Of Dust and Dreams, Pt. 3
Raul sat with crossed legs on a worn wooden chair in the empty town hall reading a leather-bound book with no inscriptions on the cover. He closed it with a slap when we approached.
“Good to see you again, folks!” he said cheerfully.
“We thought it over and decided to camp her for a while.” Lauren twisted the corner of her shirt.
“Wonderful! Let’s get you down to see the others.”
We went back through the corridor to the tall doors. We descended deeper than before with the air getting cooler before it got cozy. In the underground cavern, which was several stories high, was a sprawling neighborhood of concrete homes decorated with beautiful hand painted tile in blue hues. The homes were well worn and broken in, as if there for a long time.
“This is Tom, he’ll be helping you get settled,” Raul said, gesturing toward a man with kind eyes turned down at the corners and rough looking hands.
“Pleasure,” Tom said with a quick nod to each of us.
Tom led us down the streets of the town, passed a potter forming bowls with clay. His graceful hands quickly drew a cylinder outward. We passed another home where a woman was painting tiles with a few children. Further still was a tiny house with a tall vase of wheat reeds next to the open doorway.
“This is yours. Give a holler if you need anything.”
The quarters were bare, but clean. There was a front room with wooden chairs, a few small pillows and a coffee table. The far left wall had a large sink with a few of the potter’s dishes and some utensils on the counter. The back room held a full bed on a sturdy wooden frame with fresh sheets. Dried flowers lay in small glass cup on the nightstand, still fragrant. A small wall separated a tiled area with a water pump and washing basin. Next to it, a squatting toilet.
“Shit. It’s better than home, at least,” Rachel scoffed.
“Yeah. Nice,” I said. But it was strange. If there was water, food, and community, who would leave?
“Maybe the previous resident died,” Rachel finally said, answering my thoughts.