The Leaves Are Turning Brown – Chapter 15

When I wake up I’m in a different room, a bedroom the likes of which aristocracy would feel completely at home waking up in.  I feel like I’ve broken into a mansion or castle, and am sleeping in the different beds, like Goldilocks with the bears.  I get up and, to my relief, find I am fully clothed.  My arm feels a little tender, when I roll up my sleeve there are several small dots, each with the telltale rosy surrounding skin, to tell me after I was asleep more blood was taken, or something was put in.

I’m still too dozy from the sleep to move at any speed, but I go to the door and open it, leaning my head out to look down the corridor.  There’s no-one here so I start off to the left, assuming it’s as good a choice as turning right.  I walk along past other innocent looking rooms until I reach the stairs.  I go down instinctively, forgetting I must have been several floors underground when I went to sleep. At the next floor I look along the corridor, but it is identical to the one I just came from, so I continue down.  The next floor has a door leading off and no more stairs.  Leaning forward the door opens automatically with a sigh, and I step out into the daylight.  Just outside the door I stand, awe stricken by the beautiful vista in front of me.  A wide green terrace of grass stretches out in front of me, to a small wall that hangs in front of the horizon.  I look around but all I can see is clear skies, green grass and foliage, and the browny-red leaves on all the trees.  The colours are breathtaking.

I walk forward, gaining speed.  I see the drive and recognise the way we came in when I arrived.  I start to run and before I know what is happening I am at full pace along the stone driveway, straddled on both sides by ancient oaks, their roots causing the roadway to undulate and bow.  I keep on running and after a while the gatehouse comes into sight.  I slow down and hide behind one of the massive trees.  There is no-one about, and there isn’t a gate across the road.  I run down, darting around the trees.  Still no-one is to be seen, so I head out on to the road.  I run a little farther and then turn to see if I am being followed, but see no-one.  I take out my phone, the battery is running low and I have limited signal.  I open up the maps and see where I am. By luck, or chance, or design, I am only a mile from the nearest train station.  I walk the mile in silence, taking in the surrounding countryside, shrinking in the massive sky above me.

After a short walk I come into the small town and up to the station. There is a train due in a few minutes.  It pulls slowly into the station and I get on.  As the doors close a car screeches to a halt outside and I see the men who took me running up to the train.  I hide my head, but as the train moves I look out.  They are searching the windows for me, but what surprises me is they look honestly concerned rather than angry.

The train builds speed and they fall out of view, while the rest of the countryside comes into the fore, a green blur from my window seat. I watch the countryside fly by in a fog of confusion.  I really can’t begin to fathom the events of today, although I experienced them, they seem surreal to the point of grand delusion.  I’m questioning everything my mind is interpreting from the outside world, even the existence of this train.  A gust of wind coming in through the window temporarily  gives me faith in the world again, but then I start to doubt the reason why that gust came just as I thought this world was false.  My paranoid mind is beginning to return with a vengeance.  I doubt all of existence, as if all sensory input is a creation of my addled mind. I look around, furtively searching for mistakes in this reality, errors created by my delusional mind, something out of place.  I smirk for a moment, humoured that my mind can create such a bizarre reality, yet fill in all the gaps to such a marvellous level of detail.

The train is slowing down now, pulling into a station.  I doubt my mind but also doubt reality, and oscillate between the two with every breath.  The station pulls alongside the train and a few people alight, but no one boards.  This is a potty train out here but I assume, and hope, it’s intention is to reach a civilised metropolitan oasis, just as I want to return to.  The train revs it’s engines and starts to pull off, and in moments we are in the countryside again, watching the verdant blur regain it’s lush richness.  Even with the confusion, the delusions, the concern for reality, I am enjoying being out in the country.  I grew up in a place like this, and it still feels somewhat homely to be out in the green valleys and hills again.