That night he dreamed he was back in the cloister. This dream was to recur for the rest of his life, presenting as many outcomes as iterations; from it, he would always wake to an emotion he couldn’t account: not quite anxiety, not quite despair. He dreamed the white blur of Julia Vicente’s face watching from the shadows, immobile and fascinated until the procession of search-and-rescue teams found her and bore her triumphantly home on a stretcher in the bald light and shimmering air of the plateau. The fountain seemed to roar silently. The cloister cobbles softened and parted in the heat, encouraging Cave to slip easily between them into the vast system of varnished-looking natural tubes and slots which, he now saw, underlay everything. It was cold down there; damp, but not fully dark. He could not describe himself as lost, because he had never known where he was. He heard water gushing over faults and lips in tunnels a hundred miles away. Full of terror, he began counting his arms and legs; before he could finish, woke alone. A feeling of bleakness and approaching disaster came out of the dream with him. His room was full of cold grey light. 5am, and traffic was already grinding along Caledonian Road into Kings Cross. He made some coffee, took it back to bed, opened his laptop. Although he knew it would mean nothing, he emailed her:
“What can any of us do but move on? How?” And then: “Did I ever have the slightest idea of your motives?”, to which she could only reply puzzledly:
“Of course you did. Of course you did.”
Cave & Julia still pursue their strange driven relationship on Kindle, here; or as an Audible audiobook, here. Meanwhile, here, a man called Shaw blunders about in what might well be the inside of his own skull, failing to understand what he needs.