A westerly breeze swept across the plain of finely hewn shards, setting the crisp night air ablaze with mystical pinpricks whose echo spoke the language of the ancients.
Jacob’s feet struggled to negotiate the brick-like sand as his tired eyes remained fixed to the North star, as if his mortal bones held no consequence in this journey. As if his spirit had learned to walk on its own and was carrying him now.
“Crazy fucking ideas . . you wasted your life on crazy fucking ideas,” Jacob muttered, his words dissolving into an icy wreckage as his soul warred with demons as his mind raced over myriad possibilities. And yet his feet carried on, delivering him down a road less traveled, without food, without water. But with a strength whose muster did not wane in spite of it.
“Hey! Hey you!”
Jacob turned to find a young girl with black, short cropped hair walking towards him. She wore a blood orange sundress and a faded blue jean jacket, her brown sandals whisking the sand as she strode. Her skin was a brilliant caramel with a dimpled chin, natural cranberry lips, eyes chiseled from an emerald flower and hair that rode off her shoulders like wildfire.
“Marian. I’m the girl, from the bus . . .”
“What are you doing here?” Jacob asked.
“I’ve been walking for days . . no food . . no water. All because some guy at a service station gave me directions that go through a desert. Crazy huh?”
“Gabriel . . .”
“Wait . . you talked to him?” Marian asked.
“He told me to follow the North Star, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. I didn’t think to ask him why, because it’s in my nature to jump first and . . .”
“So he told you the same thing?” Marian repeated herself.
“Hey man, don’t be jumping on my ass, okay?”
“Sorry. Shit . . I think I’m in shock. That’s got to be what this is. The accident . . I remember the accident. And then I remember Gabriel telling me the way and the steps since then . . I remember this . . because I’m in shock. This is a dream is what this is. But my mind! It’s processing all of this, so there’s a cognitive ability to that, right? . . .”
“Mister, stop . .”
“The road . . we crashed . . head on. Fucking shit! I saw you lying there . . .”
“Mister . . stop!”
“It was . . it was like everything, my whole life was spinning away from me in that moment. Everything was happening in slow motion. You . . you were lying there in the middle of the road . .”
“Uh? Fuck . . you. How is this your dream?!”
“Name’s Jacob . . and okay, fine. Of course you exist. I mean, you’re here right? And this road . . we’re both here, walking it. And that star in the sky . . it’s there because we’ve been following it for days. And I say we keep following it,”
“Now you got me thinking. Maybe THAT is the light . . didn’t anybody ever tell you to stay away from the light if some seriously bad shit goes down?”
“Alright Marian, it’s like this. Have you even bothered to ask yourself how you can go for days without food or water and not feel hunger? Or thirst? Have you slept since you began this walk? At all?”
Marian shook her head silently.
“No, and yet . . you’re not tired. In fact, your body feels more alive than ever. And you have no blessed idea why that is, and yet . . you won’t turn away. And you tell me not to follow that light, but what have you been doing?”
“I’m scared, Jacob,” Marian said.
“Here, take my hand. Nothing to be scared of, not anymore,”
“How can you be so sure?” She asked as they walked along hand in hand.
“I . . . I don’t know. But I am,”
They walked in silence as their feet brokered a hill painted in the mosaic of brimstone and water with magically incandescent plumes of moonlight showing them the way. When they arrived at the top they saw it. A manger down below with an ethereal light stealing out from inside of its humble structure. Their steps became more certain as they moved closer to discovery, and then Jacob stopped in his tracks.
“What?” Marian asked.
“It’s . . . beautiful,” Jacob said as he began to cry.
“Let’s go see,” She said.