Monday, March 28, 2016
Flash Fiction Friday, Week 31: Home
The prompt this week was to write a fantasy story, and to include the following words: Spring, egg, bloom, season, and bunny.
My story is about a fella who found real magic.
I knew he was coming before he stepped through the doorway. I could feel his presence, there in the void, as he completed his journey from his world into mine. My powers have grown significantly weaker over time, but Galdemar is my friend, and the heart can sense when a friend draws near. I knew also his purpose for taking this potentially deadly risk passing through the portal. He did it for me – to save me, and it distressed me greatly since I had no desire to be liberated.
A bright light appeared a few feet from me and began to take shape. I prayed his entry would be smooth and painless. I looked into my neighbor’s yard, hoping he was out running his usual Saturday afternoon errands. It would not do for him to witness a warrior from an alternate world materializing seemingly from out of nowhere in the middle of my backyard. He was almost fully visible, and an ache filled my being. The joy of reuniting with my one true friend was overshadowed by fear, knowing I would break his heart.
“Galdemar,” I called to him.
He stood before me now, tall and strong, in full battle attire.
“There are no enemies here, my friend.” I tried to reassure him, but knew he journeyed nowhere unless fully armed.
“What is this place, Wrayeth? Large boxes with windows on blankets of coarse green material, and each small area surrounded by walls no higher than my knees? How can these protect you from the outsiders?”
I smiled. I had forgotten how foreign everything on this side seemed to me when I first crossed.
“Oh my dear friend, I have so much to tell you. To begin, I am called William here, Galdemar. The one who called himself Wrayeth is no longer. These large boxes are called houses. The people here live in them. This one behind us is mine. The blanket of green is called grass, and it is a living thing. When provided with water and sunlight, it grows strong. A troubled soul finds enjoyment when foot coverings are removed and one walks, or runs, through it on a warm summer day. Have I completely confused you yet?”
“It all sounds quite barbaric. What about the diminutive walls? How long will we remain safe before they come?”
“There are no enemies coming, as I have told you, Galdemar. These are not walls. They are called fences, and they mark the lines of ownership. All within my fence belongs to me, all within my neighbor’s fence to him, and so on around the area. It is different here, my friend, very different. All does not belong to all, as in Burra Hollow. Here in the Earth realm, each has his own.”
Galdemar shook his head. He never wanted to cross over to search here for other forms of life that may be compatible with us. There is nothing in that world of any value, he always said. If only he had accompanied me on my last quest, he would have found out just how wrong he had been.
“Let me take you in and show you my home. There are several rooms, each with their own pur…”
“What is that, Wrayeth? It has not moved since I arrived. Is it dangerous?” He placed his hand on the hilt of his sword.
This was turning out to be much more challenging than I had anticipated.
“Let me try to explain it this way, Galdemar. There are seasons here, four of them. There is spring, which it is now, then summer, then autumn, and finally winter. Once winter is over, the cycle begins again. Some seasons are warm and sunny, others are cold and full of ice and snow. Where we come from, it is always the same – always. There is no night; I mean, no darkness. It is always warm and sunny and light. But on this side, things change. Do you understand?”
The look on his face spoke volumes. No. He did not understand.
“I know it may seem unusual, but I quite enjoy the changes. I have ever since I arrived. It doesn’t take long to get used to all the differences. Anyway, back to it. There is a day of celebration that occurs here during springtime known as Easter. It is a day on which some rejoice since their Higher Power has risen and ascended into the Heavens, and others celebrate with egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. That is what this is. It is a chocolate bunny. Its shape is that of a rabbit, one of their animals, and it is made from sugar and milk and cocoa, which are sweet treats for the young.”
“Its shape is that of an animal and the young consume it? Disgusting. What is this egg hunt you speak of?”
This is becoming more difficult with each passing moment. Too, my wife and son should be returning home soon. How could I possibly explain Galdemar to them?
“It is a game, Galdemar. One fills eggs with sweet treats and hides them. Then, the children are sent out to find them. When they do, they may consume the treats inside. It fills them with happiness.”
“You are talking nonsense, Wrayeth. You have remained on this side too long. It is time to go home. The High Doaken saw you had not returned from your quest, and I volunteered to accompany you across. I barely was able to locate you since your powers are greatly diminished. We must go quickly. The portal will remain open only so long. Together, we can pass through safely.”
“Galdemar, my friend, I’m not going back. I have found contentment here. I have a wife and a son, and have fashioned a good life for myself. I know you will never understand, but you must trust me. This is my home now, and will remain so.”
“Why would you want to remain, Wrayeth? Soon, all your powers will be gone. As it is, you cannot cross on your own; you haven’t the strength. Staying here would result in your aging and eventual death. Is this the future you are choosing for yourself?”
“What I am choosing, Galdemar, is to live. You said the High Doaken saw that I had not returned. I had been gone for centuries in Burra Hollow time and he saw that I had not returned.”
“Your point being?”
“I was not missed, my friend. I was not missed. That is my point. It is also my reason for staying here, I am missed when I am away. I am missed and I am loved. I feel, here, Galdemar. In what you call home, there are no feelings. We go on and on and want for nothing. Wishes come true, and there is no loss or sadness. It is a wondrous place, where roses are forever in bloom, and since we do not age, there is no end.
“I have found there can be no real happiness without despair, no peace without discord, and no fulfillment without emptiness. It is right for you and the others and I wish them all well, but I cannot go back and simply exist. My wish is to remain here so that I may live.”
“If I go through alone, Wrayeth, it will be for the last time. The portal will be closed to you forever.”
In my heart, I knew my decision was the right one. Still, at this moment, I regretted some of these feelings I have come to know. I would never see Galdemar again.
“I know, but I have made my choice. Be safe.”
“Thank you, Wraye…William. Always know, my friend, that I shall miss you.”
He stood brave and proud, saluted me, and the light began to surround him as he prepared to cross. I could hear my wife and son calling me as they made their way to the backyard. The light diminished and was gone. Galdemar was gone.
“What was that, dear? Was that lightening in the yard? I don’t understand. The sky is so blue.”
“No, Catherine, it was just a reflection from somewhere. Maybe a plane went over. Nothing to be concerned about. How was the party? Joseph, did you have a good time with your friends?”
“Yes, Daddy, I had lots of fun and got lots of prizes.”
“I’m glad, son. You know it’s time for your nap.”
“Okay, but will you tell me a story before my nap? You know, the one about that other world?”
“All right. Come sit with me and I’ll tell you all about it. There are two suns, one green and one blue, and they shine all the time because there is no night. The children play among the flowers, and there is magic in the air. And friends? They are forever.”
“That world sounds like fun, Daddy, but I love this one best.”
“Me too, son. Me too.”