The final chapter: Dave’s Rabbit Chapter 26

 


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?’
Kallis nodded.
‘It was a tincture for my rabbit’.
Kallis looked askance at him.
Dave continued.
‘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?’
Dave nodded.
‘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’.
Kallis nodded.
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.

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Going home: Dave’s Rabbit chapters 24 & 25

 

Tor Tile

Ceramic picture tile of Glastonbury Tor. I made this a while ago when I was still attending ceramic classes. The frame is based on the mirror frame in ‘Friends’. You can see it has got a crack – this may be due to a cat accident….The original painting I did for this chapter didn’t work and I tore it up in a temper (haven’t done that in a while ) 🙂

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

The next morning Kallis was on her mobile phone early, calling the airline and arranging a flight. There was a seat available on the afternoon flight and Kallis booked it. She packed her bag and had a quick shower, scrubbing the Nile out of her hair and skin. She thought about leaving a note, but decided against it. She didn’t know quite what to say. Kallis let herself out of the apartment quietly. Nobody was up. She managed to find a passing taxi and headed off to the airport, knowing she would be early but just wanting to feel she was on her way. ‘I can sit in a café there until my flight,’ Kallis thought. Once there, with a coffee and some toast in front of her, she texted her friend Mel. Mel texted her back straight away that she would pick her up from Bristol. Then Kallis changed her mind and decided that she would get a bus to Glastonbury  and texted Mel back again. ‘I want to see Dave,’ Kallis decided.

It was a long morning at the airport. Kallis just sat and thought through what had happened to her. She wondered how she hadn’t seen what was coming. ‘That woman in the market was right,’ she thought, ‘but I survived the bad event and I’m o.k.’
How good people are, thought Kallis. Judy would have done anything to help me last night and she had never met me before. The kindness of strangers. Kallis pondered upon this and thought she would send Judy a long e mail very soon and thank her again.

Eventually, the flight was called and Kallis was on her way home. The five hour flight seemed endless and the turbulence woke Kallis several times. On one occasion she was embarrassed when she realised that she had been crying in her sleep. She thought about her father a lot and remembered how she had heard his voice in her head, guiding her up towards the water’s surface. ‘He died a long time ago but he lives on in my mind,’ thought Kallis, ‘and in times of need he is there for me.’ It was a comforting thought.

Once in Bristol, Kallis rang Mel. ‘So, Cairo not all you thought it would be?’ asked Mel.
‘No. Not really. Have I got a lot to tell you.’ And Kallis told her the whole thing while she was waiting for the bus.
‘Bloody hell, Kal, come on back to Newport. Don’t go chasing off to Glastonbury again.’
‘No, no, I’ll be o.k. I want to find Dave. Then I’ll come back.’
‘But, Kal, come on, be reasonable. You’ve had a bad time. You need to be here with your Mother, with me.’ Melanie pleaded with her friend.
‘I’ll call you soon, the bus is here.’ Kallis hung up.

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

Kallis arrived back in Glastonbury at a very late hour. It was dark and the streets were quiet and empty and shining with rain from the last downpour. She got off the bus, breathing in the cool night air. It was a relief after the oppressive heat of Cairo. She headed over to The Travellers. Luckily they had a free room and she checked in for the night. Kallis was exhausted and jet lagged and still in a bit of shock. She spent a fitful night full of strange, disturbed dreams, a mixture of drowning and running away from something horrible.

Back in Newport, Charlotte was up early and on the phone to her work colleague, Jill.
‘Jill? Listen, sorry to bother you so early but I’ve got a bit of an emergency with my daughter and I need you to cover my classes today. Would you mind?’
Jill of course agreed and the work for her students was sent by e mail. Charlotte quickly drank down a cup of coffee and set off in her Citroen Diane.
She had got a phone call from Kallis’ friend, Melanie, last night and was feeling slightly alarmed. Melanie, she felt, had not given her the full story but it seemed that Kallis was back from Cairo and was staying in Glastonbury, and something awful had happened to her. Charlotte had tried calling Kallis’ mobile but had just got a message that the phone was not switched on.
‘I don’t suppose you ever stop worrying about your child,’ thought Charlotte. ‘I had thought that Kallis might be settled down with children of her own by now, but, still, there’s time for that yet.’
Charlotte turned onto the suspension bridge over the Bristol Channel. It was a grey and misty morning and there were lots of lorries about, slowing her progress. Charlotte tried to concentrate on her speed but it was hard. She just wanted to be there with Kallis and to know she was ok. Trying to remember Glastonbury, Charlotte thought she had been there once before but usually she stopped over at Street, the town next to Glastonbury. There is a large factory discount place there called ‘The Village’ and Charlotte had spent many a happy shopping afternoon there with her friend Jill.
Charlotte sped down the M5 and turned off at Bridgwater, blasting along the ‘A’ road, swerving to miss a lone fox in the road, and on through to Street where the Tor was visible through the morning mists as she drove over a small bridge and past a sign welcoming her to Glastonbury, ‘The ancient Avalon’.

Kallis woke in the morning starving hungry and realised that she hadn’t eaten very much the day before. She headed across to the café over the road and ate a hearty veggie breakfast and drank lots of coffee. On her way back to ‘The Travellers’ Kallis spotted a tall, blonde lady heading into the reception area. ‘She looks a lot like my Mum’, thought Kallis. As Kallis walked in she realised that it was, indeed Charlotte.
‘Mum!’
‘Kallis! Thank goodness.’ The two women embraced.
‘Mum, what are you doing here? How did you know where I was?’
‘Well, Melanie rang me, of course, and don’t be angry with her. She’s very worried about you. She wouldn’t tell me what was going on so I thought I’d better and come and find you.’
‘Oh, Mum, I didn’t want to worry you. Well, Cairo didn’t work out for me. Come on, let’s walk and I’ll tell you about it.’
They headed off slowly through the town. It was still quite early and not many people were around. Kallis told her mother the whole story; she didn’t really have to time to think of an edited version. Anyway, once she started talking, the words just all came out.
‘Oh, Kallis, darling. Look, never mind, you were brave and you dealt with the situation, and you are o.k. Shamiela was pleased to see you and in a way it is nice that you got to see her again.’
Both women were quiet for a moment, lost in thought. They had walked a long way and were standing by an old building that had a small field with apple trees and some Jacob´s sheep in it. One of the sheep had worked out a technique for scrumping the apples. In spite of its large woolly bulk, it was able to stand and balance on its hind legs and thereby reach the apples on the lower branches. It looked both strange and comical. Kallis and Charlotte both started to laugh at it. It broke the sombre mood.
‘Kallis, I can’t believe you jumped in the Nile. It’s a miracle you got back out ok! Thank goodness for that Judy. What a thing to do, although I agree the alternative was not attractive either. I wonder what Shamiela told Yusef when he came home.’
‘Yeah, well, she would side with him and try and keep the peace, I suppose.’
‘I hope she had a go at him. In fact, from what I remember about Shamiela, he would have been in a whole lot of trouble.’ Charlotte rubbed her eyes. ‘What a morning! But I am glad I came, darling, and found out what had happened to you. Why don’t you come back with me now and spend a few days at least, in Newport? And we probably ought to get you checked out by a doctor; the Nile is none too clean’
‘Mum, I feel fine, really I do. And I want to stay here and try and find Dave.  I feel he will understand what has happened to me and …well; there are some other things I need to talk to him about. But I’ll ring you soon and let you know my plans.’
They started to walk back to the town.
‘Well, knowing you, Kallis, I don’t suppose I will be able to change your mind. Make sure you ring me, mind, and if you feel strange get to a doctor straight away.’
‘I will, Mum, don’t worry. It’s been good to talk to you and I am glad you came over to find me.’

Dave’s Rabbit

A few years ago, when I first arrived in Spain, I wrote a book. Well, actually more of a novela as it is not very long. I have never attempted to publish it and it has only been read by a few friends (and my Mum) but I thought it might be fun to put it up on here, chapter by chapter and illustrate each one. I realise this is an art blog so feel free to ignore the writing, and I do mean that :-), but I hope you might like my illustrations.  I welcome any comments, of course. It is entirely a work of fiction ( and is slightly weird at times….) and all characters are fictional,  but set in places that I have lived in and know well.

I’m still going to be drawing and painting Jimena of course!

It’s going to be a nice challenge for me to illustrate my little story. So brace yourselves…coming soon, Chapter ONE!!!!