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Fantasy

My grandpere once told me a story about the Warrior of the Animals. He was a man with deep blue eyes and grey hair curling down to his back. He lived in a redbrick house, which had nestled bird nests in the chimney and silkworms threading their pale colours over his doorstep. He had a little chick in his pocket, named Sunny who was such a little ball of velvet. This man had a glossy chestnut boat sitting in the inky ocean, bathing in the gossiping waves. His house was on a deep fiery red coast, away from the people. All he could see were forests and flowers and animals, but he always travelled, far and wide. I just always wished he’d come to France.


The day was ripe like a lemon, the sun was dimpling its light over the great streets, and the long copper lamps were capturing the jovial light in their stained glass frames. I picked up my bag and trekked into the shadows of the willows. I lived in a rural village in France called ‘terre de arbres’. It was a cozy town, lit up by the warm earthy lights at night and glowing with the sun in the day. I passed the little gateway of leafy shadows then ran onto the path carpeted by rectangular stones. The narrow valley was filled with vendors selling bright cheese and crisp apples. The little school was at the top of the hill, I marched up, to the entrance and passed the chattering boys and girls. 


“Bonjour tout le monde!”


“Bonjour Madame Marie!” they all said with their bright faces.


“Aujourd'hui, I’ll tell you a story about a man called the Warrior of the Animals.”


They all grinned and I began.


“Long long ago, there was a man called the Warrior of Animals. He was kind to everybody including the animal kingdom. He had long hair just like a sailor. His eyes were made of the night sky with golden stars full of joy and silvery ones of sadness. He sailed the seven seas in search of animals he could help. One day, when the sea was screaming and his boat was tossing and turning in the oily waves, he saw a pair of crow black eyes peeking out of the water. He immediately turned the wheel, following the eyes. Finally, he reached them. He was so friendly and gentle with the timid creature that it popped out of the sea. The creature was lean and smooth, with a navy leathery back that blends with the deep waves. His hair branched down to his sparkling hoofs and his nose was small and acute. The Warrior of Animals helped the wounded creature onto his boat and put him in a bed of salty water, to match his habitat. He slowly nursed it back to health and let it into the sea. Because of this man’s kindness, this animal helped the man many times after to repay his debt, but he wasn’t only repaying it. He loved the man and the man loved him. The end.”


I finished there and they all did slow applause.


I let them out of the small schoolhouse and watched them run onto the vivid hills. I kept staring until a little girl looked at me. Her dark hair fell in waves down her back and I could see her bright eyes from here, they reminded me of a lighthouse that brightens the rolling blues. I needed to be brave, I stopped the tear from rolling down, mustering all the strength I had left.


She was so small.



 ****


A bit after noon I waved to the running children and started locking up the yellow-sided school. I erased the blackboard, until there it was nothing but dark green and picked up a few pieces of fallen cheese. Then I started making my way home through the winding forest. Everything was so simple, the brook was running, the birds were chirping, the flowers were twirling my ballerinas in the breeze. Then I heard a twig crack, it was too loud to be an animal. My heart froze like ice. I saw rainbow feathers zoom over my head. All the birds that flew in France were mundane greys and old blacks.


I turned to my right, and trekked to the grainy sands and rosy mist that was scarfing around the shore. I saw a little boat, it was narrow, but very tall, with circular windows peeking out of the hull. Then my eyes locked with ones filled with vast seas, his long gray hair swayed rapidly in the breeze.


“Bonjour! Hello?” I squeaked.


“Hell o’! Jest exploring this beautiful forest.” His voice was deep and joyous.


“Oh!” My grandpa was a well-read man, but his stories were just fantasies. I never thought they’d become realities.


“Come here. I’d like to show you somthin’.” 


“Umm. No, I better get going now.”


“Where?”


“Tea…”


“Really, it won’t hurt.” he encouraged, nodding his head.


I stumbled up to the top of the rocks until I was next to him. 


“Look over there.” he pointed to a shining red gem pulling itself out of the salty mist, it’s light turning into flowers. Little sunlight blossoms sprouted on the waves.


“That light is the creator of good dreams and fantasies,” he continued, “Just imagine whatever you’d like. Ett’ll come true. Become real for a few seconds.”


I looked at the waves, squinting my eyes, everything blurred into deep blues and reds. I kept my eyes wide open and everything was sharp. Though I couldn’t imagine anything.


“Look, there’s a jolly dear hopping on the foam fringed waves. He has wings. Maybe even hair.”


I kept looking and everything came alive. The sharp lines that I was seeing gave mercy and became all soft and glowing. A lean dear began to jump on the waves, it looked at me and I waved at it. His bat-like wings were webbed like cotton candy.


“Now try something by yourself.” he smiled at me and I smiled back.


I drew a picture in my head, a little maiden of the moon. WIth pale snowy skin and dark ringlets bouncing down to her shoulders like feathers. Twilight eyes full of light.


Then on the rippled canvas of blues, pinks, and whites, a little girl came alive. She danced and twirled, my sister, Bridgette, grinned and shined. I smiled and cried. Until my face was damp and crimson. She kept twirling and playing. Her hair dancing with the wind.


“Who is it?” he asked me.


“My sister,” It came out as a sob.


I could see a blue ball roll down on the man's wrinkled face. He was crying for someone he didn’t even know. But I didn’t care. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder, in a fatherly way and we wept. 



****


When I got home, I saw my little sister curled up in a ball near the pirouetting embers. The beauty of a sleeping child is ineffable so I didn’t wake her up. I got some sweet cherry tomatoes from the swirling vines and pulled out some mushrooms and cheese. In an hour, the table was set. The omelettes steaming and the hot cocoa’s wisps flooding the house in sweetness.


“Bridgette!” she didn’t respond to that name.


“Wake up!”


She woke up with a shallow yawn and mumbled, “W- where am I?”


I looked away, forcing the tears away.


“Oh yes,” she continued, “You’re my sister, right.”


“Mmhmm,”


We both sat at the table, she nibbled her food, as we talked.


“Do you remember that day, when you fell off the horse, Bridgette.”


“No.”


“Or when you smashed your head into the massive lemon cake.”


“No.”


“Or when Maman and Papa left.”


“No.”


I sighed and picked up a chive with my fork.



****


The whole class and I were standing at the brook under the swaying black poplars.


“Look at the still brook.”


They all stared.


“Pretend that it’s your life.”


They all nodded.


I picked up a small pebble and threw it gently into the pond.


“A small change can affect your life greatly just like a small pebble dropping into the pond.”


The grey stone fell, gently corrupting the serene stillness of the grey-blue pond.


“One ripple causes more ripples and more ripples until everything is a new stillness.”


I watch the circular wrinkles of the pond.


“It isn’t about what you do while the ripples are being made. It’s how you cope afterwards.”



****


I walked under the slender birches, they hovered about, marking my hair with yellowed leaves. The moon is a paper lantern that is drifting through the apple green skies, the sun is dancing near it, shining its fiery rays on my skin. The summer air is dancing playfully, the sound lighting up my ears. The shore is rapid, I watch behind the leaves of the trees, hoping that the boat is still rocking on the shore. It is. The day is just like yesterday, the shore is carpeted with mists and the sea is wearing a long shining ribbon of silver-gold light.


“Hello!” Today it comes out less as a squeak and more of a word.


“Hell o’” 


“Why were you crying for your sister?”


“Oh, umm. She lost everything that made me love her.”


“Not a life?”


“No, just memories.”


I walked up to the hull and his wrinkled hand grabbed mine as he pulled me aboard.


“That happened to me. I lost everything. Just like that, but I regained them not because of the constant reminders of memories but the feeling of love.”


I studied his face, it was sad and distant, but eager and longing. He had lost his loved ones. But I hadn’t. She was right here with me.


"But I still feel like she’s gone."


“She isn't gone,” he continued, “If you treat her like she is, then she’ll feel that way. She’s not gone, she’s lost. A piece inside of her is just waiting for you to find her.”


“I need to go now.” I hopped off the hull and watched as he stared with his lips slightly curved and his eyes deep with joy.


I ran home, my bag constantly slipping off me. I asked my sister to come with me. We ran down the lake. I didn’t remind her of anything, just treated her like a normal person. We sniffed violets and nibbed on apples that I’d packed. We were deep in the forest when this force tugged at me. It watered my eyes. It filled me with this love. He was right. I hadn’t lost it. I just needed to find it. And I’d found it. We hugged and time stopped. I thanked the sun that was heating us up with his warm rays. I thanked the moon that was twirling above us. The birds continued to chirp, the stream continued to run, and we embraced. For hours, maybe even years. 


But a few moments later, her grip on me tightened. And I cried, not the way I'd cried yesterday, tears full of sadness. They were tears full of liquid joy.


“Sister! I love you! What happened to me?”


She found them. The memories.


May 12, 2020 16:55

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2 comments

Zilla Babbitt
17:56 May 18, 2020

You asked me to read, so here I am. This is so sweet! I love your descriptions and the poetic way you tell the Warrior story. I think the only problem here is the fact that I didn't see at first that you were speaking of memories. The conversation with the sister was sad and funny at the same time, but I just thought she was being rude, or simple in the head. A sentence or so saying that she lost her memory, or a replay of the moment Marie realized the sister had no memory, would clarify this. Lovely emotions and imagery. Keep it up!

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ℤ ℍ☮️
03:03 May 19, 2020

Thank you so much! I really appreciate the feedback. I'll work on re-editing the story.

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