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Fantasy Urban Fantasy Happy

Markus laid on his bed, flipping through the pages of his fathers children's book. He was wearing his favorite matching pajamas, keeping him warm and comfy. The lids of his eye felt heavy, so focusing on the pictures was nearly impossible. A kid his age needed rest. He wanted to reject what his body was telling him, but his arms slowly drifted toward his body. He was about to doze off before he heard a knock at his door. He quickly jolted his chin up, the voice of his mother called out to him. “Marcus, baby. Are you asleep yet?” She asked, while simultaneously creaking the door open to peek in on him. She opened it fully when she realized he was still awake. 



“I was about to sleep, just before you knocked. I swear.” He was telling the truth, but she looked doubtful. She took a seat on the bed. She picked up the book he was looking at. She frowned slightly, but tried to hide it from her son Markus. He’s too young to worry about me. I have to be strong for him. She thought 


“I don’t know why you love this so much. You can’t even read it.” She paused with a small smile and chuckle. “That is unless you somehow learned portuguese while I wasn’t looking. Huh? Is that what happened?” She ran her fingers through his nappy black hair. He smiled.


“Mom can you tell me more about my dad?” She looked over at the clock on his dresser. 



“Maybe tomorrow little rascal, but it’s nine o'clock. You need to sleep. You have an early day at school.” Marcus wanted to protest, but she gave the look of a lioness, one ready to pounce without hesitation. He placed his feet under the covers and his mother tucked him in tightly. He was nice and warm.    


He placed his book in the dresser drawer. His mother waved him a kiss before turning off the light and closing the door. Quickly he dozed off into the realm of dreams that existed in his mind. It was an endless white void, with an island directly in the middle. You wouldn’t call the island big or small, it was just right, enough to explore, but not too much to get lost in an endless slumber. 


Markus ran, sprinting toward the island. The closer he got a figure swinging from branches began to appear; it was his friend Guja. Guja was a small animal, but unlike any animal that you would have seen roaming the wilds of earth. The animal that came closest to his mind was a panda. Not your run of the mill black and white type of panda; Guja had exotic, colorful fur. The fur was a mix of red, orange and yellow. It contorted in different patterns, like ink on a canvas, almost without rhythm or reason; it was an enigma of a design. His feet had hands like a monkey. 


“Welcome, Master Markus!” Guja announced, while performing a spectacle of a backflip; he bowed, expecting his due applause. Marcus was glad to oblige the joyfully energetic Guja. 


“As funny as always, Guja. Anything else you want to show me that I might find enjoyable?” Guja paced the sandy island front, scratching the top of his furry head; Guja did more pondering in that moment than in all the previous dreams Markus had. Guja pushed his feet forward, causing him to cough on the dust he kicked in front of his face. He wiped away the dirt, but acted as though it was all his doing, so that Markus did not think of him a clumsy idiot.   


“Well, you see I…I saw some strange writing, writing I have never seen before. But you might not find it exciting or enticing enough to venture on such an enigma.” Guja laughed, before realizing the spark in his master's eyes. “Perhaps I was mistaken. Huh? Would you like to journey into the inner island for a quick adventure?”



Marcus gripped his fist in the air, pounding them with glee. “Yes! Lead the way Guja!” Guja gave a great chuckle before jumping to a tree and hanging from a wild vine. 



“Make sure to keep up, Master Markus!” Guja said, quickly leaping from the vine he was on and swinging to another. Markus was quick to follow him with a sprint, moving further into the island. 



It didn’t take long for Guja and Markus to reach the river; Guja hung upside down looking at the boy struggle to keep up. He laughed, enough for Markus to hear, but not enough for Guja to seem arrogant; he only wanted to tease the boy a little. “You won’t become a great football player if you can’t keep up with Little Guja. Can you?” Markus looked at Guja with a sharp glare. 


“You cheated, you always cheat. You know no human can keep up with you, Guja.” Guja snickered. 


“Can we still be friends if you accuse me of cheating? Have I not led you on a great adventure? My father always told me that all journeys lead down a treacherous path. What good is being an Adventurer without hard work?” Markus sat in a bashful silence. “Cheer up, Master Markus. We made it to our destination.” 


Guja pointed toward the river. “Look at the mystery writing. The magic word I call it. It glows brightly. You can’t miss it.” Markus looked over Guja, noticing a shimmer carved into the river side. He tilted his head, looking at a single word, trying to grasp a memory that lay just beyond his knowledge, mouthing the word to himself in a murmur, but no meaning seemed to want to form. The word was ‘ajuda’ it seemed fantastical, magical even to the child wonder that Markus possessed. Markus felt a familiarity each time he repeated the word. 


Ajuda…Ajuda…Ajuda. 


It was like a light bulb formed over him. “It’s portuguese! Guja, it’s portuguese! I remember seeing it in my fathers book. I don’t know the meaning but I definitely remember the word. It was the most common word in his book” Guja Scratched his noggin. 


“If you say so, master Markus. But why would a portuguese word be in the realm of dreams? Unless.” Guja performed a backflip, less of a spectacle than the first, but a backflip nonetheless. He crawled on all fours, inching closer to the word. He inspected the area around the word. 


“Come closer, master Markus'' Markus stood side by side with Guja, revealing a red crystal fitted in the ground, surrounded by a thin sliver of stone, aged like it came from an ancient city. Markus recognized the crystal from his fathers book. He tried to tug at it, but it was unmovable. When he touched the crystal it revealed a hologram right in front of the two. 


“What did you do, master Markus?” Guja looked different, there was a fearful glint in his eyes, not a fear for himself; Guja was not physical, he was created by the realm of dreams to protect the ‘dream walkers’, a special creature created by the mind of Markus. Markus was the only thing he worried about, that was his duty. 


Two voices came from the hologram, one speaking english the other a language neither Guja or Markus understood, but they both assumed it was portuguese. “Hello, you finally got our SOS signal. May I ask who I am speaking to?” 



“Markus.” Guja and Markus said in unison 


“Markus?” the man said with a small, awkward delay. “Is this Markus Diaz?” 



“Yes, may I ask who is asking?” There was a pause, followed by a chuckle. "What’s so funny?” Markus asked, somewhat annoyed. 


“You sound just like your father, only you speak english.” Markus's eyes widened. 


“You know my father. Where is he? Why did he disappear?” Markus had more questions then he had time to ask. But those were his dying questions. The questions he wanted to know his whole life. 


“Why not ask him yourself? He’s right here.” The man spoke in another language to another man. I can finally speak to my father. Markus was delighted by the thought. He grew deeply saddened when the man began to speak portuguese.        


“I don’t speak portuguese. Does he not speak english like my mother? She told me he dazzled her with his romantic accent.” There was silence. 


“That’s why we sent the SOS. You see your father is plagued by this realms curse. It’s rare, but your father is losing his memory. He still remembers you, barely but certain things he has forgotten. He no longer can speak english. He only understands his home country's language. He needs his book in order for us to return home to earth.” The book! My children's book. It has to be that book. He thought. 


“My children's book, correct?” 


“Yes. Do you have it?” The man spoke with a tone of excitement. 


“Not in the dream realm.” Markus turned to Guja. “Is there a way for me to bring my book into the dream realm?” 


“Have you read the book before or seen the contents within it?” The boy nodded. “Then yes it is possible. All you must do is close your eyes and picture the book in your hands. It will create a perfect recreation of the book, without error or alteration.” 



Markus closed his eyes, focusing on the book. His hands began to feel heavier, not too heavy, but enough to feel the presence of an object laying in his hands. He opened his eyes “it worked! But how is a children's book going to help you?” 



“Your father told me that the book allows for dimensional travel. The instructions are coded in the book. All you have to do is read it and I will translate it to your father.” Markus quickly opened the book, trying to pronounce the words in the right way. It was definitely broken portuguese. 


“One page to go and then my father should have everything he needs to return to earth.” Markus began reading then suddenly a large screech came through the hologram. Markus tried to call out to the man, relay the information, but all he heard was silence. “What’s happening Guja? Why can’t they hear me?” Before Guja could answer the crystal pulsed rings of red; the hologram collapsed and the word carved ground dissipated.  


“I think they're gone, Master Markus.” Markus shook his head. He ran to the crystal, violently slamming on the crystal. 


“No! They aren't gone. They can’t be gone. I just met my father. He can’t be gone. Can’t you do something?” Tears welled in his eyes. Guja came closer, placing his hand on his shoulder. 


“I’m sorry. I wish I could do something. I really do.” The white marble sky beamed bright, causing Guja to look up. “Time is up, Sleep now Master Markus, perhaps next time we meet you can try again, but now you must go back to your world.” No! Guja, I don't want to go. Don’t want to wake up yet. Markus tried to fight the slumber with, focusing his thoughts on staying in the realm of dreams. The thoughts were futile. His body became weak, his eyes felt like stones. He slowly collapsed on the soft grass, going into a deep sleep. 


He woke in a panic, sweat rolling down his forehead, breathing heavily. He quickly searched his drawer, pulling everything from his drawer. All he felt was emptiness. My book it’s gone. He was confused. He wondered where his book was; he heard a commotion, quickly jumping out of bed. 


“Mom! Do you know where my book is?” I turned the corner into the kitchen, trying not to trip over his own feet. 


“Woah, don’t hurt yourself kiddo or I might have to show you how to run, correctly.” Markus quickly turned his head, hearing a man's voice. A voice that sounded familiar. 


“Dad?” Markus said in shocked tone 


“Who else would it be kiddo?” Markus ran toward his father. His father was drinking coffee and reading a newspaper. He wrapped his arms tightly around his fathers waist. “What's the matter kiddo? You act like you saw a ghost. I’m not that old am I?” Markus looked up with a wide smile, shaking his head. 


“I missed you dad.” 


“I missed you Too, dream walker.” He looked at his dad with a confused look. His father gave him a wink and placed his index finger over his mouth.


December 24, 2022 00:32

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3 comments

S N
11:06 Dec 29, 2022

Very cute story. I was worried towards the end there, I was really hoping this sweet little boy would get to communicate with his father but the fact that they are reconnected, and his father remembers, is such a sweet element to make this just right for the holidays. I would love to see a sketch of Guja. What does that name mean?

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Mathic M
08:03 Dec 30, 2022

Thank you. The name does not really mean anything. I was going for a whimsical feeling. I thought the name felt magical, mystical even. I quite like the name I don't know why. The name is pronounced like Jew and ga. Jewga or Juga or Jooga.

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Wendy Kaminski
18:58 Dec 25, 2022

Great adventure story, Mathic! It was very engrossing and unlike anything I've read before; I enjoyed the themes of the dream guardian and the indecipherable book being the key to finding his father... which, he did, in the end. Nicely done plot, and great writing! :)

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