In the night the suburban streets that were so quiet during the day became crowded and noisy. The voices of the lonely people called out to one another, expressing their innermost longings: "Why did you leave me?", "How will I pay the mortgage?", and "Won't someone make me a club sandwich?"
The pavement was hot beneath my bare feet. The trees were on fire. I wanted to get away from the world where I was alone, trapped in this body, unable to turn off these thoughts. I stumbled past the hedges, feeling all the sadness of the human realm crowding in on me. I walked to the last bit of prairie, at the edge of the industrial park.
I stood quietly, hardly breathing. The first bit of salmon-colored light from the rising sun crept closer and closer to the hole. There was a shivering. I could feel my heart pound as I heard a rustling: a real perceptable noise, a shape emerging from the darkness. I saw a hand, a hand covered with dirt and with a pale palm, holding a great crystal, a crystal about the size of a softball. When the light came the crystal seem to fill with the light and glow orange. When the crystal had been brightly lit, the hand disappeared.
I did not think. I followed, diving down deep into the hole, closing my eyes, holding my breath. It was more spacious inside than I would have guessed. I hardly had to stoop.
I pursued the light of the crystal, but I was not at all quiet. I stumbled, I fell. The earth was polished, hard, and did not transfer dirt onto you. It was almost like pavement. Was this where the sewers were? No, everything seemed to have been molded by hand, with no harsh corners, only smooth curves that did not hurt when you brushed against them.
I got up and could no longer see the light. I peered into the pitch black dark, suddenly without any bearings or direction, blind. Just as suddenly, the light appeared and two eyes were peering up at me. I gasped, I didn't say anything. The eyes looked me up and down, the light shone on me, head to toe. The pale hand gestured: come along.
I followed. I heard a voice. I did not hear the voice with my ears, though: it seemed to resound directly within my head. "What have you brought?"
"Brought?" I said aloud. "Who is that?" No response. I thought to myself: Is this fellow talking to me? Then the thought came: "Of course I'm talking to you. What have you brought us?"
I reached into the pockets of my jeans. Luckily there was a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, half empty. "Gum," I said inside my thoughts.
"Good," said the voice. "What kind: Chiclets? Spearmint? Bazooka Joe?" When I thought the words "Juicy Fruit," I heard the response: "Excellent!" and laughter resounded inside my skull. I had not heard laughter since the last sitcom I had watched on TV: a rerun of All in the Family. Then laughter sounded and echoed inside my head, seeming to come from multiple directions. Shapes came forth into the orange light: I had discovered the home of the Rootweavers.