It felt as if I were living in the cliché scene of a classic horror film. Crouching on the linoleum with my arms clasped around my knees, I bored imaginary holes the size of lunar craters into it. Everything was hazy, but yet it was so crystal clear. The heat emanating out of it could not be mistaken. I knew this wasn't ordinary. I was not born to discover a mystery such as this one.
Hesitatingly, I rose from the floor, staggering as I gained balance. Time seemed suspended. Life appeared fragile and delicate, like a newly blossomed rose in the dawn of spring. But peaceful serenity did not relate to the thick, ghastly shroud that blanketed the bathroom. The sharp tip of fear's sword pierced my heavily beating heart, its pulse increasing each second that my footsteps impended closer to it.
Why am I here? I stand completely still, asking myself.
"Yes, stay right there, and try to think back," a soothing voice enters my head. Instantly, I am mesmerized, unable to even flex a single muscle. There is no other choice but to follow its instructions.
Okay, I remember now.
The voice replied after a moment, "Yes, now, let the memories awaken within you, child."
I stepped into the pathway inside my mind, more puzzling and entrancing than anything that I have ever laid my eyes on.
"We have to fix it," my father repeats, scratching the back of his head. Repairing the toilet wasn't really a very exciting event in the house.
"Dad, I have homework to finish for my history class. Can't this wait?" I protested, sighing with annoyance. Please, work on it another day.
My father narrowed his eyes at me. "Brandon, you know we can't let it stay like this." And I knew he was right. The seal on the bottom of the toilet that keeps the flow of waste directed towards the sewers had torn, according to my dad, and that it needed to be replaced immediately. "Immediately" meaning that homework would have to wait.
"Let me get the tools out of my truck, and we'll start. Just stay here," he told me before walking out the door to his car. Taking in a deep breath that filled my lungs with pure oxygen, I exhaled every bit of it out, repeating the process while I tapped my foot on the carpet. My family, friends, and teachers were fully aware that my mannerisms involved moving. My science teacher informed me that I was "kinesthetic", or that I am active when I am thinking. In that case, I must be a rather brooding person. It seemed all unlikely, though, that the expansive landscape that inhabited my mind could be of any worth to me. Two worlds, separated by flesh and bone, restricted me from normality. No matter what amount of mental force I exerted, I could not bring myself to fit in with the rest of humanity like a template. No, I was something different, something special, I just knew it.
"I've got the tools." I heard my dad say as he walked towards the bathroom door. What followed shortly after became a story that no one ever shares with anyone else. That wretched odor of the sewage gases wafting into the air literally made me want to expulse everything in my stomach.
The toilet was lifted off the bathroom floor, and that's when it happened.
A horrid shriek burst through the windows, shattering the glass mirror hung above the sink, sending fragments to impale the wallpaper like assassin's daggers. I felt the earth tremble and convulse, and I fell backwards onto the drywall, rendering me unconscious and fading into blackness.
That's how I'm here. There wasn't a trace of my dad or where he could have gone. The shards of the mirror disappeared and the looking glass seemed untouched. What happened?
"Now, child, you remember. Memories, delicious, honey-sweet memories." The voice said joyfully yet it sounded like a lament.
"What happened to my father?" I demanded.
"Your father…….. he's on the other side now."
Other side? "What's that mean?"
"Walk into the portal of the new beginning, and all questions will be answered." The voice replied.
I shook my head in disbelief. "I don't see a portal."
"Oh, my sweet dear, the portal is your mind. It is your link; it is your nexus to freedom!" The voice resounded with excitement.
I closed my eyes, drifting into my rebirth.
My eyes fluttered open. Pulses traveled through me, arousing my arms, legs, and the rest of my body.
Where am I? My surroundings looked nothing like anything I have ever seen. Dark orange dusk swept over the mysterious land, and pearly mist swirled below the sky. I couldn't see any star or sun rays leaking through, but a faint light still illuminated this new world. Bright red leaves garnished the branches of ancient trees sprawled across the landscape. Somehow, it was impossible to tear my eyes away from the scenery laid before me - it was enchanting. I wandered into the woods, marveling at the vibrant multi-colored plants that wove around the ground. Fresh scents of flowers and herbs danced in this dreamscape. Everything seemed so alive, so real…… but was it?
"Welcome, my child. Do you like it here?" The voice appeared in my head again. I replied affirmatively. This world is charming.
"This place is appropriately called the Valley of Deception. You will find out why in the coming time."
The voice's words sent shivers down my spine. What does that mean?
Out of the corner of my eye, something shook in the bushes. It must be my imagination, after all, this is a dream world, I thought.
Out of the corner of my eye, I witnessed something shaking in the bushes. Curious, I approached whatever it was….
A beautiful, slender woman dressed in elegent white robes with gold trimming, popped out of the bushes. My heart raced as I jumped back, startled.
She laughed at me. "Who are you, to be so easily startled?"
I gulped. "Brandon." Her ears were pointed. Is she an elf?
"Ah. You must have come from the human world. Welcome to Irythia."
It was then that I became woven into a tale full of adventure, romance, and treasures galore. Little did I know that everything comes with a price.