Beginning of the End : Chapter 16
I wake up to the smell of quiche with locally picked vegetables.
"Chauncey, you didn't have to..." I begin to say.
"Oh nonsense!" Chauncey replies waving their hand. "You've come a long way. It's the least I can do. Besides, I love baking!"
"You get enough sleep?" Sundae asks.
"Yeah, no nightmares or anything this time," I mention, as I take a sip of this delicious blog og sylte served with pickled vegetables.
Chauncey walks over to Sundae and reaches their paw out.
"You gonna take Ø over there today?" Chauncey blurbs.
Sundae smiles,"Yeah, it's time."
In my head I start to wonder what they mean by all that, but I'm also just as content staying put and enjoying everyone's company.
Soon after, we gather our things and bid Chauncey goodbye.
"Now do me a favor Ø," Chauncey adds. "Don't forget us."
I nod politely and we head out into the orchards off the Delaware property.
We pass a long stream of beautiful crops along the way.
"Where to next Sundae?" I ask a bit puzzled.
Sundae laughs ,"Oh you'll see. Just enjoy the scenery."
The sun beats down on our backs, as we trek through a bunch of hills and valleys, all beautifully manicured, and seemingly never ending.
As the sun begins to set, we approach an amazing flower patch full of tangerine lace marigolds and gooseberry flowers all giving way to an amazing sight of barley crop ripe for picking.
Arms spread out, Sundae walks through the barley field, combing each and every barley plant through their paws. I follow suit, as we watch the komorebi flicker in and out of sight.
We approach the end of the crop, and suddenly find ourselves outside a lovely little estate covered in green ivy, adorned with bricks and wood.
Could this be? No, no way. I run over to the door and knock in excitement. The door opens on its own. I look back at Sundae, who encourages me to go in.
Inside there's an familiar scent of burning alder wood in a fire pit near the corner of the room. As I take in the room, I notice pictures on the wall of Belle's Såinnhus & Mr. Sparkles' magical pond. On the other wall I see a picture of Bowski riding Tulip & Cole Thumper's hearth oven. Then I spot a picture of Millie's office in the tower & Bowski with Jim Jim at their studio. I cannot believe my eyes.
"Sundae, are you seeing this?" I turn around quickly, but don't see Sundae anywhere. "Sundae?!" I rush out the door we came in screaming for Sundae, but as soon as I get outside, I'm no longer in Kernel Springs. I'm completely enveloped in the skog, a super thick fog inhibiting my eye sight.
"Sundae!" I panic and turn around to go back inside, but the estate has vanished. I am in utter disbelief. My body is shaking, and I'm completely lost. How could I lose another friend by my side. There's darkness no matter where I turn. The wind is getting stronger and louder. What is happening to me?
I duck onto the ground, put my hands over head and close my eyes. I mutter to myself 'this isn't real, this can't be happening'. I'm immediately reminded by Chauncey's words, and try to focus on all the beautiful memories - all the amazing beers, food, and landscapes I've been incredibly fortunate to witness on this vast desert island. So much joy and happiness. All the amazing friends I've made along the way, and how far I've come to believing in myself.
I realize now what I must do. All that has come and gone has led me to this point, and I am ready to face the truth. I force myself up, completely surrounded by the dark whispers, heavy winds, and the mystical force of the skog in front of me. I take a long deep breathe, and head straight into the void.