“A sane person can drive themselves insane deliberately, but it’s not the kind of insanity you’d expect. In fact it’s rather predictable. True “insanity” is not insanity. The thing you may want is right here with you already. It’s just that it’s concealed. You’re confused.”
The village people paid no mind to the words of the ninja and took off his face mask. Good God, he was ugly. But he was smiling.
“You are scared of my ugly face. But I am not scared of what you think. Go ahead and lock me up again. I wasn’t going to kill anyone, anyway.”
Ninjas had a reputation for dishonesty. He could’ve said anything and the villagers still would have strung him up and took him to town hall for a public execution.
The ninja turned and bored into me with his yellow, bulging eyes. “I am prisoner 32190-Z,” he said. “Someone might as well remember me.”
I nodded, feeling a sudden and strange sympathy with the fellow. The villagers turned and saw me, my head poking out from where a tree branch wasn’t.
“I’m… Sleepy Morning,” I said.
They laughed at my name. This I was worried about most of all. I don’t like going to a town. Towns are more dangerous than the wilderness. You can never predict what will make the village happy. It always feels like they expect something of you. But they never make it clear what they want. I doubt that they themselves know what they expect of you.
The ninja was taken to the town hall and hanged. I was in the Land of the Long Divide. The walls of the city reached high and inconsiderate of the forest. I was uncomfortable. What was it I was brought here to retrieve? Do you know? I do not.
I began to doubt I was ever on a mission in the first place. After all, the tribesmen had caught me just as the amnesia came on. I had a vague recollection of a “purpose” and/or “journey,” but none of that was clear to me. I began to toy with the idea that I had no mission. That I was only a Sleepy Morning, coursing through the world in a half-dreamed madness. That was OK.
I reached into my bag and got out the skeleton puppets the owl had left me. I began to play with them while the villagers’ noise got louder and louder. They were partying because of the public execution. I made three characters out of my puppets:
1) Horatio Somersault, a seven foot tall barbarian from across the hills, who enjoyed old-time country music and had a mild addiction to chocolate covered berries;
2) Hardtimes McOldson, an old, old man rumored to still be alive only due to the strange elixir he had concocted for him by a witch doctor in the hills of the Land of the Sun Tunnels.
3) Bingeria Bulimaneo, a young girl from across the sea who had a keen ear for the sounds of trouble and a predilection for sugary water-drinks.
The three of them were involved in a hilarious comedy of errors involving a menage-a-trois. I built a campfire and slept outside the town, now certain there was no need to visit the Long Divide if I didn’t feel like it was a good idea. I slept, and slept, and slept.