Having spent one of those restless nights meandering about the casa first downstairs, and then up, Stick Chick finally fell into a fitful sleep, punctuated only by a snort—the kind that wakes you up just as you are about to snore, but before another exhale; a deep internal roar echoes loudly in your head and back of the throat.
Jarring though it is to wake up in such a state, Stick Chick contemplates her dreams. Remembering clearly the Mary Poppins-esque, recurring nightmare that frequently accompanies her slumber, this time, she knows, the dreams are different. Maudlin and disturbing, she recalls three distinct vignettes that challenge any continuity of thought brought by normal, linear paths.
The first one, ominous, chills her to the marrow, even while the air outside is as balmy as early spring when the sun kisses buds on pussy willow shoots.
Something menacing follows her, but no matter how quickly she strides, its blackness threatens, nipping her heels. Her pace quickens. She finds herself running through an abandoned, battle-damaged but empty parking garage, save for an occasional charred vehicle skeleton. The crumbled, concrete switchback descent leads to the ground from several stories high. She can see it below her, the chunks of rusted rebar exposed in places.
Nearly hyper-ventilating and wide-eyed, she runs hand-in-hand with her closest friend Margareth Anna. Each one urges the other to move faster. Every frenetic footstep echoes, shamelessly reverberating from the cold concrete walls in a dissonant duet of breath and echo, shattering silence. Ahead of them is Adam, nervously awaiting their arrival.
Stopped, clinging to a steel railing that overlooks the floor below, Adam implores them to wait one more minute for his Hadrian. But there is no time. A pursuer nears. But as if willed by a physical power too intense, they are rendered unable to move. They cannot resist his request. Their furrowed foreheads flaunt their fear. At the moment when the terror reaches a fever pitch, Hadrian appears as an apparition. Adam takes his hand and the four flee.