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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 82: Hastings 70
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Previous chapter: Chapter 81: Kondor 69
It was trees. Lauren was in a clearing in the woods.
That was the first thing she realized. The second thing she realized was that she really was awake this time, looking at the sky between the trees. She didn't have the sense of having been unconscious; she didn't go through that strange dream state. Versing between worlds was getting easier.
In a very real sense, she was becoming accustomed to dying.
She sat up to take a look around. She was on a well-traveled dirt road through the woods. Her belongings were not far, most of them on the road a few dozen yards from where she sat. Everything looked safe, so it was time to pack and start moving. This world was earthlike, certainly, but a dirt road through the woods didn't tell her much.
Which way should she go? This was always a difficult question. After all, even when she had a road with only two directions, either could have something just around the next bend, or the bend after. The wood had the cool smell of morning, and the sun was over the road in one direction, so if she put it to her back it would stay there and out of her eyes for at least a few hours. Regardless, she was confident that God had brought her here, wherever she was, and would see to it that one way or another she found her way to wherever she should be.
She had not gone far, pulling her cart for less than an hour, when she came to a familiar landmark. It wasn't that it looked familiar; nothing she saw matched what she remembered. It was that the name on the sign at the edge of the small village was unforgettable.
She had returned to Wandborough.
For a moment she just stood in the road, coming to grips with this new information. She knew it could be some other Wandborough in some other universe; yet it could be her Wandborough, the place she had lived for perhaps a century, in the world she had twice visited. Of course, it was a world filled with vampires and ghouls and zombie dogs and all sorts of nasty things; but it was also the place where she had learned so much, and for a moment it felt like coming home.
Was it? How could she test it? This was not the Wandborough she remembered, but it was not the twentieth century either, and there were a lot of centuries between Camelot and Philadelphia during which everything she knew would change many times. She was between those two times; was there anything which would have remained the same?
She could try Stonehenge, or other ancient ruins, but these places would probably be pretty much the same in any universe which had a parallel earth. Besides, she'd never visited any of them. There was yet one place she knew which would probably be about the same as it was, which she could probably find easily enough. Reaching out with her mind's eye, she brought the image clearly into her mental view.
"Knock, and the door shall be opened to you," she said, extending her left hand in front of her. The mist formed, and she took hold of her cart and walked into it. Keeping the picture of her destination in mind, she watched it form in the mist, repeated her prayer, and stepped back into the real world.
It was dark; she spoke into the blackness. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." As the space lit up, her eyes darted around the illumined walls. There were traces of alterations, of the changes once made to decorate it. This was her cave; not just the same cave in another world, but the one in which she had once lived.
She had come home.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #110: Character Redirects. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: