No Time For Dreamers
by Evil Jim
He stood on the precipice looking out over the indigo sea of midnight trees under the waining silver crescent in the sky. The forest stood for as long as the world had spun and rivaled for age even the great mountains whose dark bulk pushed steadily out of the horizon across the great valley. The trees were enormous, quietly soaking up the starlight and ever growing throughout the millennia as they held the earth together in preparation for the eternity to come. A single leaf was larger than the boy's entire body and one seed could feed him for days. But still, the cliff to which he had spent his entire life climbing was so high that it showed them to be no more than a dark ocean, frozen together in nebulous waves of black and blue.
A cool breeze blew hair into his face and he brushed at it, smelling life in the wind as he did so. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, letting the air rejuvenate him after the night's long trek. It felt good to be alive, to be free, to be young and strong with all the world before him to mold as he pleased. He stooped and picked up a stone, jagged and no larger than his thumb, and took a moment to reflect upon it. Something he'd never seen before, and would now never see again as he tossed it out into the open darkness. It plummeted and vanished without a sound.
The wind blew again, a stronger gust that made him lean against it or risk pushing too close to the edge. From the distance beyond the trees he thought he heard a sound, a faint groan before the air in his own ears drowned it out. His eyes adjusted as the light faded and for the first time he felt the cool of the night sink deeper than his skin. Another gust chilled him and again he heard a distant howl, louder this time as the wind gave longer breath to the night. The sound held steady and he thought perhaps it came moaning through caves and crevasses in the mountainside below, but it remained even when he grew warm again. The sound itself was cold and hard. It seemed to well up from nowhere, slowly spreading and fading, and then swelling again even as the wind withdrew. His mind trailed away, lost in thought. Puzzled, yet he wasn't startled when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
There were voices; familiar, yet the only one he'd heard in this world was his own. He heard a deep mumbling that sounded as strong as the hand felt, and another, soft and cool, yet troubled. He tried to ignore them and return to his cliff-side thoughts and peace, but the distant droning howl unnerved him in a way he couldn't understand and added to the urgency of the wordless voices beside him. He could smell pine and ivy, and a hint of snow for the weeks to come. He could feel the chill of stone and earth under his bare feet and the rough cloth of the clothing against his skin. Yet he couldn't help being drawn away from it all; all he had traveled so long and far to see, had endured hardships and misery such as never before to reach and to where he prayed his ancestors' gentle souls would guide him.
The hand touched him again and he arose, sitting up. He looked up into four weary and worried eyes. They were moist and kind. He could still feel the winds swirling about his small frame until warm arms sent them away. The mechanical wailing was louder now and deafening when it reached its peak. He saw the mountains again briefly as they seemed to glow faintly, but he rose and spun... and was carried away.
Darkness and light and panic filled his world now. He seemed to be going down. Down, down further out of the reach of light as the wail receeded, calming him a bit. Still he moved. Or, they moved since he was not alone. Though their presence was comforting, it was confusing and he still longed for the solace of his quiet mountaintop. Through a glimpse he saw the distant peaks beyond and above the black sea of woods. The rough shapes were outlined in red and a new star in the growing dawn was about to alight its summit. All thought was slain by a moment of sheer terror.
It wasn't dawn he saw warming the mountains, nor was it a star. It was a new seed falling from the sky; the last seed this forest would ever see planted within its boundaries. He screamed and struggled as the siren wailed and hands set him on his feet, then pushed him roughly down to his knees. Voices shouted and cried. His hands were forced behind his head and he was pushed down. Then a warm, heavy body covered his own.
He panicked and tried to block out all input. His face distorted and his eyes scrunched into a line of wrinkles. The stone was cool against his forehead as he hyperventilated and wept.
He hit the ground with enough force to jar him awake. He lay there stunned for a moment before feeling the soil and rocks painfully poking into his skin in enough places to sit him upright. The night wained from an artificial light and the air was still and silent as death. He looked up in time to see the tree, the last tree; a tree greater than them all, greater than the mountains. Beautiful, pure, and white with fire blooming from the horizon. Its mass boiled outward and upward from its trunk, reaching beyond the sky.
He gasped, and stared in awe.
Recommended music while reading is 9 Beet Stretch. I hope you enjoy.
In other news I cooked out on my grill for the first time in ever. Dad gave it to me after we brought it over for a housewarming cookout last summer. He used it as an excuse to buy himself a new one and left it here. I recently bought a new cookbook from a book sale at work called A Man, A Can, A Grill - 50 No-Sweat Meals you can Fire up Fast. It looked interesting and entertaining and inspired some motivation to do some actual cooking.
While preparing the ingredients I tried calling some friends to invite them over for lunch. Two of the lines were busy and the third hasn't responded to my message. It's probably better tho', since I didn't get the grill temperature right and ended up scorching the food. I'll definitely try it again soon and get it right next time... So what did I cook? Spam cordon bleu, which was quite good despite the scorching.
Now on to the Elves' Palace to shop for a b-day gift, and to finally get out of the house for the day.
CUrrent Mood: finally getting out of the house