Bewilderment was at the forefront of my mind. After following the seemingly forgotten hiking trail from the cabin for about a mile and a half, I stumbled upon the Overlook Pass. Little sunlight filtered through the thick trees to the trail comprised of curves, downward and upward slopes; there was even a tunnel. Images of my cabin, the village, and the attraction swam through my mind trying to organize themselves into a coherent map…Golden Bluff Cabins; Copseville; Overlook Pass…
By road, the village is only about ten minutes away. The cabins are nestled within their own paradise carved out of the woods. Winding roads lead visitors through the maze of trees to the open highway, the retreat entrance on the west side of the road. Turning north, Copseville is found about two miles out. Thinking back on my first day in the village, I realize we passed the Golden Bluff Cabins on our way south out of town. I remember a sharp turn toward the east and continued winding roads. I also remember it took us about a half hour to reach Overlook Pass…but, did we go straight there from town?
When I was on the bike with Todd, I was not paying much attention to the details of how we arrived at Overlook Pass. I remember Todd’s scent, his feel, the wind, the sun, and the amazing trees. For all I know, Todd took me on a tour of back roads prior to landing at our destination that day.
By now I was standing in the center of the viewing platform. One question persisted: How did I not realize my cabin’s proximity to the park?
Then I remembered the shadow from the first visit Todd brought me here. I oriented myself in the position to give me the same perspective of the area as I had that day, facing north in the middle of the platform. It did not take me long to see that I had just come from behind the bushes the figure stood.
Maybe I have not been imagining someone following me after all. It was time to bring Todd in on my suspicions.
~ ~ ~
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Todd met me at Overlook Pass. We were currently walking back to my cabin, heading west. “You should have told me about this from the beginning. You should have at least called last night.” He seemed more worried than disappointed.
“So you don’t think I’m crazy?” Yes, I am still questioning my sanity. And yes, I obviously have a slight complex in this regard.
“No, I don’t.” Todd stopped walking. He turned to me after running his hand through his hair, quite lost in thought. “This explains so much…I wish I could have been there to help you.”
“I appreciate that. And I wanted to share this with you, but I didn’t know if it was real or not.” I glanced around aware we were near the tunnel entrance. “Right over there is a tunnel. It’s very narrow, completely dirt, and quite short. I am not sure why it’s there.” We stood in a slight tapering of landscape, reminiscent of an asymmetrical clay bowl. To the south, the land climbed up; to the north, the land leveled out after a slight rise. “What do you suppose the tunnel is for?”
“Ah, it runs under the highway above.” He winked at me. Taking another look, I followed the landscape from the tunnel around my left and behind. The ridge of the bowl must have followed the path of the highway and the road that led into Overlook Pass. I also noticed that too my right the land seemed to hiccup before flattening out.
Clearly I am not the most observant. Clearly I need to work on my facial expressions, for Todd laughs. “I wouldn’t expect you to know that right off the bat. Between the thickness of the trees and the narrow bridge above and the way this tunnel was constructed it would be easy to miss. If you listen hard, you can hear a faint humming sound every now and then as a car passes.” He is right…
~ ~ ~
“I’ll be honest, I do not see any signs that someone was here…” The sheriff in Todd began to surface.
“See why I didn’t want to share this?” We are standing on the porch inspecting the front door of the cabin. “Would you like some lunch?” It became obvious there was not much to go on with the mysterious shadow figure I kept seeing, and after all of that walking I needed food.
Todd followed me into the kitchen where we gathered ingredients needed for hotdogs, taking them out to the grill. He chose to man the grill while I retrieved beverages from inside.
“You said Stella mentioned the possibility that you may have been here before?”
“Yeah, and I have experienced déjà vu moments more than once upon my arrival…but if I was here before, why would I not remember?” My left hand supported my head as my right played with my glass of water. On the one hand, I am happy I shared all of this with Todd. It is a weight off of my shoulders. On the other, it feels anticlimactic. I sense an urge to pray and obey: Lord, please reveal any truth I am meant to come into.
“Well…,” Todd placed a plate of blackened hot dogs on the table, “I think we need to revisit the room upstairs. There is definitely a connection between you and that room. Maybe we can look up there after lunch.”
I grabbed a bun and a dog wishing for chili sauce. Why did I not think to pack that? “I think that would be a good idea; especially if you are with me. I really don’t feel comfortable going up there alone anymore.”
Todd slathered his dog with relish, ketchup, and mustard. It was gross, the combination turning brown in some spots as it oozed out the ends of the bun. He saw my disgusted expression, and feigning offense asked with a full mouth, “What? It’s good. You’d know if you tried…anyhow, it’s better than nothing.” He said this pointedly, noticing my naked dog. Then he smiled. His mouth was messy.
I got up and grabbed napkins, placing one on his mouth. We both broke out into laughter as I returned to my seat. The conversation for the rest of the meal was light in the form of a laid back twenty questions game. I relaxed in Todd’s presence, aware I had never felt this way before. While foreign, I decided to embrace whatever this relationship may turn into. And I found myself thinking that I would love for this to turn into something.
One thought that I kept pushing away: What would happen when my vacation was over? Of course, I have only been here three days. I have only known Todd for three days. How can one feel so connected to a person they just met? How can I feel like I have known him my entire life when I just met him three days ago? And how can he know the part of me I am just coming to know? It was unsettling and exciting at the same time…
Apparently I checked out. Apparently the conversation has taken a turn. Apparently Todd has just asked a question.
“Huh? Sorry. What did you say?” Good job Ivy!
Fortunately, this does not bother Todd, for he just laughs. This is becoming a theme with us. I check out or do something that can question any perception of my mental health and he laughs at me…but this is fine with me. I smile in response. It is better than the alternative: Todd being mad or frustrated. Of course, he has every right to feel that way.
“Where did you go?” Todd stood to stretch, food no longer on his plate. I look down at mine to see I have also finished eating. I do not even remember eating the rest of my hot dog. He begins picking up the plates. I take care of the condiments.
“Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind,” I cringed. “I really am sorry. What were you saying?”
“First of all, I do not expect anything less,” He laughs. Again…Should I be offended? “Meaning, this has been your M.O. since I met you. Look, I understand that something happened before you decided to visit here. I also understand a lot has transpired since your arrival. I find it endearing.” I raised my eyebrows – yes both, I cannot just raise one – in speculation. He laughs, yet again. I do love that sound. “What I said earlier was that I believe the answers are in that room. How would you like to check it out now?”
“Sure…” We returned everything from lunch to their appropriate locations, and then climbed the stairs.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
What will Ivy and Todd find in the locked room? Will Ivy and Todd continue their romance?
Think you know? Have any ideas? Share your thoughts!!!