The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Strange companions

Posted on: February 28, 2007

Over the top of the ridge on the right there is a steep drop, halfway down is a cave larger than the one they slept in last night, Reiner wants to climb to it. But it’s a long way down. So what. So we have to climb up again. So what. There is another moment of unspoken conflict, the sardonic mockery in the dark eyes of the one man wins over the reluctance of the weaker man, they pick their way down between boulder and aloes, loose pebbles scattering under their feet. When they come to the cave his anger cools in the shade of the stone, the calm vista of the valley that unrolls at their feet. It’s beautiful here. Yes. What he means by that one syllable of agreement is that he is right again.

They throw themselves down on the rock. He falls asleep and when he wakes hours have gone by and it is starting to storm. The sky is black and blue with cloud, ladders of lightning drop down, thunder shakes the stone. When the rain comes it is almost solid, a door closing off the world. They sit under the ceiling of rock, water pouring down, with strange cool scents leaking up out of the ground. It is like last night, now that he is rested and refreshed, now that the heat has gone, the rawness of his extreme emotions is also soothed, he can almost love this strange place he finds himself in, and his strange companion, too.

 From “The Follower” by Damon Galgut

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