the room and the blood, "They said that they would take care of it." I smile, trying to keep down the bile stuck in my throat.
Keifer stares at me for a moment, "Well, at least we can go out unless you don't want to." I frown, "I do wanna go out. It'd be fun to go out for a nightly swim." He perks back up, "Oh okay, I'm going to take a bath. We can leave afterward." He slowly turns, my body relaxes. I grab all the paperwork and stack it, setting it back in the box.
I don't know where to put it. I don't want any of it near my things. There's only one other place, which is the trunk. It will be safe there for now. Tonight when Keifer's asleep, I'm going to read over everyone's information. I need to get the film developed in the next couple of days when no one is there with me. I clear my mind of everything that has happened. Besides lunch with Keifer. I sit up and position myself in my meditation pose.
I think about Keifer. He hangs out with me only, which I don't mind at all. I find it relaxing, we have a lot in common. It's fun doing things with him. He gives me nothing happiness and joy in the world.
I should pack something small and unique for us to share tonight. I breathe out and stand up. I go into the kitchen and find a small piece of cake that Keifer made. It's the only cake that survived and is the best. I grab the cake, a little candle, and some matches. Packing the items away, Keifer comes out. "You ready for dinner?" I turn around and look Keifer up and down.
He had a dark yellow blouse and brown cloth pants on, his hair's in a new style. My heart is thudding in my chest.
"Yeah, let's get going, don't want to be late." I grab the items hiding them away. I don't want Keifer seeing them. Once we start to head for dinner, something hits my nostrils. I don't know how to place it, "What's that smell," I lean over and take a sniff, "You smell like trees. Did you use a new soap?" I blush when he looks down at me.
"It's a new soap from the market. Someone from the traveling group brought it back. I thought I'd give it a try why. Do you not like it?" I look down and smile, "Of course I do. It's a good scent." I hold onto his arm as we walk. We reach the communal area. Candles everywhere, making the dinner glow gorgeous in a bright luminous way.
The feast looks delicious and refreshing. I look around and see everyone taking seats. We grab the two chairs that are next to each other and sit, "This looks incredible," I look at the roasted vegetables and freshly baked bread.
"I am starving, can't wait to dig in. The lunch was fantastic, by the way." I smile, knowing that I fed him something I made for him, "You're welcome. Don't get too full. I have a surprise for you." I nudge his arm, giving him a wink.
Stemtress comes out, greeting everyone. Our prayers go by slowly until the Guru comes out and speaks. I don't listen to what she says. The thought of Joaquin's house comes back. The wretched fumes return to my nostrils. I've never smelled anything like that it was if someone left the meat out. I was brought out of my thoughts when everyone was humming together.
As everyone ate dinner and chatted, one of the council people looked at me. They stared at me the whole time. I ate some of the bread and vegetables, keeping my eyes down. Did they know I went to the house? Had they been inside that room and heard me?
Keifer's voice called me back to reality, "You almost ready to go? I finished eating. Are you okay?" I push my plate away from me, "Sorry, been thinking about things. Let's head out now." I can feel their eyes burning into my body. They must know something about me.
We get up and walk to the pond. Before we get far enough, a voice calls for me, "Dream, may I speak with you for just a moment?" We both stop and turn around. It was the man who watched me during dinner, "We were just heading to the pond. Would you want to talk tomorrow?" I can hear my heart beating in my ears.
I didn't realize my grip was getting tighter on Keifer's arm before he sets his hand on mine, "Well, it won't take long. I need to speak to you about Joaquin's house. Someone saw you running out. I need to know if you saw or heard anything." The man stepped closer, making me squeeze on Keifer's arm more. I didn't know how to answer. What was I going to say?
Keifer stepped forward, "Dream told me someone asked for her to go out to clean the place up." Oh gosh, what is going on? "Well, the house is off-limits for right now. We are to be taking over the place for now." Keifer's eyes were burning into the top of my head. "Yeah, sorry for running out. I had an emergency and left. I didn't mean to scare anyone." I don't remember seeing anyone when I ran out of the house.
My hold on Keifer relaxes. I inch closer to him, my body starts to shake, the man waves us goodbye and begins to walk. I look up at Keifer, not knowing what to say. "Do you still want to go to the pond?" I hoped that Keifer wasn't mad at me for lying. I hope he doesn't want to question me.
He doesn't answer. His quietness gave me the answer. I look down at the ground and continue to walk. How was I going to explain to him what went on in that house? Could I tell him anything without sounding crazy? My mind is starting to race and fast. When we reach home, Keifer goes straight to his room and closes the door. I sulk to the kitchen and put everything away.
I don't know what I can do to get Keifer to talk to me. My mind is racing. I go to my room and close the door. Grabbing the box, I take the documents out and look at the papers.
Do they know about these? Did they know if Joaquin has these? I need to hide them better than where they are now. I grab them and shove them into the secret hole. I take my camera and the film out, hiding that too. No one needs to know I have photos.
I quickly change into my nightgown. My mind continues racing about what happened earlier. Is Keifer upset with me?
I hear his bedroom door open. I exit my room and see Keifer taking a seat on the couch. I go around to get a better view of his face, "Keifer? Are you okay?" He doesn't say anything. I sit next to him and look at him. Before I can say anything, he gets up and motions for the front door, "I need to go out for a walk, don't bother following me." What? "Is there something that I did?" I try to make eye contact with him, trying to make eye contact with him.
Before I can get him to answer, he leaves. I've never seen Keifer this upset with me or with anyone in the community. My heart feels heavy with the thought of Keifer being mad at me. How can I make this right with him?
An hour goes by, did I fall asleep? I sit up, looking around to see if Keifer came home. I look over to his room to see the lights are off. He must not be home yet. I get up to go to sleep. I walk towards my room but see someone sitting at the kitchen table in the dark. My body stiffens with the sight of someone.
Who could they be? I don't know whether or not to run or see who they are. I walk closer and turn on a lamp. It's Keifer he's been drinking. I can smell it from here. "Keifer, when did you get in?" Keifer stares at me, no expressions at all. I don't know what is going on, "Yes?" No response, "Keifer, is there something wrong?" He looks down at me, "Do you want to tell the truth, or are you going to pretend that nothing happened.?"