Fawn pt. 2

Molly and the faun walked several miles before coming to a forest she never knew existed. “How long has this been here?” She asked the faun, staring in awe at the great trees standing higher than any giant.

“As long as I’ve been alive; which has been a long time.” He said pointedly, stepping beyond the stark tree-line stretching for miles. If the outside of the forest seemed intimidating and cold the inside proved warm, spacious and bright. Molly deemed it a entirely new world, new even from her many dreams of fantasy. Colorful birds sang symphonies and flapped to-and-frow while flowers uprooted themselves and followed the pair as they walked along a neglected trail, waving their petals in dance as their tiny voices greeted and beckoned. Molly felt overjoyed at the sight and would have abandoned the pursuit of treasure all together in favor of staying in the forest a bit longer, but the faun scolded and pushed her on. Through to the other side they left the flowers at the forest’s edge, waving goodbye before coming to a great mountain a stone’s throw later, as tall and wide as a proud mountain should be.

But the grandness of the sight was distracted from by gnarly stems and thorns, blanketing the mountain in a dark, unfriendly coat. Only a small glimmer of red caught Molly’s eye, though she knew not how her eyesight carried so far up. At the very top of the mountain, amidst thorns mind you not forget so easily, gleamed a single rose, seemingly made of crystal.

“This is your treasure and your test.” The faun said quietly. “Climb the mountain to reach the rose and all your wishes come true.”

“But the thorns…” Molly started before an idea struck her. “Have you tried to climb this hill? This is where you got the thorn in your foot, is it not?”

“Certainly,” the faun answered plainly. “I have a great many wishes and would love to see them all fulfilled. But alas, I could not reach the top. Quite simply I am too big. But you are small enough to crawl through the stems and roots. But be warned do mind your footing. To fall off the mountain is to fall on a casket of thorns.”

Molly wished she could return to the forest to the singing birds and colorful flowers who moved when a breeze rolled by. In comparison, a lifeless piece of glass wasn’t much of a prize. But Molly knew better than to think she could turn back now. Walking to the foot of the mountain the faun brightly encouraged her onwards and upwards. Sighing, she grabbed a grey stem and hoisted herself up.

Slowly and carefully she wove herself over and between the great thicket. What felt like hours the faun assured were only minutes, occasionally sending her words of encouragement. “Surely he only wants this rose for himself,” Molly thought. “What if he’s only using me? When I have the rose he’ll steal it and leave me here alone.”

“Quickly,” the faun yelled, seeing her pause. “I won’t be able to reach you if you hurt yourself. Your bones will be toothpicks for vultures.”

The thought of being anything to a vulture was quite scary. Forcing her way up the mountain faster Molly neared the top and the rose was finally within grasp. Reaching out she brushed the nearest leaf with her fingers and she felt the ground shift beneath her. The thorns and stems came alive and rolled and bucked all over the mountain, seemingly fighting off the detected thief.

Desperately Molly grasped for the rose, but the stems gave a great heavy and she flew through the air. Head over feet she caught sight of one particularly nasty looking thorn heading her way and thought of her poor grandmother having to go without eggs because her granddaughter was scraps for vultures.

Molly opened her eyes. She found herself back by the dirt road with a half eaten plum in her hands. Realizing what happened she jumped to her feet and grabbed her basket of eggs. Running off down the road she scolded herself for wasting a perfectly good egg for such a dream. Fauns weren’t even real.

Fawn pt. 1

“Molly,” her mother called from their small cottage at the end of a road at the end of a town. “I gathered a dozen eggs for your grandmother. Take them to her will you?”

It is a universal fact that Grandmothers’ houses hold a sort of enchantment for children, so without further delay Molly threw on her shoes and pranced out the door with a basket of eggs tucked under her arm.

She made good time and before long was halfway. Her grandmother lived in the next town over, connected by a single dirt road everyone who wanted to go to-and-frow had to use. In the distance she saw a figure seemingly grow from the ground, but really only appeared over a hill. As he neared she could see it was a severely old man with a great white beard slung over his shoulder, even going so far as to trail on the ground even then. He held a knobby cane in one hand and a leather bag in the other. As they neared each other Molly smiled politely and nodded. “Good day to you.”

“Good day to you as well,” the man spoke in a voice made of wood ─ sturdy but creaky. “Would you happen to have a smidgen to eat? I haven’t eaten anything all day and fear I’ll soon perish.”

“All I have are raw eggs for my grandmother.” Molly said.

“That is fine,” he said. “I’ll take one.”

A bit baffled Molly took from her basket an egg and handed it to the elder, who swallowed it whole right then and there. “For your kindness I’ll repay tenfold. I am a seller of dreams you see.”

“What sort of dreams?” Molly asked.

“All sorts. Long ones, short ones, fat ones, thin ones. Dreams which will make you laugh, dreams which will make you cry, and even nightmares, which really are a misunderstood breed. I’ll give you a dream for your egg.”

Molly saw no harm, so accepted the offer. The man pulled from his leather bag a plum, plump and full of juice. “Eat this and then take a nap. Your dream will come to you then.”

“What sort of dream will it be?” Molly asked in wonderment.

The old man chuckled. “There is no saying. Whichever dream is yours I suppose.” With that the two parted ways. Molly continued on a bit before stopping for a rest. She pulled from her basket some bread and cheese her mother had packed for lunch. Specifically setting the plum aside she thought she would use it that night, having no time for a nap at the moment.

As she sat and ate she watched the clouds overhead pass by, slowly at first and then faster and faster. She thought it odd as she had never known clouds to move so fast, but paid little mind. Looking back to the road she found a faun to have suddenly appeared there. He was a tall, wide man covered in moss and dried mud, with great curved horns and hooves for feet. The figure moved very slowly, albeit purposefully, down the road dragging one leg lamely behind with a painful limp as he made his way. “Excuse me,” Molly called from the tree. The faun noticed her for the first time and stopped. “What seems to be the bother?”

“A thorn is stuck in my toe,” he answered in a voice like that of a forest, vast and wise.

“Oh my,” Molly said. “Would you like some help removing it?”Standing quickly she dashed to aid the stranger. Sitting by the side of the road the faun squeezed his eyes shut as Molly’s small, nimble fingers were able to find and pluck the thorn, which had made its way deeply into the faun’s sole.

“Thank you,” he bowed to Molly. “As a good gesture I would like to repay your kindness with a turn of my own.”

“Why is everyone repaying me today?” Molly asked in awe. “It’s no problem at all for me to help here and there.”

“But still, you must let me do one simple thing for you.” The faun insisted. “A few throws away from here, in the forest over the hill, lies a great treasure. It is free for the taking. But there is always a great obstacle in the way, which has prevented anyone from reaching it thus far. I will help you reach the treasure.”

“Only if it won’t take long.” Molly said, thinking on her grandma. “But what sort of obstacle will it be?”

“I don’t know.” The faun said. “I hear it is different for each person who tries. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Keep On Keeping On

When she danced, her world was silent.

When she danced, she felt at peace.

When she danced, her body no longer hurt.

When she danced, she held no thoughts.

When she danced, the whole world revolved.

 

“You’ll never make it.” He said. A gavel dropped in the background. “You just don’t have what it takes. You’re not good enough. Do yourself a favor,” Liz swallowed her tears. “Go back to school and find a good job. You had a good run but it was never very realistic.” With that the judge stood from the table at the front of the small studio and left, letting the door slam behind his retreating back.  

 

Breathing deeply, just as she was taught, Liz slowly lowered herself to the floor. Her world had stopped moving. Across the room her phone rang. Her mother, eager to know how the audition had fared. She was so proud. Liz continued to breathe deeply until her cell fell silent.  

 

Standing, she raised her arms and began her routine over again. Something, there had to be something she did wrong. Something she hadn’t done quiet right; the timing was off, it wasn’t quick enough, graceful enough, powerful enough. She would find and fix it. 

 

She knew she didn’t practice as diligently as she should. Others tried harder and sacrificed so much. But that would change. She knew, deep down in the very marrow of her bones, she could and would reach her dream. That stage was begging for her presence, she just hadn’t shown up yet. She was late but the event had yet to be cancelled.

 

No more distractions. Liz twirled several times. Tuck my legs in tighter and spin faster, she thought. She needed to do more than feel the rhythm. She wasn’t a social butterfly, but last week she’d left practice early for dinner and a movie with friends. Why not? She worked a day job nine to five then ran straight to scheduled (and rented) studio hours. Did she not deserve an hour here, an hour there? She didn’t want to catch that plague called exhaustion, did she? What good would that do?

 

She deserved nothing but would win everything. A change in attitude was simply in order. Staring at herself in the mirror Liz nodded once and turned away. Walking towards her bag she dug through the pockets until she found her phone. Calling her mom back she informed her not to wait on dinner. Hanging up quickly to avoid questions Liz grabbed her water bottle and swished some moisture back into her dry mouth. Putting on a completely different song, a song she’d never danced to, she began from scratch.

 

The process was hard, of course. Letting the beat slowly work itself inside she began to move this way and that. It was different, different than anything she’d ever tried. But maybe that was exactly what she needed. To change is difficult. Not to change is fatal.

 

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Liz had foolishly always thought without reason she would reach her dream easily. Obviously not. Was God testing her? To see how true she was? How strong she was?

 

Having her dream thrown back into her face only made Liz all the more determined. If she wasn’t certain before, she sure as hell was after. She would find resolve and burn a mantra into her very being. It was the only way to truly live life.   

Death

There once was a woman who led a plain life, dull some would say, never to be completely content. You see this woman once was a girl, and as everyone knows, girls have dreams.

But that time had passed and she’d accepted that. Now she lived a quiet life in a small cottage near a small town. She ate breakfast in her sparsely furnished kitchen every morning before heading to work. It was one such morning when a knock came to the door.

She answered the door to be greeted by Death. Gasping, she fell back and cowered on her knees. The woman knew her time had come. Death greeted and raised her up with care. Without a second thought the woman left her home and walked with Death, not even putting on her coat of closing up the windows. In fact the door was left ajar, welcoming in fallen leaves in absence of its previous inhabitant.

Fall. Crunch, crunch, crunch went the leaves under her feet. Death made no sounds. Silence faded over the trees as they walked along a path behind her house. The woman recognized it at first, but after a few minutes her home faded into new scenery. The trees looked fake for the tranquility they breathed could not be real.

“Woman,” Death spoke suddenly. “Are you happy with the way you have lived your life?”

The woman thought for a moment, then answered yes. “Life did not turn out how I expected, or wanted, but looking back now I feel satisfied.”

“Satisfied?” Death questioned. “Satisfied in what way?”

The woman thought for a moment longer, then answered again. “I did not have much but I had enough.”

“It seems to me,” Death reasoned. “You had nothing of what you wanted. You started out young and fresh, but did not end up where you desired to be. You had a house but not a home. You did not live in a big city surrounded by big lights and sounds. You were not even married, nor had any children to pass on your memories too. It seems to me your life, in fact, sums up as such.”

“It is true; I had some grand wishes.” The woman’s eyes glazed over in remembrance. “I was so eager for the future to come in those days.”

“And then all your dreams did not come true. The spark of youth faded and gave way to a different attitude. An attitude dominated by thoughts of trying to make a living rather than living to make. Where did your innocence go?”

“It went away when reality came.” She smiled at Death. “You can’t always live on dreams.”

“Then why do they exist?” Death questioned, truly curious in all his aged wisdom. “You were caught up in a world torn between love and hate, life and death. Dreams are only as obtainable as they are lucrative.”

“Yes, that seems to be true.” The woman tilted her head sadly. “Still, they are nice to have.”

Death thought for a moment. “Perhaps that is the case then.” When the woman looked to him, he explained. “Life itself is born out of hopes; hopes for another. An endless cycle, yes? How disappointing it would be then for life itself to die out? In order to live, life feeds off of what gave birth to it.”

“That seems like a very fine explanation.” The woman commented.

“But you brought forth no life in this world, instead letting the chain die out.”

The woman scoffed. “What does the world lack that I could have brought into it? I am but one person.”

“True. But hopes and dreams have to start somewhere.”

The woman smiled. “I suppose so.”

They reached the end of the path. Their walk together had ended. Bidding Death a warm goodbye the woman stepped through the gates and disappeared as did Death, already onto his next destination.