The light was a bit bereft, perhaps, as you would expect in these shadow places, these places that don’t really exist except within the brief and waning memories of our aging souls. There is rug, made not of normal materials, but of spent climbing rope in one corner, by a great and aging, but still glowing wood stove. A pot of Tibetan Tea simmers on a partially open eye. A great mastiff, his muzzle aged but capable, wags his tail half-threateningly, content to be alone, but ready as always to wage war. A pair of tired old ice axes, the duct tape covering their grips sagging with age, hang nearby.
Cast your eye about you, if you dare! There, in a corner, are the rusting remnants of a mighty KX-500, the last king of the open class two-strokes. And there, just there! The aging hulk of yet another beast of a motorcycle, the mighty Ducati Monster SSR-2X, worth a veritable fortune on the open market if restored.
Over there! Another classic, a Mad River Explorer Canoe, designed such that it could be dropped from great heights by sea plane, found by others and warmed back into shape by feeble propane and mixed-fuel stoves. Another find! A mighty diesel powered military version suburban, obviously highly modified and lightened for rapid overland travel. Further deconstruction reveals a false floor, covered by what is obviously the great mastiff’s fur. One whiff of what would have been the contents verify that very high grade shine and Floyd’s Finest Green was once transported here, in the heart of this great mechanical beast.
Another cursory glance indicates more items of this ilk: Empty mason jars, jars of sex wax, mostly used; several broken boards, curious to those that know for they indicate the skill of the riders that plied their obsession on the great and cold waves of the Pacific, their heads hidden in the clouds and mist as the skill and courage of their riders was lost upon them. A small but mighty sailing vessel also catches our gaze, it’s sales ripped and torn, her mast asunder.
Massive amounts of empty bottles, the dead soldiers, the remnants of addiction past, line the walls, spilling from their broken black plastic bags, long since rotten in the emptiness of this place, devoid of memory. Screaming their misery and the hurt and the pain and loss. A shudder runs through any soul seeking solace in the corners of this mysterious maze of misery.
But this is not what we seek, amongst the lost ramblings and long sheets of paper chronicling the voyages of this individual. What we see is love. Has he ever known it? Has he ever shook the hair out if his eyes to look to the other? We find, as our eyes adjust, another place, not quite a hall in this curiously circular place, but an area that breathes a different breath. A bluer note. Something gentle. Tangibly different. Here we are filled with wonder, as we witness two little girls, sisters no doubt. There are scattered remnants of cobwebbed old things; a conch necklace. A battered old beach bike. A beautiful hat, somehow not fitting with the coal miners hat and gear we found before. A pair of impossibly high slip on shoes. A Martini in Italy, lifted not in gratitude nor love, but in victory. There are wigs, and vibrators, and other sexual objects, all shrouded in cobwebs, with no love lost.
We hear the broken footsteps of the man we seek, and we feel the attention of another, of a great love, a true heart as opposed to the object of our search. We know that she is female, and her power is as great as a fiery volcano, and as long lasting as an ice age. She is there, but she is new to this story that we are descending, a force of nature as huge as the mighty slabs our broken hero once surfed.
Then we hear the call of a newborn boy, and we first feel the emotion of the man we are exploring. We see him weeping as he holds the baby, his mother’s eyes indifferent. We catch a glimpse, no, a full expression of the girl with the martini. We shudder, and step back, but the man is indifferent, uncaring. We fear for his soul. We watch as he breaks under the strain of her rage, her bitterness at wrongs long past, but never forgiven.
As we descend, in search of we know not what, images scatter about. Real ones. First steps. A tall and proud little boy, always in close embrace with his father. We see he shares his fearlessness, recklessness. We see him on the roof of a make-shift chicken shed, proudly reaching down to his father. We see him expertly swimming the channel, his father in mad chase. We watch as he launches himself down the steps of the cape cod house on his first bike, his face unclouded by confusion or indecision.
We also see the mother, her eyes distant and clouded, not sharing the bond between father and son. Then we see hurt! Oh, the hurt! The pain. The confusion. The retreat, by this once brave man, from his own. The same man who once laughed into the abyss now crushed and running in shame.
We see the boy and the man reunited, and for some reason there is a policeman present. We are astonished, as the man’s life revolves around this boy. They cry, and hold one another, and the boy whispers for his father to come home. The man cries, and his world collapses. He falls into the oblivion of his familiar ways, seeking solace from the old comforts, the false gods, the angry truth. He hides in the mist, ashamed.
We dive deeper, for there is more! There is a door, here, now, thick and ugly and bonded in such a way that there is no access. Nor is there a key. We peer through the keyhole, and gasp! This room is full of new and wonderful things, such that have never been seen. It is dusty, but there is homemade furniture, a glowing stove, the bubbling smells of good things, and love is here. The man is still locked in the battle of a thousand demons, and although he may have once had the ability to break down this mighty helm, no more. His strength is waning in the face of his battles.
We feel once again the presence of another, someone stronger than our subject. Someone, something, with a love as strong and deep as can be imagined, someone with battle ringing through veins, someone unafraid, unaffected.
But still, who has the key to the door??? We listen to the monsters rush towards our subject, we see him sink to the ground, unable to stand. We shriek in shock, and scream the question aloud, and then we hear the gentle tingle of a slight chain, and a mighty key is inserted into the lock. Who could bear such a thing, what warrior could possibly break such a lock, and free such a tired warrior, beaten now, gasping, on his knees, with his demons shrieking in delight? God himself has looked away, his job done, his hope gone.
She looked round – she was sleek and strong, and oh so beautiful. She wore no breastplate and carried no shield, nor sword did she bear. But her heart was pure. Then her eyes blazed back up the trail, an impossible combination of deep ocean green and sky blue. Her heart was pure, and she needed no protection. All her man’s enemies fell away, shrieking. The man shook, impossibly, then rose to his feet, across the hearth and into the room of laughing children and warmth and food, and love.
She glared across her hearth, and dared any to follow. Her eyes, so green now, showed no mercy for those who would harm her own.
The evil things fled.