What I Need Most

Submitted into Contest #98 in response to: Write a story involving a character who cannot return home.... view prompt


Adventure Christian Fantasy

I stood there only able to stare out at the vast orange valley. How did I get here? One minute I was standing at the end of Duncan Street looking at the message board outside of the Baptist Church. Sometimes there were jobs posted there that I can do. Things like cleaning or babysitting. Anything to make some pocket money. Anything to get away from home. Well, what was left of home anyway. A year ago my mama died. She had a brain tumor and had been sick for a while. I didn’t take my good-for-nothing daddy long to find Rhonda.

What kind of name is Rhonda anyway? Not soft and feminine like Elizabeth. That was my mama’s name, but everyone always called her Lizzie. But, Rhonda?

Rhonda sounded like she was a bartender at the trucker bar out by the interstate. So, in an effort to avoid my house I was standing on Duncan Street when it happened. There was lightning. Honestly, it was so close I almost thought it hit me. But, I’m still standing, so clearly that wasn’t the case. The flash was so bright it blinded me for at least ten minutes. The power surge knocked me on my butt, I’m guessing about six feet from where I was standing. 

When I finally managed to pull myself to my feet again, I still couldn’t see anything clearly. I groped for the stone wall of the church. I found the stones, but they were scattered about. Still unable to see exactly where I was or what was around me, I felt from stone to stone until they ran out. Then, fully on my feet and my vision becoming more clear, I began to make out the horizon. I could see trees, but everything seemed oddly bright for seven-thirty in the evening. Then without warning my hand landed on a tree trunk that fell more of fur than bark. I rubbed my eyes to try and bring more of my surroundings into focus. Then I saw them. There were three large orbs hanging in the sky. The largest or be was emerald green, followed closely by one that was sapphire and another jasper orb. Violet and plum-colored the sky behind them. 

“We aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto,” I whispered. Even though I stood there all alone. 

“Where am I?” I wondered out loud. “Great, now I’m talking to myself.” 

Realizing just how unfamiliar everything was, I began to really take in my surroundings. The trees were in fact covered in what looked like fur instead of rough and crumbling bark. Some trees were brown and shaggy while others were a bit tawny and course while still others were gray and silky like an otter. What kind of place has fur trees instead of fir trees?  

“How curious,” I muttered as I turned on the spot trying to take in my current situation. The temperature was very agreeable. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold. I had been wearing a jacket on Duncan Street, but now there was no need for it. I had left the fall chill and Duncan Street far behind. I tied the jacket around my waist. Looking down at what I was wearing I was grateful I had been wearing sneakers when the lighting hit, if not for the insulation then surly for all the walking I’ll be doing. Standing on a hill now, I could see the landscape stretching out in front of me for quite a ways. There were no houses or people, or even animals that I could see anywhere. 

Where am I? I thought to myself as I walked along the forest under the mottled canopy of the fur trees. The smell was similar to the forests I had been in before. It was sappy and green and smelled of moisture and fresh dirt. It was comforting to feel something like home. That smell reminded me of my mother. She was always working in the soil. At least until she got sick. I remember bringing a pan of soil to her bed and small plants so that we could play in the dirt together. So much of my childhood was spent playing in the dirt with her. As I continue to walk, I gently brush the trees with my hands to feel the different textures under my fingers. 

As I walked making my way through the forest, I heard my stomach grumble. I had not eaten before leaving home tonight…last night? I have no way of knowing where I am or when I am for that matter. I must admit I am beginning to feel a bit uneasy. If I don’t know where I am, then I don’t know where to find food, or water, or shelter, or even what I might need shelter from. Are there predators that I need to be able to protect myself from? How do I know what I can and cannot eat? My mind began to race and I found myself speeding up as I walked. I was racing, but I had no clue what I was racing toward. I was trying to find the edge of the forest to try and get my bearings. But, this stand of trees seemed to never end. I was running now and breathing deeply as my feet padded through the undergrowth. The smell of dirt again filled my nose and lungs and I remembered my mother. What would my mother have told me to do?

Pause and take a deep breath. Then count your blessings. What do you see around you that you can use?” I heard my mother’s words in my head so clearly that it was almost as if she was standing with me. She had said them many times to me as a child. When I was anxious about how I was going to finish an assignment or when I felt so weak because I was sad while she was sick. She would tell me to breathe and count my blessings. 

I stopped dead in the forest. Huffing and puffing I took the deepest breath I could manage. The smell of my mother working with her hands. Then I began to count my blessings out loud, because when you’re in a forest alone who cares if you talk to yourself? 

  1. “I have tennis shoes on, so I can comfortably walk.
  2. Nothing is chasing me.
  3. I am slightly hungry, but I will not starve any time soon
  4. I feel my mother when I’m here, and I haven’t felt that in so long. It’s nice.
  5. I am smart. I can do this.
  6. I know my next step must be to find water.”

“So, Destiny, how do we find water?” I asked myself. As I took my next step I heard a rustling in the leaves above me. Where animals up there? Then the rustling grew louder and louder until, while I was looking up to examine the noise a raindrop hit me squarely between the eyes. Within seconds the whole forest was alive with the sound of rain falling. 

“Water! Yes!” I shouted as the rain fell to the ground. I had to catch some of it. I had no idea how long it would last. “What can I use to hold the water?” I asked as I turned to look for a leaf or a rock or something that might hold just a little bit of water for me for later. And just as the rain had come so quickly, directly to my right there stood a wooden cup. I was sure it hadn’t been there before. But I wasn’t going to wait for it to disappear. I grabbed it and held it toward the sky catching as much water as I could. As the cup filled up I opened my mouth to the clouds and cooled my parched tongue. 

As quickly as the rain had come it also left. The purple sky showed bright and clear once again.  The yellow jasper orb that hung in the sky radiated light. It gave the sky a sort of golden brown color. It was absolutely breathtaking. With my new water cup in hand, I walked further into the forest. I walked hoping either to find some life or to find a more sustainable source of water. Thinking about the water, it was lucky for me it actually was water. I have no idea where I am so liquid falling from the sky isn’t necessarily water. I will have to be more careful in the future. 

As I walked on, I could hear the wind rustling the tree leaves and the crunch of the dried forest litter under my feet. Then, as if having been turned on at a switch there was music. Music meant people, or at least intelligent life, right? The music got louder with each step I took. I must be headed in the right direction. I continued to walk, slowly at first, but the more I heard of the song, the faster I moved until I was running toward the sound. I held my cup, long empty, tightly in my hand. When I burst through the tree line the volume slammed into me with full force. The melody was so sweet that I stopped in my tracks and collapsed to my knees. With my eyes closed and head tilted toward the violet sky, I sat and breathed in each note. There were no words to the song, only a chorus of rhythmic chanting. Time seemed to stop, so I have no recollection of how long I sat that way.

Finally finding my feet, I got up and moved on toward the sound. My feet carried me through an open field down into a valley below the forest. As I climbed out on the other side cresting the hill still following the song, I came upon a footpath. The path looked well worn. 

“There must be others here somewhere, or there were at some point,” I thought out loud to myself. “If nothing else the path might lead to water and a somewhere to stay.”

I am normally an anxious person. So, I was handling all of this quite well. Maybe it was the fact that I just hadn’t felt at home with my daddy and Rhonda. Maybe this place was just a calming type of place. Maybe there was something in that water, after all, that’s made me super mellow. Either way, I felt light. All of the junk I’d been carrying for the last few years. It was all just being carried away by the music.

I was lost in my thoughts about the fur trees and the sapphire orb that seemed to be growing as the others shrank. So lost in those thoughts that I didn’t hear the music grow quiet. At first, I thought it had stopped but it hadn’t. It was as if I had cotton stuffed in my ears all of a sudden. It had become muted. I had been following the footpath through thickets and larger tree stands until I finally came out on the other side. The path ended on the outside of what appeared to be a town square. There was a fountain in the center and then squat little buildings radiated out in every direction. I assume from above it looks much like a wagon wheel. 

I walked over to the fountain as I marveled at the small homes and buildings. There were still no people. What was this place? With my cup in hand, I sat on the wall of the pool at the base of the fountain. It was red stone that felt smooth. The round base encircled a tall stone tree. It was a stone representation of the trees I had seen in the forest. It no longer rained water down on the pool, but I could see spouts on the tip of each branch that used to spray. I can imagine how beautiful it must have been. I wish I could have seen this fountain working.

Before the thought was fully formed in my mind, the tree began to flow with water that created intermittent splashing all around the pool. Just as the rain had started, and the cup appeared, the fountain seemed to know that I needed water. This place seems to be able to read my thoughts and give me what I need most. 

“What is this place?” I asked out loud to no one. 

Standing open-mouthed staring at the newly alive fountain, the breeze shifted and I could smell that familiar scent of soil again. My mother. I closed my eyes again and smiled toward the darkening sky. That’s when I heard the sound I thought I’d never hear again.

“Destiny,” my mother’s voice said.

I turned quickly to find my eyes staring directly into hers. Then I thought to myself, “I don’t care where I am, I’m never going home.”

June 16, 2021 00:23

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.