Chapter 15: Back to Reality
With a start, Trevor woke himself with a boggie jerk. In the haze, it took a moment to remember where he was. The lights in the cave were dim. Directly in front of him, he spied Crystal sitting lotus position. No idea what time it was, he detected Sergei asleep on the floor some distance away. Eyes adjusting to the limited light, he searched the room for any sign of the time. A moment later he thought, I am sure we are locked in down here. He almost went to make sure Sergei was still alive, but Grace’s words came back to him, “Don’t panic.”
Unfamiliar with drug-induced hallucinations, Trevor was at a loss on how to proceed. Not knowing the procedure, he didn’t understand if he should relax or seek immediate medical attention. Perhaps he was still tripping, if so, the visions were taking a much more realistic direction. Trying to catalogue what was real and what was a hallucination, he made a mental checklist.
First starting with the facts:
Sergei was a duffer, suffering from dementia, schizophrenia, or some other psychosis.
If this was true, could anything Sergei told them be trusted?
Something scared the crap out of Sergei, even if only in his head.
This trip might be a colossal failure if his best lead was stark raving mad.
On the other hand, if Sergei wasn’t crazy.
Maybe the US government was working on some psychosis-inducing weapon, but Trevor was broken long before he arrived here.
What were the lights in the sky, a hoax? A hoax effective enough to scare the piss out of a combat vet?
Was it the government or Aliens. Shaking his head. Some other yet unknown phenomena.
Was it Grace? Perhaps Sergei was a red herring or red Russian, conceivably he needed to focus on Grace. Was Grace the answer?
Was Grace an Alien?
Wait, if Old Sits didn’t take the pictures, who did? Why does no one know who took the pictures in this town, they seem to know everything else before it happens?
What of Crystal, is she a con-artist bilking shoppers with her crystals. Maybe she is a true believer. She seems a kind soul at the very least, possessing some natural ability to calm a wild beast. Was she speaking Russian to Sergei?
Am I going insane like Old Sits over there? At least he seems happy with his paranoid delusions.
I know I am ignoring the larger subject. Mother. The light in the void. I think I did sleep for some time.
I am literally sitting here, in the dark having an argument with myself. Maybe I am going mad. Are the voices I am hearing in my head, delusions or my subconscious. Who am I really arguing with, crap what is real? What is the name of that song?
Crystal whispered, “What does it matter?”
Lost in thought, Trevor concluded he actually might have jumped out of his skin at her words. “What? How? How do you know what I was thinking?” ... “You scared the crap out of me,” with a strained whisper.
“Did you know when you are thinking of something really hard your little wrinkles right between your eyes become deeper. It is your tell. When you are deep in thought, you give that tell. Don’t play poker,” Crystal explained her mysterious power to him. It was a skill most poker players excelled at.
Thinking for a moment before accepting her explanation, “How long... How long you been sitting there watching me?”
“Since you drank the tea. I’ve never understood a human’s desire to alter their states with chemicals; it was interesting to study your reactions to it.”
“About that, you could’ve warned me,” Trevor hadn’t moved for some time, his butt was growing numb, he started to wiggle to relieve the pressure from his backside.
“Please recall I did try to warn you. I quote, if there’s one thing the English know, it is tea. Unquote. I didn’t think you wanted my help at that moment, so I let you try it. Tell me did you find it pleasant?” her tone took a scientific turn. Like an entomologist might take while studying an interesting specimen.
“Not particularly, no. I don’t think I have the druggie gene, never been a fan of altered states. I’m not ready to talk over my feelings concerning this... adventure. Though yesterday if you would’ve asked me what I would do if someone slipped me a roofie, I would have told you I would kick their ass. Today, after having the experience I am more inclined to rethink that answer. To be honest I am not yet sure how I feel about the last few hours.”
“I think the word you are searching for is ambivalent,” Crystal finished his thought for him.
Wiggling more, the blood was not reaching all the places it needed to, “You got any idea what time it is? Are we locked in?” Trevor changed the subject, to talk about something other than his feelings.
Crystal answered immediately, “Half past Midnight.”
Trevor wrinkled his face up showing his incredulity, “How can you know what exact time it is?”
Motioning behind him with her head, “Assuming that clock on the wall is correct, then that is the time,” giggling. “What do you think I am a witch? That is my sister Misty.”
Contorting to find the clock on the wall behind him, then glanced back at Crystal, silent.
“Let me wake up Sergei and we can leave. The moon should be up by now.”
Doing a backward somersault, she rolled into a standing position, completing a half turn to face the other direction in one fluid movement.
Trevor gaped in awe, thinking. I will never get used to her doing that.
Crystal leaned over Sergei laying her right hand on the top of his head, she whispered something inaudible to Trevor, but it didn’t sound like English. Sergei woke slowly and without the fear that Trevor experienced when he woke. Trevor thought Sergei must have much more practice with the trip they took. He’s got to own a better map back, for the return trip.
Sergei stretched, surprisingly elastic for his age, he stood with ease from the floor. Trevor thought, Is everyone in better shape than me?
“Tovarishch, you can come drink tea with me anytime. But you must follow the rules to come see me,” bending over Trevor, he all but lifted him from the chair, giving him a bear hug.
Taken aback by the close contact from such a new acquaintance. A person that a few hours ago held him at gunpoint. That drugged him with tea, that might be crazy, and that stank like old feet, was as much as Trevor ever wanted to endure. Surprised when Sergei let him go, he survived the ordeal.
Old Sits was too busy giving instructions, to notice Trevor cringing at the bear hug, “You come, you must hide all vehicles in the garage, it is safe there. Leave all electronics in garage too. Make sure no one follows you!”
The last part he used his finger to make his point, stabbing Trevor’s chest, “You see the black SUVs do not come here. They are following you, they will find me. If they are following you be careful. They might take you to one of the Black Sites, we may never see you again. Never underestimate the lengths the powerful will take to stay in power.”
Trevor patted his shoulders patronizing Sergei, “Believe me when I come to visit you again I will take all necessary precautions. I will keep an eye out for those SUVs,” Sergei nodded and led them to the door.
“Black SUVs with dark tinted windows,” pointing his finger at Trevor.
Trevor repeated the instructions, “Black SUVs with dark tinted windows.”
“Young lady, no more surprises from you. This is only friend you bring to tea, ever again.”
“Oh Sergei, if you didn’t take the pictures that night, who did?” Trevor remembering to ask.
Sergei held the inner door open as he thought, “I remember seeing a white truck with a young man standing, watching at the filling station. Not sure who it was. The truck was white.”
Trevor nods in thanks, “See you next time,” with that they headed out of the inner cave room.
The trip back out of the desert was uneventful. Finding the horses right where they left them, they found the truck and trailer the same way, and drove back into town each in their own thoughts.
Crystal stopped the rig outside Eddington’s, “I hope you found what you were looking for.”
Moving on the bench seat to face her better, only a few feet separating them, “Thank you for all your help. You didn’t have to take me out there, it was very kind of you to do all this for me.”
Putting the truck in park, she moved to face him better as well, “I am not sure what good it did. Maybe soon you will share more with me. Tell me what you are really looking for.”
Trevor thought, should I try to kiss her goodnight? Was this a date? He started to lean in—
And Crystal turned to face the front again. “It is late, I should let you go. Will I see you tomorrow, erm today?”
Crushed, Trevor promptly halted his advance, “Sure, if you like. I’ve some work to take care of. Can I see you about closing time?”
“That is a perfect time, we’ll call it a date. See you then,” she replied.
Trevor slid out of the truck after she finished making their plans. Closing the door, he stood, eyes followed her as she drove off.
Talking to himself, “well that could’ve gone better.”
Turning towards the few steps into Eddington’s. He stopped again.