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Mother: A Doppelganger Novella (Part 7)


Part 7

My mystery guide and I walked through the beautiful field of wild flowers. I had many questions about my double. He didn’t answer right away. He had a habit of repeating himself, a thing that I found endearing. For example, I would ask a question like, “Where are we?” and my guide would answer, “We are in your world, the world of wild flowers. We are in your world.”.This was my first time in any world, but I wasn’t able to stay for long. That didn’t matter

because I was, finally, sure that I have traveled to another dimension. Unfortunately, I woke up too soon. I forgot to turn off my phone and it beeped a notification. I made a mental note not to leave the phone on unless it was an alarm for work on weekdays. I was still happy that I made it as far as I did and decided that if I see my guide again, I would ask for his name.

Sean called me a few more times after the initial phone call on my birthday. He seemed to be very interested in having dinner with me and so we made the date for the following week when he would be in NYC. Once again, I found myself wary of getting involved with anyone. Maybe my fear of getting hurt was the reason that relationships never worked out. I wasn’t sure of anything at this point but my need to reach my double and trying to understand her.

Sean came to Brooklyn the following week and we met for dinner at a sea food restaurant by the marina in Sheepshead Bay. The dinner wasn’t long and the food was not that great. I never liked going out to dinner during the week. For some reason, the food isn’t as fresh or maybe that’s just my own perception of week night dinners. I thought that meeting Sean for a quick dinner would be nice as a first date. No pressure and you can always say that you have to get up early for work, if you don’t like the person.

Of course, I was on the lookout for my double. I hadn’t seen her or heard her song for over a week. I thought that maybe she was gone for good. At least, that’s what I told myself, even though, I knew in my heart that she was not gone and won’t be till I figure out who she is and where she came from. I kept scanning the restaurant for her and tried to have a conversation with Sean at the same time.

We talked about the usual stuff that people talk about on first dates. Sean was a writer, He only worked construction to pay the bills. I told him that I’m a writer, too. Truth be told, I haven’t written in a very long time. I didn’t tell him that. I said that I would love to read some of his writing and maybe I can dig up some of my work for him to read. Sean asked me if I would like to go to lunch the following week. He was going to be in Brooklyn again and thought that we should get to know each other further. I agreed as we walked back to his car. I had taken the bus up to Sheepshead Bay to meet him, but he didn’t want me to take public transportation as it was getting late.

Sean parked his car in my driveway and leaned over for a good night kiss. I must’ve cringed back because he had a hurt look on his face. I told him that I really don’t like moving too fast, and I apologized for pulling back. Why do we do that as women?, I thought to myself. Why do we apologize for not allowing physical contact when a man wants it? A woman should be able to refuse a physical act and not have to apologize for her refusal. Isn’t it her body and her choice in the end? I stopped myself from over thinking the situation, and I stepped out of the car.

I said goodbye to Sean while thinking that he will probably never call me again. Some men see a refusal for a kiss, as damaging to their ego. Maybe Sean was one of those men, I couldn’t tell. I unlocked the door to my apartment and waved at Sean as he pulled out of the driveway. I had only two things on my mind. First, feed the cats and spend a little time with them. Second, go to bed and try the binaural beats travel again.

I fed the cats and spent a little time with them. They brought such light into my life and I loved them dearly. I always liked the idea of having two cats. They were never lonely an had each other to keep company, when I wasn’t at home. I read that cats do better and feel better, whenever there are two or more together in a household.

Afterwards, I went to the bedroom and changed into my pajamas. I read for about an hour and then decided to use the binaural beats. I don’t know how long it took me, but I found myself, once again, in the field of wild flowers. However, this time, there was more to it than just a field and a blue sky.

I stood in the world that I created so long ago. The field had changed and here was huge trees with yellow, orange, and green leaves. The air smelled like a bonfire was burning somewhere. The atmosphere felt like mid autumn with a gentle breeze. I stood there taking it all in when I saw the mermaids. A beautiful and calm sea that wasn’t there before had appeared. Its water was a light blue and clear. Three mermaids were swimming in it by the shore. The mermaids looked like how I imagined mermaids would look like when I was a child. They each had long, flowing hair with sea shell combs in it. Each mermaid had a different hair color. One had lavender hair, the second had fiery red hair, and the third had hair the color of green sea foam.

Their tails were iridescent blue, green, and yellow. Their tails caught light and flashed whenever they moved. They swam in the water and took a break on one of the rocks that stuck out of the water and on the shore.

When I was a child, I loved mermaids. I would draw them and ask my parents for books about them. My mother was very young when she had me and she didn’t always have patience for my childish whims. She told me that mermaids and other fairy tale creatures were not real over and over again. I remember one particular day when I told her that I liked to pretend that mermaids were real.

My mother became very upset, all of a sudden, and yelled at me that there were no such things as make believe and pretending. I was really hurt by her reaction to me and I never brought it up again. I never forgot that day, I felt like a part of my innocence had died.

I still wanted to believe in mermaids. I still drew pictures of them and dreamed of their underwater kingdom. I kept those dreams and pictures from my mother and I never spoke to her about my fantastical ideas again. I was afraid of being screamed at. I suppose that incident helped shape me later on in my life. I became afraid of being judged by people, what they might think about me. I experienced constant feelings of insecurity and became even more introverted and shy than I was already. This particular incident created more uncertainty and isolation in my life.

The wonder of the place that my guide had called “my world”, didn’t stop at the mermaids. The place brought to life so many of the things that I imagined as a child. There was a row of plants that grew out of the ground. The leaves were green and the actual “flowers” were cotton candy roses, all in different pastel colors. I remembered that when I wasn’t allowed to have cotton candy because of all the sugar, I imagined plants that would sprout their own cotton candy flowers. I would pretend that I had a garden with cotton candy roses. No one could stop me from eating them because they belonged to me.

The sky changed colors constantly, as the grass changed its color to match the sky. It went from blue to bright orange to a deep purple. Even though the sky was dark, there was still enough light to see by. I couldn’t really see how this world is illuminated since the only light posts were fish bowls filled with water and swimming angel fish. The mermaids sat on their rocks and were singing, completely unaware of my presence. They sang a wordless song. Their voices were sweet and otherworldly.

All kinds of animals walked and roamed in this world. Wolves, cats, foxes, and even dragons. The animals looked like how I drew them, my childish sketches have come to life and they were all flat as if they leaped off the sketch paper and came into being right here, all around me.

I felt that someone was watching me and as I turned, there stood my guide. His flowing gown had changed in color and was now the color of a deep purple amethyst. He smiled.

“Welcome back to your world, Lori. Your world, welcome back.”, he said.

“What’s all this? All my childhood dreams are here.”, I said as I turned around in circles, still amazed by what I was seeing.

“Long hours, long days, a child sits and dreams. A child sits and dreams.”

“Yes, I was always alone most of the time. I always wanted friends till one day, I didn’t. All of this, all of them were my friends.”, I said as I felt tears roll down my face.

“You came to see her world. You want to see her world and understand. I will take you there, but we cannot enter. Take you there and cannot enter.”, my guide said.

As my guide and I walked side by side, I found more of the world that I created. An orange cat walked around my legs, flat with a smiling face. Only one side of the cat was orange, the other white and unmarked. The orange cat that tore itself away from its paper prison and became alive and free. I stopped to pick a blue cotton candy rose and ate it. It tasted better than any cotton candy that I’ve ever had. My guide didn’t speak as he watched me enjoy my creations.

I, suddenly, had a word pop into my mind and I knew that it was not a word, but a name. My guide had allowed me to know his name and it was "Kamarth". I,also, knew that we had known each other at one time in my life. A time that I had forgotten, but Kamarth hadn't. I couldn't pinpoint the exact time when I had known him. He felt familiar to me now, unlike the first time I met him.

We came to a tree that I knew wasn’t something that I dreamed of in childhood. The tree, although very colorful and pretty from afar, was filled with leaves that had mouths. The leaves opened their mouths and green, pointed teeth showed through. They made a high pitched squeaking sound, almost like a scream. I stepped back from my guide when I heard the leaves’ scream. He held his hand out to me, reassuring me. There was some kind of vegetable or fruit that grew on the tree that the leaves ate. The tree was cannibalizing itself!

“The tree will not hurt you. It is on the border between your world and hers. The tree will not hurt you.”, my guide explained.

“Then where is her world? I want to see it now.”, I said to my guide. I suddenly felt ashamed. I realized that I sounded like a bratty kid, the kind you see in stores with their long suffering parent, trying to talk some sense into them.

“I will take you to the edge and show you her world from afar. We cannot step into her world, not yet. Not yet, we cannot step into her world.”.

I knew that it wasn’t the right time to try to explore her world. I felt that I needed more, but more of what? Time, knowledge, practice? I wasn’t sure. We approached a literal line drawn in the ground. The grass was no longer healthy or even grass for that matter, and the wild flowers were gone. The “grass” on the other side, countless sharp and rusty needles that stuck out in all different directions. Running through the rusty needles, were thick, brown tree roots. The tree roots were connected at both ends. At one end, the roots grew out of a towering tree. The tree’s leaves were dry and gray. Even though the tree leaves looked dead, they were was still life in them. I felt the tree’s life force without touching it. The tree resembled an oak and in the middle of its trunk was a large hollow. The hollow looked like a cradle to me. A cradle is supposed to be a place of comfort, however, this cradle had a negative feel. The cradle was large and could easily hold an adult of average height and weight.

The roots grew in a circle, spread around the tree. Each individual root led from the tree to eight doors. The doors were gray and each had a plaque attached. Each plaque had one word engraved, “LIES”, “BETRAYAL”, “ANGER”, “REGRET”, “HATE”, “LOSS”, “FEAR”, and “DEATH”. The words were bright red and almost looked like they were on fire. It was very difficult to try to take my eyes from them. The doors had no door knobs and if I was to open the doors, they wouldn’t have led me to any room or building, They were standing alone and I could see both their fronts and backs.

I, soon realized, that the tree was somehow receiving nourishment from whatever existed behind the doors. The roots looked buried beneath the doors, although, I could not see anything behind behind them. Something, a room or an object that was couldn’t be seen by me. Unseen but very real. A source of nourishment for the tree and whatever inhabited its hollowed trunk.

The tree was the heart of this world. Above it, the sky was gray that turned into black, that turned into brown and other colors of that nature. Vicious looking birds flew above the tree and landed on its branches. They had large beaks, crooked and broken. The birds were skeletal and only their wings had feathers. Their feathers were oily and black. When the birds flew, they didn’t fly like ordinary birds. They flew upside down. Their stick thin legs and feet stuck straight up, facing the dark sky.

Some animals, creatures that I had no name for, roamed the area around the tree. I had never seen creatures such as these. They reminded me of dogs and coyotes. The first thing I saw when I looked at them was the large teeth that stuck out of their long muzzles. They had no eyes, but I knew that they weren’t blind. What little skin they had was mangy, they were mostly skeletal like the birds that they grabbed whenever the birds flew too close to the ground. The canine creatures ate the birds and made a horrifying sound as they crunched the bones. The black feathers fell to the ground around them as they ate.

“This is…..hers?”, I asked, trying not to speak loudly. I was afraid.

“Those are her protectors. They protect her and do her bidding. They do her bidding.”, he said as he pointed at the canines.

“What about the tree? And the doors?”, I asked as I kept my eyes on the strange sight.

“That’s where she was born and she comes back here often to feed. Born and fed, born and fed. She was born here and she feeds here.”, he said.

“Is she some kind of twin that I have? I want to know what she is and what she wants!”, I demanded.

“Don’t you know? Lori, don’t you know?”. That was the last thing I heard from my guide, before I heard the radio alarm go off. It was time for me to get ready for work. Her song played loudly out of my little radio alarm clock, "Have you ever seen a dream walking? Well, I did."

© 2021 Johanna Elattar