(Iglesia is a serialized novel, published on Tuesdays and Saturdays at midnight ET, you can read all of the episodes by clicking on the tag.)
Another hatch and Abe and Rogers are walking through an evergreen forest. If Abe had noticed, he would have seen that it was just as beautiful, just as perfect, as all of the other worlds that they had passed through. Just the varieties of shades of green, and the way they meld and mesh together alone is hypnotically beautiful, for anyone paying attention. He isn’t. His head is down and he is walking. And walking, and walking. In silence. Using every mental technique he knows to avoid thought, and concentrating on the physical act of walking. Stretching his legs and closing his mind to all thoughts of….her. Rogers has to hurry to keep ahead of him. They walk all day without stopping. Abe never even thinks of rest, or food or water. There is no need for them from his body, so it never occurs to him to desire them.
When the path they are on comes to and joins a river and heads upstream, Abe’s mind registers, river. When their course starts to get steeper, Abe’s mind registers, uphill. When they emerge from the trees and leave the path of the river to head out over an open plain, Abe’s mind registers these things. But he doesn’t think about them. He has at this point successfully stopped thinking, stopped thinking about ….her. He is not about to go back to thinking now. When Rogers bears left towards a large outcropping of white rocks flanked by a grove of coned cypress…..rocks. Trees. Is all he thinks. Rogers leads him into the copse. He is sad when a tea table appears and Rogers sits at it. Walking was good, sitting is bad. But sit he does, and he concentrates very hard on drinking tea and eating cakes. Right.
Desperate, his mind then concentrates very hard on cataloging his surroundings. They are in a small clearing at the center of the thick grove, completely shielded by the copious amount of cedar trees ranging from sprouts at the very outside to the gnarled grandfather trees that surround them here at the center, their boles as thick as small cars, the gnarled skin of their bark forming intricate patterns and swirls. Abe sees a face in one of them and immediately casts his eyes down. The roots of the ancient trees run under the soft floor of the clearing, covered by the loam of centuries of cedar needles fallen and turned and turning to soil. The sky is hidden above their branches. Now he notices the spectrum of green…and the tan and brown and red of the trunks. Now he remembers waking inside a much larger version of these magnificent trees when he first came to this…place.
And he sees a ring of stones, blackened by fire with worn cedar logs around it. He sees a path leading away across the fire pit from where they sit to the dark entrance of a small cave….leading into the base of the tumbled mound of white rock which the grove abuts.
He takes it all in and there is nothing else to register, so his gaze comes back to Rogers, who is smirking at him. The light in the grove is fading as the sun sets. Abe is startled and annoyed as a small but blazing fire appears in the pit. He looks at Rogers pleadingly and utters his first word since leaving the service corridor.