Friday, March 28, 2008

The Rider - Chapter 6: Fables

David walked up the counter and sat down on a well worn stool, looking around the diner. Noting that nothing in the diner was newer than the 1950's, even the calendars on the wall still said 1952 under an advertisement extolling the virtues of the new foot shifter and hand clutch option available for the Harley-Davidson Hydra-glide Panhead of ‘52.

As he reached for the menu clipped to a condiment tray, he realized that although the parking lot was full of cars and trucks, the diner was empty besides himself and the waitress. He briefly wondered to himself that maybe the other people were behind the diner and he just hadn't seen them…or perhaps they rode off in some tour bus to sightsee.

He glanced at the menu while motioning to the waitress who had retreated to the back of the counter near the rear entrance. She didn't even glance up and seemed to him that she was purposely ignoring him. He chuckled to himself at the absurdity of it as he was the only customer in the joint. He spoke up, “Excuse me, can I put an order in?” She didn't reply. David wasn't sure if she just hadn't heard him or he was just being ignored. He repeated himself in a louder tone…No response. He stood up and walked the length of the counter to where she was standing and tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention. As he did so he noticed that she seemed trancelike, her skin was cold as ice... still she gave no response. David smacked his hand forcefully on the counter yelling, “Hey! Do you hear me?” as he watched for a reply, she faded into smoke and disappeared. While at the same time the diner was reverting into its old state of disrepair.

Momentarily stunned by what he had just witnessed, he stood blankly staring at the surroundings. The cars and trucks in front of the diner faded away. He could see his bike leaning on its side stand out in the now otherwise empty parking lot. The storm was gathering strength over the diner; the clouds swirled into a vortex and created the resemblance of an ancient fortress. The sky above and around the diner then grew more ominous and black...the air inside fell still with a sudden abruptness. From the desert a single breeze had started to drift across the gravel and seemed to him to settle on his bike. Unbidden, the ridiculous thought came to him: It appears like it's checking out my bike. Then his ears heard what sounded like the wind howling franticly: “David?”

“Okay, I got it, I'm dreaming,” said David aloud. “I just gotta wake up. It's gotta be the stress from sleeping under that overpass last night. I gotta stop working so many hours. Maybe it's paint fumes from the garage attached to the house, I'll check the cans when I wake...I'm home in bed...just gotta wake up...” At the same time he knew...this was no dream. Bizarre as it may be, it was too real; the air was too crisp, the smells too clear,
the feel of his surroundings too solid to be a dream. Then there was the feeling of severe deja vue.

But still what he was seeing and hearing couldn’t possibly be real. He started to run towards the door and got no closer to the entrance, as hard as he ran it was as if he was on a treadmill going nowhere. He screamed out in frustration...the sound didn't travel, it just fell from his lips around him. “Is this what the beginning of insanity is like?” thought David. “No,” replied his subconscious, “you know what this is,” Long forgotten memories drifted to him slowly. His mind took him back in time to when he was young....He remembered his grandfather and his dad talking about old legends; the Riders. At the time he was hearing those stories he knew instinctively that they were not mere fables. How he knew that was never really clear to him, but as he listened he always seemed aware that he knew more details than the narrative was telling, almost as if the knowledge was hardwired into his psyche. It was if he had actually been there once. But, as the years passed since, he had begun to convince himself that he had heard the stories when he was much younger and was just remembering details from then. Now it became clear to him......they weren't fables.

Knowledge flooded back into his consciousness. He knew who he really was...and his true calling. Instinct took over and he whirled around to see what had been the back entrance....was now opening to another dimension. The sudden clarity of his mind forced David into action.

Yasuda! ...He can't be allowed into this plane. The only access for him is with a connection to a still-mortal Rider. “But,” he thought, “if I am not on this plane he can't break through.”

He dove into the portal...