Authors: Robert - Elvis Cole 08 Crais
I let myself off the freeway at the top of the Santa Monica Mountains and turned east along Mulholland. It's quiet up there, and dark; a million miles from the city even though it lies in the city's heart. The dry air breezed over me like sheer silk, and the desert smells of eucalyptus and sage were strong. A black-tailed deer flashed through my headlights. Coyotes with ruby eyes watched me from the grass. I was tired, and thought I should go home because this was silly, all this aimless driving. Just go home and go to sleep and get on with my life. You can save the world tomorrow. Find all the answers you want tomorrow.
After a time I pulled off the road, cut the engine, and stared at the lights that rilled the valley floor. Two million people down there. Put them end to end and they would wrap around the moon. Red taillights lit the freeways like blood pumping through sluggish arteries. An LAPD helicopter orbited over Sherman Oaks, spotlighting something on the ground. Another opera I didn't want to be part of.
I got out of my car and sat cross-legged on the hood. The barrel shape of an owl sat atop a power pole, watching me.
The owl said, "Who?"
You get that from owls.
A month ago, I had almost been killed. My best friend and partner had almost died, too, and I'd spent every day since then thinking that he was gone. Today, he came very close to dying again. Samantha Dolan was dead, my girlfriend had walked out on me, and here I was sitting in the dark with an owl. The world had changed, all right. Some great large place inside me was empty, and I didn't know if I could fill it again. I was scared.
The air was sultry, and felt good. When I first came here, I fell in love with this place. During the day, Los Angeles is a great playful puppy of a town, anxious to please and quick with a smile. At night, it becomes a treasure chest filled with magic and dreams. All you have to do is chase your dreams. All you need is the magic. All you have to do is survive, but it's that way anywhere. That's what I found here when I first came; that's what more and more people find here every day, always had and always would. It's why they come; that treasure chest of hope.
I could make it right with Lucy. I could pull my life together again and fill that empty place.
The owl said, "Who?"
I said, "Me."
I climbed back in the car, but I didn't go home. I turned on the radio and made myself comfortable. I didn't need to go home anymore. I was already there.
L.A. isn't the end; it's the beginning.
So was I.