This is now the 22nd chapter of “Of Wind and Wings”. See the table of contents here.
Note – I posted two chapters that did not follow one of Sue’s prompts. here is a brief overview in case you don’t have time or inclination to read them (or you can skip to today’s chapter):
Chapter 20 Gossenmare Park – Ed and Liza explore Gossenmare Park. Ed discovers that it is Liza’s ancestral home. She also tells him a secret, that Lauren was not her husband’s child.
Chapter 21 Descending on Wings – Ed dreams of a Gossenmare Park that is like new, but with all of the eras superimposed. It goes away leaving only the tower with Lauren singing to him. He tries to enter, but is stopped by Liza. He wakes up to see a memory of Liza’s mother comforting the young Lauren.
“Are you ready?” Ed asked the back of The Grubb’s head. “Onward, ho! Let’s explore.”
The Grubb didn’t say anything, just shook his head.
Ed took in the view again. He had to admit that the more mountainous region had a certain rugged beauty, but he was ready to go more than 30 feet from the road.
They had eaten lunch at the Grubb household. It was a giant meal, which Ed felt he didn’t need after Liza’s big breakfast. But it was delicious. And Mrs. Grubb was delightful. She was witty and knew all of the local people and places. Mr. Brown seemed particularly close, and she told Ed all about him.
After lunch he went out exploring with The Grubb again. They had been out for a while, driving into the mountains, when The Grubb asked to stop. He went out a little way, and just stopped, squatting down, watching what to Ed seemed little more than a tuft of weeds. When asked, The Grubb just said he was waiting for a bird he knew would come. That was a half of an hour ago.
Ed rubbed his hand against a large stone. He was sure it had been shaped by man. What it was for, he couldn’t tell. A marker for the road from an era before it was paved? A monument to celebrate the view of the mountain?
Although different, the stone made him think of his day before.
“Say, Grubb, have you ever visited Gossenmare Park?”
The Grubb nodded. “Of course.”
“What do you think?”
The Grubb continued to watch the shrub. “I don’t like it. It’s haunted.”
“Yeah. Of course there are the shades. I see the shadows left by the dead everywhere. The shades are sort of like weaker memories. And there are a lot of memories there, too. You can find memories every place.” Ed nodded, though he knew The Grubb couldn’t see. He had experienced the memories. “But some are real ghosts. They watch you. They see. They know. They like some people, don’t mind others, but they hate some. They don’t like me there, at Gossenmare Park, so I don’t go.”
The way The Grubb had said it made Ed know that the conversation was at an end. But he was still curious.
“Do you see ghosts often?”
“Yeah. Not as much as shades. Or memories. But I do. Just not like there, at the park.”
Ed watched out over the road again. It was if there were something there, something important, that he just couldn’t make out. Every time he drew close, there was a block. Or a piece missing. Or something. It was like a path which he felt should lead to the destination. He felt he should be moving onward, but when he looked around, he had somehow taken a detour.
That wasn’t right. He had made progress. But he was still blind to the destination.
He turned back to The Grubb. He was about to say something, but noticed the birds. This was what The Grubb had been waiting for, so he dared not disturb him.
The wind had shifted, so it was no longer flowing down, but lifting up from the lower lands. Ed tried to guess where the village was. He tried to make out landmarks. Nothing.
Some clouds followed the wind. One looked like a giant set of wings. It fluttered towards them. Ed thought of the wings in his dream the night before. It was if he had been wearing them. The wing-cloud passed over with rush of cold wind. It moved away, heading upward and onward. Ed wanted to follow, unfold his own wings and fly. Go up there.
He laughed at himself. Up where? The mountain tops? His mind had gotten ahead of his thoughts. Or something like that.
Perhaps the mountain tops shouldn’t be his next destination, though, perhaps he needed to explore the subterranean first. He thought of his ancestor’s cave, the one Richard Barrow had used to ride out the storm. The Grubb was supposed to know.
Ed no longer saw the birds in The Grubbs little shrub.
“Ready to move?”
The Grubb shook his head again.
“Mr. Brown said that you know where Richard Barrow’s cave is.”
The Grubb nodded.
“Can we go there?”
The Grubb slowly stood and turned toward Ed. “Sure. Not now. Later.”
The Grubb shrugged. “Maybe. The cave isn’t really what you think. I can’t explain it. It’s not a place, it’s a someplace else. But I’ll take you. Later.”
“OK. Where to now?”
The Grubb pointed up the road then started walking to the car.
“OK, then,” Ed said. “Onward it is!”