Oak, what’s wrong?
“The rain, it hasn’t come.”
It’ll come, it always does.
“The trees are going dry.”
What can I do?
“Sing the song. We need your help. Bring the rain.”
The rain song? I’m not sure I can sing it alone.
The rain feeds the leaves
And the roots of my tree.
Break down the levees,
Let the water come free.
And tell me why should we cry
While our trees wear green gowns.
A pure heart will keep you dry
While the rain is come down.
“Can you feel that? Can you feel it? You did sister. It’s raining!”
I should thank you, not you me. When were finished, I’m coming home. Thanks brother.
Lily woke up, and let her tear roll down her face. Water was meant to fall. She felt refreshed and cleansed. Around her, her friends still slept.
Jump up on the table, and we’ll see if we can take those ugly stitches out of your hand.
Everything looks okay. I think you’ll be back to your old tricks in no time.
How does a little girl like you manage to cut herself like that anyway? Hmm? No answer, must be a little nervous. Did you fall on some glass?
“No. Rock climbing.”
Ooh a rock climber. Did you see those rocks outside my window. Okay, got you looking away. Now if I’m fast enough. Okay sweetie, were done. Would you like a sucker.
“Thank you doctor.”
A kiss for a sucker, pretty good trade. Pretty good trade indeed.
Joan woke up still holding her cheek where Jenny had kissed her. She joined Lily and they waited to be let out of their cell.
“Beautiful isn’t it Meribah?”
Oh father this is the nicest island we’ve seen yet.
“Its people are very reclusive, but when they do allow others to stay with them, they show them how truly beautiful heaven can be.”
Can you take me with you? I mean, more often.
“Your mother might not approve.”
Oh father, I so much want to see everything you’ve seen.
“In twenty more years you will be old enough to do what you want.”
That’s an eternity away.
“No my love, an eternity will be the time that you’re away from us.”
I dream of a day when mother will want to travel the waters like us. Then we can build a ship and sail heaven, and who knows maybe all the human planets.
“When that day comes, I will be a happy man.”
I miss you.
“And I miss…
you.” Meribah glanced about the room. She was the only one awake. Lily and Joan had left, and Marc and Joel still slept. She lay back down, and thought about her dreams.
Lily and Joan followed the same boy who had brought them to the cell the day before. He went through a rehearsed speech that he used on all the new arrivals, explaining the sleep and its effects.
“So who’s running this dream house and why?” asked Joan. The question sounded a little rude even to her.
“The city runs the house.” The boy looked over his shoulder. “You know, to keep the city streets clear of sleepers.”
“Where are we going now?” asked Lily.
“I’m taking you to talk to Sebastian. You will also be able to eat there.” He walked around a corner.
“And Sebastian is?” Joan hurried to catch up.
Does he really expect me to work one last day? “Well Kevin, I’m going for a walk.” There let him think on that. Kevin. Why not just call your kid Biff or Happy? Well Kevin, in twenty years maybe Biff will chase after you down the hall.
“Bird seed! Bird seed! Fifty cents to feed the needy and make some friends.”
Take a walk in the park and feed some birds, why not? I’ll take a bag, sir. Here’s a fin, have a good breakfast today.
Hey birdie, what should I do with my life. Move down to Florida, like the rest of those snowbirds? Or maybe, work at a small firm that needs an accountant and doesn’t care about his age?
“Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.”
Maybe I should take some courses on those fancy shmancy accounting programs.
“Can’t teach an old accountant new numbers.”
You know, you’re a pretty smart bird.
What would you do, if you were me? Would you give up and wait for your pension check to come in so that you can buy bird food?
“No I’d spend the two million you saved up and invested.”
Now just wait, that money is for when I retire.
Yeah, well. I’ll think about it.
Mom, Dad I’ve missed you.
“Where have you been?”
I’ve been dead. It’s not so bad.
“We’re so proud of you Joel, our very own hero.”
“And Joel we love you.”
I love you too…
mom.” Joel looked around but saw only Meribah. She walked over and held him. “I love you too, mom,” he whispered.
“Hi, I’m Sebastian,” the black boy behind the desk introduced himself.
“I’m Lily and this is my friend Joan.” Lily and Joan sat in two of the chairs facing Sebastian.
“I’ve some fruit for you to eat.” Sebastian stood up and walked to a trolley of food that had been behind the door. He pushed the trolley in front of the two girls. “Please help yourselves.”
“I’ve sent Greg back to check on your friends. Sometimes when a few wake up, they bring the others with them.” Sebastian sat down again and ate some grapes so the girls wouldn’t feel awkward. “So what brings you to Wezul?”
“What do you mean?” Joan looked up from her orange which she had been pealing.
“Well, I mean you don’t look like the regulars we get at free dream houses.” He twisted his face in a perplexed pose. “I would think to see you in the middle or higher class dream houses, where money can buy you a few more comforts.”
“We’re travellers,” Lily put forward, “and we have no money. We’ve never needed money before now, and we never knew it existed. The potion seller called us outlanders, if that helps.”
“Outlander is a very broad term,” said Sebastian.
Greg returned with Joel and Meribah.
“Ah two more. Please have a seat and eat with your friends.” Sebastian gestured to the empty chairs. “I am Sebastian.”
Lily gestured to Joel and Meribah in turn and introduced them.
“I was just telling Lily and Joan that outlander is a very broad term and also infers negative connotations. An outlander could be a person of a religious cult who comes to dream, or a person who is addicted to the dreams, or someone who came here to see what all the fuss was about.” Sebastian cleared his throat. “Although with this group, I think, it was purely ignorance of the dream virus. Am I right.”
“Yes you are,” said Joel.
“Good I like being right.” Sebastian grinned. “After you’ve eaten there’s a lounge where you can stay until daylight.”
“Are you keeping us prisoner?” asked Joan.
“No, nothing so devious,” assured Sebastian. “Night time in Wezul is very dangerous. And the city officials want to keep as little as possible the amount of people about. After all the fewer amount of people, the fewer the amount of problems.”