Sun was shining, strong and hot against my face. Morning was calling. Or afternoon, maybe. I wasn't sure anymore. I rubbed my hands against my forehead and down to my chin.
Where was I? I didn't want to open my eyes to know it. I wanted to know it before I did. I tried to feel everything my body was touching. A soft mattress, cushions, big and full, and a cover. A single one. A thin layer that didn't cover my feet. But they weren't cold. They probably were sunbathing.
Where was I? Then I remembered a flame. A flame alight, burning at the top of a six-foot candle. It was standing in a narrow corridor. Its walls were bare, made of rough grey stone. Or that is what the candlelight made me believe. For I couldn't see past a few feet.
Where was I? I still couldn't figure it out, but as I tried to walk along the corridor, I realised I wasn't scared. I was almost peaceful. It surprised me, because I should have been scared, or threatened in some way. Anxious at the very least. You don't go and wander in dark alleys on your own and at night. Yet I was alone. Or so I thought.
I tried to grab other memories as they flashed inside my closed eyelids. Then I heard something. A scratching sound close from me. I groaned. I knew I had to open my eyes. The noise started again. My eyes opened at once. The sun hit my pupils with such violence that it made me groan again. It was so hard it blurred all my senses for a while. I rolled on my other side and risked a quick look there. Ants slowly receded in the corners of my eyes and bees left my ears, buzzing away. At first, I wasn't sure if I could see clearly or if the whole room in front of me was made of creamy colours. Walls were covered by thin ligned wallpapers that flew up to a high ceiling. On top was a frieze depicting exotic flowers and I wondered if their faded shade was due to time or made on purpose. Everything seemed very clean and well kept.
A closed door was facing me, in the shadow of a short hall, and a leaf-shaped cushion was attached to its handle, swinging ever so slightly. I suppressed a tiny shriek of surprise and my body tensed at once. Someone had just left the room, or had entered. I looked around, but everyting was perfectly still. Quilted yellowish chairs were placed in each corners, and seemed almost symmetrical from were I was now sitting, right in the center of the bed. A wide mirror hanged on the wall, its delicate wooden frame giving the room some darker shade. I couldn't see myself in it, because it was hooked too high, but in its reflexion, I could see a shelf, mostly filled with books and I couldn't stop myself from looking up. As I started to kneel on the mattress, letting the cover drop on the soft white sheet, I heard again the same scratching sound. I froze in my movement, turned my head to the right, where the sun was erasing everything it touched by its blinding rays. A heavy desk was placed right under the window. There was no chair standing in front of it, and by what the sun let me see, there was nothing on it. And yet. Yet, the noise seemed to have come from here.
"Hello?" I quietly enquired.
The same noise responded. It was definitely coming from the desk. I got up slowly, letting my legs slide along the bedside rug that touched the floor, and headed for the window. I frowned. The sun was too bright. As I approached, I noticed a black patch on the desk. I walked closer. The noise repeated itself. The patch shook. My frown narrowed even more and as I finally reached the desk, I had to blink twice. It was a hedgehog. There, right on the light-coloured table stood a black spiky creature. He was as long as my hand with his nose directed to the binding of a book that laid flat on the table, its pages torn against it. Someone may have been reading it and then left it there. The hedgehog was trying to climb on it, and not completely succeeding in doing so. I came into contact with his spikes and his nose instantly retracted, like a snail.
"What are you doing here?" I asked in a murmur. A moment later, I thought that the question also applied to me. Where was I? That is when I noticed the window was slightly open. I leaned against the desk and tried to look outside. I don't know why I expected the room to be at least on a first floor, but I surely didn't expect it to be on the same level as the lawn. I open the window a bit wider and extended my hand outside. The grass was still wet yet warmed up by sunlight. The animal must have come that way. Got close from the open window and fell on the desk. I looked at him, thinking he was clearly lucky there was a desk just here. I reached for him again, intending to give him his freedom back.
"I see you met some uninvited guest," said a deep voice behind me.
My fingers scratched against his spikes as I turned around. The sun was projecting my shadow right at the feet of a man of great stature, standing at the edge of the hall. I stayed rooted to my spot, unable to put the pieces together. Minutes passed in a complete silence, except for the eventual scratching sound. Then, he moved his left hand in front of him, holding a bunch of grapes in it, and with the other, plucked some fruits and brought them to his mouth. He chew in silence, his gaze still resting on me, unruffled. His left hand slowly fell to his side, and with a short blink, his lips spread into a wide smile. And I don't know what happened inside my head or which connection my brain had suddenly decided to log again, but as sure as I saw him do it, I couldn't do anything else than smile back.
The hedgehog is made with half a chocolate egg, already filled with pink marshmallow, glued to two layers of these biscuits with some cooking milk chocolate, and topped with white chocolate chunks. Terrific!
Picture from one of the amazingly touching sculptures of Gustav Vigeland. His most impressive work can be found in Frognerpark in Oslo, which counts 214 pieces of art.