Fantasy Friendship Inspirational

If you ask me what I am — what sort of gears and clock hands make me tick — I’m not sure I could accurately tell you. Heck, I don't even know if I have a mind or a heart, but I know I've been stuck here a long while now.

I remember when magic breathed in these woods, and many a Spirit floated through the air like gossamer wind. It's embarrassing to say, but I’m not sure how I got stuck here; in this hollow tree. I mean I can leave every once and a while—do what I'm supposed to do (as a Spirit does), but recently I've found myself not really doing that.

I’m a small Spirit. The big and powerful ones all left a long while ago. 

Don’t get me wrong now I’m not entirely alone. I can still hear the elder trees grumble amongst each other. I'll offer a word or two of advice— they really do bring up the same arguments over and over and over again. But usually I keep to myself. 

Until they came. 

They were an odd duo coming so deep into the forest to play. I decided to call them little dreamers. The boy I named him Strange: the Dreamer, and the girl I called Wings. They were odd because I hadn't seen a pair like them; in these little woods of mine. The boy was confident and daring— well cared for it seemed. The girl was smart. Very smart. And stubborn. Her keen eyes caught everything. Once she even seemed to stare into my very hollow. Of course, I knew she couldn't see me. I guess, least importantly, was that I had not seen a duo whose inner souls were encased by organs of contrasting color. 

You see, the boy being of ivory skin burned often, and the girl being of ebony faded into the night. 

Otherwise they were like any other ordinary kids. Playful. They used sticks as swords to fight each other: slashing at tree limbs and poking trunks. The boy held his tears in well; I could tell— even if Wings caught his cheek with a strike. Wings on the other hand was a sore loser. But she never whined. It was more the way she stomped on fallen leaves that revealed her displeasure. 

Sometimes, they brought books with them, or Strange did at least. At first he would read aloud under dappled sun that sprinkled their backs.

Then, Wings began to read. 

These two came almost every day; to the little clearing by my hollow, and boy was it a treat. I found myself silently playing along. I was once a pirate, a musketeer, and even a princess. On the days they didn't show up, maybe due to bad weather, I would gather gifts for them.

Once, I left two extraordinarily orange oranges; within them I added crushed star dust. I placed them on a little bed of green leaves and poppies. Strange ate it eagerly and without question. Wings held the little fruit in her palms and sniffed it before taking a hesitant bite. It was her smile that somehow made me stronger. 

Another time, I summoned the power of the wind to call to my old pals that had already left for the moon. They—with their greater gifts—called the fireflies to the clearing, and with a power that is their own turned day into night.

And the children danced while encompassed in twinkling stars.

Until it was time to go home. 

I saw them fight and make up. I saw them break bread. I saw them twirl until they fell over in a pile of twigs.

When I say they became what sunlight is to flowers for me, I wouldn't be lying.

Then one day Wings didn't show up. Strange had come by himself downcast and dragging his feet. I could feel Strange's sadness. It bled through him like a river unwilling to meet the ocean. I called for a butterfly to land on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off. 

I guess at this point in the story, I've realized I've never told you what kind of a spirit I am. You see, I’m the spirit of stubborn gumption. It used to come in handy back in the day, but as I don't venture forth much I’ve become rusty. 

But I had to see Wings. I needed to know she was alright.

So, I wrestled up some wind and bramble and followed Strange's path as he walked home. I was small and it would’ve been hard to see me. Still, Strange stopped a couple times to turn ruefully back. 

When we arrived at his property I tried to sense Wings. She wasn't there—much to my dismay, but I did see others like her.

I followed Strange into his house. This time I became a beetle, and I saw a well dressed lad screech down on him: “Boy, how many times did I tell you not to go looking for her! Why can’t you just make normal friends? God Sakes, James—you’re so stinking strange!” 

I agree, Strange is strange, but in the best way, and this mean fella, was bad in the worst way. 

I continued to follow Strange into his room. He seemed furtive, checking to make sure the curtains were closed and his door was locked. He bent down on his knees and retrieved a little paper from under his mattress. I turned to a moth and silently hovered above his left shoulder.

It was a map. Based on the rough edges, it had been torn out of an almanacs I've seen travelers carry.  

With his finger, he traced a path that seemed to curve through the woods and follow near the river. In a low hush I heard him whisper, “She’ll be there soon.” 

And he pointed to a place that showed a more rocky terrain. He closed his eyes and folded the little paper to his heart. 

Strange really was strange. 

But, I knew where Wings was now. 

I flew out Strange the Dreamer’s window and to the place I had seen on that map. I pleaded to the biggest Spirit to make it windy, and it became windy. I traveled faster—and good thing too. 

I came across Wings. She was huddled on the rocks, silently crying into her knees. I wanted her to go back to Strange. So I decided to remind her of him, so that she would return to our clearing. I poured his face into her mind and showed her all the times they played near my hollow. 

Much to my dismay, she seemed to steel herself. I watched her count her steps and mime jumping. I watched in worry when she practiced on a shorter ledge. Finally, I put two and two together and knew what she was about to do. 

Oh no, oh no no no no.

I tried to warn her harder— convince her even more to stay; for Strange you see. I stirred the taste of that orange they shared in the soul of her belly. I brought up the fireflies in the darkness that lit up Strange's face. “GO HOME,” I yelled into the void, searing an image of his face into her mind. But that seemed to fire her up more!

It was clear, she was ready to make the jump, and I knew — I knew she couldn’t make it. 

I shook my non-existent fist to the sky and cursed, I called to all the Spirits, but they couldn't hear me. 

For you see, I am but a small Spirit. 

But by golly, wasn’t I the Spirit of stubborn gumption?

So, I called upon all the fallen star dust that had graced the rocky ledge over the past millenniums. I drove it up from the ground as fast as I could. I took some wind and weaved into it the dust and summoned spider webs shaken loose from nearby trees to mix in my medley. Then I weaved and I weaved. I weaved the strongest wings I could. It was sloppy work, but it would do.

It would do.

I was almost out of time, but somehow—through sheer stubborn gumption— I attached the wings onto Wings little back, and at that moment she ran. She ran and she jumped. 

With her eyes closed and arms outstretched she flew through the dusky sky. Her wings shimmered behind her. I watched and held my breath. 

And she landed on the other side. 


Not one scratch. And the dust and the webs and the wind and the stars melted back into the earth. 

Wings turned around jubilantly and let out a burst of laughter. She took out a copy of the same map Strange had. The lines were rugged and slightly sloppy, but the replica was good. In the corner it appeared Strange had added a drawing: a boy and girl under a hollow tree. 

Wings touched that spot once, then rolled up her map and continued walking. 

These humans—they are odd. I guess it's not for a Spirit like me to understand. 

The last time Strange visited the little clearing by my hollow, I whipped up some hot air and placed it around his shoulders in an attempt at a hug, and I let him know Wings had made it to the place he had drawn. 

For what else can a Spirit do. 

May 11, 2023 17:15

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Russell Mickler
17:37 May 11, 2023

Hi Theresa! I think it's a testament to the ability of a writer to take a character like a ghost or a spirit, then make the prose sound ethereal and drifty, haunting. That's exactly how this work starts out in the second para and it's wonderful - words like hollow, breathed, floated, gossamer, breathed, and later, ruefully - it really sets the tone and sucks the reader into your story; it's beautiful. This was also very intriguing narrative, drawing us in: "... encased by organs of contrasting color." Grin - I truly loved this para: "I sa...


Theresa Amante
15:27 May 12, 2023

Thank you so much Russell! This means a lot coming from you (being such an evocative and accomplished writer)! Also, I love Neil’s writing, so I am truly humbled. 🙏 thank you thank you.


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