Adventure Fantasy

"So? Can you keep a secret?" Eddie asked me again, as I sat, puzzled, wondering why he was so excited. I felt apprehensive at first. Eddie was 15 now, always busy with friends or track practice or some girl. He rarely wanted anything to do with his little 8-year-old brother anymore, so this visit to my room in the middle of the night was more than a little suspicious. 

"Um," I hesitated, sitting up in bed and looking around the shadowed bedroom, "I guess so," I finally mumbled as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes.

"C'mon, put your shoes on!" Eddie said in a tone that was somewhere between a whisper and a shout, "You gotta see this!" He hopped to his feet and tossed my sneakers into my lap.

"Ok, ok," I said, pushing the words past a yawn, "I'm comin'," 

I put my shoes on and tightened the velcro straps, then tucked Bear back into the bed with one of my pillows so that it looked like I was still sleeping, just in case Mom came in. Satisfied with my decoy, I followed Eddie out into the hall. The house was dark, illuminated only by the warm orange glow of the streetlight outside, and the occasional flash of lightning. 

I had always loved storms. There was something calming about the steady pitter patter of heavy rain on the roof. Even the distant rumble of thunder somehow soothed my senses. Mom said I had an old soul. I'm not really sure what that means though.

"C'mon, dude!" Eddie whispered and hurried me, still only half awake, past Mom and Dad's room, down the stairs and into the kitchen.

"Can't it wait till tomorrow?" I griped, "I'm so tired,"

"No way!" Eddie replied, barely able to contain himself, "you gotta see this, dude. You're not gonna believe it!"

He crept across the kitchen and opened the pantry door. I stared quietly as he emptied out the lower shelf, depositing cans of beans and corn on the floor. He waved me over with a hand and I crouched next to him. 

"Look!" Eddie instructed, pointing excitedly into the pantry. I peered quizzically at him for a moment. He must be going crazy, I thought, but decided to humor him. I got down on my hands and knees and looked inside.

"Is-" I stammered over a sense of awe, "Is that a door?"

"Mhm!" Eddie replied excitedly, "Touch the knob!" 

"Are you sure we should-"

"Just do it!" He urged.

"Ok," I said with a shrug and reached down into the back of the pantry, past an old bundle of shopping bags and a long abandoned spiderweb. My arm was just barely long enough and I strained to reach the tiny door. As soon as my fingertip brushed against the cool brass of the knob, I was somewhere else.  

Except I wasn't. I was in the pantry, standing in front of a large wooden doorway, with dusty, worn hinges and a brass doorknob. I turned around and dropped to the floor just as a colossal hand soared over my head. I looked up again, and to my surprise, it was gone. In its place, stood Eddie, still wearing his red flannel pajamas and white sneakers.

"Eddie?" I jumped to my feet, "What's going on?!"

"C'mon," Eddie ordered, waving over his shoulder for me to follow as he approached the door. I looked longingly at the enormous cans of corn outside the now cavernous pantry. Trembling slightly, I followed Eddie to the door.

"Go on, dude," He said, looking at me expectantly and gesturing to the shiny brass doorknob, "Go inside! I'll be right behind ya, promise." He thrust his hand out toward me, pinky out. I wrapped my pinky around his and we shook. Feeling reassured, if only slightly, I reached for the knob. The moment I turned it, I was somewhere else.

I stood in the center of a wide circle of massive stones. Birds chirped a happy melody and the sun shone brightly on my face through the verdant canopy of leaves above me. The same wooden door, with the same dusty hinges and the same brass knob stood behind me, just out of arm's reach.

Suddenly, there was a flash of golden light and a familiar looking man dressed head to toe in shining silver armor appeared next to me. He looked a lot like Eddie, except his raven hair was longer, his piercing blue eyes were more fierce and determined, and a short beard wrapped around his squared jaw.

"Hey, little brother!" The knight exclaimed with a wave, "You're taller!"

"Huh?" I mumbled looking down at my feet. I was dressed in armor too, and much taller than I had been a second ago. I reached up and touched my face. "Whoa! I have a beard?" 

"Yup!" Eddie said with a laugh, "You're a knight like me! This is awesome! C'mon!"

"Eddie wait!" I called after him as he ran off into the woods, "Where are we!?"

A sudden scream somewhere in the distance stopped any answer from coming. Eddie sprinted off in the direction of the scream and a knot began to form in my throat. I chased Eddie through the brush for some time before coming to the edge of a clearing where he crouched, hiding behind an ancient looking oak.

"Let's go home," I whispered as I crept up beside him, but he was staring intently into the clearing. I followed his gaze to a woman dressed in a beautiful azure ball gown with a river of golden curls cascading down her shoulders. 

She screamed again and I saw it. Scattered around the clearing were a dozen or more statues of soldiers clutching spears and shields, and at the center of the stone battlefield loomed a large figure. It had the body of a woman, supported by a serpent's tail covered in glittering green and black scales rather than legs. Even from a distance I could see the slitted, snake-like yellow eyes glaring at the woman in the dress. 

"We gotta help her!" Eddie said and charged from our hiding place before I could object. 

"I am Ser Edward!" He roared as he charged the creature, his sword drawn, "and you will not harm this innocent woman, monster!"

The creature hissed and snapped its gaze in Eddie's direction just as he raised his sword to strike. Eddie stopped dead and my breath caught in my throat. I watched in abject terror as my older brother turned to stone just as the soldiers must have moments before. The creature loomed over the statue of Eddie, running a slender, clawed finger along his petrified chest. I couldn't move. I could barely breathe as I watched the monster slither over to the horrified woman in blue, snatch her from the ground and dart off with her screaming into the woods on the other side of the clearing.

I just sat there for what felt like an eternity. I couldn't bring myself to stand. This couldn't be real, could it? Finally, I willed myself to my feet and ran over to Eddie. I stared into his face, perfectly carved from smooth gray stone, his fierce eyes staring blankly into the distance, and began sobbing. I didn't know what else to do. I glanced back in the direction of the magic door with the brass knob. I could go home. This was probably all a bad dream anyway.

No, I decided. I was a knight and that woman in the blue dress still needed saving. 

"I'll find a way to save you, Eddie," I whispered to the statue of my big brother, "I'll find a way, promise,"

After a few hours of wandering around the woods, trying to figure out a way to find the monster, I came upon a village nestled against the foothills of a mountain. A tall gray tower poked out from a forest of thatched roofs and stone chimneys. Streamers of smoke whisped their way up to the sky, and pleasant sounds and smells drew me closer. As I approached the gate at the edge of the village, I was stopped by a pair of gruff looking men wearing loose fitting shirts of chain and bronze helmets. Each man clutched a spear tightly as they approached.

"'Scuse me, Ser knight," said the man on the left, "have ye come t' answer the lord's call t' arms?" 

"I, er," I stammered, "Call to arms?"

"Aye!" The other guard replied, "Lord Ricard Reinhardt the Third o' Ravenswood calls upon all brave an' mighty warriors o' the realm to slay the evil beast that has plagued our village for decades!"

"I guess so," I said with a shrug. They had to be talking about the same monster right?

"Then head on up to the Lord's Hall!" Said the first guard.

"Straight up da main road an' up da hill," said the man on the right, "can't miss it,"

It was not a long walk from the main gate to the Lord's Hall, and it was not a difficult place to find, being the largest building in town aside from the stone tower. The smell of roasted turkey filled my nostrils as the door swung open in front of me and a loud rumble escaped my belly. The hall was full to bursting with people. There were knights in shining armor, warriors with horned helms, and hunters covered head to toe in animal furs. Everyone wanted a chance to slay the monster.

"My Lords!" A loud, deep voice boomed over the din of the feast as I found an empty seat, "My Lords! Your attention, please!" The hall went silent. The feasting stopped and everyone found a seat leaving only one man standing. He was a large man, as tall as he was wide. He wore a long crimson drape over a fine suit of armor inlaid with gold and jewels. His bushy salt and pepper beard was braided at the end and a golden crown rested atop his ebony hair. 

"Thank you all for coming here tonight!" The man exclaimed with his arms outstretched to the crowd, "I come to you seeking your aid, and bearing grave news! My daughter, Liliana, was taken from me this day by the very beast, which I have called you here to slay! The time for action is now, my friends. I offer his weight in gold and silver to the man who returns my daughter to me, along with her hand! Go forth, warriors of the realm. Slay the beast which no man can slay, and return to me, a son!" The crowd of warriors jumped to their feet and rushed for the doors, pushing and shoving their way out of the hall. Every one of them was eager to complete the Lord's quest and win his daughter's hand in marriage.

I rose quietly to my feet once the rush subsided and walked outside into the crisp evening air. I knew the monster couldn't be killed. They would all turn to stone, and I couldn't help them. A single tear rolled down my cheek as I thought of poor Eddie, still standing in that clearing.

"Pst," a sound came from behind me, followed by a tap on my shoulder. I whipped around and came face-to-face with a scrawny old man sporting a bushy gray beard and wearing a silly pointed hat and matching robe.

"Yeah?" I said, looking around for someone else he may have me mistaken for, "do you need something?"

"I can help you," the old man offered proudly, "Come, come, my boy. Follow me!" He continued muttering inaudibly under his breath as he stalked off. With a shrug, I followed. We arrived at the foot of the stone tower at the center of town minutes later and the old man produced a big brass key. He inserted it into the tower door and it swung open silently. He waved me in and I cautiously followed up a long spiraling staircase that seemed to go on forever. When we finally reached the top, I followed him into a circular room filled with all sorts of strange objects, colorful vials and flasks, and an assortment of swords, bows, shields, and staves. It smelled like Grandma's house which put me oddly at ease. The old man scurried across the room, leaving me gaping at his collection of curios, and began digging through a rough wooden chest. 

"Aha!" He exclaimed moments later and rushed back across the room, clutching a small round shield. He thrust it into my hands with an expectant smile. It looked like an ordinary shield, too small to cover even my whole torso, except for one detail: its face was a polished silver so clear that it could have been a mirror.

I looked up at the old man as I realized how to defeat the monster, except the man was gone, and so was his tower. Instead, I stood at the mouth of a cave. An old fort stood, partially collapsed, inside the cave, its portcullis open and its halls dark. Thunder rumbled. I looked down at the shield still clutched in my hands and, with a swell of determination, I strode inside, my sword drawn and my nerves steeled. 

It did not take long for me to find the rest of the warriors that had so valiantly charged up the mountain to face the creature. They stood all around me, silent and still as stone. They had already failed. I searched the ground floor of the keep and quickly found a way up to the upper level where I was greeted by the soft orange flicker of candle light creeping out from beneath a heavy door. I carefully pushed the door open and crept inside. 

The room was elegantly furnished. A large bed covered in silken sheets stood at its center. The woman in the blue dress sat, peacefully brushing her golden hair, at the far end of the room. Beside her stood a single statue of a man, frozen in fear with one arm back as though he was shielding some invisible companion.

The floor creaked as I stepped into the room and the woman, Liliana, spun around to face me.

"You should not be here!" She said in a half whisper, concern growing on her face as she eyed my shield. Before I could even think about responding, a hiss sounded from the doorway. I ducked and rolled backwards, just as a scaly, clawed hand sailed through the space my face had just occupied. I jumped to my feet and instinctively parried another blow with my blade. Without meeting the monster's gaze, I raised my shield and held my breath.

No attack came. I heard a gasp followed by a soft sob and the crumbling of stone. 

I peered up from behind my shield and gaped. Liliana sat sobbing in the arms of a man before the unmoving monster. The man, I realized, had been the statue standing on the opposite end of the room just moments ago. The monster was now the one that was made of stone. 

"She was my mother," Liliana sobbed, gently running a finger over the creature's petrified scales, "cursed to live as a monster and turn men's hearts as cold as stone by a jealous witch who was in love with my father. You did what had to be done," She wiped a little river of tears from her cheek, "The curse is finally broken, and I have my Erik back," Liliana smiled up at the man holding her.

"Thank you, Hero," He said, but I was not listening, I was already running. I ran as fast as I could, out of the fort, down the mountainside and back to the clearing in the woods.

Eddie was still there, kneeling in a pile of crumbled stone at the center of a circle of confused soldiers. I sprinted to his side and wrapped him in my arms.

"I thought I lost you, big brother," I mumbled past tears and sobs of joy, "I thought I lost you,"

After I explained what had happened, Eddie and I made our way back to the door in the woods with the dusty hinges and the brass knob, and went home.

When I awoke, I was in my bed again, Bear clutched tightly between my arms. Had it all been a dream? I rolled off the bed and planted my feet on the floor. Why was I wearing my shoes? I took them off and went downstairs for breakfast, eyeing the pantry warily as I hugged Mom and Dad good morning. Then I saw Eddie, already at the table with his bowl of cereal, flash me a sly wink and a smile, and knew. It was real. It was all real!

Years passed, and Eddie and I shared many more secret adventures together in the magic world hidden in our pantry behind the tiny door with the dusty hinges and the brass knob. We slayed dragons and saved kingdoms. We met fairies and elves and goblins. Eventually Eddie and I both moved away and I forgot about the little door until the night of my son's 10th birthday.

My new family and I had just moved back to the old house the week before, and that night, at midnight, I slid carefully from my bed, careful not to wake my wife as she slept peacefully beside me. I crept out of our new room, once my parents room, and down the hall. I slowly opened the door to my son's room and crouched beside his bed.

"Pst, Lucas, wake up," I whispered, gently shaking him awake with an excited smile plastered on my face. He stirred and looked up at me, puzzled.

"What is it, dad," he mumbled as he rubbed sleep away from his eyes.

"Can you keep a secret?"

August 19, 2020 00:21

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Keerththan 😀
06:59 Sep 02, 2020

Wonderful descriptions. Loved the story. Interesting writing style. Well written. Would you mind reading my story "The adventurous tragedy?"


Adrian Stolecki
18:32 Sep 02, 2020

That's for the feedback! =) I'll check it out!


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Evan Rocker
21:08 Aug 23, 2020

Great story. I wish Eddie would find a door for me.


Adrian Stolecki
16:30 Aug 24, 2020

Don't we all... Haha


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Yolanda Wu
03:16 Aug 22, 2020

I really loved the interaction between the characters. I was very curious to see how the entire story would unfold. There were also some really nice descriptions throughout. Wonderful work!


Adrian Stolecki
19:08 Aug 22, 2020

Thank you for the glowing review and for taking the time to give my story a read! =)


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