A Fantasy Foreign

Submitted into Contest #140 in response to: Write about a character with an unreliable memory.... view prompt


Adventure Fantasy Fiction

I wish for a fantasy. And so it goes…

In a far distant land, I find myself lost. What I search for, I do not know. Where I have been will remain a mystery. The air has electricity. There is much the same that is familiar, only nothing seems domestic. This is foreign land. I find myself walking amongst some bushes and so I extend my palm to them, welcoming a new experience. What I find is consistent surprise. It appears as even the clouds are new to me, though surely clouds are the same everywhere. This place, as the clouds, is an expanse. Searching for one hundred years would not exhaust all there is to behold.

A meadow unfolds before me, the way they tend to do, and I find myself along a path. Ahead, a brook flows freely but gently, and a small, wooden bridge across. And so I continue on, though there is no burden to continue. A small sparrow, a breed foreign to me of course, flashes across the view and then two more. They are small and flightful and their path proceeds into yet another vision beyond what appears to be the end of the meadow and where a village begins. And the wind shakes the leaves of what appears to be a willow tree. Once across the wooden bridge I can proceed up a rise into a roadway of the village. And so I continue in. 

There are small children running and playing, their noise enlivening and peaceful. And now the noises of the village are upon me. Here a woman berating a man over something I cannot comprehend, but they are not angry with one another, simply disagreeing. In this land, the men are willful and the women seem dutiful. Another man, short with a smile, is stirring something in what appears to be a kettle. Without a word, he offers this new stranger, myself, a taste. What I taste overwhelms all of my senses in a rush and I am pleasantly surprised, but as I want more a lady approaches the smiling man for her serving and so I carry forth along the causeway of the village I find myself in. 

Ahead there is an intersection of village paths and before I can cross I am blindsided by yet another rush, this of color and smoke. More children playing, proceeding in a ruckus affair with their hands in the air, great streams of paper trailing their line. They are excited, though I do not know why. And then I cross the intersection, only now further excited by what may lay ahead. There is an air of festivities to this village, though perhaps that is how it has always been. These people, this place, not welcoming or friendly on purpose but in nature. 

As I cross the causeway on my path, the structures of the village take more solid form though surely I am just paying closer attention. They appear as buildings, though perhaps I should call them huts for descriptions sake, but I can see ahead that these huts grow larger and larger to sizes much more grand than the ones which lay before. These buildings have a common form, but surely the details are new to me. In this hut, for instance, surely only one soul may rest. But ahead, the buildings are of such size that a great number of souls must celebrate within them. And it is towards these buildings I proceed.

I pass many men, women, and children who are certainly different than me both in appearance and dress, but of course this causes me to want to be more like them. In my pocket is a coin of some sort, the sort the woman handed the smiling man before, and as I observe it in my palm I understand this is the currency of the village, perhaps of the land, though I care not why I am in possession of capital which I was at first unaware. Along the path is a stand from which many garbs hang, and so in order to fit in I hand the coin to the young lady behind the stand and gesture for a tunic which appears my size and style, though clearly I am not to fit in here. While I am aware I will stand out, I make the effort to blend in.

Adorned in my new drapery, I am no less naked, but perhaps more adapted. Any one of these people will see my differences, but it appears they assume my similarities. This tunic is of the cloth and color of many of the gowns around me, and a young man nods approvingly at my choice with yet another smile. But I want to see the celebration, if one is abound, and so on I continue down the causeway. The sun is now higher in the sky than before and I am aware that my mouth is drying so I stop at a fountain and quench my thirst. These fountains are all about the village, which appears to be a city, and the water satiates me anew, and I am quenched. But I am not satisfied, only enlivened to proceed.

Down the alleyways along the road, great numbers of these people are carrying on about their way, though they appear to be all heading in my direction with a great energy. They seem to know me. I find myself more excited with every step for what I will behold. There is no doubt something wonderful lies ahead. A party, a dance, a ceremony for me to behold in a land quite different than wherever I am from. The pathway’s gentle rise from the meadow behind me now becomes steps of light, soft stone and so up I must go. This seems to be where everyone is heading. But when I reach the top of the steps, my path is forever altered.

There, at the utmost step, a woman stands with her arms crossed and a look of shame toward me. Her hair is up, her dress flows down, her gaze burns straight through my heart. And now I know where I have been led by the steps which came before me. Now I recall why I came to this village, this ceremony, this day. Now I recall a great many things which I should have kept myself aware of before. I am in trouble, for my lady has been waiting for some time for me to arrive. And now that I am here I see the familiar soft skin, the flowing locks of hair, and the stern look of disapproval at my tardiness. She takes me by the arm, and a blush proceeds across my face, for my love has been awaiting this day as long as me. My family and hers are together in the building, and our ceremony is about to begin.

April 01, 2022 16:15

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Ammar Shehata
10:12 Apr 17, 2022

I like double use of unreliable memory (not recognising the village, and also forgetting about the ceremony) and the wording used throughout the story. the first half of the last paragraph gave me goosebumps. and with that ending I had to read it again with the new knowledge in mind. thanks for sharing 😄


Justin Briggs
17:15 Apr 18, 2022

Thank you for your feedback!


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