I know they have seen me before. Solitude has a funny way of making your intuition more acute. What a cruel, sick joke it plays on me though. I want to remain far away from humanity, and yet, I find myself more aware of their every move than even themselves.
But I watch as an eagle above the city, standing upon the precipice, at the brink of their own, and my own, destruction. A simple ledge, but what a powerful message it sends to those who see not with their eyes, but with the darkness of their mind. The significance of jumping is only apparent to those who truly understand the frailty of life itself.
My own mind is my obsession. Seldom do I inquire further from the shell I was given. Emotions come naturally to me, but oh so uncomfortably and painfully. Rising and falling with each passing moment, I have but a second to grasp them before they slip through my fingertips. Well, there is a singular emotion that stays. It underlines every smile with a sharp, bold line, like a heavy weight attempting to tear it downwards. The only way I can describe it is darkness. Why must a mind so colorful and so bright be so stained with this blackness? Inquisitively, I began to play with it, but regret and fear is all that has become of the toying.
However, regret is only superficial comparatively. Abyss itself is poetic in nature. One may believe that darkness has no color. In fact, it is the beautifully perfect collision of them all. So much in such a small space, only for few can behold. For those who dwell on the skin will never delve deeper towards the bones. But that is the part of my mind that I most enjoy, the appreciation of the bones.
I stand again upon the brink. Hollow other than an eagerness to leap. Goosebumps form along my arms and causes my spine to quiver with anticipation. Shall it be today? I ask the Universe. Harken to me! It beckons. And as I listen, the wind begins to sing. A tear, but not of my own doing, trickles down my cheek and into the abyss of the city below. Not today, the Universe calls back. I glance at the people below and take in the feeling of being so small to those who watch and I return to home.
I wonder if they speak of me. Not just my existence, but questioning my story, my background, my secrets. Just a man? No, a mystery. Maybe a god in their midst or no, they must think me a loner. Something is off, they probably say. Why doesn’t he just take the plunge? I’ll admit, even to myself, I cannot express the frustration of my mind’s constant war. But, perhaps, that is why I wish to understand the significance of the jump. Before I allow the Universe to take whatever scars I have created and clean up whatever pieces they can scrounge, I must know the answer. Must I continue this life for much longer? Is this journey drawing to a close or am I still wandering around aimlessly along the path of enlightenment?
Days come and go and I continue the same struggles. Identity. Purpose. Curiosity. Irony seeps into my mundane and melancholy, cackling spittle into my face. But I am patient. I can await the Universe’s answer alone in my armchair. The moment that the infinite accepts me, I may just take that extra step.
I wanted to keep all of my loyal followers updated on my current project: The Wanderer Trilogy – Book 2 – Preservation. Roughly 19 Chapters – over 85K words – Super excited! I just finished the First Draft today!
I usually do a handful of edits (grammar, plot, flow, etc.) before I hand it off to a few family members to edit. Once that is done, I will make the necessary edits and hopefully have it out to a few Beta Readers. I may make a competition out of it for one of my readers to be granted early access!
My hope is to have Preservation finalized and published by December this year. By then, I should hopefully be started on Book 3, to be completed by December 2020.
As far as future projects, I am working on the bare bones for a number of short stories that I plan on compiling into a psychological thriller of sorts. I’m not entirely sure how quickly after The Wanderer Trilogy I want to work on it – but we shall see! Who knows? I may bounce between this book and a Fantasy series I’m working on too.
So please, stay tuned for the release of Book 2! I will keep everyone updated! 🙂
“You know what? I didn’t think it would end this way.” I told the young boy with his dirt-matted hair. His eyes were large with fear as we watched the world collapse before us. Like a large mouth, it opened before us and split in two. A tear wet my cheek, but I felt nothing. Just numbness. I just watched the end of the world with the nameless child. All I could think was how it crumbled a lot softer than I thought it would.
We looked back at those who had received the message and realized that there was nothing left. Nothing to go back to. And there were so few of us. Maybe they believed that more people would have been listening to that song that day. Come to think of it, none of us even knew who sent the message in the first place. We were safe for now. That much was certain.
“So…” I figured I’d speak up again. The rest of the blood-drained faces just continued to watch as we drifted away from the pulsating sun. Just as we exited the solar system, it absorbed the planet we once called home. Although we could not hear, we all felt the screams of billions silence in that same second.
“Why were we chosen?” a young woman asked, desperate for an answer. We must have been chosen, right? There was no way that this happened by chance alone. But that must’ve been the answer. No one of us could stomach that…
Suddenly, a voice spoke over the crowd. My head was on a swivel, but I could not pinpoint the source. It sounded like it was coming from everywhere and no where at the same time. But, then again, this was a space ship. A space ship.
“If I may speak freely,” it rang through all of our ears. It was a calm, soothing, male voice. “Please understand, I do not mean to be heartless with the response to your question… but you were not chosen specifically. That is not to say that you weren’t chosen as a group. We needed younger individuals to repopulate the human race.”
We all looked around in disbelief. In that moment, I realized that there was no one in that great room over twenty-five or younger than six. An indistinguishable murmur spread through the group, but myself and the young boy remained silent. We observed. We listened for further clues to our host’s intent.
I knew he was talking about me the moment the voice started again. “Near the window. Yes, young lady. Stand and state your name.”
With the other hundred people watching, I slowly stood and looked up to try and, once again, pinpoint who was speaking. “Hannah Ingram.”
“Tell me Hannah, how did you hear the song? The message that my people sent.”
“Through my headphones.”
“Recount the entire event please. It is for logging purposes. You know, you can tell a lot about someone in how they speak.”
For a moment, I closed my eyes and recounted the event that happened no more than twenty-four hours prior. A vivid, monotone, and yet unrecognizable voice bursting through my earbuds with a call to drop everything: You are in grave danger human. The end of your race is evident and inevitable. It is you who is the future of this planet, but the rock upon which you stand is aging. Those around you have not respected it and resources are dwindling. Please believe us when we say that there is a way out. There is a new world awaiting you. If you wish to embark on this journey and heed our warning, find your nearest center for further instructions. The Center? Go to the place near your residence where all other life avoids.
“Well,” I lifted my head as I was becoming particularly interested in my shoes. “I was sitting in my campus courtyard. I’m a professor, not a student although my age may be deceiving… but I digress. I was listening to my playlist when the song came on. It was not even on the radio. So my question is how you managed to intercept…”
But I was cut off before I could finish my sentence. This man or this otherworldly being refused to answer anything he or it did not wish to. Truthfully, I believed it was because the others could not stomach the answers he possessed.
“No inquiries please. My people and will reveal your answers in time… Now… What made you believe my message?”
“A gut instinct.” The annoyance in my voice could clearly be heard by anyone within earshot at this point. I refused to go into detail. If they aren’t going to answer any of my questions, I’m not giving them an entire psychological evaluation by my words. By this point, the ship was well outside of the Milky Way Galaxy, something I never thought I would see in my years. The further we traveled, the amount of questions increased exponentially.
For a moment, silence fell over the entire room, choking off any ease of this place and killing it. Had I annoyed our host?
“Deepest apologies for offending you Hannah of Earth. You must understand, there are some within your group of humans who are extensively distressed. My reasoning of having you speak above all others was that your stress response is minimal, comparatively. I wish to use you as… what you call… a liaison between worlds.”
The lump already in my throat grew. Where was this ship headed? What was our final destination? No matter what I said, the voice would not answer any of these questions in front of the group. So, my thoughts turned to inquiring about a personal meeting.
“If that is the request,” I cleared my throat and spoke so quickly that it almost ran together like I was in a drunken stupor. “Then I wish to meet with you in person to have my questions answered. That way I can answer my people when they are ready for the information.”
Suddenly, a doorway opened beneath my feet and slid on a slide away from the rest of the group. Some looked on in horror as the door closed behind me. Would this be the last time I ever spoke or even locked eyes with another human?
After steeping in my thoughts for a few moments, I found myself face-to-face with the most beautiful creature I ever laid my eyes upon. The face was human-esque. It was so beautiful, it looked like a mask. Flawless skin, large, golden eyes. This creature bore long, pointed ears that pushed back strands of hair akin to sunlight. Unlike the others standing on the stairs to either side, the creature that stood above them seemed female. However, I did not know how to address it.
“Does knowing what we look like release any tension about our intent?” A woman’s voice spoke, but her lips did not move. “We are, rather were you in another place in time. Other races across the universe call us Watchers. Because our race had been gifted with telepathy, we could tap into other humanic races and aid them if need be. You may call me Magdalia.”
I paused and considered the question that was burning in my throat like a white-hot iron. “Magdalia… How do we compare to other races like us?”
A few of her male guards looked up at their leader while others shook their heads. What was once a smile upon the woman’s face had now dropped sternly. “Unfortunately, your people do not fair well among others like us. But that is what we wish to rectify. We did not destroy your world, your people did. But we intend to take advantage of this opportunity to show you how to properly be.”
“Be?” I repeated.
“Exist. Your kind do not understand how to exist. Humans did not know their bigger purpose. We will teach you.”
“And the message?” I asked. “How did you-?”
“Ah yes… To be honest, it really did not come through your headphones at all. Rather, your head. Telepathy is a great gift, but we did not wish to frighten many of you. If you were hearing voices, your kin would have you institutionalized. And here you are.”
I swore I was having an out-of-body experience. “Yes,” I heard myself say. “Here we are.”
“We are going to your new home. For the others, and for you too perhaps. My people searched and found a planet close to your Earth, but nothing in the universe is exactly the same. What is most important is that it is safe and it is habitable.”
“Water? Oxygen? Food?”
“And you will just leave us?”
“You must learn to survive. We will aid your transition for a time, but not for long. Once you learn to exist properly, we will watch from afar as we had for multiple millennia before. Now… go back to them and await further instruction. You and I will become very close.”
I hope you all enjoyed this short story! I’m sorry I’ve been on such a sporadic posting period as I am battling with motivational issues so I’m working through to hopefully get this first draft of Book 2 (Preservation) done!
History books do not always tell the tales of old. Only stories from the victors of war, boastful half-truths and the like, manage to be passed for centuries. Ancient civilizations crumbling underneath the sword and the shield and the iron fists of tyranny. Those stories may be lost among the commonfolk but small tribes still pass them down from wrinkled lips to eager child smiles.
Fantasy has absorbed the truths into myth, deceiving those who would deny our existence. No longer do we bear the pointed-ears of our ancestors and yet our grace and connection to all that lives has not wavered, never changing, just shifting. Long, flowing robes of silk exchanged for modern-day attire. And although our weapons may have changed from sharpened steel to sharpened tongues, our message of peace and unity remain steadfast.
Denying the enemies of old is folly. Today they do not bear wings like a hurricane or claws like spears, but the fire of the dragons clad in human flesh burn brighter and hotter than ever before. Just as the times change, physical warfare wages far from rich lands, but the Elven harbingers remain scattered across the globe, witnessing the tragedies of our day. Bombs explode across the land, tarnishing it with death and destruction. Guns extinguishing lives in the blink of an eye. Our fate is to heal as we have always healed. We may be few, but our power is infinite when we bond together through the energy of the unseen.
History books do not always tell the tales of old. White cities glittering against forest like starlight and songs sung only seem like a lifetime ago. Troubadours and minstrels traveling by foot, brandishing lute or harp or pan flute. Peaceful waterfalls and babbling brooks through bridges and white stone paths, dusted with colored leaves of Autumn. Hues of pink and purple flowers flow through the air, carrying scents of Spring. Summer and Winter stay mild in the land of the Elves, a light snow or warm summer rays. Animals of all sizes and ages walk alongside my kin. All of this. All peace.
Races that have been all but forgotten wandered the lands winding dirt paths. The short but strong and stubborn Dwarves. The small but stealthy and loyal Hobbits. Our kind entered this world to usher it into peace, but Men’s greed and sheer numbers have proven a challenge. Persuasion over generations have only softened hearts of the few, and many of my kind have grown weary. Elders say that this world no longer belongs to the Elves. The time of Men is among us.
One day I may join the countless others who have taken the ships to the West. One day I may walk those marble steps to the docks, the scent of salt water and sound of lapping waves to greet me. In a place not known to those who do not know the way, I may go when the sea calls me. For now, I must continue the work of so many before me.
History books do not always tell the tales of old.
Sorry for the long delay in posts! Unfortunately, I have deleted my Facebook account so I no longer have my page active. The past few months have been very emotionally consuming and I’m taking my writing day-by-day. I’m hoping to get back into working on Book 2 of The Wanderer Trilogy soon!
Every child in our tribe dreams of the day when they take their test. The Old Ones; our parents, siblings, and family all speak about their test with pride and fearlessness in their eyes. But their words shake from time to time and I am not sure if the other Younglings notice, but I have.
Every child in our tribe dreams of the day when they take their test. But not me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid. Five moons in the jungle while our markings heal will show us our true spirit. The animal who chooses to be our guide will be permanently marked on our chest, over our heart, our spirit center.
Some of them don’t come back, though. The tribe just assumes that they were not strong enough to protect us. To hunt. To battle. But no one goes to look for the bodies and the families just move on without their family. It makes me uneasy to think that… one of those missing… could be me. They would never allow me to skip this. I’m just standing on the edge of something I cannot escape. My family would disown me. Banishment would be my fate… and I would have to face the jungle alone anyway.
Tomorrow. I will rise with the birds and travel to the stream tent. Elders will be there to scar me with markings all over my back and arms with the story of our people. Throughout time, all of our kin have worn the countless tales of battle, harvest, and failings of the tribe. We all wear it proudly. It reminds us to have hope when we hang our heads in shame and to be humble when we stand above others in mastery. Hours will pass before I am ready for the blessing. Chanting through a line of my friends and family as they bless me with tree sap and I stand on the opening into the thicket.
I guess I’m lucky. My friend will be taking the test with me. Rules are, though, we must split up or the gods will frown upon our weakness and send a large animal to devour us both. And I do not wish to test the gods.
My mother is afraid. She tells me of her test and how close she came to death. Sickness from a simple wound and screams of others in the night. Out of a group of twelve, she and one other made it back alive. The others, lost in memory. And that night, she told me that I had an older brother who never made it back to the tribe after his test. It is taboo to speak of the lost but the fear in her eyes told me all I needed to know. I’m her only child now.
And then, the sun rises. Another sleepless night floats through my grasp like smoke. Ravens caw with the purple sky as I open my eyes to what could be my final days. I pay homage to the god of luck, an offering of flowers and bread. With a short bow, I meet my friend and we walk to the stream tent where a dozen Elders meet us. There are two woven chairs for us to remove our tunics and sit.
What started out as a bee-sting feeling soon subsided to numbness for a while. My heart stopped racing so quickly and I began to relax. The methodical tapping of the bamboo into my skin nearly put me to sleep. Pain no longer existed in my body. My eyes turn to my friend, who winces with each needle prick, clenching his hands. I place my palm on his fist and he relaxes.
“Everything will be okay.” I promise. “I will get through this and you will too.”
He smiles and relaxes a little, but I can sense the pain. I wish to a god to take some from him and she grants my kind gesture. A prickling feeling starts in my back, but I see my friend relaxing evermore. I nod in thanks to help him.
Perhaps I am different than the others in my tribe. The Old Ones have told ancient tales of people who connect with gods on a different level, called the Anointed. But the connection with the gods meant that they have weird abilities and can see the world through the gods eyes and feel things through nature. As I begin to wonder, I drift into a dream state and the markings are complete.
My friend and I stand between the stream and the dark trees. We make our way through the line of Old Ones who cover us with protection spells. The hum of chanting is hypnotizing. I don’t even remember falling to my knees, but here I am, crawling through the last few people in line. My mother is standing there with worry on her face, but she allows me to pass and stand at the edge of the thicket. My friend stands in a different direction and we bid each other farewell.
If I turn to look at the tribe, the gods will surely fail me. I must be strong and hold my head high but my knees are shaking as I stand and face the unknown. That was the moment I noticed something in the distance. A light? A figure? It’s moving but I don’t think the others can see it because they say nothing. Are my eyes playing tricks on me? No, because it’s getting brighter. I can feel its energy, pulling me deeper into the jungle as my tribe disappears out of view. Whatever it is, it feels welcoming and maybe a bit familiar.
I may come back to this writing prompt and finish it off with another picture. It was fun to write! I hope you enjoy, as always. I apologize for the extended absence but I’m working on some great things upcoming! Stay tuned!!!