Incident on Black Snake Mountain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Neville climbs to the top of Black Snake Mountain to settle a bet with himself.

Submitted: January 20, 2008

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Submitted: January 20, 2008

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Dusk was setting in now, and the cold air began to claw its way up the mountainside from the misty valley below.  The sinking sun was just tickling the horizon, and the faint glimmer of distant other worlds began to poke through the blue-purple veil of eastern sky.

Neville paused, panting from the arduous climb and, though perspiring from the effort, found himself beginning to chill.  He drank deep from the cantine he had brought with him, then wiped the fresh sweat from his forehead on to his soggy shirt.  He stared into the dimming sunlight, now more than half obscured, and reflected on the life events that brought him to this spot on this day.

* * *

It began when Neville was 6.

The dream was always different, but had familiar, consistent elements each time.  Black Snake Mountain (which he had never even heard of) was usually where these dreams took place.  Every subsequent dream revealed something new and unique, but always at Black Snake Mountain.

The dreams began infrequently, and were at first easily dismissed as the whimsies of childhood; strange stirrings of the mind brought forth from too much chocolate and an over-active imagination.  But as Neville grew older and the dreams became more frequent, it became much more difficult to ignore the twists, the messages, the clues.  At age 13, Neville began keeping a notebook, full of drawings and descriptions of things revealed to him in dreams.

By age 15, Neville had convinced himself that he was well on his way to madness.  He never spoke of the dreams, and kept his notebook steadfastly secret.  By that time it was well over 200 pages, and the sheer volume of it all compelled Neville to become obsessive about it; he spent hours and days scribbling notes, theories of interconnections, of how this map might relate to that sound, and what it could all mean.

Finally, at age 21, it happened.  A date.  October 19, 2007.  It was now a recurring theme.  Black Snake Mountain.  October 19, 2007.  Whatever else the dream contained, there was that day and that time.

Now it was time to settle the bet.  Was he mad?  Was there genuine meaning to the dreams, or would they repeat forever without mercy...if he allowed the date to pass without answering this question, he might be tormented forever.

"You made it!" came the soft, female voice from behind the rock.

"Adrianna?" Neville answered, without fully understanding why he knew that name.

"I knew you would make it!  Is anyone else with you?  Henry?  Monique?"  Adrianna was full of questions as she embraced Neville like a long, lost friend, though he was quite certain they had never met.

"No," he answered, "I haven't seen them yet."

"No matter, they'll be along, I'm sure."

Adrianna grabbed Neville's hand and they continued together to the top of the mountain.  By now, Neville had his flashlight in hand, carefully negotiating the loose rocks on the aggressive slope.  Up ahead in the clearing, they saw another flashlight, waving in a signaling fashion, and the faint echo of familiar voices.

"Henry!" Adrianna called out and began running towards the other light.  Monique was there too, of course, Neville knew she would be, though he was still numb trying to soak it all in.  Was this merely another dream?  After all these years, had the dreams simply taken on a new level of realism?

"What time is it?" Monique asked Neville as she hugged him.

"8 o'clock." Neville answered.

"We're right on time," replied Monique.  She began to notice Neville's somber mood.  "Cheer up man...the answer is coming, should be here in..."

"5 minutes." Neville answered.

They all stood together, holding hands and staring at the southern horizon.  No one said a word, and the only sound was the faint whistle of gentle breezes and trickling streams.

Then, it happened.

A faint light appeared just over the southern ridge and began creeping slowly toward them.  Neville could feel Monique's hand clench tighter around his, and her thumb was rubbing his skin lovingly.

The light remained silent as it approached, and the closer it got the more memories from forgotten dreams began to pour forth.  The light finally engulfed the 4 friends who had never met, and in an instant they were gone.

Neville, Henry, Monique, and Adrianna had gone home.

 


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