Last Traveler to the Imaginary Light World

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A sequel of sorts to:
Photos (c) Pexels

Tatanya had long ago been given the gift of dance. Her feet glided like the dreams of a sky-sailing ghost ship drifting across the clouds. She lived alone under the stairwell beneath an old bell tower because she had naught a place to call home. Her parents had perished in a shipwreck ten years ago. The little Polish girl lived in a world of fairies and night-drifters, of cloud-dancers and wise-wonderings. She sewed away her twilights on elf-hunting and searching for the haunting grounds of giant’s underneath bellflowers, moss-logs, and spivey trees. At night she wandered down the windy road that blew past the shadowed hushes of the carnival. There she twirled away on the silent carousel and climbed to the top of the gilded Ferris wheel in the hope of seeing the Woodland Princess.

One hickory-laden evening, Tatanya wandered away from the moonlit stairwell toward the top of the abandoned bell tower. She wound up the staircase, the shadows of her little footsteps following her up the stairs like a friendly ghost. When she summited to the lookout, she leaned out of the medieval window and gazed at the dotted nightscape below. Half-a-gallop away, little red and velvet hooded figures bustled about in the nearby town, readying themselves for the coming norther.

She swung her feet spiritedly back in froth daydreaming of the day when she would dance before the Woodland Princess like the fairies of the forest realm. It was only a story, of course, had said the villagers in the nearby town. You must not let your imagination run wild. Tatanya had been forewarned. But that night she found a crumpled scrap of paper on the floor in the ruins of the belltower. She composed a message to the Woodland Princess without regard to the town’s misgivings. She had invited her to the edge of the Misty Woods for tea and there she hoped to show the princess that she too could dance ever as well as the fairies in Goodreadon, the realm of the Woodland Princess. She tossed the message to the wind and watched the white slip of paper whistle through the wind like a wayward arrow. Up into the sky it flew, past the purple and cerise clouds, and somewhere over the blushing moon.

Tatanya, of course, had never expected to see the Woodland Princess. For the words of the villagers had greatly disenchanted her belief. But as the little girl lay asleep that night, curled in the red cape given her by a nobleman, she heard the sound of little bells. Little bells that seemed to twinkle and dance in a dreamish echo. She followed the chimes up the stairs. The lookout was cloaked in darkness save a spotlight in the center of the tower. The moonlight fell across a lonely chair that had not been there before.

Tatanya crept closer. She settled into the chair, crossing her legs, and looking about the dark premise. No sooner had she taken the seat than a sliver of light fell across her face, and she seemed to be peering into a keyhole of light.

She felt herself falling through a tunnel of light, it seemed. She reached out to touch it with her hands, but only the wind answered back, whispering at her fingertips. She tumbled onto a beach, falling face-first into a mound of sand. She wriggled upward, standing to her feet. A sign set stonily before her which read in a riddle: choose wisely. Before her lay two objects: a red lantern and a jar full of nettled lights.

Tatanya disliked the jar: the lights seemed stiff and tangled. The lantern almost seemed sentient. It was as if she could hear the echoing songs of fairies flickering within the lantern light. She grasped it and swung it from side to side as she skipped along the shoreline, kicking at the sand with her velvety-red shoes. “Taleao, teleo, taleao, teleo,” she echoed back the hushed song emanating from the lantern.

“To where do you go?” a regal voice startled the little girl, and she swung her lantern at the silhouette on the shore. “I am no shadow, Tatanya. It is I, the Light Maid. Your mother spoke of me often in her stories. Remember, little Tatanya?” the voice queried, and a dark-haired woman stepped out from the shadows and continued her job of lighting a thousand torches that dotted across the length of the beach. “I give light, you see. It is my job to light the night: everything that gives light. The moon, the stars, the candles, and lanterns. I do naught have time to complain,” the woman laughed, “they keep me too busy!” she chuckled in a whisper and nudged the little girl’s chilled nose with a fingertip.

“Who are they?” Tatanya asked curiously.

“Why the light fairies, of course. I know your mother told you all about the light fairies. They do everything to please the Woodland Princess,” the woman beamed with a smile. She seemed to ponder for a moment, and then, as if a brilliant idea had been born in her mind, she exclaimed, “and they need you too, of course! You can help me light the night. It is imperative this time, you see. The Woodland Princess has been invited to the Misty Woods for tea. Everything must be readied for her arrival.”

Tatanya had not spoken up, but she knew well that she had invited the princess. How disappointed, she thought, the fairies would be to discover that the Misty Woods was a dull place indeed and the only guest would be a poor, raggedy girl.

“You see, little Tatanya. The Woodland Princess is going to go and live with the fairies in the Green-Gardens. She will not be this way again, forever. This is her last time to see her woodland realm. Ah, and this makes you the last traveler to the imaginary light world,” the woman grinned as she blew tiny specks of dancing light into Tatyana’s hair.

“Is that where I am?” Tatanya looked up at the light maid.

“But of course. The Imaginary Light World. ‘Tis a lovely place, is it naught? Like a dream, a childhood dream and forever that way and a day,” the woman bent down to touch the glowing glass of the lantern.

“Why me?” Tatanya asked.

“Because you are pure of heart and true in spirit. Ah…how your mother knew this. She always believed, you know.”

Tatanya blushed in embarrassment. The villagers had caused her to doubt her mother’s good word. A light rekindled in the girl’s heart. The Light Maid unwrapped an umbrella that twinkled with hundreds of lights. “Come with me, little Tatanya. Help me light the night. There are many places to go. Every path the Woodland Princess will take to arrive here must be lighted before the twelfth hour. The woman grabbed the girl’s hand, and they stood side to side. She lined her umbrella with the moon. “Toodle-Toodle-toodley-dee-tiddley-toodley-dee!” she sang, and the two were whisked away by the oncoming norther and carried far away to places Tatanya had only dreamed of in books and fairytales.

They flew past craggy rocks, towering canyons, purpled mountain peaks, and under leafy pines and great sea-spouts. Tatanya swung her lantern from side to side, lighting all the little things like candles and fireflies. The Light Maid struck everything with her sapphire staff, plunging the world in moonlit and painting the sky with silvery stars that spread out like ripples of water. Finally, Tatanya lost her grip on the Light Maid’s hand and suddenly found herself plunging thousands of miles below and into the chasm of a gaping canyon.

She landed inside an underground cavern. She could hear the sound of the Light Maid’s voice calling her, but it seemed there was no way out. She stumbled around the cave floor, fighting to maintain her balance. Out of nowhere, it had seemed at first, a flood of golden light poured through a portal in the cave walls. Tatanya had lost the sound of her friend’s voice, but the sound of a woman’s otherworldly singing filled the craggy halls. Tatanya recognized the lullaby. Her mother had sung it to her often as she drifted to sleep.  

“Mother! Mother! Are you there?” Tatanya called out, half fearful and half wonderstruck.

A bedazzled shadow fell across the cave. “I have always been here, my dear. I told you so. I have never left you. You can feel me inside, hear me inside. I am always singing to your heart. Listen now closely,” the shadow echoed back and cradled the child’s face in her palms.

“Mother, come home. I am ever so alone. The Woodland Princess is coming to see me dance. Oh, hurry. You must be there, you must!” Tatanya pleaded as she peered around the cave, looking for a form to trace the shadow back to.

“Do you naught see it, my dearest. You are the Woodland Princess,” the shadow revealed, kissing the dimples of the spellbound child before blowing away like the billowing smoke of a dimming candle.

Tatanya cried out for her mother in light of the revelation. She heard the voice of the Light Maid breaking over the canyon rocks above. She blasted an opening through the chasm with her sapphire staff, retrieving the saddened child. “If I am the princess, why are you going to all this trouble to light the way for me?” Tatanya asked, mystified.

“Because we have waited for you so long. The fairies have. They could not let you see the Imaginary Light World unless you truly believed. And so, you do. Your mother always knew. But if she had told you, you would have only believed because you knew, not because you felt it to be true. Believing is such a powerful and wondrous thing, little Tatanya.

“What of my mother? Shall I see her again?” tears filled the little girl’s violet eyes.

“Naught in this lifetime. But there is so much more to come. Ah, and there is a life to lead now. The music you carry inside you. That is your mother’s voice. She is as much alive as can be. You carry her inside you always,” the Light Maid whispered with misty eyes. She picked up the bewildered child’s chin. “The fairies await! The midnight has nearly arrived. Let us go away! Away! The night is magical, and so much is there to see,” wonder and enchantment danced the mysterious maiden’s eyes. The two danced and twirled on the wind, the Light Maid singing and striking below, casting the world in purple moonlight. Onward she and little Tatanya, cloaked in the red cape, danced on the moonlit clouds toward the Misty Woods where the fairies awaited to see the Woodland Princess dance one last time before the journey to the Green-Gardens.

Submitted: June 22, 2021

© Copyright 2021 L.E. Belle. All rights reserved.

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A fantastic fantasy story.

Tue, June 22nd, 2021 11:26pm


Thanks, Rob :)

Wed, June 23rd, 2021 2:54am

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