Before reading the Ravine part four, please read parts 1-3
Before getting into the car, Hunter asked his wife to take a picture of the painting with her phone. He told her he show her why once they reached their destination
Although short, the drive was quiet and unnerving. Hunter’s wife sat still holding her phone in anticipation while watching the lights on the downtown buildings go by. As they passed the large signs and awnings that hovered over most building entrances, she wondered where the birds slept at night. She imagined them nestled within the cracks of the large concrete and glass structures, or congregating within the trees of the park that separated the suburbs from the city.
Now turning into the parking lot behind the large building that sat on the corner of west tenth ave and fawcett street, she turned to her husband.
“What are we doing at the art gallery?” she asked.
“You’ll see. And trust me when I say this, you may not believe your eyes.”
As the two entered the gallery, Hunter immediately searched the walls. After going through four of the gallery’s nine rooms, he stopped in front of what he was looking for. His wife, catching up, laid her eyes upon what she thought was a mistake.
“What the hell?” she said, not realizing her words. “It’s the same painting, but backwards!”
“Exactly.” Hunter replied. “But there’s more to it. Grab your phone and take a closer look.”
As his wife took a step towards the painting, she pulled out her phone and scrolled to the picture he had her to take before they left the house. After a few moments comparing the two paintings, a crooked smile ran across her face.
“I’ll be damned.” she said shaking her head. “The woman behind the girl is different.”
“How did you know about this?” she asked looking puzzled.
As Hunter walked over towards the painting, he felt a chill as if someone were watching him. Without turning his head, he could see a figure in the shadows towards the right. Then, he heard her voice.
“It’s you isn’t it?” the woman said, stepping free from the shadows.
Turning around, Hunter was now face to face with the woman. It took him no longer than two seconds to realize who she was. She was the same woman he met over twenty years ago in front of the painting he was standing before now. The same woman that told him he would miss his bus. And, the same woman he first shared what the woman in the painting told the girl.
“It’s Rebecca right?” he asked.
“Wow.” she said, gaining a big smile, “I can’t believe you remember my name.”
“Of course I remember you.” he replied. “You’re the girl in the painting.”
Just then Hunter’s wife stood up and walked over to his side. Scanning the room as if trying to see something that wasn’t there, she turned towards him.
“Hunter, who are you talking to?”
He then put out his arms and placed them on his wife’s shoulders while offering a warm smile.
“You trust me don’t you?” he asked, continuing to embrace her.
“Yes, of course I do, but…”
Before she could say another word, he leaned in and kissed her forehead.
“Good.” he said. “I need to leave for a couple of days. And when I return, everything will be different.”
The New Legacy
The storm had finally let up as the man reached the peak of the Ravine. He was standing on a flat clearing looking over the magnificent view below. He took a big, deep, breath, and closed his eyes while listening to all the Ravine had to offer. The birds, the leaves on the trees, the bamboo trunks, creaking and cracking as they swayed back and forth in the mid-western wind.
But this isn’t all he came for, there was something more. Something important and, something only he could see within the visions of his mind. But all of that was about to change.
Pulling off his backpack, he grabbed his canteen and took a big drink of water. He set the canteen down, then reached for the folded army shovel, unclipped it from the pack, and placed it on the ground next to his Springfield service rifle. It had been years since he last used it, but he would never forget that day as visions of his son Michael and his trusty companion Major, flashed across his mind.
For a few moments he sat admiring the bamboo trees as they mingled with the pines. It was rare to see this kind of foliage here in the mid-west. But it added a sense of beauty and fulfillment to his choice of locale. As the bamboo swayed back and forth with their pine and ash brethren, he contemplated his life and what led him to his current actions. He believed, without a shadow of doubt, what he was doing would not only make an impact upon his and his family’s future, but also the lives of those willing to journey along with him.
As he took one last sip from the canteen, he decided this would be the place to stake his claim. He stood up, grabbed the shovel, and jammed it into the ground.
“This is where our estate shall be.” he said, as if talking to the surrounding forest.
“And in this spot, I will create a gazebo with a tunnel that leads directly to the house.”
Part Five coming soon.