Catherine ran through a maze of buildings and snaking side streets as the sky rumbled, and heavy rain bounced off the cobblestones. A storm suppressed the sun, graying the world around her. Drops of rain beat against her skin like hammers when Sean's voice can be heard from the distance trying to stop her from running.
Reaching her "Sean, I realize you have these ideas about me, and now your cousin was involved in our quest, but the worst part was I don't know how to trust you." She justified her action as they went into the bus shelter, drying themselves.
"I'm still frightened about what happens in the Land of Nod, and yet, you accepted them without questions and asked me to justify it myself." She added.
"I'm sorry, but we called for help! We needed him to explain everything to us and gave us some more understanding about what happened, after all, he had the expertise, and he'd been studying the answers to this phenomenon since he'd started dreaming about the Cold Mountain over and over again" Sean replied.
There was no heat in his voice, his heartbeat so even though he took a run after her. He said this for her to understand his way of doing things and because they needed Nathan's help.
So she relented.
Together that night, they met up in one of his hotel suites, and they agreed to sleep together to test their theories.
Land of Nod (Grassland)
Their vision whirled in a blur as the trio went to the Land of Nod. Together, they came to a halt in the grassy and windy land. The sunset behind the deer was spectacular. The orange-gold stretches far and vast, the color of fire hearths and tangerines. It was but the reflection of the dawn, the promise of the rising sun that comes after the velvety twilight.
The serenity of alone deer which has a living velvet surprised in its eyes was striking, a spirit inside an animal so proud and yet, it was unnerving, it runs for its life as the promises of the unknown battle ahead was coming.
They watched it faded away into the distant horizon, straight into the large descending sun.
Breathless, Nathan's body was drenched with sweat, his throat was burning from the experience. He'd never been here before and when he visited the Land of Nod he was always in the Cold Mountain, but right now this was a different scenario.
The gusty wind promised a threatening adventure of their lifetime. Sean's lips bear the similarity of a smile, just enough to show that he was relishing his thoughts, whatever they may be. Catherine moves closer so he feels her presence, yet stays calm, allowing him to stay lost at the moment a while longer.
"So what happens now?" asked Nathan.
"We need to look for a shelter or maybe build a campfire to keep us warm. The night wasn't our friend, here in the Grassland," Catherine responded as she grouses. It was a point she had long debated with herself if she could trust them enough, but recently, she had lost the sense of the argument.
Both were too ignorant for wandering around these godforsaken hills in all weathers and seasons. She doesn't want them to die, the promise of a deadly battle was approaching, but she dare not broach fearing losing their trust. Her joints creaked and her muscle was wiry as month-old celery. She felt tired and withered but, her fire inside was burning. Its warmth along with the welcoming feel it gives, but as she slowly approached it snarls and bites. She was beyond scared.
Everyone she loves could be gone in minutes, because of a single nip. And she dreaded it that's why she's hidden it from everyone. Nobody knew that she was the daughter of fire. It was the ice in Catherine's heart that led her to set fires and even in London she had that ability, a 'Pyrokinesis' where she could forge and control fire with her mind.
All her life she'd been an unsuitable parcel shunted between congested foster homes after her parent died from a car accident. Then one day she'd discovered that she could burn things, destroy objects. At first, she just kept a matchbook in her pocket and would strike them while she sat on the swings, gawking at the obedient flame glisten in the breeze, darkening the wood, transforming it to charcoal at her command.
A rebellious grin would spread across her skinny features that did not reach her eyes. Soon she raised to burning trinkets of her rivals. Often the flare would be a different hue or emit overflowing black smoke that choked her. She raised to drenching her items in nail polish remover to hasten the heating. For that brief moment that the flames spanned, engulfing, she became tranquil. The blackened remains satisfied her only, then she yearned for it all the more. But eventually, she could control and hidden it as the world wasn't ready yet for someone like her.
After some point, Sean and Catherine gathered some twigs and dried grass for the bonfire. When the fire came to light up the night, to warm the air that was more used to the winter chill. It lit each face, and they felt the heat went to their core. The dry tinder in the yard was lit and the flames rise against the raven sky.
Every eye tests the flickering, each iris keeping a small picture of the bonfire before them. Yet, it wasn't the sight that has them enthralled, so too has the crackling and the woody aroma of smoke.
"Catherine, can you tell us the first time you discovered the Land of Nod?" Nathan's curiosity kicked in.
She gave Nathan's long, hard thought. And as she did so, those many dreams she had about this unexplainable phenomenon. She explained that this was a place in her consciousness, the Grassland where the Fae Warrior was everywhere, watching and waiting.
Memories flooded in her mind, her skeptical, dismissive reaction for the first time, when she was a teenager and alone had she thought it was just a nightmare; a recurrent claim of seeing many entities from the other side. But she was wrong, she thought her dreams were an elaborate hallucination as she keeps on dreaming and visiting the Land of Nod almost every night. But her dream became her reality, her solemn place of serenity.
A chill rushed through her when she considered how paranormal claims of most dreamers might be true.
She did her best to check on the internet what was happening to her or for someone like her, nevertheless, she wasn't successful, not until Sean and now Nathan.
As the frosty night passed, they discussed her life, and from Nathans's theory; he believes that the circumstances of finding more Nodders are attainable. His speculation made sense other than Catherine's doubt.
His theories were the possibilities of Catherine's being the bridge to the Land of Nod, as those people who lost their supernatural faith altogether; for the lack of such experience could now access their deepest thought and consciousness like Sean and himself.
"So you mean I am the fifth spirit, like Elsa?" she suggested as she picked up the thread of her thoughts, smiling, thinking about the movie Frozen II where Elsa was considered being the fifth spirit and together with Anna they were both the bridge who has two ends.
"What are you talking about?" Sean demanded confusedly.
"Aren't we done with that yet?" He then added in playful mannered.
"Oh! Gosh, seriously don't you have any humanity left?" She responded.
"I'm just trying to make a point here, okay? If I was the bridge, then who was on the other end? A bridge has two ends remember?" she seemed rather uncomfortable knowing that her privacy in the Land of Nod just got invaded.
"My guess was... Sean." Nathan answered her.
"Look, when the two of you met for the first time, you went through the familiarity, right? And by that, maybe your meeting has set a motion of opening the bridge." He exclaimed while the two had looked at him confused.
"My guess was, you two; are the 'bridge' and nobody can cross it over without knowing both of you, and to make a point, I'm here, remembered?" He added.
"I knew Sean since birth and together we've been dreaming about the Cold Mountain since forever; and through him, I'd met you, Catherine!...
Dan, Dan...and here I am." He concluded pointing to himself.
"But you said, you've been visiting the Cold Mountain before? She asked.
"Yes I did many times as Sean did, but my theory was the 'Cold Mountain' was the 'Landing' area of all the Nodders, and maybe there were many of us out there; who can visit the Cold Mountain and eventually couldn't cross over here in the Grassland or somewhere else." Nathan paused as the two were listening like a child hoping for a bedtime story.
"My point was, I've never been here before, and even though I've been dreaming the Cold Mountain for years." He added.
"In other words, when the three of us met, everything's changed, I could cross over because of the bridge, now am I understood?" He asked.
"Yes" Catherine and Sean both nodding in agreement as almost as soon as the lightning had struck the tree, midnight became illuminated. Distantly, they could hear the song of the unknown creatures feeding its madness with a promise of a sleepless night.