Chapter 2.18 – At last

Over the course of a week, Marley has reconnected to his creative drive. Surely meeting Ruby again has its influence on his sudden revival of creativity. After meeting her in Willow Creek, he’s certain he must find and speak to her again.

And so Marley wanders through the neighborhoods of Willow Creek in the hopes of finding another one of them odd trees. But nowhere in parks, near sidewalks or even in back allies does Marley spot another tree like the one in Granite Falls. Meanwhile, Marley spends his time not searching, writing on lyrics fictionally fed to him by his muse.

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When a week passes in which he has visited every nook and cranny in Willow Creek to no avail, Marley sets foot in Oasis Springs. When he’s arrived there, he is planning on visiting a friend first to freshen up after a week in the wide open and jam some with the acquainted musician.

Marley is looking forward to it, his steps are light even tho he spent all week on his feet. The lyrics that are floating in Marley’s head slowly find accompanying tones, riffs, and solo’s to fuse with. Marley’s hoping to fine tune a couple of the birthing songs when visiting his friend.

“Great seeing you so out of the blue, idiot!” his friend greets Marley as soon as he arrives, sticking his head round the corner of his wagon. “I was just grilling some burgers, you’re right in time.”

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“Haha, hey there, you plum keyboardist. I mean, even the sound of that. Leonard the keyboardist, you’re a hoot!” Marley jokes back as he walks towards Leonard, “Good seeing you again.”

Once inside the mutual friends share their recent happenings and a drink. Marley’s sure to leave anything about his meet with Ruby out of the story, though. Nobody needs know who his muse is, she’s HIS.

When after some good jammin’ and improvising, in the late hours of the night, Marley’s retired to one of Leonard’s armchairs, he’s thinking of his plans for the next morning. He can’t wrap his head around it yet, though, Ruby is constantly on his mind.

On waking up the next morning, Marley realizes the few hours of sleep he did enjoy will not be sufficient to keep him going all day. Groggily he gets up tho as soon as Marley’s up, the smell of fresh orange juice happily greets him.

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“Good morning, bro!” Leonard’s cheery voice resonates through the room. “Did you sleep well on that crooked thing?” he informs.

“Meh, I was up late, thinking of where to find some inspiration around these parts,” is Marley’s meager reply.

“I know just the spot. You should try the outskirts of Oasis Springs towards the northern canyon. Great contemplating there, man, them views!” Leonard hints. “I’ll direct you on your way there when I leave for work in an hour. If you’re ready by then, sloth,” Leonard jokes as he nudges Marley.

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Marley just nods as he sluggishly sways towards the bathroom. He doesn’t feel like talking anymore and wants to get away. Though, after some freshening up and a hearty breakfast, Marley feels alive again and is even more eager to be on his way.

At the designated spot, alas Marley doesn’t find much inspiration. The view is great, it’s just that it’s too sandy ánd windy to his taste and the derelict gas station is cluttering his views. Besides, it’s probably too arid around these parts for any fungoid trees to grow and so Marley decides to walk towards the main road again.

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As Marley heads back up the hill, he notices a boarded-up cave further on. He decides to check it out. It takes Marley quite some time to get the old wooden boards from the cave’s entrance. It seems clear to Marley that no sim has ventured in here for a long time when he pulls another one of the wooden planks of the post supporting the cave’s entrance.

Eventually, his fishing gear comes in handy when he pulls a McGyver on the last rusty nails of the final board. When the plank gives way, Marley almost falls to the ground, the plank in hand. He tosses the thing aside.

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Then, after replenishing himself with a drink, Marley heads inside the cave’s tunnel.

When he steps into the tunnel, Marley sees a wide path laying in front of him. Several meters into the cave, after a couple of bends, he spots a rickety old ladder. Marley isn’t going to climb that! Who knows how long it has been that anyone set foot on it?

No, maybe it’s best if Marley turns around. But just when Marley is about to head back, he senses a strange yet strong pull. Something is preventing Marley from turning around, nothing to see it seems, he can’t pinpoint what might be pulling then.

He’s certain Ruby wouldn’t choose this damp, dreary cave to hang out. Yet, intrigued enough to find out what it is that is pulling him further in, Marley changes his mind and continues the path further into the tunnel, carefully climbing the ladder. Once there he gropes his way along splintery rungs. After a long descent, a faint azure light starts to fill the expanse below.

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Marley steps off onto a dim mossy bulge in the rock’s wall. What he then sees, is beyond his imagination. This is not like the cave’s damp, dark tunnels. He spots a sandy path in front of him that effortlessly leads him onward. He can see further into the cave. He has reached the entranceway to what turns out to be a beautiful grotto.

Not only the grotto is breathtaking in its azure light, Marley sees a familiar silhouette in the distance. His hearts skips a beat, could this really be true, is this Ruby!? As Marley walks closer, Ruby walks towards the waters further along in the grotto. Marley can only follow, not capable of freeing his gaze from Ruby’s beautiful curves.

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When Ruby stops at the water’s edge, Marley walks up from behind her. “Hello, Marley the musician,” Ruby says, leaning her head back until it touches Marley’s shoulder, burying his head in her raven black hair.

Marley in return wraps his arms around Ruby’s waist. “My muse, what a surprise seeing you here,” Marley says surprisingly confident. He feels so comfortable around Ruby, she must be feeling the same way. As if Ruby can hear his thoughts, she turns around.

Marley steps back, surprised by her appearance. She is as green as he is! Why hasn’t he noticed this before? He doesn’t understand. Ruby’s aware of Marley’s hesitation and doesn’t wait for his reaction, insecure of what to think.

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“What is wrong with me, am I a disappointment?” she asks.

Even more confident of his musings over Ruby in the past, Marley puts his hands on Ruby’s shoulders, smiles, and kisses her on the lips. “You are astonishing! I was in fact taken aback by your beauty,” he says, “Know that I have never, ever seen a woman as perfect as you.”

In return, Marley receives a kiss too, the most delicate, while holding his head in her hands. The two spend the next hours together, side by side by the water’s edge, sometimes silent, sometimes softly whispering to one and other.

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“Oh Ruby, I’m all wrapped up in clovers. I found a dream that I could speak to, a dream that I can call my own, and here we are in heaven for you are mine at last,” Marley muses after those first few hours.

“I want to show you something. It’s still early in the day, there’s enough time. I want you to be my guest, come,” Ruby says with a warm, mysterious smile as she takes Marley’s hands in hers. Then, she waves her other hand in a peculiar manner. Immediately after, a doorway appears that wasn’t there before! Marley looks baffled at his muse. Ruby, in turn, slightly pinches his hand in return, guides him toward the doorway, and says: “All will be revealed, Marley, in time. Follow me.”


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