Into the Wild – Chapter 3
Matt found a pair of boxers on the floor and pulled them on as he crawled back in bed, his pillow shield still in place. The two sat quietly, Matt studying the strangely dressed old man, trying to decide how best to deal with an intruder. Not only was he in his house, but in his bedroom. How’d he get in?
The odd-looking old man was wearing a dark green pair of tights — yes, tights — with a lighter green tunic secured by a belt from which hung a dozen leather bags. His hair was cropped short almost like a drill sergeant and matched his mustache and beard which were equally as short and snow white.
“So, are you ready to listen? We don’t make offers like this often, and I don’t plan on sitting around here all night while you decide not to piss yourself,” said the guy in a soft voice.
“Listen, you broke into my house,” answered Matt, deciding to play along. Maybe this whole thing was just a continuation of the dream. He had heard of dreams within dreams. “What’s this about me not answering my dreams?”
“What have you been dreaming of lately? You know the recurring one?”
“You mean the one about the little lizard guys…”
He interrupted, “Kobolds.”
“Right, that’s what I called them in my dream. We explored a dungeon to do some treasure hunting, me and a friend. Well, I think he was a friend. I’ve never been able to see his face.” Shaking his head, Matt continued, “Anyway, we ended up getting chased through a field by those… kobolds. I always wake up about then; I have no idea how it ends.”
“I know. That’s all we’re giving you. And the reason you cannot see your friend’s face is that you haven’t chosen him yet.”
“What do you mean ‘given me’? I haven’t chosen my friend yet? What? Who are you? It’s time you stop all this mystery shit and get on with whatever it is you feel is worth breaking and entering over.”
“Fine, typically the person gets what we are doing by now and tends to be somewhat more receptive even if they don’t fully believe. You’re going to be one of those harder cases.”
Matt made circling motions with his hand. “You know, if I’m awake, I’ve got things to do tomorrow. Can we get on with this?”
“I also see why you’re a contender. OK, believe it or not, those dreams you’ve been having are not dreams, but programmed scenarios to see if you’re interested in taking a leap of faith that would change your life.”
Sitting up, leaning forward and resting his hands on the pillow, Matt asked, “What are you talking about? What leap of faith?”
“Well, to put it bluntly, would you be interested in living a life like the one you saw in your dreams? A life where you no longer live in this world but another? Where magic, strange animals, and the mysteries you have so enjoyed in all those books you read on that little device, are real?”[PE1]
Half laughing to himself, Matt said, “Clearly I’m still dreaming. Let me see if I’m getting this right. You’re offering to take me to a place that’s like all those fantasy books I read?”
“Exactly, you got it in one. I was starting to think you weren’t near as smart as I’d heard you were.”
“Fuck you, buddy.”
“Maybe later. OK…” The strange man stood. “Let me do this right. First, I should introduce myself; I am Eluard. I’m a recruiter. I’m sent out, on occasion, to find individual souls that don’t fit in their current time, and I work to relocate them into more useful lives.”
“Oh, do you?[PE2] Let’s just say for a moment that I believe you, which I don’t. That this isn’t the most fucked up, crock of shit dream I’ve ever had, which it is. How exactly would this relocation happen?”
“That’s a good sign. At least, you’ve not started screaming and running around like a crazy person, questioning your sanity,” the old man said making an approving face.
“I’m saving that for later after you leave.”
“Very kind of you. From the looks of it, you could probably hit a pretty high whining pitch, and that’s always hard on the ears.”
“Again, fuck you. So, what now? You can’t think I believe what you’re telling me. I’m still going over what I had for dinner last night that would’ve caused such screwed-up dreams.”
“Well, now for the hard part of my visit, proving to you that this is, in fact, not a dream or a delusion, but real. Because once you decide, there’s no turning back.”
Matt leaned against the headboard, putting his hands behind his head. “Well, at least this should be entertaining. Go ahead, convince me.”
Looking out the window, deep in thought, the old man said[PE3] , “It’s later than I expected, and I have a feeling nothing I say here is going to sway you. Let’s do this.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a gold coin. Walking over he placed it on the top of the mirror above Matt’s dresser “There. Now you’ll have to have to make a conscious decision to pick that up. Do so when you’re ready and address it.”
“Address it? What like ’Hello, Coin!’,” laughed Matt.
“That’ll do. Then you’ll be brought to me. Well, you’ll be brought to the Waypost, not actually to me. Then we can continue this conversation.” Turning to face Matt, the old man bowed slightly and said, “Good night!” then vanished.
Matt sat staring at the place where the stranger had stood then rolled his eyes. Finally, scooting back down under his blankets, satisfied with the quality of this dream he fell back to sleep.