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Summoner’s Cliff was a scenic destination overlooking the cove about a half-mile outside of town. It was a place where people would gaze in wonder over the ocean, appreciate the solitude from whatever was troubling their souls, or take selfies with those ridiculous “me-sticks”. It was unmistakably beautiful and seen by thousands of tourists each year. But it held a secret. And, the only person who knew about that secret hidden deep within the rock, was Caleb.
Caleb was a quiet man, mid-thirties, and known in town as the awkward guy who ordered coffee late at night. He wasn’t a normal local either as he had been there for only a few weeks. Because of this (minus his daily caffeine ritual) no one really knew him. All they knew was every night he would walk into the small cliff-top diner, order a coffee, and read text printed from his computer. Some thought he was one of those online teachers, others thought he was a journalist, and a few (mostly the older crowd) thought he worked for the government. Regardless, whenever someone would approach him to unravel his mysteries, he’d simply greet them with a smile and go about his business.
After finishing his coffee and paying the bill one particularly warm and breezy night, he left behind a single piece of paper under his strangely consistent tip of two dollars and twenty-two cents. As the waitress picked up the tip, she noticed the paper, grabbed it, then ran towards the door to get Caleb’s attention. Standing outside the diner accompanied by nothing more than the dark, empty street, she looked at the paper and noticed a drawing of a strange arrow accompanied by a series of numbers. Not understanding what it was, she figured she’d hold onto it for when he returned the next day for his evening coffee.
But that was the last time anyone would ever see Caleb again.
After several days of waiting for his return, the waitress became concerned as it wasn’t like Caleb to miss a day without his evening coffee. The next morning when the sheriff stopped in for his breakfast, she told him about the night with Caleb, then showed him the piece of paper he left behind. As the sheriff looked over the paper, his forehead wrinkled as if trying to solve a puzzle.
“What is it Tony?” the waitress asked.
“That’s odd.” he said to himself as he pulled out his iPhone. “Hang on a second, I may have found something.”
After a few moments of tapping on the phone’s screen, the sheriff, who was an ex-marine and well versed with navigation, shook his head and smiled.
“I’ll be damned Barb.” he said, as he held his phone closer.
“Well, what is it?” she repeated.
He then showed her the numbers on the paper combined with the map on his phone.
“It’s coordinates.” he said. “Look, they point to a place near Summoner’s Cliff.”
He asked what time she was getting off work.
“Six.” she replied. “Bett is closing for me because she needs the hours.”
“If you’re interested, I’ll pick you up and we’ll go check this out together.”
At six o’clock sharp, the two met at the diner and drove to the cove. With phone in hand, the sheriff followed the map that Caleb left behind. As they got closer to the ocean, they found themselves at a dead-end standing before a large rock wall covered with thick vegetation.
“That’s odd,” the sheriff said out loud, as he looked over the rock. “the coordinates lead right here, or I should say, about five feet from where we’re standing. But we’d have to be inside the….”
He then took a few steps forward and tugged on a large bush resting against the rock’s face. As he pulled hard on the branches, a carved-out pathway was revealed. Looking at the waitress and giving her a smile, he held the branches for her to enter.
“After you miss.” he said raising his eyebrows.
With a look of caution on her face, the waitress ducked under the branches and took a step into the dark crevice. As they both entered, they immediately saw another arrow painted on the rock that revealed a dark tunnel towards the left. Following the tunnel, with help from the sheriff’s flashlight, they began to hear the ocean as it echoed off the damp walls. Making their way through the lurking depths of the tunnel, it began to get brighter as they neared an opening that gave way to a massive cavern. Standing like miniature statues within the hidden landscape, they could only look at each other in awe as neither could believe what they were seeing.
“Did you know this was here?” the waitress asked as she gazed upon the cavern’s massive walls.
“I had no idea Barb. Absolutely no idea…”
Continuing to gaze at the incredible habitat, the two noticed a third arrow towards the left of the waterfall that filled the cavern’s base. The arrow was just above a small wooden crate marking its location. Now standing before the crate, the sheriff bent down and carefully unlatched its cover. With the cover removed, he peered inside to see a stack of papers bound by a small piece of rope. Tied to the top of the stack was a red envelope with another arrow printed on the face. After freeing the envelope, the sheriff noticed the same arrow printed on the first page of the stack of papers. After opening the envelope and beginning to read the letter, the waitress saw he was becoming more emotional as his eyes scanned through the text.
“What is it Tony?” she asked, peering over his shoulder trying to get a glimpse of the letter.
“Barb, I don’t think this is an arrow. I think it’s a symbol.” he said, reaching down and picking up the stack of papers.
Quickly thumbing through several of the pages, he stopped at a particular spot about halfway in. After reading just a few sentences, his shoulders dropped, as he took a deep, almost labored, breath. Still not knowing what was happening, the waitress placed a concerned hand on the sheriff’s shoulder. Acknowledging her, he handed her the letter while continuing to read the stack of papers.
She then opened the letter and began to read.
What you will find within this text is a series of stories that intertwine all of you. Not as you are now, but as your true-self, in which you will find within your dreams of a better life. As I’ve watched you, I have studied closely the details of the change for which you so dearly long. I can only hope that these stories serve as a road-map, and that they bring you comfort, fortune, and the opportunity to live the lives that stir within your hearts.
As the waitress finished the letter, she looked up towards the sheriff who was already holding out the thick text.
“Here.” he said, as his eyes welled up with tears. “You’re in here too.”
As the waitress took the text, she looked down in amazement to see her name next to a chapter titled; “The Dancer Within.”
After reading just two sentences, and with tears now forming in her own eyes, she looked back up towards the sheriff.
“How could he have known this?”
“I don’t know.” he responded. “But what’s even more astounding is what I believe the numbers after the title of the book represent.”
The waitress flipped to the cover to reveal the title.
Another World Awaits – Volume 222
By Caleb Eidolon
“Wait, are you saying…”, she asked trying to figure out what the sheriff was getting at.
“Barb, what I’m saying is that it looks like this guy has done this two hundred and twenty-two times. If that’s true, then we’re obviously not the first town he’s visited. And what’s even harder to swallow, is trying to figure out how he could have done this all on his own. I mean, there’s a lifetime worth of stories in this one volume alone!”
The waitress’s eyes widened as her mind began to put things together.
“Oh my God Tony, Caleb always left me a tip of two dollars and twenty-two cents. It was always the same no matter what his bill was. I didn’t notice it at first, but after a few visits I started to see the pay attention to it. I thought it was just an obsessive-compulsive thing, or something like that. Do you think the two are related?”
Silence came over them as they listened to the waves crash just outside the cavern’s walls.
“No.” the sheriff finally responded, as he began to smile.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all.”
As the weeks went by, the text found its way into the hands of almost every patron that frequented the diner. Each one was gifted a new story of themselves written with fanciful, yet delicate precision.
Gerald McDonald, who lost his wife earlier that year, learned how seeing the world as eternal and timeless, would help him realize how the perception of mortality is flawed. And, by experiencing this new way of seeing his own reality, the walls between life and death, would be forever removed.
For Sophia, who had always struggled to be understood and accepted by her peers, she was finally given the validation to move beyond her afflictions, and become the artist she always dreamed of becoming.
For the sheriff, Tony, who had always fought with anger and guilt because of a turbulent upbringing, he learned to see his truth through the empathic vision of a young blind girl named Elizabeth. It was through her story that allowed him to embrace a higher sense of self-love.
And finally, the waitress, Barb. She learned through her story that the mind is the only thing that can truly limit the spirit. Because of her character’s powerful adventure into self-actualization, she learned how to finally trade in her apron for a pair of ballet shoes when she opened her own dance studio just a few months later.
The stories went on for more than forty of the diner’s patrons. But, for those Caleb hadn’t written about, a clear pattern of achieving a favorable life was gifted through the stories of those he did write about.
As time went by, the town kept the secret of the cavern hidden from the rest of the world. And to this day, whenever someone near Summoner’s Cliff loses clarity, they find themselves deep within the cavern’s rock, remembering just what the arrow next to the waterfall truly means.
For the sheriff was right. The strange arrow with the letter T nestled within its center, wasn’t an arrow after all.
There was a storm approaching as the heavy winds shook the glass of the small cafe hidden deep within the desert. It was five minutes to close as the last patron, a quiet African American woman who ordered a single cup of coffee, paid her bill, then exited into the stormy night.
As the waitress walked over to clean the table, she noticed a piece of paper with a strange arrow-like symbol, accompanied by several numbers, drawn upon its surface. She quickly grabbed the paper and ran outside to stop the stranger before she was gone.
But it was too late.
Walking back to the table, the waitress placed the piece of paper back down, then picked up the tip and counted it.
Two dollars and twenty-three cents.