The New Island Guidebook is now available for pre-order on Kickstarter.

If you want to own a copy, and get other New Island artifacts, check it out before May 30, 2015.

Thanks!


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Saturday, May 23, 2015

32. Portals, Possibilities and Planes of Exisence

New Island is likely on a plane of existence observed by some but not by all, as explained in the world of quantum physics...

According to Heisenburg, when a quantum particle is not observed it exists as an ensemble of ''possibilities'' (in physics called a virtual state) in which it has a likelihood of existing simultaneously at all points of space; however, when an observation is performed the quantum particle makes a discontinuous jump (called a quantum transition) to a state with some definite position and is said to be in a condition of ''actuality'' (in physics called a physical state). 
                                                                                                                                --Wikipedia

As the evening progressed, Adrian noticed that Alan seemed more relaxed. "And by the way, how are you feeling? You look a little better than you did the other night."

Alan sipped some more wine. "Oh, I'm feeling fine right now."

"Ahh, yes. Me too. More wine?"

"Okay."

"You know, Alan, I've never been out of this country, so I've never gone through that experience you went through."

"Oh, you mean that doorway in Fremantle?"

"Yes, I'm curious about that. Is it still on your mind?"

Alan sat back and pondered this whole new subject. "Well, it has been on my mind a little. I didn't think there was anything unusual about finding the Rudyard Lines office, but now I remember the blank looks I got from the hotel people and the cabbie when I asked about it. The cab driver never acknowledged the place even after I saw the sign and told him to stop. After I paid for the cab, I just walked up to the door, pulled the handle, and it opened. After all, I had my ticket!

"So you assumed the door would open, and it did, and you just went in..."

"Yes! And then I was hit with this amazing buzzing sensation once I was inside - and it felt so refreshing, like I was being released from something. It's hard to describe it. Anyway, I felt lighter once I walked inside that building. The ticket lady gave me a long look at one point just before taking me to the boat. But then at the dock, she gave me the best hug I'd had in a long time, and said something like she was glad I made it this far."

"Wow," Adrian replied. "Even before you arrived, this 'getting in' thing has been on my mind, and I've done a little reading. It seems that in quantum physics (bear with me now) there is a possibility that some things are uncertain or unknown until they are experienced by an observer. There has been much to-do about Schrodinger's cat*, and this seems similar, no?  Until one pulls on the door of that Rudyard Lines office in Fremantle, one does not know whether the Rudyard Shipping Line, or that ticket lady you mentioned, will actually be in there or not. And that one doorway, as far as I know, is the only way to get to our island-nation!

"And that," Adrian added, "brings up why many New Islanders are reluctant to travel abroad. There are rumors that some have left, intending to return, and have never been heard from again. We are well aware of that doorway, or portal, if you will, and that it might not be there for everyone."

"And I see that Roger's Dreamland is on your list. That, too is a fascinating subject here. To get into the Dreamland, one must enter another 'portal' at a place called Three Rocks, which is on Twentymile Beach, far to the north, across the Sheffield Desert. A stone shelter containing a visitors' register and a doorway overlooking the surf has been built amid the three rocks.  Some of those who walk up to the doorway 'see' the Dreamland unfold before them, and then they simply sign the book and walk in. For others, nothing changes - the beach remains the same."

"So what do they do if they don't get in...can they try again?"

"Not sure, I've never tried it."

Adrian continued, "And that registry book at Three Rocks has many names of  'dreamers' who went in and never returned. Some have been gone for years.

"Then my question, Alan, is this: Is Roger's Dreamland, or this whole island for that matter, like Schrodinger's cat -  both there and not there until observed?"

Alan took another sip of wine, stared out at what seemed like a very real moonlit shoreline, and finally said, "I have no idea what to tell you, Roger, er, I mean Adrian..."

It was getting late.



*Schrodinger's Cat was a thought experiment. Wikipedia explains:

Schrödinger's cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

31. Supper at Adrian's House

Adrian's house originally had only two rooms. 
He built the one-story addition soon after he moved in.
Early that morning, before his trip to Skegness, Adrian had invited Alan over for supper.

When Alan returned from Skegness, he met Adrian at the gallery, dumped off his new purchases, and they walked up to Adrian's house...

It was easier to walk along the road, which didn't have any traffic, especially this late in the day. An evening train smoothly glided north, down the slope toward the bay, then another labored up the hill, heading south. Alan figured that's how everyone commutes around here, instead of driving.

Adrian lived in a modest wood-and-stone house on a sandy hill overlooking Putney Bay and the Hazelhurst ruins. From the terrace outside, Alan could see all the places he was poking around in the day before. Adrian offered Alan a glass of local Riesling, "from the Severn Valley," claimed Adrian. Then they relaxed while a chicken with carrots and baby potatoes and Adrian's own herbs was slow-roasting in a wood-fired oven. Ahhh, the aroma was mouth-watering!

Over supper, neither of them talked very much. The sun was setting over the ocean, the birds were quiet now, and the slightest breeze set off some wind chimes - enough going on to fill the moment. Adrian figured that Alan must have a lot on his mind, and decided to wait to see how their conversation might evolve.

Alan felt good after all the chicken and trimmings. Adrian offered ice cream and another glass of Riesling. Alan accepted, and then sat back, feeling quite relaxed.

Then he asked "Say Adrian, I can't help but wonder...have you ever been married, or had any kids?"

A thoughtful moment, then, "Ahhh, yes...well, I married young. I fell madly in love with Tatyana, who was born here but was Russian through and through. I met her during a long trip on the mail boat. She agreed to marry me, and we had a daughter, Christal. But then, back in '92, when our country became independent, Tatyana wanted to return to Odessa with her family. I just couldn't go, since my own family, the Dougal clan, is rooted here, and I couldn't see myself living in Ukraine! I still think of Tatya, even though she has long since remarried and has three other kids now. Christal writes to me sometimes, sends me news, and maybe some day she'll come for a visit. She's almost 30 now! I have a few other friends that I visit, though, and they sustain me. You?"

"Well, I was married once also. I met Barbara in California, when I was finishing up for my education degree. She and I were in the same program. We moved to Indiana because she has family there, and there were good teaching jobs then around Michigan City. We didn't have any children, but for about five years we seemed to get along fine, or at least okay. Eventually we broke up because she thought I was 'too quiet'. Actually, when we argued, I would sometimes clam up, which was the only way I knew how to fight back, and that would make her furious! Then later I met Michelle, and we were, I guess you'd say, dating, but we were not on great terms when I left. I'm pretty much on my own at this point..."

Adrian was quiet, then he said, "Well, I suppose this is good for your upcoming journey, yes? Though I think having a woman to come home to is, well, more desirable. For a while, I was hopeful that Mandrill, the woman who lived in your place,  might be that kind of, um. mate." Adrian looked away, then took a long sip of his wine, and then declared, "I have found that the women on this island are very independently minded, so don't expect docility!"

Then he said, "That list of yours is going to keep you on the road for a long time, Alan, but there is always the chance you'll meet some interesting people along the way. And if you keep your eyes open, there might be someone special out there!"

This sentiment brought Carla to mind, but when Alan tried to fantasize what his next meeting with her might entail, his mind jumped to his friend Michelle, and such thoughts as, "What do I really want...?"

Alan and Adrian walked from the gallery, over the hill at right, to Adrian's house, at left.






Sunday, May 10, 2015

30. Getting Ready to Travel

An Australian blogger, http://australia.urbansketchers.org, provided this handy chart that is posted in the Dromedary Bookshop and Art Supplies in Skegness...
Alan got on the train the next morning to get a sketching outfit for his long trip. He had brought only a few pencils and his nearly-used-up paint set with him from the States, so he needed new watercolors, brushes, pencils, pens and paper, all compact enough to carry in his backpack.

Oh, and he also needed camping gear, since he figured he'd be walking for many days...

The train ride to Skegness took about 45 minutes. The late-season sun had just risen above the slopes of Mount Hayes, casting a warm glow on the landscape. Outside of Hazel, Alan noticed small truck farms and a few dairy farms between the tracks and Ross Bay. Some of the barns and houses were of natural or whitewashed stone. Others were built with wood and painted in bright colors. All were quite small, especially compared to any he saw in Indiana. In Bayside, he noticed an increase in traffic on the highway next to him. He figured this must be Highway 1, the main road between Putney and Victoria Harbor.

After Rosslea, the landscape opened up to low rolling hills with a distinct upslope to his right. The broad crater-rim of Mount Hayes peeked above a layer of clouds hugging the upper slope. It was the same mountain he saw from the boat coming into Victoria Harbor, but now it was much closer, and so large! On his left, Putney Bay spread out calm and blue, empty but for one large sailboat on the horizon. He wondered if it was one of mail boats that Adrian had mentioned. He realized that at some point he would probably be using their service to get to some of the places on his list.

In Skegness, he walked out of the station and pulled out the directions to the Dromedary Bookshop that Adrian had given him. The town was densely built on some rather steep hills (old sand dunes?) and the streets marched straight up and over them, which reminded him of San Francisco, on a very small scale! The downtown hugged the Barysh River, and most of the shops were huddled together on one side of Fleet Street, the main thoroughfare. On the other side was the river, harboring scores of fishing and pleasure boats, all rigged for sail, hugging the short piers. He couldn't see a single power boat, save two brightly-colored skiffs marked "Constable", and a single ancient-looking tugboat.

The Dromedary Bookshop and Etc. was on Fleet Street and easy to find. As he stepped inside, Alan was amazed at the colorful array of stationers papers of all kinds, samples of which were displayed along one wall. There were blank books and old-fashioned writing pens, plus aisles of published books (the bookstore part). He noticed that he was the only customer, and felt self-conscious as he asked the saleslady about art supplies. She pointed him to a display of brushes, inks, watercolors, oil paints, pencils, pads of drawing paper, a few stretched canvases, and a variety of "How to Draw" and "How to Paint" books.

The chart on the wall was helpful. Alan found a travel set of watercolors, a few good brushes, some extra pencils and several Micron pens (They sell those here - Yess!)  He also bought a thick packet of 8" by 10" watercolor sheets, cold press, and another of hot press.

After lunch, Alan continued walking along Fleet Street thinking about camping gear and sure enough, he found a shop called The Cyclers' and Walkers' Outfitters Emporium. A very helpful young saleslady recommended the best in stoves, sleeping gear, cookware, foul weather gear, tents, backpacks and some great all-weather sandals. She was very helpful, and told Alan that her name was Sydney. As he boarded the afternoon train back to Hazel, the weight of his new pack (and the lightness of his wallet) felt okay, and he felt much better about this whole venture.  At least he had adequate gear!

Alan's route by train from Hazel to Skegness and back again.






Tuesday, May 5, 2015

29. Alan's First Attempt

Alan's first sketch from his list - the Hazelhurst Ruins and Putney Bay. An okay start!

After breakfast with Adrian, Alan walked out to the path that begins practically outside the door. He had brought along an old watercolor set he used for traveling, and a scrap of paper Adrian gave him. (He'll venture to the art store in Skegness later!)

A sign at the trailhead said "Southwest Path" in large letters, then below, "Hazelhurst-Hooksands Section" then a list of destinations with distance in miles. He was pleased at how close his lodgings were to some of the places he needed to find.

It was still late morning, and the light, as Adrian predicted, wasn't quite right yet, so Alan decided to explore the ruins for a while. He figured this place must have been a smallish town, set on a low hill just above the beach. He wonders what they called it, what its name was. There were traces of stone streets or walkways, but the buildings are what caught his attention. They seemed like they could have been used by extended families or groups of families...each one had many rooms. He marveled at the tightly-fitted stonework, all very smooth on the surfaces. He looked for carvings or architectural ornament of some sort but found none. On the beach-side of the town, he noticed a roped-off section of several holes and dirt piles partly covered by a flimsy canvas-covered roof. Maybe this is where Mandrill had been working, probably looking for artifacts or bones or who knows what. There was no sign of activity now, that he could see.

Alan had read on the back of his road map that a civilization called the "Old People" had once lived all over this island for "several thousand years", up until about 800 years ago. This was fascinating to him. He wondered, Who were they? What happened to them?

Finally, as the afternoon sun cast a softer light and created better shadows, Alan sat down along the main path, not very far from his lodgings, pulled out his paint box, mixed up some colors, and started a small watercolor.
Well, here I am...Okay, I'll start with that line of sand dunes out there, and then the ocean...
He sketched in the ruins, the bay, the clouds and continued until he had roughed in the foreground, right up to where he was sitting.

It was a fine afternoon, and the sound of the surf and the soft, salty air seemed to soothe Alan's anxieties. He sat on a large rock out there for about two hours, and then spent another three at his kitchen table that evening to finish it...not too bad!  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

28: Getting Groceries

Alan tried not to panic about The List as he biked into Hazel. (Just breathe...) He needed to concentrate now on what to buy for supper and breakfast.

The List (continued)
.
.
.
7.  Womby or Lizard
8.  Tower Head ruins near Beastey
9.  Hobb's Wart
10. Orr Springs Sacred Site
12. Mt. Hayes with steam plume--seen on cold mornings
12. Skegness and Barysh River
13. The Poloustrov Mansion and Museum, Skegness
14. Red Bluff
15. Inishfael Island (S. of Putney)
16. Putney Harbor
17. Putney library from The Circle
18. Etc.
.
.

105. Roger's Dreamland


Within about five minutes he was in "downtown" Hazel! He soon observed that groceries in Hazel were to be had from three shops, all on the same block. A butcher shop displayed a severe sign that read "W. Randolph and Son, Butchery." Next door was the Ross Bay Produce shop, and a few doors down was a kind of convenience store called Maggie's that sold everything else. At the first two shops, Alan bought a steak for supper and bacon for later, then at the Ross Bay shop, some apples, oranges, and a big bunch of tiny reddish bananas. At Maggie's he bought sugar, salt, butter, milk, coffee, orange juice, eggs, oatmeal, some crackers, a bag of brown rice, a bottle of vodka and a packet of McVitie's digestive biscuits. He liked the look of the package - the picture said "cookies" clearly enough.

Adrian's bike had a large carry-all basket behind the seat, and another up front, so he had no problem carrying everything back - and he arrived just as Adrian stepped outside to lock up.

"Say, Adrian, thanks for the bike."

"Quite all right. And I trust I'll see you tomorrow, yes?"

"Um, okay, if we can meet early. I think I should go out first thing to try my hand at my assignment - there are 105 places on my list, and they want the first twenty-five in about two months! Those Hazelhurst ruins near here are item number one, so I guess I'll start there..." Alan's eyes showed a hint of panic.

"Ah, sounds logical. But why not linger a bit and we can have some coffee. In fact, I'll make breakfast here in the back room. I've watched those ruins for years, and the best light I've seen on them is in the afternoon, so you needn't run off at dawn! And Alan, take a deep breath or two - you'll do fine! Also, give me your list and I'll look it over and try to make an itinerary for you. I know where most of the 'scenic places' are, and you look like you could use a hand!"

Alan felt a warm kindness from this guy. He also sensed that Adrian might be hungering for company, since he didn't seem to have family around; at least he didn't speak of such.

"Okay, see you for coffee in the morning, and I'll bring down some eggs!"

Sunday, April 26, 2015

27: The List

Alan opened the letter which contained The List...

Dear Mr. Faramond,

Greeting!

We hope you find your accommodations adequate. Once you are settled, please review the following list. 

These are the places and events we need pictured for our tourist brochures and guidebook. We have marked the enclosed map to aid you in finding the locations. We would like to see the first 25 pictures by December 11. 

Good luck,

Margaret.

THE LIST (all pictures in color, please)

1. Hazelhurst Ruins
2. The Hooksands Nature Reserve
3. Capetown
4. Hoodoo Beach
5. Express train (at a station...?)
6. Vanessa I. from Lizard Pt.
7. Etc. 
.
.
105. Roger's Dreamland

"Oh my," thought Alan. "Why didn't they just give this to me back at their office? Maybe they didn't want me to see it and then try to back out and go back home! 

"Why do I always say yes to people when I really should ask to think it over? Whywhywhywhy?"

Then he decided he'd better get into Hazel and buy groceries!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

26: Alan's Apartment

Alan's new lodgings
Adrian led the way through the gallery's back rooms and up a twisting staircase to a rather spacious apartment. "Is this the only way up here?" Alan asked. "I'm afraid so," said Adrian. As they walked into the apartment, Alan noticed a light on, and things on the floor: unopened letters and some underwear.

"Is someone still living here?"

"Oh, no. She moved out last month, and the guv'ment was supposed to come and clean it out for you, but I guess they didn't make it."

"So who was 'she'?"

"Ah, well, an interesting personage if I may say so. Her name was Mandrill and she worked for the Antiquities people as a protohistoric archaeologist, or so she said. She explained that 'protohistoric' meant that the Old People that once lived here had no written language, at least so far as they know. She was out at the Hazelhurst Ruins most of the time. We saw a lot of each other, maybe more than we should have, but then she left quite suddenly!"

"So were you two, um, 'together'?"

Adrian deftly scooped up the underwear off the floor. "Well, I thought so...and now I can't seem to find out anything about her, or where she went. She seems to have gone off the map, as it were."

"Sorry to hear that," Alan said. "I've had that same feeling about myself lately."

Adrian picked up the letters. "Well, let's see...one is for Mandrill, but now this other one is addressed to you - from the Ministry of Trade. So I guess the guv'ment was here after all..."

Alan, mystified, looked at the letter handed to him, front and back, then put it in his back pocket.

Adrian was of course quite curious.

"Say," Adrian said, "Is there anything I can get for you? If you want to get some groceries in Hazel, I have a bicycle which you're welcome to use.  I'd invite you to supper but I'm a bit low on foodstuffs myself. The bike is parked out front if you want it...but I'll need it to get home later"

"Um, okay, Thanks."

When Adrian left, Alan looked through the kitchen cupboards (plenty of pots, pans and utensils). Then he examined the elderly fridge, which looked pretty clean inside (no food but there was a half-full bottle of Merlot). He glanced into the living room, and took in the old-style narrow French doors that opened onto a deck, and the view of Putney Bay. The room contained only a couch, a low table, one rocking chair and a dining table with two chairs toward the kitchen. The room and furnishings vaguely reminded him of that strange white room near the end of the 2001, A Space Odyssey movie.

He then wandered into the bedroom. He peered into the closet and opened the drawers in the spacious dresser built inside. He didn't find any more underwear. The bed was rumpled but clean-enough looking and there seemed to be plenty of towels and extra blankets and sheets. All he needed was food, and shaving cream. Osborne wandered in, hopped onto the bed, and then sniffed around the apartment while pointedly ignoring Alan.

Alan then walked out onto the deck and looked out at the waves blazing with late afternoon sunlight. To his left he spotted a nearby hill upon which must be the ruins Adrain was talking about - Hazelhurst or something like that. Alan had never been among ancient ruins before - there are not many in Indiana.

Then he remembered the letter in his pocket...

The ruins are a short walk from Alan's lodgings.






Saturday, April 18, 2015

25: Alan and Adrian have Tea

One of Adrian's recent paintings of an imaginary shoreline with New Island in the background.

Adrian came in with a tray, set it down on a cluttered table next to Alan, and then sat down in the one other chair and poured.

"Sugar, milk?" asked Adrian.

"Oh, yes. Thanks."

They stirred their tea. Osborne was not disturbed. The faint sound of waves came in through a window in the back, and a soft breeze drifted through the gallery bringing in a hint of eucalyptus.

"Well. Here we are," said Adrian brightly. "I was wondering about you ever since I heard from Ms. Mullen at Tourism. She said you are from the USA...such a long way to come from, no? And how was your trip, may I ask?"

"Oh, um, long...but okay. I made all my flights, and then I caught the boat from Fremantle with no problem. I enjoyed the train ride here too."

Alan looked around at the art everywhere, then back at Adrian. "I, uh, was just wondering... After seeing your work, why didn't they ask you to illustrate their travel book? I mean, I'm grateful for the job, but it looks like your landscapes would look just fine there, and you must know this place well."

Adrian looked out the window for a moment, and then he replied, "Well, they did ask me a few months ago, but we couldn't agree on a price. I offered to let them use some of my older paintings for their book - I've done quite a few - but they insisted on depictions of very specific locations, and I just don't have the time to traipse all over this island!"

"Alan, commiserating, "Yes, I'm getting the feeling it's much bigger than I thought..."

"However, I must say I was surprised when they hired you to come all the way here for this...they paid your way, right?" And then I heard from a friend of mine at Guv'ment Hill that Ms. Mullen was very impressed by a drawing you did of her old house north of Putney. She was even a bit spooked by how accurately you captured it some 40 years ago, and she has wanted you here ever since."

Adrian paused. "Ahh, but I shouldn't pry..." and then he took a long sip of his tea.

"Oh, that's okay," said Alan. "Yes, they paid for my tickets and gave me the apartment, but I really have no idea of exactly what pictures these people want. You see, I was having these strange dreams back home, and then I made drawings from some of them, and I saw the one you're talking about. But I really don't know anything about this place, or even where I should go to draw the pictures! I feel I might have made a mistake!"

And then Alan abruptly stood up from his chair, his eyes wide and seeing nothing, as if he were about to have a fit!  Osborne bolted and scuttled out the front door. Alan finally let out a long sighing breath, shrugged, and then sat down again.  Adrian stared at him...

"My apologies, Adrian. Ah, everything seemed to be going just fine, and then I thought I would explode, I'm so unsure about what I'm doing here, and, and..." He slowly leaned forward, his face in his hands. Then he muttered, "... and I need art supplies."

"Oh, ah, well...first, are you okay?" Adrian asked, a bit concerned.

Alan nodded, "Yeah, I think so. I'm just confused, and tired...and this whole trip suddenly seems so unreal."

"Well, um, yes, I can imagine. I've heard about that disorienting event in Fremantle where travelers must step over the threshold to enter the Rudyard office. People who have just arrived can be rattled for quite some time. You'll be fine after a good night's sleep.

"And by the way, you'll find art supplies in Skegness, at the Dromedary Booksellers and Stationers. You'll enjoy the place.

Alan nodded as he sipped his tea, and seemed to have regained a sense of calm.

"But for now, let me show you your new home!"





24: Alan Meets his Downstairs Neighbor

This is the landscape south of Hazel, just down the road from Adrian's gallery and Alan's place.
Putney Bay is in the distance, with the sandy peninsula called The Hook, at right, on the horizon.
Adrian, the gallery's owner, did this drawing some years ago.
Alan looked around inside the gallery. A cat that had been sleeping on a chair looked up at him. There was not a sound. Alan impulsively shouted "Ahoy?" toward the back room, and someone soon called back with another "Ahoy." Finally, a fiftyish guy in shorts, sweatshirt, and sandals, and with grey hair that had a scruffy bedhead look, came out from the rear.  He stopped a moment to focus on Alan and his baggage.

"Hi, I'm Alan. I believe I'll be staying in the rooms upstairs...?" (Eye contact, get right to the point!)

"Ahh yes, well I'm Adrian Graham. Glad to meet you. So you must be the chap they told me about, the depictor fellow who will be working for the guv'ment, right? "

"Umm, yes, they asked me to come here and make pictures for a tourism guidebook..."

They shook hands, Alan immediately felt something strange and electric - a not unpleasant sensation, but very curious. He looked at Adrian, then away, and they let their hands fall. Both stood there while the cat sniffed at Alan's loafers.

"So, aah, are you thirsty? Hungry? Would you like to see your lodgings?"
"Well, actually, I wouldn't mind having a glass of water."
"Oh, let's have tea...it is four o'clock you know...allow me to make us a pot." Here, have a seat, and I hope you don't mind cat hair...Osborne is shedding."

As soon as Alan  sat down, Osborne, a sleek, all-black tabby, jumped onto his lap and continued to sniff at Alan, then curled and flopped down. Alan was pleased the cat accepted him. He stroked its flank, and looked around some more while he heard Adrian filling a kettle and rattling cups.

The gallery was quite full of paintings and drawings, framed or loose on tables; mostly landscapes of what Alan figured were local places. At least they didn't look like anywhere else he knew of.  The work looked pretty good, which caused to Alan to ask himself, "Why didn't they hire this guy for my job?

And this place, this island, is so big - much larger than I imagined it. Where will I even begin?"




Sunday, April 5, 2015

23: Alan's New Home

Alan finally arrives in Hazel
"End of the line!" the conductor announced as he walked the length of the train. Alan abruptly awakened - they had arrived in Roseville, where all passengers wishing to continue on to Putney had to transfer to the Victoria-Putney train, which was due in a few minutes. Alan grabbed his baggage and then lumbered off the train in a kind of daze - he had been quite asleep!

Waiting under the "Putney" sign, he watched the Putney Express train ease into the station right on time, and then climbed aboard, along with about twenty others. He was barely settled in his seat on that train before it stopped at Hazel's open platform.

No one else got off at Hazel. Alan stood on the open platform and looked around. He enjoyed the fresh breeze off the water, the sound of waves rolling toward the nearby shore, and the warmth of the afternoon sun. Hazel was not much of a town, and not much was going on, which felt comforting. The railway platform was surrounded by tidy plantings of plump pink and red geraniums. He felt good here.

Margaret had told him, "Your lodgings are above an art gallery, next to the yellow Land Office building just outside of Hazel. The owner of the gallery, Adrian, will show you up to your rooms."
He saw the buildings from the train as it passed, so he knew where to go.

Alan's apartment is above the art gallery. This will be his home for longer than he anticipates.
Hazel, a town of about 400, is in the distance.

Now, walking along the road, he could see the gallery sign ahead, and he realized that he was taking the last steps on a rather incredible journey! It seemed so long ago when he got on that South Shore train in Michigan City!

The gallery's front door was open, so he walked in.