A Short Story by Archia
Created: January 16, 2017 at 06:23 am
Upload Type: Short Story, G (All)
Category: General/Other | Fantasy | General/Other
Upload Stats: 98 views
Following the End
When you close her eyes at night you wonder where the world will take you. Some nights you sail the seven seas and some you dance with fairies. Tonight, as you close your eyes and feel the soft blankets wrap around your body, taking you off and away into the land of clouds, you forget about wondering and start being.
When a young man comes up to and takes your hand you don’t question it. You know that something has happened prior to this moment, though you don’t remember what and are not worried to question it. You let this young man lead you away. He takes you from the city, with the buildings growing high, and leads you away from it, the lights dwindling and the sun beginning to sparkle in your eyes.
“Where are we going?” You ask, though you don’t mind if he doesn’t give an answer, which he does not. He only looks back at you and smiles, a sweet, curious smile and you know you’ll follow him even if it’s to the end.
Ahead you see a hill approaching and with your hand in his it doesn’t seem like effort to rise up it. When the top is reached you look down and you can only gasp in beauty. A forest lies beneath your feet, trees upon trees trailing up to the mountains in the distance. Above the mountains though is what gasp so much; a moon, big enough to cover three mountains and do defined you can see where the craters rise and fall.
“Look at that,” you say and your mouth is still wide open. “Can we go there?”
He speaks for the first time, and as he does a waft of a breeze comes and tousles his brown curls. “We’re going to the end.”
You don’t ask him what the end is, but still holding his hand you both begin to go down the hill and only stop when you reach the first of the trees. You can’t see far between them, with shadows lurking inside but you trust he’ll protect you.
He lets go of your hand and together you enter the forest. With each step the shadows seem to disappear, recoiling into the trees beyond and you wonder if it’s his steps or yours.
“What’s your name?” You ask.
“It doesn’t matter,” he says and you know that it’s true, it doesn’t make him anything different.
“How far til we reach the mountains?” You ask another question.
“You should be asking how far til we reach the end.” He looks at you, always smiling.
“How far til we reach the end then?”
“It will come when it comes, it has to be right.”
For a moment you’re annoyed that he won’t tell you anything but the moment passes and you think about the gorgeous moon which you will get to see, maybe even touch.
You begin to hear music floating in the wind, or the air really because you feel no breeze. Looking around you try and find it, listening to it quicken and grow louder in your eyes.
Then you see it, a parade of people coming from your right carrying tambourines and bells and dancing as they walk.
“Are they gypsies?” You ask, staring enviously at the flashes of colour in their skirts and the hair cascading down their backs.
“No they’re protectors,” he replies, answering your question this time. “They’re warding away evil from the forest.”
They grow louder and closer and you both stop as their paths becomes connected with yours. They parade themselves right on front of you, turning you way but nothing in their dancing or singing. You can’t place any words but it’s a sweet sound, loud and harsh but there’s a sweetness about it and you want to join you. The skirts swirl in your eyes and the bells jingle on the wrists. You hadn’t realised but there’s someone squeezing your hand and you realise you’re two steps ahead of the young man.
“People are attracted to their ways, don’t get lured in, you’ll never go back.”
“Go back to what?”
“The right end.”
You’re not sure what he means by the right end but you turn back to the dancers as the last of them trail away. You do want to join them and their sweet melody but as the sounds begin to lull so does the desire.
“C’mon.” He lets go of your hand and you continue to follow him. The protectors begin to leave your mind as the forest becomes quiet again.
Your foot catches and you find yourself falling, splattering unpleasantly onto the dirt. For a moment you look closely at the ground and see the ants trailing beneath, though they don’t seem quite like ants but more like… strong arms are dragging you up.
“What are thos-“
“Don’t worry about them.” He’s pulling you away, quicker than you want after you’ve just fallen.
“Let me go.”
He doesn’t listen but pulls your farther until eventually he drops his hands.
“Why’d you drag me away so fast?” You look at your knees but they’re fine and your dress is still clean.
“You can’t pay too much attention to those.”
“Yes.” He says and the tone in his voice tells you he’s not going to say more.
The trees now seem denser, but lighter and you wind your way between them. You can’t see far ahead, it’s encased in shadows but when you get to that point it seems only to be bathed in light.
“Are we almost there?” You ask, thinking of the moon. It’s excites you that you are heading towards something so glorious.
“We’ll get there when we get there.”
You realise that he’d never said you’re going to the moon, you’ve just presumed that you’re heading in that direction but you can’t really be sure.
“We are going to the moon aren’t we?”
“We’re going to the end.”
“Why don’t you tell me where the end is?” You’re curious, wanting to know what to expect.
“If you knew it you wouldn’t reach it.”
What he says doesn’t make sense, but you continue to trust him. There’s no one else to trust anyone and if you take a wrong step in this forest you could easily get lost forever.
You hadn’t realised you had walked off right to him, a few trees separating you. He was running to you, slipping between the trunks lithely and he grabbed your arm.
“You can’t walk off from me.”
“I didn’t, I didn’t mean to,” you stutter, not sure why he’s so flustered. You hadn’t walked off that far, you hadn’t been paying attention but you weren’t in any serious danger of getting lost.
“I can’t lose you.”
In most cases it would be a romantic thing to say but by the way his eyes glare into you you know it's not love. For some reason you needed him, like he was the only thing keeping you there.
You follow him in silence, wondering if soon you reach the end and what would happen there. You were following someone you didn’t know and who told you nothing but here there was nothing wrong about it.
The trees around you are beginning to thin and excitement grows in you; this may be the end.
He takes your hand and a ripple of curiosity goes through you.
“Let me tell you something about the end,” he says and you think it’s odd that he actually wants to tell you something.
“When we get there, I’m going.”
He’s still holding your hand and you feel a protectiveness in the grasp.
“You’ll figure it out. I want to say goodbye now.”
“We can’t say goodbye then?”
You’re still walking and you can see the trees growing thinner and a brightness coming from where the forest ended.
“No.” He stops turns and then surprised you by wrapping his arms around you in a hug. “Goodbye.”
You’re not sure what else to say to him. “Goodbye.”
He returns his hand to yours and like together you walked into the forest together you walk out. You’ve come out on the top of the hill and on the downside you can see the mountains beginning to rise above you. Behind those you can see no moon like you expected but instead, shining in all its glory between you and the mountains there’s the sun. A bright, glorious globe.
“The sun,” you whisper, transfixed by it.
You’ve never seen the sun so close, you’ve never thought you could, but here it is right before you. You can feel it shining on you, going deep into your heart and mind, slipping into your eyes, opening them, opening them more and more.
“Wait,” you say and look around for the young man. You hadn’t realised you had lost his hand and now looking around you can only see him off in the distance. Behind you the trees are being lost in the brightness of the sun and the man also is disappearing in it. He’s smiling at you, and you know why he said what he did before. If you had lost him you wouldn’t ended up somewhere else, perhaps dancing or back in the city streets but you never would of returned to him. He was your anchor, your one thing keeping you on track.
You wave a little in his direction, though he’s almost gone and you look back at the sun which is only digging deeper into your eyes. Around you there is only the sun, nothing else, and now you don’t need anything else.
You smile, close your eyes and awake. Some nights you sail the seas, some you meet fairies and some you walk through forests with young men that you do not know. In the end you feel the sun upon your eyes and rise to the morning, the adventure still in your heart, preparing you for the coming day.
© Archia - all rights reserved
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