A year ago, Shane told me about a vivid dream he had which was so messed up that we both decided that it had to go up on this blog. It was scary how much detail he could remember, but the dream in itself was even scarier.
That evening, I enthusiastically typed out a draft here, hoping to capture the essence of his narration to me. Then, it completely slipped out of my mind until he brought it up again and offered to write it himself. I was beyond excited for him to do it as I felt that only a direct retelling from him would do it justice. Till date, his Angel Oak is one of the most popular stories on this blog. There are people who revisit that post every single day. And honestly, it's one of my all time favourites.
However, from the messages we've received regarding this piece, we realised that a lot of people are still confused about it. Many misinterpreted it, and many just didn't get it. That makes us very happy because we believe that this is exactly what a piece of this sort is supposed to do. After all, since when do nightmares make sense?
But since it's been almost a year since Shane published it, I believe that it's time for my initial version that has been sitting in my drafts to see the light of day.
Presenting the alternate version of Angel Oak - Woman in Red, written by yours truly as a first draft almost a year ago. I hope you enjoy looking at them side by side as we often do.
I'm panting, running out of breath. The rain isn't helping, and neither is the slope of this hill. The steep slope is slowing me down and they're catching up with me. It would have been easier to hide in the dark but the sun is just beginning to set. On a normal day, I'd bring her here, gaze into the horizon and appreciate this beauty! The tree is coming into view and I can't help but drink in the beauty of what I see before me. The huge oak tree with its autumn leaves, and the sun setting behind it, making it look like a God with a halo, beckoning me to its womb. The tree will protect me from this maddening mob - clad in white with their skins as dark as their souls. The tree beckons and I accede.
My heart skips a beat when she steps out from the shadows of the tree. The sun has set and everything around me is grey, except for her and the red leaves of the tree. She blends in with such ease, with her red hair and red dress! My Goddess, my love, the most beautiful woman alive!
I collapse at her feet and look into her eyes. I want to run from her as I don't recognize the look on her face.
"I promise you, I shall save you from them", she says as I turn around to look at the crazy mob, fast approaching in their muddy suits, their eyes red with disgust and hate, ready to burn me alive, perhaps by binding me to this very tree.
Pain shoots through my being and I'm left trembling at her feet. I'm not confused, I know exactly what she's done. The rain drenches my every fiber and I taste the ground beneath me as I gasp for breath. I taste my own blood, a pool of which surrounds me. I curl up in this pool of blood, I'm finally in the womb.
I look into the eyes of the men who want to see me dead. But the hate has disappeared. Emotion has vanished. They do not want to kill me. They do not care if I live. Their indifference is penetrating my soul. And I look up at the woman who was my life and soul.
I don't recognise this woman in black. She leans towards me, caressing my cheeks with her long black nails. She holds my chin with her trembling fingers and whispers to me, "I told........save........them". The darkness surrounding her envelopes me as she walks away, and darkness is all I see.