“I’ll take the ‘Party Man Breakfast” my buddy Garret, visibly proud of himself when the waitress mishears his bad joke on the “Hardy Man Breakfast.” Debbie, the waitress, finishes taking our orders and collects our menus. Before he can continue, our friend Nick interjects.
“So, why Pittsburgh?” he asks me before he takes a sip from his coffee.
“I only lived here for a few years, but I feel like this is where I came into my own. This is the city that some of my best stories come from” I said as I shoot a text to my old roommate letting her know I was in town.
“Tell us everything” Garrett added. At that, Nick, Garrett, and Patrick, three of my best friends focus their full attention on me. With such a captive audience, I have to tell a good one.
“Well, one morning after class, I took a quick nap and had a wild dream. It was just after dusk. My vision was blurry. I rubbed them until I could see clearly. When I looked up, my eyes focus on a willow tree in front of me. As I stepped towards the tree, I could feel someone’s eyes on me. I spun around, but all I could see was a gate that blocked my path out of the cemetery.”
Patrick’s eyes are wide, and Nick shifted in his seat uncomfortably. I’m doing great.
“I looked back to the willow tree, but still felt like my moves were being watched. I heard a noise from above me and looked up. I locked eyes with an angel sitting on the roof of the mausoleum. Her brown wings folded behind her back. Her head rested on one of her hands. Her eyes silently said ‘You’re not the first person to come here. Hurry along.’
I turned to my left and headed down a path. The trees in this part of the cemetery were ancient and warped. Their gnarled roots had grown below the crumbling caskets, bringing the remains to the surface. Spirits of the dead lingered nearby and reached towards me. They knew that, unlike the other visitors, that I can see them. I did my best to ignore them as I make my way along the path.
I finally circled back to the main entrance of the graveyard. As I began to walk toward the gate, I heard a woman call to me.
“Come this way,” the voice said. I turned just in time to see a young woman duck behind the hedge. She let out a small giggle and ran down the well-worn path.
Though I was starting to feel like this wasn’t happening on the Earthly plane, I reluctantly followed her. I walked down the path past statues that seemed to come to life as I drew near to them. My legs were shaking, but I made myself move forward. Just over a hill, I saw a platform surrounded by eight white pillars. In the center stood the woman I followed and a man. As I approached, I notice that they are dressed similarly in blue and red tunics. Their facial features mirrored each other as well. I couldn’t tell whether this is because they were brother and sister or if they had simply reached the point in a romantic relationship that they have begun to look alike.
I stopped just short of the platform. ‘This is a place of great power. Visit us often, and we’ll teach you what we know.” I wasn’t sure which one of them said this. Before the words fully registered, I felt myself falling backward and woke up on the couch in my apartment.”
“And then?” Nick asked. I looked at the other two, and they wanted to know more too.
“That’s enough for now. Let’s eat and plan our day” I said, bringing an end to my story. I laughed to myself because I knew what I had up my sleeve.