Alex Chapter 3: Arrival

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This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Alex

It was most likely after 6 pm. I once again felt stupid for having left my watch at the apartment, not that it would do me any good. I still had some water left, but I had no idea how much further I would have to pedal before arriving at the house. I could see a kind of mountain or tall hill ahead, and I was hoping I didn’t have to climb it because otherwise, I would sleep outdoors tonight.

I regretted not having chosen my bicycle more wisely. I picked the first bike I saw at Wal-mart when it opened, not realizing that I would spend the whole day on it.

But it wasn’t time for regrets, I had to ride as fast as I could, for the sun was starting to reach for the horizon, and I had only barely started to climb the steep incline leading to a small building.

Lit only by the full moon, I finally managed to reach the wooden cabin. I surveyed the surroundings. With the exception of the cabin itself and the small area around it, the top of the hill was entirely surrounded by a tall heteroclite fence.

Some sections of the fence were made of concrete while others were metallic or made of wood. There was a gate in front of the road, but no intercoms, buttons or locks to open it.

“Eden Valley – no visitors” was written on a simple sign nailed to the gate. This was the place, but I couldn’t see a way to get in, so I studied the cabin for more details.

It was nothing more than a storage shed, with several padlocked lockers inside, as well as a big locked mailbox.

I brought my bicycle inside, cuddled in a corner and fell asleep, awaken several times by the hardness of the wooden floor.

The sun woke me up too early in the morning, so after eating the last of my supplies I simply sat in front of the gate hoping someone would get out or in.

It must have taken at least 2 hours before I saw the head of a man emerge from the top of the fence, about 5 feet left of the gate.

“Go away, we want no visitors”

“I was told to come here. My name is Alex Kelly and my boyfriend told me I could come live here for a little time”

“This is not a hotel. Go away”

“But I was told I would be safe here.”

“Lady, this is a closed religious community. We don’t allow outsiders”

“But I have no food, no water and no place to go. Please, let me stay a day or two, and I will disappear. I have money, I can compensate you”

“Money has no importance here.”

A woman was now standing next to him, she told the man to let her do the talking

“What did you say your name was?”

“Alex Kelly”

“Are you are a painter?”

“Yes, why?”

“How do you sign your paintings?”

“Why do you want to know?”

“We have several paintings by a woman named Alex Kelly, and we were told to expect you someday to find shelter with us. But we know you do not sign your real name on your work. If you tell me how you sign them, I will let you in”

I didn’t want to give my real name, but what else could I do?

“Julie Fritz”

“Thank you… I am opening the gate, stand back”

Slowly, the gate was opening toward me, once it was open enough; I moved forward to be greeted by the pair I saw earlier.

I would have loved to have received a picture of the face I made when I saw them. You see, when they told me they were a religious community, I assumed I would be greeted by people wearing monk’s robes.

Instead, I discovered there were two women who were wearing… nothing at all! They were naked as the day they were born. The single man, the one I had seen earlier was wearing clothes not that dissimilar to what  my own father has been wearing most of his life.

I decided not to react or say anything since, after all, I was at their mercy.

The woman spoke first: “Welcome to Eden valley Mrs. Kelly. We were told that you shared our common philosophy, which is why we proudly display your paintings and are willing to accept you”

“Which philosophy are you talking about?”

The man responded:

“In living naturally, away from civilization, with as little technology as possible, and as close to nature as possible, following the laws of nature and praying daily to the miracle of birth”

In other words, without the comfort of civilization, I silently noted.

“Indeed. My work forced me to stay in the city, but I longed to my return to nature”

“We understand your feeling. We would love to stop all exchanges with the outside world, but we are not fully self-sufficient, at least, not yet. My name is Helen. I am the head mother of our community“

“And my name is Jack. I am the gate-keeper, amongst other things”

Helen asked me: “Why don’t you come visit our facility?”

To which Jack added: “Or maybe you would prefer undressing first?”

Series Navigation«Alex Chapter 2: The messageAlex Chapter 4: Beliefs»
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