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The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Brjto September 3, 2010 User blog:Brjto

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Chapter 2

"Jacob?"

The man nodded. "What's your name?"

"Ilana. Do you...live here?" She said, her voice cracking a little, a stray tear running down her face at the memory of her mother being thrashed about by the monster. "Did you build this cabin?"

"No, a man named Horace Goodspeed built this place but, I've lived here for a very long time." Jacob said. "Did you come here on the ship?"

"Yes, how did you know about the ship?"

"I know most of the things that happen on this island."

"What was that thing?"

Jacob paused for a moment. "He is...a very angry man. Whose been trapped here for a long time."

"That thing is a man?"

"Well once he was..." Jacob said sadly.

"What made him that way?"

Jacob got up. "You could sit here all night asking questions. But, I was expecting someone before you came. Stay there." He walked over to the door and opened it. For a few moments Ilana heard nothing.

"Jacob!" Someone yelled. Footsteps approached the cabin.

"Hello, Ricardus."

"You need to do something about this, Jacob. These people look to me or Ben for solutions. They think I can save their children!" Spent from the uncharacteristic display of emotion, gasping for breath. "We cannot save them, Jacob. We cannot stop the bleeding. the medical teams have tried everything we know. It is just beyond...everything."

"I've told you that I can't do anything about it." Jacob replied "Benjamin has a plan, no doubt."

Richard nodded in response.

"You and Ethan will go to Miami as he says." Jacob instructed. "It's very important that you get her to come to the island. Whatever it takes."

"You're sure?"

"Yes. I am sorry for what has happened, old friend. What is done is done, not even I can rewrite the past. Give Ethan my sympathy. "So you'll go to Florida. You will do what Benjamin asks. You will also remind her that she has a choice. No matter what happens or how things appear, there will always be a choice."

"I'll try to believe you, Jacob."

Footsteps retreated from the cabin and Jacob walked back in. "Sorry about that." He said to Ilana.

"Who was that?"

"If I tell you who he is you'll ask me how he got here and we'll be up all night talking. It's late why don't you try to sleep: you should be grateful that you're alive."

Ilana was going to protest but, Jacob walked away, sat down at the table and picked up one of the books. Ilana was more confused then she had ever been but, Jacob was now completely absorbed in the book. But, she was not likely to fall asleep anytime soon. She pulled out the second chair and sat down. She thought Jacob and glance at her but, then the moment passed.

Ilana quickly looked through the books on the table and was both surprised and pleased to see a copy of her favorite book; "Notes from Underground", which she picked up to read.

"You like Dostoevsky?" Jacob said, without looking up from his book.

"Yes." Ilana said."Are you surprised?"

Jacob shrugged. "Not many people your age would."

"Well, I guess I'm not like most people."

Jacob smiled, just for a moment before it disappeared. Ilana read the book until she fell asleep, just like she used to do at home.

"You spun all of this thread yourself?"

Without glancing up from the loom before him, Jacob said, "I had the time."

Ilana stepped closer to the mass of threads. Though most of the threads waited to be woven, he could see how symbols that she did not recognize bordered the top. Seventeen long arms emanated like rays out from the eye, and Ricardo wondered Jacob meant for the eye to represent the sun, or if perhaps the odd design was simply that: a design, and nothing more. "What do those symbols mean? What will the rest look like?"

Turning back to the tapestry, Jacob replied, "It reads, 'May the gods grant thee all that thy heart desires.' The hands you see at the end of these arms will reach out to nine mortals. A king will sit on a throne and watch on each side. Below that, seven humans will dance to the music of a harpist. By these dancers will sit four water jugs, and in the rows underneath, laborers will harvest wheat."

Ilana wondered how many years Jacob would be so calmly weaving one thread after another, spending his hours standing there in solitude before the loom.

"But why create all of this?"

"You see anything else to do?"

Ilana said nothing for a few minutes. "You never told me about the man that killed my mother. You said he was trapped here. What did you mean?"

"He'll never be able to leave the island." Jacob said. "Unless I let him. But, if I were to let him leave something very bad would happen."

"Couldn't you reason with him?"

Jacob sighed. "Not with him, Ilana."

Through the remainder of the day, Jacob continued to weave, "Why don't you go find something to eat?," he eventually suggested, waving a hand nonchalantly.

"What if that thing comes back?"

"He won't."

"What makes you so sure?"

"Because you are with me" Jacob said simply. "I'll make you some fish in a little while if you're hungry."

Outside Ilana sat down and tried to admire the view of the sky; such vivid colors and the gentle crash of the waves were a welcome change from the monochrome of Jacob's chamber. In the silence she could not stop her thoughts from straying to her mother against her will a few dry sobs escaped her mouth.

"Are you okay?"

Ilana jumped a little and turned to see Jacob standing over her. "I didn't hear you..."

"Sorry if I startled you." He said, sitting beside her. "What's wrong?"

"I...I miss my mother, I miss Fyodor..."

"Who's Fyodor?"

"He was my dog." Ilana said. "Before my father sent him to the pound."

"Why would..."

"I don't want to talk about it." Ilana said angrily. "And I don't want to talk about my father."

Jacob took a breath. "Would you want to go home...if you could?"

Ilana shook her head "I wouldn't know where to go, me and my mother were leaving and my father..."

"Well, you could stay here if you liked."

Not sure what other option there was Ilana nodded. "All right." Jacob smiled a little and got. "Come one." He said. "Let's get something to eat."

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