INTO THE NEW WORLD
So here they were, two young humans coming from different worlds, landing on this unnamed planet, escaping from a menace that blasted away a whole reality. They stood on the rim of the grassy plateau, trying to assess the scenery unfolding at their feet. From the height of the steep hill they watched in amazement the ocean of mist filling a landscape that remained hidden for now.
The milky white swirl of vapor gently rocked under the touch of the rising Sun-star, its ethereal waves washing over the sharp mountain crests rising underneath the unearthly flow. Like giant dragon backs, the highlands cut into the layers of nebulous hazing; dark tips of fir trees punctured the eerie blanket, pointing out the deep forest that breathed in the life giving spray of dew.
As the glow of the sun increased, iridescence rose from the intimate touch of light and the aerial blanket. The two youth exchanged a quick glance and begun the descent into the unknown.
The slope tamed as they came down almost running, sometimes slipping and stumbling on the long, wiry grass, laughing and fighting to catch their breath. By the time they reached the bottom of the valley the sun had dried up the dew and the protective mist vanished into the thin air. The sky above was unbelievably blue and the air was crisp and fresh.
-I feel at home-said the young man. Are you sure this is not another reality of Earth?
The girl shook her head.
-I don’t think so. According to my readings we are far from your home. And oddly enough, this planet shouldn’t be here. So maybe we should keep an eye open…
The soft mosaic of grass blades and wildflowers ran into a mild forest and a pathway of rocks and pebbles was leading the way inside it. Except for this unexpected feature, there was no sign of intelligent life around them. They followed the inviting way and stepped into the forest. The light discreetly changed and enveloped them softly, dancing on the contours. This was a different environment than outside of the woods.
Here the light recreated reality and the pathway pointed into a shimmering spot not far from them. In the middle of a small clearing there was a pointed arch of stone filled with a sizzling luminescence. It resembled to a screen that awaited a touch that would give a sense to that brightness. They stopped a few steps from it, taken aback by the oddity of this finding.
Driven by the arousing curiosity, the youth tried to walk around that strange feature but wherever he turned, the arch faced him unchanged…He gave up with a nervous chuckle after a few tries and returned next to the girl.
-It doesn’t want to show us its back-he said smiling at her.
-It looks like a hologram but it feels real-she added. I wonder what this really is…
Boldly, the young man stepped forward and touched the light; he instinctively retracted his hand.
-It’s a strange, pricking sensation-he said pensively, looking at the dimly pulsing glow.
-Let me try-said the girl and she cautiously dipped her fingertips into the golden blaze.
-We keep missing something-she said. I can sense it but I cannot point it out….
He gently placed a palm over her hand.
-Maybe this….-he started but before he could finish the sentence, the light burst out, seeping them in.
They landed and a gush of wind showered them with bright, swirling leaves of yellow and crimson. They were in the same spot but it was autumn all around, with sunlight pouring into each leaf, melting in shades of fiery red, orange glow, light magenta, deep wine red, bright yellow and soft amber….Between the thinning dots of color hanging by the tips of the branches the sky peeked down to the land with incredible azure eyes….The arch of stone had vanished, leaving the two humans captives in this new moment of time.
The warm wind twisted another handful of leaves; as the rush died out, they gracefully landed like a swirl of butterflies, adding one more layer of blazing colors to the softly rustling carpet of the forest floor. Under the caressing touch of sunlight, musky and bitterish scents rose in the air….peace filled the surroundings. Then a faint sound, a choir of strange cries replaced the silky hush of the falling leaves. It came from above…
The circle of trees retreated, enlarging the clearing; large shadows swam across the forest. One by one, rainbow-cranes landed, flapping wings, bowing and hopping in a complicated dance. They touched, acknowledging each presence, and then swirled one by one in large circle in the middle of the clearing. Sparks of rainbow-colored lights burst from the tips of the huge, feathery wings, turning into sharp, thin rays and then they entwined above the circling into a bright dome of light.
The cries of the birds toned down, turning into a low hum, reaching the inner world of the two young people. The soothing tremor of that sound eased the tension built up inside, opened the doors of awe and magic and lighted up their hearts. Holding hands they stood there motionlessly, watching the swirl of the graceful birds picking up speed until the entire procession became an intently radiating ring of pure white light. Inside that glowing circle, a bluish shape emerged….
It was a porcelain-blue egg, smooth and nacreous, levitating in the after-glow of the dancing cranes. The birds had already vanished when the first crack ran over the surface of the giant egg. Moments later, the thin rivulets united and the shell fell apart, releasing the young Phoenix into the light. He shook his feathers, stretched its wings and faced his human companions. The glowing red eyes watched them intently, reaching far into their mind and soul. An unexpected sadness washed over them, radiating from the sparkling rubies. The young man and the girl were taken aback by this sudden flow of despair.
-What’s wrong?-whispered the girl.
The bird flapped its wings, spreading a shower of bits of light around. He sighed….A slightly rasping voice sounded in both their minds:
It was a startling confession.
The unspoken question painfully echoed through the connected minds.
-Please help me….there’s a darkness taking away my fire….
As the voice faded, so did the image of the young Phoenix dissipate into the light. Tranquility settled above the clearing. The wandering wind breathed in and out…The girl shuddered and she drew close to the youth; he held her and they stood there in silence.
Later they set up a tent as the evening breeze turned into a chill and the night fell over the clearing. They eat in silence, leaning on each other for comfort. Outside the tent the world was already changing. The small planet was speeding through space to meet his second sun. A new world was about to emerge at daylight.
He woke up in the middle of the night with a strange feeling of pressure on his chest. Tired and confused, he opened his eyes trying to grasp the meaning of that unsettling feeling. A thick, almost tangible darkness surrounded him. He searched for the flashlight but it was nowhere to be found. The blackness had erased the visible world and muffled all the sounds. His ears started to hurt under the pressure of silence.
The young man realized that in fact he woke up in another dream and that the space around him was an illusion at best. He staggered to his feet, took a deep breath and focused into the nothingness in front of him. Just as he imagined, the shadows around him slowly thinned and there he was, in the middle of a road that lead through an arch of trees with branches hanging low above him. Not too far a light was signaling the end of that tunnel of greenery. He walked towards the light…
A gentle night wind was swaying the branches, fingering through the leaves. The forest responded to that caress with a soft, hushed whisper. The road ended abruptly and Space itself faded into the light. The youth halted for a moment, unable to decide how to handle the absence of spatial guiding lines. He decided to wait until the shape that was emerging from the glow cleared. He watched the familiar face, the amber tanned skin, the rivulets of wrinkles, the deep-set, piercing brown eyes and the friendly smile.
-Grand-father-he whispered. What are you doing here?
-You came for answers…I am here to help you-said the old man and sat down. He invited the young man to join him.
The youth stepped in cautiously; despite the all invading light, he could feel hard ground under his feet. By the time he sat next to the old man he knew that all these things were projections of his mind and that the questions bothering him had the answers hidden deep inside him. All he had to do was to find the way there and unlock them.
-The young Phoenix unable to fly is your core. Those broken pathways inside your soul lead into a darkness that unable you to take flight towards the horizons you dream of.
The young man sighed.
-What can I do, Grandfather?
-Look inside your heart. Forgive yourself and let your heart mend…
The deep, soothing voice echoed in his mind, reverberating on the soft walls of his soul, stirred the surface of the inner ocean and moved along the intricate web of pathways that walked the hidden land of his heart. Memories burst out in colorful bubbles, carrying images, whispers, feelings, touches, swirling around like a blazing procession of silky butterflies…A gush of wind swept across the labyrinth, cutting off the delicate flow of colors, scattering them all over the ups and downs of his soul. He faced the wind and the thickening mist that oozed from cracks, broken walls, shattered windows and burned down bridges, releasing moss-scented chill, smothering the light of happy days.
Mistakes, misdeeds of youthful impatience and rush through life took form and kept crawling out from the hidden depths where he had buried them, unable to get over heartbreaks, pains and shames. So many times he had found himself unable to walk back on words and gestures, found himself numbed inside, speechless, tongue-tied or simply just too obstinate and proud to admit his own failure. So many times he had rushed through the life and soul of others, blazing, burning, taking but not giving, shaking off the ashes with an impatient gesture, ready to ascend to new horizons without even looking back. But sooner or later life might hit back so the hunter became game and this time he was the one who got hurt. By the time he matured enough to realize what he’d been doing to others and himself, his heart and soul had almost burned out…He plunged head first in his work and buried all the pain and hollowness. Here he was now, facing the swirling, coiling shadows coming from all sides of his broken inner world, threatening to wash him away and smother any inner light. For a long moment he felt lost and numb….he couldn’t find a reason to fight all this back. While he was contemplating all, the darkness built into a tidal wave, shattering the bridge under his feet, pushing him upwards, on the tip of the rolling darkness. He closed his eyes and drifted away with the flow…his last glimpse of memory, the image of a blue and golden bird, grabbing him and carrying him away, before the surge of pain engulfed him….
She stood beside him, watching his silent struggle with the shadows invading his dreams. She cautiously touched him, the small hand lightly feeling the wild heartbeats…things were speeding up inside and she decided to step in before things got worst. The curtain fell over the gold spotted blue eyes and metamorphosis began. The magic bird flew gracefully over the hissing snakes of darkness, grabbed the young man seconds before he fell into the abyss of hopelessness. She held him close and flew desperately, wildly, her gold feathers blazing, chasing away the overwhelming shadows, cutting into the grey fogs blurring the horizon, tearing up the veil of hurt, bringing back the light of hope above the ocean of soul rolling in and out the shores of the heart…She flew with her precious weight until they reached the boundaries of soul. They burst out and returned to themselves, falling back into the deep but now calm waters of sleep.
The old man gently caressed the young Phoenix.
-You can fly now, my child-he whispered. The Universe is open before you.
The bird shook its feathers, flapped the fiery wings and swooshed towards the heights of the night skies. A long trail of burning stars, crimson and gold followed him and showered above the clearing of the forest. Moments later the contours of the scenery blurred out and the material world disappeared. Space and Time expanded, wrapping around the sleeping bodies. Stars and comets gathered around them as the final act of the scenery started unfolding. Each and every inch of the two youth turned into bits of light; as the process ended they woke up from the deep sleep and looked at each other in amazement. They were both woven of light.
She playfully spun around, poked him and plunged into the open space with arms wide open. She caught a Space –current and glided along with it, swirled and turned to her companion. She smiled and called him to follow her.
The young man raised a palm in front of his eyes watching it for a second, chuckled and took a deep breath. Inside his soul the ocean was swinging peacefully and the grain of boldness and curiosity started to grow and fill the inner space with new dreams and desires. He sensed the changes the gold spotted eyed girl left in his soul and smiled inwardly. He followed her, caught her hand and they took aim towards the miracle-filled depths of the Universe.
The arch of stone re-surfaced in the clearing. The pointed, slim opening sizzled and lighted up while the soft breeze of Spring hummed through the branches, awakening the silky emerald buds scattered along twigs and branches. The portal was set for new adventurers. Magic filled the realm of stars….