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Archive for October, 2013

Tale: Pick Me

In the darkness he could only dream, and night after night he lay with his tiny head of flowing white hair pressed against his pillow like it was his only friend. He lay there quietly, imagining what it would be like to be wanted, to be like so many others. Yes, just that little bit more than a cursory look, before they moved on in search of what it was they were after. He had cried many tears deep into the night as he imagined the touch of a hand, or the softness of loving arms wrapped around him. He remembered little about how he had come to be, but somehow he did remember the many shapes and colours that he had seen in those early years, before the darkness had overcome him. His tiny blue eyes sparkled like the stars in the night sky and his dreams were made up of of the few wonders that he remembered, intermingled with an imagination that was deeper than the deepest reaches of space itself.

He woke from his slumber grasping tightly to the visions he had held in his dreams, and he made his way outside, with the sounds of laughter echoing in the hallways of his mind. His tiny fingers running along the worn walls that by now had become as familiar as his favourite faerie tale. As he stepped outside he felt the warmth of the sun upon him and the sunlight painted his face bringing a wide smile, a smile that was wider than any could truly see. His senses were charged, and instead of the cold damp smell that had held him through his sleep, he was faced with the heady aroma of all that nature offered. He stood there in the sunlight and drew every last breath of air deep into his nostrils, absorbing the perfume of the flowers and the trees that would paint their dappled light upon him as he ambled awkwardly down the path that lead through the forest. The sounds of the fallen leaves crunching under every shuffled footstep, reminding him of the gift he had. Here the sounds of every bird, every small creature could be heard as he listened intently, and then as if by magic, the faeries and elves would form in his mind and dance their merry dance, swaying rhythmically to the tunes his imagination played, bringing them to life where they may not exist before.

He had visited here many times and sat alone in his own silence and solitude, never giving of himself, because none he had known had chosen to see past what lay on the surface. Now, as he sat by the babbling brook, he could hear the sounds of the stones tapping upon one another where the water ran fast, and he imagined a tune of his own that played through his head. As he sat quietly, absorbing each and every wonder that he knew or created within his mind, he was startled by the soft sound of tiny footsteps behind him, after all, no one else had ever come here before. “What ya doing?” whispered a voice soft and low. He kept staring at the water’s glassy surface, and replied hesitantly as if not wanting to be drawn too close. “Dreaming, just dreaming.” She had seen him before, but only from a distance, and because she was new here she did not know him.  Never a shy one, she sat down nearby and began tossing tiny pebbles into the water. Splosh, it went as it landed in the water, then splosh again. He said nothing, but she knew he wondered. “I am making wishes you know?” She said, as if she was the only one to wish. He did not respond, so she sat quietly, listening to the sound of the water in the stream, then she turned to face him, and not wanting to sound stupid asked. “What do you dream?”

No one had taken the time to talk to him before, because he was different, but she didn’t know that and he was too scared to tell her in case she didn’t understand as well. There was something different about this girl and he thought for a moment before he continued. He put his tiny finger to his lips and he told her to close her eyes, and then he spoke. “Listen carefully and you can hear them. There, the soft shrill.” She scrunched up her face and tried ever so hard, but she just couldn’t. “There, again, can you hear that?” This time she did, and she suggested happily but hesitantly. “It sounds like laughter, doesn’t it?” She opened an eye just in time to see him smile at what she said, then quickly closed it so that he did not see her look. “Can you see them?” He asked. “There on the other side of the stream, with their soft flowing dresses, and rainbow wings that glisten in the sun.” As if he knew what she would do, he did not hesitate to say. “No. Keep your eyes closed and I will paint the pictures in your mind.” She closed her eyes once more and as she did the sound of his words flooded in like the rains from a summer storm. He talked for what seemed like forever and as he did she saw creatures that she had only ever heard of, but had never dreamed she would see. Her imagination was carried to worlds faraway and it was like the most wonderful amusement park ride that she could ever imagine, swaying here and there on the rickety tracks of life, and as the light faded so his words brought life and light like a magical lantern.

It was getting late and she shuffled nervously, as if waiting for something special, and then it came. “Where are you?” A voice called softly, as the grown up dressed in her neatly pressed suit walked into the forest. “Oh, there you are.” The small girl got quickly to her feet. “They’ve come for me, I have to go because now I have a home to call mine.” She whispered excitedly before she quickly said goodbye, thanking him for what he had shown her and teaching her how to dream. She promised she would never forget, and as she spoke she did not see the tear that formed in his eye. As she turned and ran, she thought, and then stopped, before spinning around once more. “Your name, I never did………” She looked around at where they had been sitting in the soft light, and he was gone. Her only memory, a small boy, not much older than her in his long blue coat, flowing white hair, with eyes that saw everything. He watched on from his secret place and he thought to himself. ‘In the blink of eye he had found a friend then lost once more.’ He now stood silently listening to her laughter as she skipped gleefully along the winding path holding their hands, then out through the tall iron gates that were like the doorways to his castle. She had new parents, a lost child had been found, and a smile given to a face. He hoped that one day, just one day, that would be him, because someone would see past what made him different from the others. Maybe one day someone would pick him, but until that time he would carry himself away into his magical world, ready to share with any that would take the time to know him and the magic that he held within.

Back where we began, the cold damp smell permeated the air once more and as he laid his head upon his pillow, and he closed his eyes, he was carried away past the soft wispy clouds all bathed in the sun’s warm glow, beyond the stars and planets to a place where his dreams held him close. He may be blind, but he saw more than even the keenest eye could see, and his day would come, it truly would, and it would be sooner than even he could dream.

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Tale: But Not Completely

Without warning, the Child heard the soul-shattering silent scream – or rather, she felt it stab through the core of her being. For the first time in her life, she knew without doubt that she had a twin somewhere and that he or she was drowning. Could she sacrifice everything – the resentment that had consumed her over a lifetime of rejection, the fear she had wrapped like a tight blanket around her cold shoulders to protect her, even her very existence? – to beat through the slippery forest path to the water’s edge to save him?

Yes, it was definitely the piercing cry of a small boy that now flooded her ears, overpowering her pride and all instincts of self-preservation. Only the irregular ripples on the water’s glassy surface gave his whereabouts away. How had he fallen so quickly from the slippery bank to the murky depths, silencing his fearful sounds and replacing them with the slowest stream of feeble bubbles as one final breath escaped his tiny lungs. There was only one choice the frightened child standing on the river bank could make. Without another thought, she disappeared into the cold, dark water and would never emerge again until she had found the lost child and brought him back close enough to the surface where they might both be revived.

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Tale: Lost

The small boy sat in the confines of his own little world with confusion all around him. In the space of twenty four hours he had travelled through the outmost reaches of his mind and back again, and now he had never been so unsure. Words had come and gone like the sun and moon, but instead of light and happiness, they offered just a bitter taste for those that would write and read them. Where once flowers bloomed in the soft sunlight, now only the withered leaves on crooked stalks remained with the beauty of what had been long gone, colours faded like a weathered tapestry hung out to air, but forgotten. As the intricate details had been painted on the canvas that was his life, so they had just as quickly washed away, one by one fading into oblivion, to not become even a distant memory. He fought back the tears that formed in his bright blue eyes that until now had seen so clearly. Instead, where there was once a sparkle like the stars that filled the night sky, there was only darkness.

He now walked a different road, devoid of what he had come to know, with the magic that he had woven so often before now no more than an illusion, and not even a good illusion at that. For all that he had done, he now felt that he had let others down tenfold and his punishment was to walk forever more in the shadow of his memories. If only he could take back all the words and just replace them with a clearer understanding of what had truly been. Even now time seemed to stand still and the future remained an unknown that he feared more than anything he had feared in his life, even more fearful than death that he had seen and chased away time and again. He stared into the deep blue sky with its many clouds forming shapes that he no longer understood, at the same time he wondered if he himself was any more or just an apparition of a wild, delusional mind.

‘If only I could take back all that had been cast out for the world to see, I would do it in a heartbeat, I would accept whatever punishment awaited me just to change all the bad to good,’ he thought. Time was not his friend now, but he wished that forgiveness was easier to come by than he had seen, where misunderstandings are understood and eyes would see so clearly. But could that ever possibly be? In the chilled wind that blew, he huddled in silence listening for the faintest sign of life, of hope. Birds sang sweetly, and their songs were carried on the stiff breeze like the heady perfume of the flowers that no longer lay like a carpet before him. He stood mesmerised by the thoughts that now flooded from his mind and like a child grasping in the mist at some figment of the imagination, he watched as it all slipped through his tiny fingers. He turned his back on all he had come to know and understand as he prepared to journey now into the unknown realms of obscurity, falling, spiralling out of self control into the cold dark sea.

He struggled to take a breath as he fought to keep himself afloat, whilst all around him others watched on without a worry or a care. ‘How can this be?’ he thought as he tried in vain to reach out for familiar hands that may rescue him, pull him from the stormy seas that he had now been swept into, but they were gone. “Why is it that only I understand?” He shouted, in a last desperate attempt to be heard. “Can no one see me here, does no one care?” He uttered, as his voice faded, before he took that one last breath, and was pulled into the water’s cold depths, lost, to never be seen again.

Some say that if you listen carefully, you can hear his cries in the songs of the whales and dolphins as they travel carefree across the oceans blue. Others say his form drifts with the tides like a tiny paper boat, waiting for the day that he may come home once more, forgiven for all that he had done wrong, and for the wrong doing of others that he had taken full responsibility for. Until then, the stars that filled the night sky would offer those that had known him a token gesture in his memory if they so chose, but then like a shooting star he could be forgotten in the blink of an eye.

Lost inside the mind of a child,
Where the dreams that formed now drift away,
Gone with the stormy winds that blow,
Never to be seen again.

A faded distant memory,
Of all the things that came to be,
Banished to the waters deep,
From eyes it hides no longer seen.

Stars that twinkle in the night,
Reflecting now on waters clear,
Where sails the fragile paper boat,
Words all written true and clear.

Rescue me for I am lost,
Guide me with the light of life,
Burning in a lantern strong,
In the darkness of the night.

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The old man sat on the top of the hill overlooking the broad green valley below, with the undulating hills that rolled into the distance like the wide blue ocean he so loved. He was mesmerised by the meadow grass as it swayed in the breeze, intertwined with the colours of the flowers that grew here and there, and the clouds above that cast shadows that drifted across the land like a silent army of shifting shapes. A sweet perfume from the flowers filled the air and the soft sunlight warmed his fragile body as the rays shone upon his weathered face. He listened intently and as the nearby babbling brook’s crystal clear waters danced upon the pebbles beneath, and for a moment he thought he heard the familiar laughter that had been missing from this world for so long. Then as quickly as it came, so it went and now in the early evenings fading light, he wondered once again what it all was and what it had been.

As he lowered his head he thought about a small boy, a prince as a matter of fact, but not a normal prince with airs and graces, a humble one that shared what wisdom he had with any that would choose to listen. He was small and his white hair flowed over the collar of his magical blue coat, with a smile so wide that complimented his soft compassionate blue eyes that sparkled like the stars. He was surely different, but he did not see himself as different, he was just a boy that wanted to explore the world and all the wonders of which it did behold. He was in search of the greatest treasure that you could find, not  because he wanted it all, but because he hoped it was something that he could share with everyone.

In the valley below stood a tree so tall and wide, flush with the greenest leaves that danced like tiny butterflies on the breeze that blew.  It was a special tree, because like the boy it was magic and all those that climbed there were bound by trust, truth and integrity. The old man sat quietly in thought then raised his head, startled by a familiar sound, one of childish laughter that echoed from the deepest branches of the tree. As he looked closely he thought he could see a faint flash of blue then gold, with a shimmer of rainbow colors that radiated through the leaves from the last of the mobiles that hung there. ‘Could it be,’ he thought. ‘But then no, surely not, he has not been here for longer than I can remember?’ He looked harder towards the tree and as he did he heard an even more familiar sound. ” Yeeeeee haaaaww” came the cry, and with it he nearly had a heart attack as he watched in stunned amazement as the fox came hurtling down the flying fox, full of vigor, rolling and then bounding towards the tree with all the energy that would be expected from a child running wild in a candy store. Leaping high through the tall grass like a gazelle, she reached the Tree then scampered up it with her laughter reverberating out into the valley, and then she disappeared into the thick canopy before, “whoa!” came the cry as the little prince fell from the tree onto the thick patch of daisies below, just missing the Rose that was watching and laughing at the antics. He sat there and shook himself off before looking up into the tree and then he began to laugh uncontrollably. The fox peered through the branches and poked out a tongue, before jumping from the branch and then running in circles around him and the Rose, stopping now and then to stare and giggle before taking off once more like a child that had overdosed on red cordial.

The old man gave a tiny laugh to himself as he watched and remembered those days gone by. He had never believed it could be again, because for some time now the magic had seemed to be lost, faded into the deepest darkest regions of the mind, where many mysteries waited to be revealed. He continued to watch as the fox and the prince ran around the tree several more times before falling to the ground next to the beautiful red rose once more. They laughed as the three of them spoke about so many things, and it was as if they themselves had not spoken for some time. Their voices carried in the evening air as they talked about the adventures that they had shared in the times gone past, and how they had marveled at the mysteries that had unfolded like the petals of a newly formed flower, which put a smile on the face of the rose.

Time was getting away from them and as it became increasingly darker, the boy fell onto his back and scanned the sky above. He was in his element and his eyes darted from star to star looking for that flash, the twinkle that made it all extra special, and then in a moment he fixed his gaze and the smile on his face grew wide. “There,” he pointed with his tiny outstretched finger, “that one see, it sparkles like a ruby?” The old man sitting quietly on the hill was as intrigued as those sitting near the boy, and from a distance he tried to find it for himself because maybe it was what he was also looking for as well. As he tried to find the special star, silence fell over the valley and when he turned towards the Tree once more they were gone, the three were not there and there was nothing but silence. “I could have sworn, but.” He sat dejected. ‘Was it just a cruel dream?’ he thought to himself.

As he looked at the stars once more, he remembered what he had learnt, and how the light he saw now, sparkling brightly in the night sky had travelled many lifetimes for him to see.  He knew also that it was possible that any one of the stars that he looked upon now did not exist at all anymore, and that what he saw may have been just a glimpse of what once was. He scanned the sky with his weary eyes and there in the deepest darkest reaches he saw it, glowing bright red, just like the ruby that the little prince had explained. He smiled but then he felt alone again, although like the prince he thought the stars could be his friends if he truly wanted. As he sat in his loneliness he began to wonder once more what it was that he sought? ‘Was it there, and even if it was, then what was it and why does it seem to come and go?’ He pondered.

“Hello,” whispered the boy with his gentle voice. The old man turned and there in the glow of the rising moon stood the little prince, and either side of him the fox and the rose. He spun around from where he sat to face them and as he did they all smiled. The fox and the rose gave a childish giggle and he felt like he was going to faint, or maybe he was dying or, well he just didn’t know. He was so overcome by their sudden appearance that he had forgotten to say hello in return, but then they did not mind, because the look of awe on his face was a priceless gift in itself and they knew what he was thinking. As a matter of fact, they knew him very well, because he was actually a product of their vivid imaginations, sort of a father figure you could say.

They looked at him and as they did they saw deep within a touch of sadness, but at the same time a glimmer in his old eyes that spoke of hope. The little prince looked at him with the look of the most revered scholar, and he said. “You have lost something haven’t you?” he nodded and at the same time his face grew ever more puzzled, as though what he was after was even further from where he could find it than he had thought. The three of them chuckled, and looked at one another, then the little prince reached into the pocket of his blue coat with his tiny fingers and then removing his hand he held it outstretched, clasping something inside his tightened grip. “Close your eyes and hold out your hand,” he asked in an excited voice. “Go on, you have nothing to worry about.” The old man held out his hand and he closed his eyes, and with that the boy placed a small object within the large palm that lay open before him. “There, you can open your eyes now,” he said excitedly once more. As he opened his eyes, he saw a sparkling blue jewel resting in his palm, and he looked quizzically at it and then at the three friends staring intently at him as they waited for his reaction. He looked more closely at it once again and it was then that he realized it was a tiny shell, iridescent blue in color and so delicate with its spiraled cone shape unraveling before him. The stars in the velvet sky grew brighter and it was as though they had woken to see what it was that he had been given, they themselves stirred from a silent slumber.

He thanked them for the gift, but there was something in his voice that told them that whilst he appreciated it, he did not understand it. The small boy smiled and, as if the old man should of known, he explained. “It’s a special magic shell. When you want to know something you just think the question and then hold it to your ear. The answer will come from within.” The old man smiled, because he liked magic and he had been seeking the answers to many questions, answers that had eluded him for so long, but now maybe he would find them. He thought long and hard, and then he thought some more. ‘What is it I seek?’ He held the shell carefully in his worn and ragged fingers, and placed it near his ear, so carefully so as not to drop it. The sound of the wind and the ocean played a magical tune and then he heard this short but simple echo. “Happiness.” ‘Um, happiness,’ he thought. This was all too simple, but then it made sense that the one thing that he had wanted with all his words and thoughts was happiness. No matter how you looked at it that was what it was, nothing more and nothing less.

He smiled to himself and nodded his head in agreement with what he had heard, and the three friends nodded as well. The fox got up from where she was sitting and began to run around them all, once again poking out her tongue every now and again as she rejoiced at what he had found, and the Rose swayed in the breeze and giggled, whilst the little prince climbed to his feet and held out his hand in a gesture towards the old man. “But I am tired, and I just need to rest.” He said. The little prince gestured again, not one to give up so easily, and he spoke the familiar words he had so often spoken before. “I am little, but I am strong, and I am magic ,” and with that the old man reached out and he took his hand, and as he did he transformed before their eyes and before long, standing in his place was the white haired boy, no more than twelve years old, with all the stars of the universe reflected in his wide eyes. The white haired boy smiled as he carefully tucked the magic shell into his own coat pocket, and he made himself a promise, ‘that he would not grow old ever again.’ They all held hands and together they ran to the Tree, laughing and skipping, enjoying life and all its wonders, and when they reached it they climbed inside where they stared out into the sky with all the stars twinkling back at them. There they would dream and imagine as they waited for a small girl with her hair tied in pink bows and a wide smile, and a girl with ruby lips and eyes that sparkled like the sun. They knew that when the came, the circle would be complete.

The white haired boy lit the candle that had been extinguished not so long ago, as it now sat cold in the lantern that had protected it from all the ill winds that had blown. He then hung it from the highest branch so that the warming glow would let their friends know that they were there waiting. He then went to where the Book Of Dreams lay with its dusty cover telling a tale of neglect, and as he blew it clean so the words could be read, and the others all sneezed uncontrollably, which made him laugh.
He took a pen and within the pages of the Book he wrote.

The simple things in life are free,
There for those that chose to find.
And now it is I clearly see,
The happiness that fills my mind.

The words and thoughts I share with friends,
The dreams and wishes that will be.
Nothing to be fearful of,
Laid out for the world to see.

Whilst happiness I’ve always had,
It now completes my life for sure.
With each and every day I live,
To carry me forever more.

I see once more with child like eyes,
I dream the dreams that dreamers do.
Happy with the one I am,
Shared now here with all of you.

As he closed the Book, he ran his tiny fingers across its worn cover before glancing at the last remnants of the mobiles that hung above where they sat, spinning ever so gently and as he went to put it back, the fox sat bolt upright with her ears pricked and she turned to look through the tree out along the moonlit path that led from the Magic Forest. They all gazed out now and as they did, they could just make out the shapes in the ethereal glow of the moon, and the soft laughter that drifted on the night breeze was a familiar sound indeed. It was then in the moonlight that the shimmer from a pair of ladybug shoes and the glitter from the pink sparkly covered runners told them that their friends were here at last. Now they would sit quietly in anticipation of their imminent arrival, where they could be together once more, six friends in a Tree.

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‘It is so dark and cold,’ he thought to himself as he sat quietly with his mind drifting with the tide of thoughts that now filled it. He had watched as life had changed once more, and with sadness he had stepped closer to the precipice than ever before then glanced at the future and all that it held.

As the small girl climbed down from the nearby branch and planted her feet firmly on the barren ground, she glanced back for what seemed like one last time, then turned and walked quietly away. As she disappeared into the distance, he wondered and he hoped with all hope that one day people would understand. He remembered a day that now seems like a lifetime away, when by chance two people with the child inside met and spoke about all the things that they knew. He remembered how he had told her about his one true love, and she about hers, and how at that point a friendship was formed, based on the trust and integrity that true friendships were formed. He remembered how strange it was that in all his life he had never had a true friend, not one that truly wanted to understand and accept him for all his good and bad, without judgment, and that he had found that at last.

Now, in the cold light of day as the sun began to set, he wondered what would truly become, and as he looked around he saw that the leaves of the tree in which he sat alone were now covered in letters, and as they fell, so another grew just as quickly in its place. The leaves carpeted the ground below and as they did they formed words and then tales, tales that reminded him of the adventures he had taken, the imaginings that he had seen, the wonders that had transformed from his tiny hands. He was unsure of what he should do now, and for a moment he thought he could climb down from the Tree as well, but then it would die, and long ago he swore an oath to himself that he would be the keeper of the tree, to never let it wither and fade like so many trees he had seen before.

He looked out from the tree at all the beauty that existed, with the fields of flowing flowers, the rolling hills, the magic forest that was truly magic and the ocean so blue. It was there he spied an old man standing on a distant shore, with a tiny paper boat that had been folded with all the precision of a craftsman, held tightly in his hands. The water lapped gently at the old mans feet, and he stood quietly as if it were giving him the life that sustained him and he stood for ages and stared across the calm clear waters, with their shades of blue. He looked at the paper boat as he held it in his frail fingers, and he smiled the smallest of smiles as he took out a pen and upon it he wrote.

 

 

I came into this world,

A path to take unknown,

And as the journey it unfolded,

I feel that I have grown.

 

Wiser for the things I’ve seen,

The people that I knew,

The choices that I make in life,

In everything I do.

 

The lessons that I’ve learned,

The things that I have taught,

The dragonflies that twist and turn,

Which in my mind I caught.

 

Regrets I’ve only one,

And tis I shall only know,

And as I pass from this short life,

With me then it shall go.

 

But for now I ask of you,

As you read these very words,

Believe in all I have to say,

No greater truth will you of heard.

 

Sometimes what is unique,

Will never be explained,

Because it is not known before,

Not now or ever again.

 

That doesn’t mean that it can’t be,

Or ever be again,

I hope one day that you will find,

Yourself a very trusted friend.

 

 

The old man bent over carefully, feeling the aches and pains of age, then with a little push, he guided the paper boat and watched with hesitation as it was carried out to sea on the gentlest of breezes. Just as the vision began to fade, the small boy caught a glimpse of the old man as he turned, and there he saw a single tear sparkling like a diamond in the corner of his eye.

 

He knew the vision he saw was as a glimpse of what the future may hold, and yet he did not see himself as old, but the eternal child. It was just that others saw him old with their clouded eyes, and the fears that did not let them dream. His small body harbored many fears, but he had made a promise to himself that he would never be consumed by them, or let them consume the minds of others. He was little, but he was strong, and he would continue to be like air and water to the tree, so that one day others may know what he knew within his heart of hearts. He would share his tale with all that chose to listen, and he would open their minds, but would they truly believe what he had come to know.

 

As he sat and thought, with the stars all now smiling wildly in the sky above, he realized that it no longer mattered what others knew or believed, and that all that was important was that he knew it to be and that he understood what true friendship was. He felt sad that no other could think so clearly, and he prayed that with time his words would enlighten many, and until that day you will just have to take his word for it.

 

A Thought.

A true wise man is not a person who knows everything, but instead one who sees with an open mind and each day comes to understand more so that he can grow wiser still.

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Tiny pieces are all that now are left,

Lying shattered and sparkling on the ground.

To put them together is a task I must face,

As I look at the destruction all around.

 

I have taken what would be discarded before,

And brought it together so now it remains.

Restored where no hope saw it lying in ruin,

I did it before could I do it again?

 

The magic that once did reside in the child,

The strength all now gone so that others survive.

Alone in this world as I search for the words,

The smallest of things to keep hope alive.

 

As I grasp one more time at all I can see,

Although distant it now does remain.

I think and I wonder as I fade into dust,

Will things ever be once again?

 

 

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He awoke in a different world, a new world that appeared devoid of the magic and wonder that he had known for so long, and as he sat and stared at what unfolded before him he wondered what it really was. It was as silent as a world without life, a deafening roar of nothing that could send a small boy crazy if left for too long to wonder. All around him lay a forest of trees with bare branches, like upturned hands with fragile fingers reaching in vain to grab the warmth of the sun’s morning light, which in turn may bring hope. Scattered around the trees lay a carpet of crisp brown leaves, a sign that life must end, and they formed a soft thick blanket that hid all else beneath. Any other day, the white haired boy would have kicked his way gleefully through these sending them spinning, tumbling as he giggled loudly, but no, not now.

There was a chill in the air, and he wrapped his long blue coat tightly around his meager form, in an attempt to protect himself from what he feared he would face today. He stood staring into the unknown and as he did he heard a whispered voice as if carried on the breeze. As he glanced around, he noticed nearby an old wooden seat, weathered from the wind and rains. He blinked momentarily, and then stared once more as a vision came and went, a familiar shape like a ghost from the past. For a brief moment it was as though he knew, but then the light seemed to pass through it, and as the other stared toward where he stood, it was as though he did not exist. Like two travellers on a journey but in different times, never destined to meet, never sure of what they may find.

As the sun rose, it painted the soft white clouds that dotted the sky in red and pink tones, wrapping the light around them to give them a depth and dimension that brought them to glorious life, filling his imagination with the wonder it had held so often before. On a nearby hill the yellow glow of the sun bathed the meadow full of flowers in its light, and in the gentle breeze they swayed and the hill appeared as if it were a giant wave upon the ocean, rising up, then falling again. Beyond the bare lifeless trees stood a deep green forest, where timidly, creatures peered from the safety of their night haven with their tiny eyes looking for the slightest sign of danger. A tiny bird, a robin, with his red breast as bold as can be came flitting to near where the white haired boy stood. It landed on the skeleton like tree branch, and then danced for him, filling the air with sweet song. Like a single brave soul he showed no fear and his ambitious display was such that it gave an unknowing courage to those that remained still hidden amongst the ferns and dense leaves that filled the forest.

In a moment, peace and tranquility had washed over the land, and in the starkness he had found life where at first glance the eye would have seen none. As he stood watching, with ears pricked, he could hear the distant cries of laughter as they echoed from the deepest part of the forest, faint, but there just the same. He watched as the robin flew towards the forest, stopping here and there as if beckoning him to follow, and so he did, drawn by the bird song and the sense of adventure that he had always longed to grasp. He ran as fast as he could, so as not to loose his companion, and only stopped briefly to catch his breath before continuing. He reached the edge of the forest and he stopped momentarily looking along the rough path that wound its way into the distance. Fallen trees lined the path like giants sleeping, with the heady aroma of moisture-laden moss hanging from the lifeless branches like strands of tinsel at Christmas.

He entered the forest and as he walked along the path, the sunlight fell before him, filtered through the dense canopy, casting shadows and forming shapes that were brought to life in a child’s mind. The path wound its way through the ferns and trees, at times with no end in sight, and then times where twists and turns gave no insight as to what may lie ahead. He followed a stream for a short distance, with the water running cool and clear, where the sound as it tapped upon the pebbles that lined its bottom was like the sound of children’s footsteps and they danced their way across it. At a point in the journey it became dark, as ominous clouds gathered overhead like dark memories filled with dread and fear. The deep dark shapes blocked out the sun, then in the darkness that followed there was a flash of electric blue light, so brilliant that it became like daylight for the briefest moment, before darkness took hold once more. Then like a clash of steel, the sound of thunder filled the air as if to give a belated warning of what had just occurred, rolling through the forest like a wave on the deep dark ocean.

The rain began to fall, and as it did it tapped upon the leaves of the trees like the patter of a child’s feet running on the timber boards in some old house from years gone past. Then as quick as it came, it went, and for a brief moment the air was silent, with nothing but his footsteps as he walked, still searching. Everywhere he looked, raindrops hung like tiny diamonds, tiny tears, and as he brushed against them they fell forever to the earth below, returning to whence they came. Around him it had become still, but then a gentle breeze blew, bringing life to the forest and as it blew it was as if the hands of running children were brushing against the branches. The breeze carried once more the sound of laughter, and he quickened his pace, adding urgency to his journey.

Everything around him remained familiar, but at the same time he sensed change, and as he rounded one last bend in the path, he stood marveling at what he saw. In a clearing he was confronted with many carved sculptures, all of different creatures, in different sizes, as if to signify the lives that had once filled this place, the lives that were now long gone. In the center of the clearing stood a tree, with long branches covered in tiny blossoms, the most delicate flowers that looked like faerie wings opening to greet the sun for the first time. The breeze blew stronger, and as it did it shook the flowers free and before his eyes they took flight, full of childish laughter with the magic his imagination had run wild with so often before. A thousand faeries sent out to find a child and make a dream come true. The breeze played with the tails of his magic blue coat, and he reached out and took hold of a handful of fallen blossoms that remained, placing them in his pockets so that he could spread some magic of his own.

The robin appeared once more and alighted on the hand of a wizard statue that was holding a lantern with his outstretched arm. The white haired boy took the lantern and in the fading light he lit the candle it contained so that the light flickered upon his face. The warm glow was life giving, and he smiled at life itself, realizing that his future was truly in his own hands. This was what he had come to unknowingly find in this world full of ever changing wonders. He turned and headed back towards where he had come from with the shadow cast falling long behind him. When he reached the edge of the forest, he was no longer faced with a strange unknown world, but the one he knew so well. The Friendship Tree stood before him in the setting sun and the deep blue sky gave way to the reds and pinks, then finally the darkness took hold. The sky began to come to life as the stars filled it like tiny diamonds cast by a child, but then he knew they were the eyes of the children long gone that smiled upon him. He spent the night looking and dreaming, hoping for the magical shooting star that he so often cast a wish upon before.

The night had passed and now he could see a faint glow from the Tree in the distance, with the sounds of whispering and laughing drifting to where he sat. He imagined the mobiles hanging there and the light playing upon children’s faces as the breeze made the mobiles dance. He knew as they spun the words they would unleash would be the dreams that would become stories, fantasy intermingled with fact, words that rhymed and words that made no sense at all. He smiled because he was home once more, the journey he had taken was still to be fully understood, but then he did have the magic of the faeries to unleash upon his friends when they met again soon.

As he looked once more to the sky the stars seemed to dance, and in his mind they filled him with laughter, with visions and imaginations that once more came so easily. Then in the fading darkness, as the glow of the morning sun took hold once more, he saw a shooting star and he made a wish that only he would ever know.

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