The boy walks slowly along the dusty road, pushing the large dolly ahead of him. The small, hard wheels crunch along the gravel, spitting out dirt and chunks of rock behind them. The sun beats down, scorching the land, causing the boy to stop, pull out a scarf, and wipe his forehead.
He pushes the cart forward to a wooden gate, its warped, cracked wood collecting dust and heat, and pushes it open. Walking through, he drags the cart behind him, carefully watching the boxes so they do not fall off. He lifts it onto the cement walkway encircling the house.
The large beams rise around, and guide him as he walks along the path. And there are…voices. He turns a corner, walking out into the sun, as the green beauty of the courtyard surrounds him. Foliage grows from the rich soil covering the ground beyond the path. In the very center is a pool of blue water, trees and rushes growing from it. The light reflects from the surface, and the secrets it may hold remain a mystery.
The voices attract his attention, and he wheels the boxes toward the man and old woman talking.
“Thank you very much . Good-day,” says the old woman, shaking the man’s hand.
“Yes, and thank you for the demonstration.” The man walks away.
The old woman turns to face me, smiling.
“I see you’ve brought the boxes for Mr. Peterson.”
“Place them right over here.”
I follow her, pulling the cart along the walk with me. She walks rather briskly, her blue, flowered skirt billowing around her legs. I can hear the clicking of the many beads in her necklaces. She leads me to a small patio, encircled by windows whose panes reveal only shadows behind them. The area is strung with many colorful party lamps, swaying slightly from the breeze which blows through a large opening above. Then she turns, and says to me, “They’ll just sit here.”
I place the cart, and turn to leave when I notice the intricate patterns carved and chalked into the cement. I’ve seen them before, exactly the same, with the same old woman standing in the middle of them. She smiles, and her eyes sparkle as she asks, “Would you like to see a demonstration?”
Having nothing better to do, I nod, standing there, and watch her trace her feet along the carvings in the floor. From the corner of my eye, I see a flash of red light, and turn to see a dimming ember in the air. I shiver, the fear of supernatural forces controlling my mind. And I see the wire.
“I’m sorry,” I say, “I just don’t like things like that.” I smile to myself. I know how it’s done, with wires and electricity.
“It’s perfectly understandable, most people are.” I wonder if she realizes that I know.
A fly buzzes in front of me, and I want to be in the courtyard again, where it’s peaceful. “So where is Mr. Peterson?”
She smiles again. “He’s in the Caribbean.” And almost as an afterthought adds, “Having his fun.” Her face is serious for the first time, and I feel fear. “Come, I’ll show you the garden.”
She leads me back through the screen doors and past the windchimes, along the cold cement walkway, and we enter once again the beautiful heaven. The burbling of a small waterfall can be heard, and a slight breeze blows over everything. The old woman walks toward the pool, slowly approaching the rippling, reflecting water. Not knowing what to do, I follow.
“Here is what he does,” she solemnly whispers, and steps into the pool, disappearing below the shimmering surface. I step up to where she was, trying to see below the ripple, but all I see is the light upon the surface. Without a thought I follow her down.
It is cool. The waters surround me like a gentle breeze, moving the green plants to and fro. The scenery is beautiful, as if it were the garden of Eden below the waters. The gentle landscape, shaped perfectly with its water-plants, and every stone placed to precision. I am at peace.
Ahead of me, I see the old woman beckon to me, and I swim to her, gliding along the gentle currents. The ground flows past me, it’s plants and grass slowly growing dirtier and older. The plants begin to droop, their limbs twisted and hanging, as the rocks become tangled roots. And not roots.
It is corroding and filthy, the muscles knotting out against the bloated skin of the foreleg. The toes of the foot are spread wide open as if in constant strain against the roots which the foot is cruelly shoved under.