Fairies : For Rose (Part 6)

Sword slept in on the fifth day of his journey. He didn’t mean to. But he was so exhausted he couldn’t help it. By the time he woke the day was half gone. When he woke up, he found he was surrounded by birds and squirrels.

One of the squirrels had a rose stem in its mouth. With a beautiful yellow rose bloom on it. The bloom had bright red edges on each petal. The squirrel walked up to Sword, and put the rose in his lap. Then he squeaked several times, and walked back where he’d come from. At that point, Mystica popped out of nowhere, and said, “It’s from Rose. She sent her friends to check on you.”

“Mystica?”

“Oh, don’t worry. I’m not really here. I’m just communicating. Figured I’d say good afternoon, and tell you what was going on.”

Sword smiled, and shook his head. “I’m just tired.” At which point his stomach growled, and he added, “And hungry.”

“Obviously,” Mystica smiled. And up walked several squirrels, making a small pile of nuts in front of Sword. “The squirrels told Rose they’d make sure you ate something.”

Sword looked at the nuts. Acorns. Walnuts. Pecans. Pine nuts. All kinds of nuts. He looked at the squirrels, “Thank you, my friends.”

“Well,” Mystica spoke, “I’ll be going now. You just follow the birds. They’ll guide you down the shortest path to get here. And they’ll make sure you find plenty to eat.”

“Oh?”

“Yes,” Mystica smiled. “Rose asked them to.” And with that, the image of Mystica was gone.

Sword looked at the nuts, wondering how to open some them. It was like the squirrels could read his mind. One picked up two nuts, and cracked them together. Sword watched as the shells on the nuts cracked, and the squirrel was able to pull the nuts out.

“So. I’m having nuts for breakfast today,” he shook his head, and smiled. “Mom won’t ever believe this one.” And he sat there, with the squirrels, cracking nuts open and eating them. And every time he had problems opening up a nut, the squirrels would show him how. It was actually a lot of fun. And by the time the nuts were gone, he was laughing, and smiling, with a couple of squirrels in his lap, and one on each shoulder.

When he was ready to resume his journey, he said good-bye to his squirrel friends, shaking hands with each of them, and watching as they disappeared into the trees. He couldn’t help but smile. “It’s going to be a beautiful day.”

A couple of sparrows landed at his feet, and flapped their wings. Then they flew off toward the West, and a couple of red-winged blackbirds flew to his feet. They also flew toward the west. And Sword realized the birds were saying, “Follow us.”

So he did just that. Moving from tree to tree, following the birds. Always there were birds that flew from the tree he was in, to the next tree he should move to. Sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, robins, bluejays, and even a few cardinals. Sword watched them all. He’d never realized how pretty birds were. He’d never studied the grace they moved with. And he had so much fun following them, watching them, listening to them sing.

When he got thirsty, he stopped, and declared he needed water to drink. And the birds showed him where the closest water was. Sometimes, to his surprise, the water was in the leaves of the trees. Sometimes, in little puddles in small indentations where limbs branched off from the tree trunk. He found he didn’t have to go down to the ground to find a drink.

The birds also showed him where nuts, and berries were up in the trees. And they watched him as he ate. He watched the birds too, and was surprised by how much they ate. The birds ate all the time. It was like they were born to eat. He never knew birds ate so much. But when he thought about it a bit, it made sense. The way the birds were always moving. Always flying around. They had to use a lot of energy. They would get hungry. And so, they would eat. All the time.

And every time he stopped to eat or drink, the birds would sing songs to him. Sometimes, a cardinal would even land on one of his shoulders, and just sing up a storm. And the songs always felt happy, making Sword smile as he ate.

As the sun started to set, the birds led him to a bigger tree. And he was surprised to find a set of branches that had formed a little flat floor. No other word applied. And there was a pile of leaves that could act as a pillow for his head to rest on. And a big pile of nuts and berries for him to eat.

He knew the floor was Mystica’s work. She’d spoken to the trees, and used her white magic to give him a place to sleep.

That night, Sword slept very well indeed. Thanks to the birds and squirrels, he wasn’t nearly as hungry as he’d been when he woke up. And having a flat surface to sleep on, and a pillow. As tired as he was, how could he not like sleeping on those.

And as he slept that night, he swore he could hear flute music. Beautiful flute music. Playing a tune he’d never heard. One that made him feel safe. And welcome. And loved. One that reminded him of friends he hadn’t seen in months.

Sword slept with a smile on his face that night. And dreamed sitting by the edge of the lake, with Rose. Holding her hand. And he knew that on the 6th day of his journey, he’d reach the lake. And maybe make that dream come true.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 5)

By the fourth day of his journey, Sword was feeling tired. He’d slept better that night, but he wasn’t sure if he was getting used to sleeping in trees, or if he was just so exhausted that he couldn’t help but sleep. He only knew that if he kept heading west, he’d eventually come to the lake, or to the river feeding it. And he knew he had at least 3 days left on his journey.“This is where it gets hard,” he thought. His mother, Oceana, had taught him to be prepared for the middle of things. That time when the excitement of starting had ended, and the end wasn’t close enough to draw you in. That time when you felt defeated. When you felt you couldn’t go on any more. When you felt you’d never, ever reach the end. And you wondered what you’d been thinking when you started.

Sword had never tried anything like this 6 plus day journey to the lake. And he found himself wondering if he should just give up, and ask Musica or the dragons for help. As he continued moving from tree to tree, he found himself wondering if he could make that short flight between trees again. He found himself wondering what the point was.

He wound up falling into a pattern. “Don’t think. Just do,” and an endless mantra of, “Just one more tree.” He was so tired he didn’t even watch the birds, rabbits, squirrels and other animals. He concentrated on just continuing his journey. Tree after endless tree.

He thought he should try something. Anything to pass the time. So, he counted trees as he moved from tree to tree. At first, that helped. It was new. It was a change. “One. Two. Three. Four.” But the counting went on, and on, and on. “956 trees. 957 trees. 958 trees.” Even setting targets for mini-celebrations like, 1000 trees, 2000 trees, 2500 trees, became old.

As he moved from tree to tree, his pace slowed. And he came to a complete stop several times. His journey had gone from, “How hard can it be?” and “I can’t wait to see Rose!” to, “I’ll never get there. This will never end. I’ll be lost in the trees forever.”

Sword took a break during the day. He washed himself in a creek. That felt good. Getting clean. Washing the dust, dirt, tree-bark, and bits of leaves off of his body helped. He found some berries, and he ate them. It wasn’t meat. It wasn’t seaweed. And while the berries did fill the empty space that his stomach had become, they didn’t give him any new energy. He still felt exhausted. And helpless. And beaten.

He climbed back into the trees. And sat down on a limb. Perhaps he should just take the afternoon off. Collapse. Sleep in the trees, and try again tomorrow. Perhaps he should admit defeat. That this journey was too much for him to handle.

That’s when a white owl landed next to him in the trees. There was something oddly familiar about that owl. As if they’d met before. And that’s when the owl spoke. “Don’t give up, young one.” The owl looked right at Sword. “Don’t give up.”

Sword was surprised. And he finally recognized the owl. It was the owl that was always around the fair girl, Dream. The owl, Whisper.

“Sword, young warrior, know the truth. Know that you are locked in battle. A battle to believe. A battle to become what you wish to be. A battle to become the warrior you dream of being.”

“What do you mean, Whisper?”

“Young warrior. You fight the greatest enemy. You fight self-doubt.”

“Self-doubt?”

“Yes. On the one hand, you try to believe in yourself. In what you’re doing. What you want to do. What your dreams are. And on the other, you doubt yourself. Believing you are not worthy. Not capable. Not strong enough. Not good enough.”

Scream nodded. He knew the words Whisper spoke were true. He knew those words explained what he’d been feeling that day. Explained why he had struggled all day with moving from tree to tree. Why he’d been unable to think of anything all day other than how endless the journey was.

“Whisper. How do I learn to believe in myself? How do I defeat self-doubt?”

“One step at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time.” The owl hooted. “By remembering why you do what you do. By understanding that tired is normal. Exhaustion is normal. And self-doubt itself is normal. But understanding everything you feel is normal. And just what you feel. And it’s OK to feel. And what you feel changes over time. Changes with each step you take. Each hour you breathe. Each day your heart beats.”

Sword placed his hand over his heart, and felt his own heartbeat. He felt himself breathe.

“I just have to feel? To remind myself why?” Scream asked the owl, “How do I do that? When I hurt this way. When I’m this tired. When it seems I’ll never get there.” He shook his head. “How do I do that?”

Whisper spoke once more. “By believing you can. By believing in you. And in the dreams you reach for.”

The owl stayed on the tree branch with Scream for a time. And somehow, Scream started to feel better. “I just have to believe in me. And in my dreams,” he though. And before long, he was smiling.

He remembered, “I’m going to see Rose. And her sisters.” He remembered, “I’m going to get to hold her hand.” He remembered how he felt when he had held her hand before. How it just felt right. Like he was meant to hold her hand. He remembered what it felt like to just talk with her. To just walk with her through the trees. To just stare into her eyes. He remembered how everything was OK when he was with her.

And he smiled. “Thank you, Whisper. For reminding me,” he told the little owl. “I remember now. I’m going to visit Rose.”

Whisper hooted, flapped his wings, and then took too the sky. And as he left, Sword heard him say, “Hang in there, young warrior. You will be OK.”

Through the rest of that day, Sword made good progress, moving from tree to tree. And reminding himself, “I’m going to see Rose.” And somehow, that made everything OK.

Chapter 29 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Chapter 29 – I Don’t Have A Name

Scream pushed himself. As hard as he could. He flew, streaking across the sky. He spoke to Mystica as he flew. “Mystica. It’s time. I have heard another child. I have to help her. Please take care of Musica for me.”

And he flew. He had to get there in time. He had to. His wings grabbed oceans of air, and hurled them behind him. A black stream in the black sky. He’d heard a little girl. Maybe only 2 years old. Crying. “Mommy? Daddy?” He’d heard her, “Where am I?”

He’d spoken with her. “Hi, little one. Are you lost?”

“I’m lost.”

“Where are you?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know.”

“Who are you?”

“Me.”

“Do you have a name?”

“No.”

“What does everyone call you?”

“Bad girl.”

“Why do they call you that?”

“I don’t know.”

Scream pushed himself. He had to get there. He had to. “I’ll find you. OK? I’ll find you.” He wished he could fly even faster. Faster than Merlin. So he could get there. So he could find the little girl. So he could help her. Take care of her.

“I’ll bring her to the lake.” He told Mystica. “I’ll bring her to the lake, so she will be safe.”

But first, he had to get to her. Find her.

“Are you hurt?”

“No.”

“Can you walk?”

“Yes.”

Scream knew where she was. He could tell tat as he spoke with her. The Black Mountains. He knew she was in all kinds of danger. She could fall off a cliff. Trip and fall down the side of a mountain. Cause a rock slide. Get caught in a mountain scream, and drown. So many things that could go wrong. So many things that could hurt her.

He had to get there. He had to.

He kept speaking with the girl as he streaked along. “Are you OK?”

“I’m scared.”

“I know, little one. I know. I’m on my way. I’ll be there soon.”

“I’m scared.”

“Would you like to know who I am?”

“Yes.”

“My name is Scream.”

“Scream?”

“Yes. Scream. I’m a dragon.”

The girl sounded nervous, scared, and excited all at t same time. “A dragon? I’ve never seen a dragon before. What’s a dragon?”

She was so young. “How old are you?”

“2.”

“2? That’s a good number.”

“I just turned 2.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I missed your birthday.”

“That’s OK, Mr. Scream. No body celebrated my birthday this year.”

“Do you have a mommy and a daddy.”

“No. I don’t.”

Scream tore through the sky. He’d never flown so fast. As the sun came up, he screamed. A scream that carried for miles in all directions. A warning scream. A warning that a dragon was coming. To protect something. And would do whatever he had to.

The sun had been up for an hour.

“I’m tired, Mr. Scream.”

“Why don’t you lie down. And take a little nap.”

“I’m scared.”

An eagle spoke. “I found her.”

“Where is she?”

The eagle explained. Then said, “I’ll circle here. Above her. So you can find her.”

“Will you protect her?”

“As much as I can.”

“Thank you. Little one. An eagle friend of mine is flying nearby. He will watch over you as you sleep. He’ll protect you. You can take a nap. And I’ll get there soon.”

“I’m scared, Mr. Scream. And I’m hungry. So hungry.”

A bear spoke with Scream. “I have found some berries. I’ll take them to the child. So she can eat something.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s so very wrong, what those people have done to her.”

“They abandoned her, didn’t they?”

“Yes. They did.”

Scream tore the sky in half, as he raced along.  Racing across the Grey Hills. Into the Black Mountains. Getting higher, and higher. Until he saw the eagle, circling. He slowed. And looked carefully for the child on the ground.

There. On the ground. Asleep. Next to a bear. It was the little girl.

Scream landed. The bear nodded at him. “She’s resting.”

“Thank you for taking care of her.”

“I couldn’t let her go hungry. What they did to her is just so wrong.”

“I know.”

“What will you do with her, Sir Scream?”

“I will take her to the White Witch. The White Witch will know what to do.”

The bear got up, “That she will. That she will.” Then he headed off into the bushes, and the grasses, and the weeds.

Scream watched over the child. She was the cutest little child he’d ever seen. With curly, flowing silver and gray hair. When she finally woke up, Scream got to she her silvery gray eyes. And the nubs of wings on her back. Her wings had just started to come in.

“Are you Mr. Scream?”

“Yes. I am.”

“Where did Mr. Bear go?”

“He watched over you until I got here. Then he went home to his family.”

Scream looked at the little girl. “I know where two other girls are. And their mommy. I’m sure they would love to see you.”

“But I’m a bad girl. Remember? Who would want to see me.”

“I did. Remember. I came to find you.”

“Oh.” The little girl looked confused.

“You don’t have a name?”

“No.”

“Well.” Scream fought to control his anger. He wanted to go find the village  Totally destroy it. They’d abandoned this little girl. Only 2 years old! They’d even refused to give her a name. Calling her “bad girl.” And her parents had even declared they weren’t her parents. They’d disowned her.

He shook his head. He knew that wouldn’t accomplish anything. It would only cause the fairies to continue to fight the dragons. And to fight change. And that’s not what he wanted. He wanted the fairies to change. To learn to accept their special children. Like the one he was talking with.

Scream placed a hand on the ground. “If you climb into my hand, I can take you to see Mystica, and her children.”

“Do the children have names?”

“Yes, little one. They are Musica and Sunshine.”

“Can I have a name too?”

“Yes, little one. I’m sure Mystica will give you a name.”

The little girl climbed up into Scream’s hand. It wasn’t easy for her. She was little. She was tired. She was hungry. She struggled. She lost her footing several times. But she always held on, and found a way to regain her footing, and start climbing again. Scream held perfectly still. And that helped the little girl a lot.

When the little girl had made it into Scream’s hand, he gently picked her up. “I promise not to drop you. And to keep you safe. OK?”

“Yes, Mr. Scream.”

Then he flexed his wings, and took to the sky. Scream flew at a much slower pace. He wanted to be careful with the child. To make sure she was safe. He spoke to Mystica along the way. “I’ve found the child. I’m bringing her to the lake. She’s alive. And she seems to be OK. I’ll get her there as quickly as I can.”

He flew through the mountains. Toward the north, and the forest. He came upon a river that flowed toward the forest. So he followed it. Knowing it would flow into the lake. It took several hours, and Scream watched the little child very carefully. The little girl fell asleep.

Scream listened to hear heart beat. He listened to her breathe. He stayed very careful. For he knew of her gift. So he didn’t believe everything he saw while she was asleep. He simply followed the river.

The little girl woke up. And she cried.

“Why do you cry, little one?”

“I’m sad.”

“Oh.” Scream wished they were already at the lake. So Mystica could help with the girl. He considered going faster. But he didn’t want to scare the little girl. And he didn’t want to risk hurting her.

“We’re almost there, little one. It will take a little while longer.”

The little girl sniffed, and wiped her eyes. “I cry all the time. But I’m OK.”

“Are you looking forward to meeting the other girls?” he asked.

“Yes. But I’m scared.”

“Why are you scared, little one?”

“‘Cause people don’t like me.”

Scream heard the words she’d said earlier. “They call me bad girl.” He wanted to scream. But he couldn’t. It would have scared the little girl. And he couldn’t do that. So, he did not scream. He remained quiet, knowing it was less than one hour to the lake.

He hoped Mystica would know what to do.