Stairs and Animal nonsense
Tigers are friendly creatures when not provoked but don't get too close for they might bite, my mother said to me when I was 9 and still crawling up the stairs, she said I reminded her of a tiger when I climbed up the stairs like that, without a care in the world. It's funny how humans can look like other animals sometimes, my friend say she reminds her parents of a monkey when she climbs the stairs.
A little bit different
My footsteps echo from the gravel path as I look around to trees everywhere, and the grass of Mount Binevenagh is still ever so fresh, just the same as I had last seen it a summer ago. The yearly trek up the mountain is a tiresome one, but the lake above is divine and well worth it, I thought as I looked forward to setting camp here for the night. To dipping my hands in the cool crystal lake, watching the birds up high, admiring the stars at night and sitting by a toasty fire. I took a deep breath, crisp, clear, a perfectly quiet day, until someone tapped my shoulder halfway up the path.
“Hey, would you like some help with your bag? It looks heavy” said a stranger with eyes as grey as clouds of rain.
“No, I’ve got it, I come here every year with this bag” I said, noticing that he also had a bag as large as mine.
“Ah, I’m Ken by the way” he said while flashing me a smile.
Returning his smile, I said “Lilly… were your parents a fan of barbie?” His laugh was the most joyful thing and made me smile to know that he had a sense of humour.
“Not that I’m aware of, but I’m pretty sure there’s a character in the barbie films called Lilly as well”
I raised an eyebrow at that “Oh, so you are the barbie fan and not your parents”
He blushed a light hint at that “…I have a little sister who nags me to watch them with her”
“That’s what they all say”
Ken had turned out to be really easy to talk to, chatting all the way up the hill about how his quest for some peace led him here and how he couldn’t wait to see the lake, which he had called the lake of wonders upon seeing it. I watched him run to it, bag still on and couldn’t help but admire how he still had energy after two hours of uphill hiking, I was certainly tired and walked instead.
“Oh, it’s glorious” he said having taken his shoes off and dipped a foot in.
“Yeah, the water certainly is clear today” I said, breathing in the serene calm of mountain air. I come here every year precisely for this calm that I’ve never experienced anywhere but here; mountains are naturally calming but find a mountain with a lake of slowly moving water and it’s a surreal experience.
“Can I offer you cake for half a sandwich?” Ken said as we were sat down eating lunch
“You brought cake for lunch?”
“Yeah, I like cake” he shrugged
And I handed him a sandwich without another thought, chocolate has always been the one thing I couldn’t refuse, not even his smug grin could make me say no. Eating for me requires absolute quiet, to divide even a quarter of attention away from your food is a crime in my mind, and so we didn’t speak again until after lunch when we were setting up our tents a little ways from the lake, well I was setting up my tent, Ken it turns out had only brought a sleeping bag, a waterproof sleeping bag was what the clerk at the shop had told him.
“How many nights are you staying?” He asked while I worked at nailing down my tent
“Just the one night”
“Ah, same here” He said “I’ll go look for firewood, the sun is beginning to set”
I hummed in response and heard him leave as I realized how different this year’s trip was going to be, how different it already was now that I had company, and strangely, I didn’t mind it, a handsome man for company on a summer trip. What a story this will be I thought as I nailed down the last flap of the tent at the same time Ken returned with a pile of twigs in his arms.
I watched him approach me with a dashing smile before getting to work on arranging the wood and lighting a fire. He had done it with such ease that I wondered if it was actually he who camped here every year and not myself.
“Do you go camping often?” I said warming my hands with the fire.
“Yeah, my family were big on ‘wilderness survival training’ when I was younger, in fact my dad used to harp on about how you weren’t really sleeping in nature if you brought a tent, that you couldn’t drift off to the sight of stars if you were in a tent” he said with a fondness shinning in his eyes.
My gaze drifted up on the mention of stars, “…I suppose he does have a point about the stars, they are beautiful”
A moment of silence went by as we admired the stars before Ken spoke again, his tone a playfully deep “How about you forget the tent and sleep next to me then?”
I blushed “tempting… but it had been a lot of work putting up that tent, and despite what your dad says, tents are very cosy”
“Fair point, tents are very cosy, tell me about your family, are you close with them?”
“Yeah, I am” I said, telling him about my adventures with my siblings, how we used to make our parents worry staying out late, having forgotten the time playing our imaginary games. My parents were true saints putting up with us troublesome kids.
The night passed quickly, with us talking until we couldn’t stay awake any longer and fell asleep upon the sandman’s request, him outside, while I was in the tent. That was how I met my fiancé three years ago, on an innocent summer trip that was just a little bit different than planned.
Chapter Six: Missing Personalities
Harley and Jess were on the swings, bickering so loudly that if the others were still around then they’d tell them to shut up already. “No listen, bugs are Hemiptera while insects belong to the class Insecta, so therefore they are different” Harley said, swinging herself as high as she could.
“Yes, but they are all still insects! Look at it this way Harley, a daisy and a rose are in two different families, but they are both still flowers and can be called such, just like insects can be called bugs and vice versa”
Harley stopped her swing and raised an eyebrow “Have you even been listening to me? All I said was that they are different not that you can’t call-” her argument had been cut off by a needle like pain and the numbing of her right arm as it faded to a translucent limb. Harley stared through her arm, at the grass beneath wondering if this was the beginning of tonight’s nightmare. She hated that the only way her and the others were able to see each other was through these night terrors, but she couldn’t wallow further for Jess started gasping for air as she clutched her head, body shaking like an earthquake. Harley reached for her friend, “Jess! You need to breath slower, take deep breaths, calmly, do it with me!”
Once Jess had calmed down, the two just stood there in a daze. Harley was lost, her arm was a ghost limb and Jess just had a panic attack. “…It’s Eloise… all of her memories just seeped into my head…” Jess said breaking the quiet spell.
“What!?, but she was here only moments ago… no, no she can’t be gone! I would have felt more than a needle pain if she had left like Maya had” Harley said getting up and pacing, she hadn’t been around when Maya dead, but still, she knew the void that Eloise had felt, the dark emptiness of missing a piece of yourself was a feeling that Harley knew because she had been feeling it for Eloise since the moment of her existence. Harley had been created to feel the pain and sorrow that Eloise couldn’t let go of… like the absence of Maya.
“Then why do I now have all of her memories! And you weren’t even there when Maya had died” Jess said, throwing her arms in the air.
“I don’t know why you have her memories, but Eloise is not dead, she can’t be” Harley said, ignoring Jess’ remark about her absence during Maya’s existence. Jess opened her mouth and then closed it again as her eyes turned to saucers, shock and fear plastered on her face… “Harley. Behind you. The wolf…”
“What?” Harley asked as she turned around and froze, for there stood the wolf, his fur striking awe and fear as Harley watched the grass fade, as everything but the wolf faded and reappeared as a snow-covered field that blended with the wolf. “Eloise is sleeping now,” said the wolf. “Rest assured, she isn’t dead… but she will be reborn as someone different” and with that the wolf, the dream world, all vanished.
Harley had just woken up to find herself in her old childhood bedroom that was freezing cold because the window was open, why did she wake up here and not at the hospital? she thought as she went to close the window.
Our life sure is difficult, Harley thought, still living the events of last night, Harley was Eloise’s best friend, and yet she and Jess had been so busy arguing that they didn’t even notice what was happening to Eloise, when she had disappeared and why. The wolf said she would be reborn, what does that even mean? and who would she become now if Jess has her memories. Harley sighed as she walked out of her room, perhaps she would see if her parents were home and if they could tell her why Eloise had slept here.
At the kitchen table, Harley found her parents and Dr Vains whispering in a hushed tone, She was surprised to see the doctor, but still walked towards them. “Mum, Dad, Doctor Vains” Harley said announcing herself.
“Eloise, how are you feeling?” Dr Vains asked as he turned to face her.
“It’s Harley right now, may I speak to my parents alone for a moment Dr Vains?”
“Yes, of course, I’ll just be in the living room” Dr Vains said as he got up and gestured for Harley to take his seat.
“Harley…” her mother said putting a hand on her daughter’s shoulder “How are you feeling?”
“Confused, why am I here?” Harley said hoping her parents would have answers.
Her father sighed, gave her a sad look and said “Eloise had tried to escape the hospital last night” like a knife slicing confusion, Harley realised what happened, Eloise had tried to kill us last night! Like she herself had once tried a long time ago. “Oh… did Dr Vains tell you anything else?” Harley asked, deciding that she won’t tell them about Eloise just yet.
“Just that we were to wait for you to wake up and that Dr Vains wanted to speak to you in private first” Mrs Parker said
“Are you ready to speak to him now dear?” asked Mr Parker
Harley sighed, she didn’t like Dr Vains very much, but she needed answers, so she agreed and Dr Vains walked in.
“Harley…what I am about to say may be upsetting but I want you to remain calm” Dr Vains said after Mr and Mrs Parker had left the kitchen.
“I know Eloise tried to kill us in our dream last night” Harley said cutting right to the chase.
“...Okay, can you tell me what happened then so that we can work through this together?”
Harley looked at the doctor and saw his eyes shone with the same curiosity that was often present during their sessions no matters how hard he tried to hide it, it always made her wonder if he had accepted them as a patient because he wanted to help or was it really just to satisfy his own curiosity. But she decided that this time, she would tell him, but only because she desperately needed answers.
“I see.” Dr Vains said, “I think there is a possibility that Eloise may have just merged with Jess, seeing as she now has Eloise’s memories, although what the wolf had said suggests something different… a partial merge perhaps?”
“What do you mean Jess has merged with Eloise?” Harley said in response.
“It’s called a fusion, where two or more personalities merge together to form a new personality who retains the memories and personalities of both the previous personalities. In this case, Jess and Eloise may have merged to become a new Jess who is now both of them simultaneously, or in a partial merge, mostly Jess and some parts Eloise… the rest of Eloise may be sleeping as the wolf had said, which in technical terms would be dormant”. The doctor gave Harley a moment to process this before speaking again “Would you be able to speak with the wolf again in your dream world?”
“No, only Nia is able to call on the wolf” Harley said immediately
“Nia, right, you didn’t mention anything of Nia in last night’s dream, are you still able to sense her?”
Harley was stunned. How had she not noticed, yes, she could sense a very faint Nia, but Mattie and Bobby were gone... did Eloise kill them?
A fear of death can be a good thing, a very powerfully thing if utilized, but still, I think of death far more than what is healthy. I am not a religious person, and so I often treat the after as a canvas for fantasy worlds, and maybe that's a sin, to like religion for the story and never quite believe the tales, but I find myself unable to commit, because I don't think humans are capable of knowing a god the way most religions claim to, how could us mere mortals be able to comprehend or even know our creator when we can't even fully comprehend ourselves. If a god were to exist, then I don't think we will ever really know.
As to what I do believe the after is, well I know of this only as much as I know of life before my birth, nothing. I can only imagine that it would be nothing, I could fool myself into believing in an afterlife. But would that belief ever be geniune? I can never be certain, but right now, my belief is that the after is the same nothing as before birth, a belief that is no more solid than it's alternatives, but it's the only one that makes sense to me.
However, just because it makes the most sense to me, don't mean I like it. I would rejoyce if you came to me, a folder of solid evidence in your hands and told me 'Look, an afterlife does exist, or even reincarnation'. I cannot fully speak for why others may fear death, but for me, I fear death because I don't like the idea of nothing, yes, I won't feel or know anything. Nothing means nothing... But, I want to continue existing, I know it's irrational, I won't want for anything once I am nothing.
Still, I want to feel emotions, I want to feel the world around me and I want that for others as well. I don't like goodbyes, even saying it to a long time acquaintance is uncomfortable, so how could I ever begin to say it to myself.
To become nothing in death, would be to say goodbye to yourself.
Chapter 22: Opportunities of settling and remembering
Father stranger, Oliver wrote before crossing it out, no, stranger was too harsh he thought. It was true that much of his childhood had been spent without his father. But to call him a stranger now would be erasing all of the memories that they had managed to make. A younger version of himself may have seen him as a stranger, but Oliver now understands that his Father’s absence was never from a lack of care but because he had to. Whether it had been for his country or to provide for his family, Chadwick never stopped caring and this was what Oliver had learn in the last two years of getting to know his father.
Oliver dipped his pen and started again, ‘A tribute to my father’ he wrote, thinking of what got him to write this piece, the letter that Aunt Diana had read aloud moments ago.
June 3, 1842
Sister, it is with a heavy heart that I reply to Tyler’s letter on the news of our brother. He was beloved by so many as one of America’s heroes and a treasured sibling, that was something Chadwick and Rosie had in common, both adventurous souls who as I used to say, were very in tune with nature. It was inevitable that mother earth would take them sooner than us.
I do very much understand how you are feeling right now, with my twin, Rosie gone and William back at sea, my world is truly very small as of present. I cannot fault William however, your letter had arrived after he had left, and my husband loves his ship.
Perhaps You and Oliver could visit me for a while, Owen can manage the newspaper now that he is older and has experience of his own. I would love some company Diana and Chadwick wouldn’t want you to wallow in his passing, He would want you to remember all the memories that us sibling made together and be happy that he lived rather than grief his passing.
The sea air here is also very calming for the soul and I’m sure Oliver would love it; many writers have been inspired by the great sea.
I do hope to hear from you soon
Forever your sister,
Tyler was wondering how to contact James, no one has heard from him in years. But he is the only one old enough to decide on what to do with the farm, Oliver will be staying with them because he is too young to manage a farm.
“I suppose Paul could run it for the time being” Tyler said watching Diana, still sobbing on the couch.
“…Have you thought much on Flower’s offer to visit her?” Tyler spoke gently, aware of how fragile his wife was at the moment. “We could go just for a little while; I think a change of scenery would do you well”
Diana looked up at her husband and she didn’t want to go, how could she find the strength to…but Tyler was right and as Flower said, maybe Oliver would enjoy the sea. “I suppose…I have yet to visit Norfolk”
Tyler smiled at that, that had been the most that she has said since reading Flower’s letter and hopefully Flower would be able to help with finding James.
James was on the Oregon Trail with a wagon train of a thousand pioneers; after he had part ways with Blue Snake, James, along with the other soldiers had continued to force the Cherokee to the west where all soldiers were dismissed on arrival. James’ instinct had failed and left him wandering again, alone. He had heard a rumour that Blue Snake had joined the tribe members that had escaped removal by hiding in mountain caves and dens, but all the same, he knew to seek his brother again would be to walk towards death, and so James trudged on.
He had returned to his old ways when he caught word of the organisation of a wagon train in Missouri, it was to be the biggest one yet and this had been the third time that James had heard of these wagon trains. His interest had been more than sufficiently peaked when he met Jesse Applegate the man who was now the leader of the wagon train.
Applegate had told James that if he had nowhere to go, then he may as well join the wagon train, the man knew that James’ horse could be an asset for the journey. Applegate had spoken of gold and the great potential of western Oregon; it had all sounded very good. But of course, James was beginning to wonder if this journey would really be worth it.
Many of the pioneers wanted the land, a homestead. That wasn’t what James wanted and this journey had turned out more distressing than he could have guessed. It wasn’t the risk of bandits, Indian attacks or even the disease that worried him. What worried him was one of the most pathetic things. The travellers of the wagon train would park their wagons in a circle at night as a makeshift stockade. A stockade that reminded James of the Cherokee, and now every night when the pioneers drove their animals into the stockade, James would see the Cherokee and their lashed backs, their screams as they were driven into the stockade.
James had watched the men round up the tribe and he didn’t care then, for he didn’t bat an eye when his mother died or when he had shot those travellers…so why? Why now, after so many years, does some wagons in a circle cause these emotions.
June 21, 1843
Hope was reading a tale that Oliver had written while the boy sat next to her. Oliver had started coming over every week since returning from Flower’s home and he would always bring some of his writing for Hope to review.
“Another very good piece Oliver, you have described my mother’s home so beautifully and I can see the influence from Edgar Allan Poe in this one” Hope said finally facing Oliver to see him smiling a happy grin.
“I thank you, Edgar Allan Poe is my favourite writer”
“Is that so, well how would you like to meet him?” Owen said while keeping his eyes on Samuel and Maria, the two had been little troublemakers since the moment they learned to crawl.
Oliver stared at Owen with bug eyes “Meet…Edgar Allan Poe?”
Owen and Hope looked at each other, they were amused by this youth “Yes, I’m sure you know that he published a book today, and so the journal has secured an interview with him… and I also got him to agree to review one of your stories during dinner tonight” Owen said
Oliver nearly collapsed hearing this “Oh my goodness, I most hurry home and decide what I want to show him!” The boy barely finished uttering the words before he was out the door and away from the chuckling older cousins.
February 17, 1844
Dear Mother and Father
I apologize for not writing to you until now, the last few years have been very bizarre, with my best friend dying on the journey and myself having married his wife, Roberta. Truthfully, the thought of marrying Roberta hadn’t felt right at first, but Frank had left us, and I had grown fond of Roberta and her children.
Know that I am well and have settled on Sutter’s fort, where I work as a tanner in the area. The work of turning animal hide into leather is truly fascinating and has acquired me a few friends, I am currently drinking with them at a tavern, which is how I’ve been able to send this letter actually. The barman informed me that this tavern also acted as a cheap postal service; rest assured, taverns are not places I visit often, they are much too far from the fort and we are only here to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday.
My friends are very merry, but Captain Sutter, he is a stern man that rules his fort with an iron grip and the fact that he built this fort for the sole purpose of liking himself a monarch is something I have yet to decide on how to feel about.
Hopefully, this letter reaches you and I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again, but how are things at home? Does William write often? And what about Hope? I do miss you, Mother, Father and my siblings.
May 24, 1844
Samuel Morse sends America’s first telegraph
For years, letters have been our only companion for distance communication and so it is with both excitement and the slight unease of an aging mind that I tell you of the first ever telegraph sent from Washington to Baltimore today.
The message had been “What hath God wrought”. Ominous, but it brings about much opportunity…and some adjusting for me to get on with.
William was sitting in front of the college of dental surgery in Baltimore as he read the article his cousin had written. Dentistry has been a truly amazing field to study, it is one that William has wanted to study ever since his father started telling tales of pirates knocking sailors’ teeth out and he had told those very often, so often in fact that William sometimes wonders if this had been a form of conditioning, but of course not.
He has always had an interest in science and combining that with his attention to detail from a childhood of constructing model ships, dentistry just made the most sense to him. William looked at the article again, Baltimore and his future were certainly appearing promising.
Time is a fickle thing
always changing and never the same
Sometimes a slow crawl
and other times, a speeding car
whizzing past the days
until last year
feels like yesterday
Even though you know
that it’s been so much longer than that
That you have aged far more than just a day
As the years flow
water to vapor or ground
that is how the years will go
they will never be enough
Always leaving you wanting
Time who stops for no pleas
loyal to no one
And yet treasured by all
A bittersweet flavour is time
too much of something
- in excess of more than [same origin as exceed]
An excess in money
is greed’s greatest wish
To have so much
that they can bathe in it
Oh money eyes
what need do you have for such an excess
That you would kill for green paper
rather than our green earth
is a saddening thought
That we think of green
as the purest of nature
as well as the greed of money
Two parallel forces
but still as linked as their colour
You are ruining nature for money
not for necessity
security or comfort
and most definitely not for your future generations
You have well surpassed those needs
Is it your fear of falling numbers?
Of losing what you call yours
You will lose more than privilege
if our earth were to burn
Money would be the least of your concerns then
stop your excess in greed
Your money eyes
Help us ensure a better future
(said about an animal’s foot or tail etc.) able to grasp things
[from latin, prehendere = seize ]
If you prehensile the tinsel
then pin it on the donkey
Pin the tail on the donkey
Feel the motion of it’s wagging tail
as I spin you round
like an excited puppy
Feel the dizzying circles
while your vision is wiped by a cloth
and encouraging cheers surround
from your friends who watch you stumble
Prehensile the tail to the sheet
as you would life
Life that has a blind future
and a dizzying past
Land and Sea
The waves are calm, and the sky is clear on a beautiful night above the deep-sea waters. I can see the stars as clearly as I can see the land that I am sailing away from, they are far more beautiful than the land of greed.
This is my escape boat, invisible only in the cloak of night and so I am forced to leave at such a dangerous hour. But fortune at current is on my side, for the water is calm; maybe it has sensed my turmoil within and has decided to take pity. Pity the soul who has been lashed as harshly as the waves treat land. At least they have the grace to cool the burns, something that I could not even dream of as the slave of a military man.
A man who was as cruel as the wars he served, he forced me to cook for them, polish their weapons and build fortification all while a whip followed at my tail, threatening to beat down at the first glimmer of a fault.
I worked every waking hour until the master finally took break from service, that was when I finally saw my escape. The master’s daughter liked to walk by the sea, and I was charged to guard her. Of course, the harbour men never spoke to me, but I stilled watched them and from the snippets; I heard that they never left at night and that one of them was even foolish enough to leave their keys on the boat. The master lived in a small town that was void of crime and so the people here are complacent.
Finally here I was, after months of secret planning, on a boat in the fog of night, still a clearly foolish plan despite the food I had stolen. But one I referred over the burn of my master’s grip. I sailed on and on, hopefully going west, where new land lies. My future now depends on the mercy of the sea I thought as my gaze drifted along what the stars and moon allowed me to see, I was still far too close to land to open the lights.
I checked the food and began counting my rations while the boat sailed on for hours and hours, from night to day, I sailed in relative calm, a calm that I am forever grateful for, even if I was weary of it. It was unusual for the sea to be so calm when I have only ever known it to be a cold violent scream who kill and destroying as it pleases and without any regard for the human souls that sail upon it.
It was strange, to be prepared for wrath but not receive any, I breathed in the salty air and watched the seagulls soar as the sea guided me through her open world and straight to the first humans, I had seen days, pirates. I watched their black flag approaching me and a doom settled over me, of course it had to be pirates and not the sea, I should have known that even she thought me unworthy of dying in her waters.
I am nothing but a slave after all, I thought as the pirates anchored and peered down to my small boat. “Ahoy lass, who are you, to be sailing on these fine waters?”
“…I-I am no one important…please just let me pass”
The pirate in the red coat smirked and said, “let you pass” He laughed “No lass, I'll in need of new crew members and so I'll be capturing ya for me ship”
I looked at him confused, am I to become his slave then? to escape one master for another…I kept quiet, so he spoke again “I'm kidding, I’m not capturing ya, I am asking ya to join me crew”
“What?” I asked shocked to be invited rather than forced. I stared for a while and then said yes, better to comply than for them to take offence at my refusal. But the captain turned out to be a jolly sort and smiled as he said “Welcome to the crew lass”
And so I never did find the land of the west, instead I found a pirate land on ship and a new life on the open sea. The pirates were as savage as men in battle, but around each other they were kind and merry… I guess to be human is to be flawed.
The witch’s home
Staring ahead as the sirens blared, I pressed my red shoes together and tapped three times, creating a different sound for every tap. It always amused me how such a simple act could create so much change, how three steps with these shoes could take me miles away or in this case, worlds away.
The witches’ shoes had taken me to her home, a world of darkness and greed known as the underworld, the deepest layer of it where even the light of lava could not reach. Our witch had been the queen of darkness and now I have taken her place, for whoever owns these shoes shall forever return to the dark realms so long as the red prison slipper remains glued to my feet.
Or at least that is what the people of the underworld had told me when I first arrived here instead of my own home as I had expected. They told me that I had set their unhappy queen free from her sentence of acting evil, that she had once been a pure soul who fell for the devil and got tricked to work for him.
Of course, I do not actually believe them, they are the souls of the deepest levels of hell after all and not to be trusted. But I have gotten to know them over the years and their disguises are indeed very charming.
I sighed as I walked through the gates of red towards the devil himself, who was lazing on his throne waiting for me. I have to report to him every time I return here, as I may rule part of his land, but he still owns me as the ruler of all.
“Is it your tenth teleportation already?” He said once I was standing before his throne. Every tenth teleportation with these shoes takes me to the underworld, that is what is meant by forever having to return.
“Yes, the police were on my tail and so I didn’t have any choice”
The devil laughed “Oh how I do love sending you to cause mischief” he said referring to his frequent requests for me to kill mortals and bring them to hell early, purely for his amusement…the underworld has really corrupted me, perhaps like how it corrupted her.
“Well, it’s good to have you back… and I’m sure you remember the rules!” he said in a cheery voice.
“Yes, I am to stay for the next 6 years before I can teleport again” I say in a monotone having repeated those exact worlds every time I return, the devil loved to make me repeat myself.
“Very good” He said and waved his hand to the door labelled the witch, her door that used to take her to the level that she ruled over, the level that I have taken over. I give the devil a nod and walk through the door.
The door only takes me to my palace these days, as the devil now also lives on my level, I do not know why…I certainly would not chose to live in such a dark place. But that is not my concern for now, right now I shall focus on ruling these charming fakes and finding the city of Oz. I am not sure why but something in me still wants to know if they had deliberately tricked me or if they too were none the wiser. Maybe it is my ten-year-old self who clings to the hope that I was not tricked and that perhaps they could once again help me find a solution to my plight.
These were the thoughts that plagued me for the next 3 years, as I am toiling away, granting, or rejecting my people’s requests while keeping track of any newcomers. My mind was always longing to find the city of Oz, the one thing that I am making little progress in. I have tried for decades now but still am no closer to finding the world that I had been to 40 years ago.
I often blame it on lack of time, my people do keep me busy, hunting, punishing, and granting silly things like a pay rise. As evil as they may be, the devil still has them acting like living humans, he is awfully attached to human systems. Of course the evil hate it, being forced into a system that they had once rebelled against… so I often have to punish them with fires that do not shin, no light for the wicked after all.
“Strange, isn’t it? To watching them burning from seemingly nothing” said the devil on one of his visits to examine the prisons in my palace.
I had raised an eyebrow at that “You were the one who created this invisible fire and have used it for more than a millennia, how can it still be strange to you?”
And he never did answer that, I recalled as I gazed at my screen of calculations, I was trying to work out how that tornado could have taken me to anywhere that was not death, I do not think I will ever understand it, an incomprehensible magic that is the same as the magic that has these shoes glued to my feet.
I still remember how I had obsessed over that magic; I had obsessed over it without knowing that the answer was in the very world that I ruled a part of… the witch who was now in hell. The devil had very carefully hidden this from me, he had enjoyed watching me suffer for an answer that was right there within the mind of his lover, his lover who he had moved to this level for.
The evil souls had spoken a half truth, the witch was never a pure soul, but she had been the lover of the devil and I had realised too late, my 6 years were finished, and I now had 10 new teleportations to make before finally finding the witch and city of Oz. How did I go from searching for home to longing for the city of emeralds I wonder.