Alex Chapter 5: A tour

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This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Alex

Shaking, I stepped away from the table, completely nude and exposed.

“I’ll show you around”, said the older woman but I honestly had no idea how I would even be able to follow her.

Why did I have to pick this place? Why was this place even in the list? Why didn’t I just turn around before?

“This is the main hall. This is where we eat together”.

Oh, so when I had been lost in my thoughts, I had been following her.

The hall was built by hand, the old fashioned way: felled trees turned into logs like the time of Lincoln, but the tables and chairs were more modern looking and visibly bought at a store.

Two of my most mild paintings were in the hall. Once was a giant painting of a banquet and fitted perfectly with the theme but the other was one of a beach with an oversize sun shining down on it. It was my take on the brutality of the heat in the south but visibly that’s not how it was taken here.

A semi-antique kitchen was in the building next door. It featured a refrigerator and a modern oven which made me think that somehow, they had some electricity. Modernity was the devil, except for preparing food, was that it?

We didn’t stay long “This is where the men work to make us food”.

I wondered if she even realized that there was electricity.

We went back outside and I paid attention but saw no overhead electrical wires anywhere: perhaps they buried them?

We saw two women sunbathing behind the main hall: they already had full on tans but still tried to tan. They saluted us but quickly returned to their conversation about how the carrots these days were succulent.

A volleyball court and a semi-natural pool were nearby.

The pool wasn’t an actual concrete pool but rather it was more like a small artificial lake with a sand beach around it.

“The water is usually warm thanks to the sun always setting down on it”, my guide explained.

“Don’t worry, the men put pills in it so the water stays clear. We don’t like artificial things but sadly, we are not fully in heaven yet”

So they do bend the rules a little: They put chlorine in the pool, no wonder it’s so clear for a lake.

We saw a group of three women walk by us and saluting us. No one seemed to wonder why I was there.

At the end of the compound were a series of small shacks.

“Each woman gets a house. We’ll try to get you a bigger one to double as a painting studio”

I nodded but my mouth was still paralyzed.

One of the shacks was almost big enough, but it wasn’t enough for her, so we continued going to each of them, as if they didn’t belong to anyone: none of them had locks and none seemed to have any real personal effects.

Well, one had a recorder flute on the bed and another had a yoga mattress but I could see no picture frames, books or other personal effects like clothes or beauty products.

Near the outside fence there was a bigger shack which had two beds in it on either sides of the single room.

“This would be perfect! This could be your bed”, pointing to the one by the door, “and we could move this one to another house to give you a studio.”

I nodded. It would be big enough and being in a corner of the compound, I might have some peace and quiet.

“Ok, so let’s go find Eric to make a list of supplies”

“Eric?”, was all I could say.

“He is our delivery guy. He sells our products to the town for money and buys what we can’t make ourselves”

We went around the ground asking to talk to Eric and eventually, an out of breath man wearing a nicer cover-all than more of the other guys I had seen arrived running.

“You wanted to see me?”, he managed to say. “Sorry, I was in the fields helping out”

“Could you get painting supplies for our new resident? I presume the thing to hold the painting while she paints, some canvases, brushes, painting, perhaps a book to draw plans? Do you need anything else?”, she asked me.

“Shouldn’t I go with him?”

She turned quite angry. “I thought you understood the rules”

“Yes, sorry… so, go to a specialist shop and ask for everything a painter needs. There are little spoons, a mixing plate, containers to store color mixes, varnish, and so on.”

“Got it”, he said.

“How often do you go into town?”, I managed to ask.

“I can go multiple times per day on good days”

“Oh, so if you forget anything, I’ll tell you what’s missing.”

“That would be perfect. Ok, I was almost done loading the truck, so I could go and get her supplies”

“Thank you Eric”, replied my guide.

Soon, I would be able to paint. I had no idea what I would paint, but I would be able to get back to what I loved.

Perhaps, just perhaps, with the ability to create as much as I wanted, I might be able to survive this.

I would need to figure out how to get emails to know when I could get out but that was for later. For now, I might have a way to survive this ordeal.

Two men soon moved the second bed from my shack to another one.

I looked at them. They were clearly, like Eric, manual men but not without charm.

Muscular, well built, and not an once of fat on their bodies. It was clear that they worked out a lot and ate well.

The various women I had seen were also in good shape. Perhaps there was something to say about fresh air, exercise and staying away from the stress of modern life.

At least, I’d be able to hide my studio most of the day…

Series Navigation«Alex Chapter 4: BeliefsAlex Chapter 6: My shack»
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