CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
After Charlotte had gone, Kallis made her way up to the Crossed Pistols pub. It was shut so she rang the bell. All was quiet. Suddenly, ‘ould Acker’ appeared from around the back.
‘Hello, young lady. Nice to see ‘ee again. How be on?’
‘Um, yes, I’m o.k., thanks. I was wondering if Dave had been back?’
‘Ah, Dave and his faithful old rabbit. He were ‘ere, yeah. I can tell ‘ee where he is now ‘an all. Gone up Tor for a walk, he said. Took his blimin’rabbit with him, ee did.too’
‘Oh, thank you, thank you! That’s great!’ Kallis was so pleased to find out where Dave was, she leaned over and pecked Acker on a ruddy cheek.
‘Well, well, just made an old bloke very happy!’ Acker chuckled to himself as he disappeared around the back of the pub.
Kallis headed on along the road and then crossed over, remembering the route to the Tor. Past the Chalice Well, up the leafy lane and finally onto the bottom of the Tor, then on up, up, up the little concrete path. As she neared the halfway mark, she thought she saw a familiar figure that could be Dave standing at the very top.
Kallis arrived at the top of the Tor, a little out of breath. Yes, it was Dave. She couldn’t really believe it. He was staring at her, an amazed but pleased expression playing on his face. She ran the last few yards and flung herself at him. He lifted her up; her legs went around his waist as she whooped with joy. They spun around for a moment, and then both dropped to the ground.
‘I couldn’t really believe it was you!’ Dave said. ‘Where have you been? Where did you go off to? I got your note but…have you really been to Egypt?’
‘Oh, you will NOT believe what happened to me. You will not. Yes, I’ve just got back from Cairo and it was not all a good experience, I can tell you. I met my father’s second wife and her son and …well, it’s a long story and I’ll tell you in a bit.’ Kallis shook her head as she remembered what had happened to her.
‘But where did you disappear off to?’ Dave asked her. ‘One minute you were there, next thing I dozed off. When I woke up you were gone. I didn’t know what to think!’
‘I drank that amazing elixir; I know that I shouldn’t have without asking, I just couldn’t resist it. The trip it gave me! The experience I had! I felt like I was close to knowing all the answers to life, death, EVERYTHING!’ Kallis had hold of Dave’s arms. ‘What was that stuff? I have to talk this through with you. You must tell me what it all means; my whole perception of reality has been shattered by this.’ Kallis was almost shaking as she remembered the immensity of it all.
Dave was looking quizzically at her. ‘Mmm, right. Ok., I don’t quite know how to tell you this, but – that ‘elixir’ you drank?’
‘It was a tincture for my rabbit’.
Kallis looked askance at him.
‘When I first had him, he wasn’t too well. Rabbits have a strange way of eating. They eat grass. Then, when it comes out of the rabbit the first time, it gets eaten again: their way of getting all the goodness out of the grass, I guess. I think the technical term is ‘coprahagic, but I call it ‘hraka’ from Watership Down! Well, normally rabbits all share their ‘hraka’, but, as mine is a lone bunny, so to speak, he sometimes gets a bit sick if he can’t find any other rabbit´s hraka to eat. So, this alternative type vet I know in Dorset, well, he made me up this tincture to give to him if he gets a bit off colour.’
Kallis was wide-eyed now. ‘The stuff in the shell shaped glass, right? We are talking about the same thing?’
‘I woke up and found you gone. And all the tincture gone too! I couldn’t believe you had drunk it. I kept thinking : why? Why would you want to drink my rabbit’s tincture and why did you run off afterwards? And, well, I was worried. I had no idea if it was poisonous to humans. And I only ever give him a few drops at a time anyway, and you seemed to have downed the lot in one! Wow!’
Dave sat shaking his head from side to side.
‘Wow!’ he repeated softly. ‘So, a good trip was it then?’ Dave started to laugh. It seemed to well up from inside him and he had no control over it. ‘I must get some more off my mate. I could make me some money at the festival next year selling it!’
Dave was shaking with laughter now. Kallis remained silent.
‘Look, it’s not funny, you know,’ she said eventually. ‘I have some serious questions I need to answer. This has been a life-changing experience for me. You have NO idea what happened to me. Inexplicable things. I travelled, Dave, I travelled distances, woke up in another place. I SAW things. Other worlds. Other realities. I felt, I felt PART of the Universe. I felt I was close to something IMMENSE. It was incredible.’
Kallis drew a big breath . ‘And you tell me all I drank was rabbit laxative?’
Dave was trying to control himself now.
‘Yup. No wonder my rabbit seems such a wise old soul!’ Dave looked out across Glastonbury town. His top lip still quivered slightly. ‘At least you are ok. You ARE ok, aren’t you?’
Kallis looked at him.
‘Yeah. I’m fine. It doesn’t change anything. I know what I felt.’
‘Look’, said Dave. ‘I did a lot of soul searching a few years ago. Went from one religion to another, looking for reasons why we are here, what it’s all about, is there a God and if so which path was right to follow.’
Kallis was listening, one little boot heel kicking a lump of turf to one side.
Dave continued: ‘Well, I guess you are going through a similar thing at the moment’.
Dave made a little bowing movement with his head and spread his arms wide
‘I will share my wisdom, such as it is, with you, if you wish to hear it.’
Kallis was all ears.
‘What do I want? I asked myself a few years ago. Peace of mind and a contented life. What was bothering me? I listened to my conscience and decided not do things that bothered me, that I secretly believed to be wrong. My mind became quieter, calmer. I am a vegan because I cannot handle the idea of animals being kept for our own use. That was me. You must find your own level; listen to your own inner voice. I believe there is no definitive right and wrong, but you must know what is right and wrong for yourself. You cannot change the world, but you can change YOUR world. Respect others’ views and beliefs and ways of living. Why should you want to change them? You do what YOU think is right. It is often said but true: treat others as you would like them to treat you.’
Kallis nodded. Dave scratched at the stubble on his cheek and took a big breath.
‘I try to live this life as if each moment is my last. This makes each action more powerful and life more beautiful and time more precious. I don’t want to wait or put things off. I know I am not immortal.’
The rabbit appeared and hopped over to Dave’s side. Dave continued.
‘I am not living for a life after death, nor ACTING for a life after death. What happens when we die? IT DOESN’T MATTER NOW. This is what I think, anyway. Enjoy what you have in the here and now; this is your little chink of awareness, your moment to be; you exist! Seize it with both hands.’
‘If when you die there is more, a better life, what a bonus! If there is a god sitting in judgement of your actions, well, you will have lived by what you believed to be right and you have respected the World and all who live in it and have celebrated life. If you get to reincarnate, another life back on Earth, another go, so be it. But I do not see that these things, interesting as they are, are worth dwelling greatly upon. You have had an amazing trip, an experience, but I would say to you: don’t see it as a religious experience or read too much into it. Religions just divide mankind and tell you how to live by someone else’s conscience instead of listening to your own. They are also a way of saying: I am right and you are wrong if you do not follow my path.’
They sat for a moment in silence, Kallis was deep in thought. Finally she said, ‘Blimey, Dave, you’re a man of few words and then suddenly you give me your whole philosophy on life, all in a big rush, just like that.’
Dave laughed softly.
‘So, tell me about Egypt,’ Dave said and so Kallis did. At the end, Dave held Kallis close as she cried.
They sat for a long time on top of the Tor until a few more people climbed up and their peace was disturbed. Dave stood up slowly, stretching out his long limbs.
‘Well, my path is now going to take me off down to Dorset to get some more wonderful tincture for the rabbit. I’ve got some friends there I usually stay with in return for a bit of woodworking. How about you, Kallis, where are you going? Will you come with us?’
Kallis would swear later that the rabbit winked at her.