Horns of the Green Path

Horns of the Green Path

I was out of liquor.

My entire house was out of liquor, and I was on my way down to the bar. I didn’t dare, especially in my drunken stupor, take the longer drive all the way to the store. I was likely to be denied again.

The trip was only about a mile, down a bluff with a beautiful stream. My wife and I used to go walking along a path that descended into the gully along the road. It didn’t have any streetlights on it, but I could drive it with my eyes shut. They were doing some road work, well, the construction was up at least, cones everywhere on the sidewalks and in the street. It was a bumpy ride for my drunken stomach, but I was happy to have made the trip.

Carla still supported me, knew I might have been drunk already but served me. Thank the gods. So I continued to sink into a stupor. The ride home was less than clear, but I made it home ok. Might have bumped a cone or two as my car had what I think were fresh dents, but I was not in a position to tell.

That’s when the dreams started.

They came night after night, invading my coma-like alcohol induced sleep. I heard things from far away, like soft music and a young woman’s voice. I followed it, but there was no light, only endless darkness.

As the dreams progressed, picking up where they left off the previous night, I learned things about the woman. Her name was Carla. She was lost in my dream world, shouting if anyone could hear or see her.

I said nothing.

On the third night, there was a soft glow of light. Carla stepped into it and looked…not well. Her clothes were torn and stained. She had clearly been bleeding at one time, but only bore the darkness of dried blood now.

She looked confused and afraid, and I didn’t want to see it anymore, waking myself up with great strain. I downed some Ambien and slipped back into blissful sleep. The next night, I drank heavily, even for me. I thought for sure I’d blackout completely.

Or die.

Neither happened.

As Carla continued to ask for help, details about the area she stood in became clear. It was a grove of some sort, covered in green grass and glowing flowers. There were two granite archways covered in vines. The most unsettling part of the nightmare was the living goat’s head between the archways. It had curling horns and glistening black fur. Two silver plates sat underneath it, containing different seeds.

“Where am I?” I heard her speak clearly as if I was there.

“You are at the divergence of your pathways. You are here to choose your fate,” the talking goat head replied. She seemed confused but unafraid.

“What am I supposed to choose?” she asked.

“We can all choose what seeds in life to plant. We can choose to move forward and plant nothing, we can choose to plant the seeds of life…or the seeds of revenge,” the head spoke smoothly, conveying no emotion.

I could see her confusion, but it lessened as a scene played out before her like a projector screen of loose memories. I could feel her emotions as it played out.

She was walking somewhere, dressed almost elegantly. This was the night she beat her anxiety and tried something new. Twenty-one now, she would cast off the shackles of depression and ridicule from high school and college. She was going to have a good time tonight and break her own mold. Carla was walking along a sidewalk when intense pain crossed her face as she flew through the air, tree branches, and then water into blackness. What I saw the moment before her pain sent shivers down my spine. The custom license plate I had made for my late wife.

I woke myself up, clutching the photo of me and my wife. My beautiful wife Aita. Oh how it ached as I looked at it, the last photo before cancer began to wear her down. Standing on a mountain, our last trip before the treatment sapped her strength.

I pondered the drawer next to me and the silver barrelled gun that lay inside of it, my intoxication wiped away for the first time in weeks since the funeral. A shadow cast through my bedroom window from the full moon outside.

Carla stood there, ethereal and wrapped in fine clothes again. Not a speck of blood…and a large set of curled horns atop her head. She wandered around in my wife’s garden, now overflowing with weeds. I wept at remembering how well she kept it, and how I had let it go.

Stopping in an empty patch, she looked up at me and smiled the smallest bit.

Then she bent down, seeds glowing in the moonlight in one hand, and began to dig.