The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer, Part One: The Baker 15
‘There was one place, he considered safe enough. It is as remote and secluded as this mountain village but in a different way. No, it’s not an island. I have been there only once and it was one of the last times I saw him for he had grown delusional and abstractly insane. Don’t make mistake, your wrong deeds will catch up with you, they are brewing inside your soul and as with age your nerve system naturally weakens they will consume every bit of sanity inside you. He had built a villa in the middle of a remote desert surrounded by canyons on most sides and had supplied it with provisions and luxuries. That location was kept utmost secret; I only found out because he had gone mad and wanted a last word of reverse mentoring. I still own the row patch of vast desert with a minimalistic monstrosity erected with the expense of insane effort. We most definitely will visit at some point for a priceless lesson is to be learned from that journey un-teachable by any other means.’
‘Is he still alive?’
‘No, time had decanted out of him into the cold grey world.’ He took a hefty sip of wine.
‘How far did you let yourself go?’ More wine.
‘Excellent question! The quintessential question of time, indeed. How far would you let yourself go in a direction you don’t fully understand in order to better manifest your own prospects both professional and personal. I will illustrate.’
He purposely never labeled the man with a name. Anton assumed it was sensitive material. Archibald didn’t want his tightly knit fiction to be diluted by commonly available information.
‘I have previously mentioned my mentor’s obsession and preoccupation with security had reached monstrous proportions. By that time I was well ahead and flying solo in the world of blood and honey. We started disconnecting, as he grew remote and distant from the world in general. There was nothing left to consume for either of us in our symbiotic relationship. We were both clever enough to know that and split paths. That is why I was quite surprised to receive a sudden summons, encrypted in a way so that only I would know the true meaning. It communicated through a complex matrix of elaborate wording that my council was needed immediately at a location in an unmapped patch of land. Unmapped due to harsh conditions. I owed the man the walls, the peasants and the throne that composed my castle so I couldn’t do anything less but oblige. And obliging is what I did. The location I was headed for had a last drop-off point of civilization on the edge of a vast Mongolian dessert. After that I was supposed to run seven days on horseback through no man’s land to an abstract location. At the time it seemed as surreal as it seems now. I thought that it was all a game of some sorts, a last test derived from a mad man. I spoke to the locals at the inhabited village I saw. They said that no man has attempted that voyage. For all I knew he had travelled and transported everything with massive construction helicopters, using corrupted Russian officials. But I had explicit instructions not to attract attention. Both on metaphorical and literal level, I had to push myself to go a distance that I didn’t know if I would survive and didn’t know if it meant something more than insanity on a piece of paper. I spent a few days in that village drinking potato vodka and smoking raw tobacco.’
‘I realized that there was no turning back when I received a message in a little black envelope reading ‘drinking is not the solution’. The little black envelopes were a signature of my mentor and before you ask, he had people everywhere. I took provisions for fourteen days and headed out on horseback with a mule behind me. The first day in I was already further than the reach of any man on earth. I was completely solo, depending only on my immediate surviving skills and a handful of things I brought along, carefully selected to aid me. At my first night camp I sat by the fire, eating the last cooked food I had from the villagers, and I felt free, strong and happy. I kept pushing north the next few days, moving only early morning through noon, taking a break at the height of the sun and moving again in the late afternoon ’till dusk. Four days in I started showing signs of doubt. I felt like it was me against the desert with some higher power as the referee. I started getting delusional, I almost stabbed my horse because I thought that it was talking to me and discouraging me with negative energy. My reality started bending, I started seeing things that were not there. Paranoia crept in my heart. All the western films that I have seen came back to life with the worse villains and surreal monsters. At the same time the landscape grew harsher and dryer. Sandy tree covered rocks turned into steep canyons with no vegetation. The sun seemed to fry everything in its way. At the sixth day I thought that I have finally made a major mistake in life and my own mentor had deceived me into my demise out of jealousy. My mind was speeding in a million directions trying to find a logical explanation. All these boiling thoughts would have been the end of me if it was not for the stars. At night the heat was only a distant memory and the sky was a wonder wall blinking and smiling down. A picture I now have in my collection but then it was my first time to dream freely without clouds or polluted air. The cold nights by the fire with me and the universe, for everything else was ignorable, gave me purpose.’
next chapter: THE BAKER 16
previous chapter: THE BAKER 14
all chapters: The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer
more by PETER ODEON
photograph from unsplash