5 comments

Mar 12, 2021

Fantasy Fiction Sad

Your eyes open slowly, taking in the grey, ashy landscape around you. Your head is pounding, mimicking your heartbeat, which is steadily thumping at a calm pace despite your confusion and panic. You stand up. You notice that the ashen earth is actually thousands of flowers, wilted and flaking by the second, and pick one. It falls apart in your hands and becomes swirling sooty fragments that nestle in your hair. One floats away, shifting to be yet another spot in the pale sky. You start walking in a random direction, hoping you can find someone or something. In the distance, you hear faint singing, getting louder as you trudge through the smoky blossoms.

All aboard the ship of death

Into the after we sail.

All aboard the ship of death

Did you heed the old wives’ tales?

All aboard the ship of death

For into the after we sail.

We’re waiting for you, ferryman

To take us across the bay

Come to us now, dear ferryman

Before we start to stray.

We’re on your ship, o ferryman

Forever shall we stay.

Until the soulless ferryman

Can row us to the grave.

All aboard the ship of death

Dust we were and dust we are.

All aboard the ship of death

Following the shooting star.

All aboard the ship of death

For dust we were and dust we are.

We’re waiting for you, ferryman

To take us across the bay

Come to us now, dear ferryman

Before we start to stray.

We’re on your ship, o ferryman

Forever shall we stay.

Until the soulless ferryman

Can row us to the grave.

Can you hear the dead souls chanting?

All aboard the ship of death

We cry out our deeds recanting.

All aboard the ship of death

For you can hear the dead souls chanting.

We’re waiting for you, ferryman

To take us across the bay

Come to us now, dear ferryman

Before we start to stray.

We’re on your ship, o ferryman

Forever shall we stay.

Until the soulless ferryman

Can row us to the grave.

You must be dead, or very close. Your chest constricts and you can no longer hear the drum of your heart. Were you even able to hear in the first place? You’re no longer sure of anything anymore. Your grey dress brushes over the flowers.

The song goes on, the singers getting increasingly desperate for the unknown ferryman to row them across the nameless bay. You wonder if the ferryman, like you, is lost. You wonder if he is too stuck in the gently waving fields of silvery blooms, doomed to roam colorless terrain for eternity. 

And then you see him. 

He is sitting on a rock, the only one you have seen since you woke up. He is pale, like your surroundings, but he is wearing a cloak that shimmers black- no, red. The color changes before your eyes, fluctuating and rustling even though he is still. He is thin, and you can see the outline of his bones through the skin that is stretched like canvas over his pallid frame. 

“Hello.” He says, in a voice that screams in agony and whispers hoarsely, all at once. It is not unpleasant.

He pats the empty space beside him on the rock. You sit.

“I am the ferryman.”

You nod. You knew that already.

“I am old. I need to rest”

You knew that too. 

“You…” He coughs, his fragile body shaking.

You put your hand on his. 

“You accept?” He asked.

You nod again. 

He stands up, and you have gained three things. 

The cloak of shifting colors.

A voice made of last moments.

And knowledge. 

He smiles, and he is different. 

He is young. 

He no longer stoops as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders. 

You don’t yet bow to centuries of existing, but you know it will come in time.

You take his hand, and together you walk through the ghost fields. You know where the ship is now.  

The singing has stopped. There is no need to call out to someone who is coming. 

It is silent. 

You don’t mind the silence; you never have. 

As you walk, you think about the difference. The difference between this monochrome reality and the vivid colors of the moment you died. 

You remember how you died now. You didn’t care before, but now you do.

You remember the heat, so separate from the chill you feel now.

You remember the panic, the pain.

You will only feel peace now, like the gentle waters of the bay that are appearing on the horizon.

The gentle waters and the ghost fields are all you will see until you are too old to continue. You glance over at the boy, who doesn’t remember. He will see the other land soon. You will only see the shoreline. You are not jealous. You will get your turn eventually. 

The ship is in front of you now. 

You see the souls who sang for you. 

They are faded. They have waited a long time for you.

As you escort the boy onto the ship, the cloak of shifting colors touches him, just enough to say goodbye. He smiles. 

He doesn’t know who you are.

The boat rocks slowly in the gentle waters. 

It moves towards the shoreline. 

For an indefinite amount of time, you sail. 

Then you stop. 

The souls are gone, and it is time to go back.

You are walking in fields of silver flowers with a young woman. She is lost in thought. She is wearing a cloak which seems to be one color, and then the next. Her eyes are deep. With every step, she kicks up swirling grey fragments of crushed flowers. Your grey dress brushes over the blossoms.

You don’t know who she is, who you are. There is silence. There was singing earlier, but you don’t remember the words. 

You cannot speak. 

On the horizon, a ship sits on top of dark waters. That is where you are heading, and it feels right. 

The woman helps you onto the ship. Her cloak touches you for a second, and it feels familiar. Everything does, but you can’t remember. 

You smile. 

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5 comments

Zahra Daya
18:31 Mar 20, 2021

I really enjoyed this kind of story, where a lot of things were left open and vague so the reader was forced to simply go along for the ride. It was very well-written (including the poem!) and was a chilling story. Very well done! Also, I'd love it if you could check out a recent story of mine and leave feedback! - Z

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Raven Achlys
19:14 Mar 20, 2021

Thanks so much! This was an experiment for me, since I hadn't written in 2nd person before, and I'm glad you like it!

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Raven Achlys
19:14 Mar 20, 2021

Thanks so much! This was an experiment for me, since I hadn't written in 2nd person before, and I'm glad you like it!

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Stevie B
14:40 Mar 20, 2021

Raven, hauntingly well done!

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Raven Achlys
16:43 Mar 20, 2021

Thanks!

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