Ellen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
With their village destroyed and their families dead, a group of children wander the desert hoping to find the safety of a camp. How could Flax, a young elf, sent from his monastery understand the nature of what he faced and how could he make a difference?

Submitted: October 30, 2007

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Submitted: October 30, 2007

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A A A


Ellen

The old teacher looked at the faces of his students. His heart felt heavy with sorrow for he had walked the paths of the future.

‘Nothing was certain,’ he reminded himself.

Raising his staff he opened the windows to the lands of the universe. The young wizards, elves, giants, and wisps watched in an uneasy silence as the walls became unfamiliar landscapes. His voice echoed softly in their minds. ‘You must choose a window and step through. Your actions and choices will determine your path. Be true to yourself and you will not fail. Go with wisdom in your thoughts and courage in your heart.’

 None of the students spoke as each walked around the room looking at the landscapes beyond. One by one they stepped through into an unknown land.

Flax, a young elf and teller of history student, began to walk under the burning heat of the desert sun. For two days he wandered alone before meeting with a group of children. Ahmed held out his hand and as Flax shook it, the pain of the boy’s memories flooded unchecked into his mind and he stumbled forward.

The boy gripped his arm and Flax locked away the memories in a corner of his mind. ‘I am lost,’ he told the boy, too shaken to understand what he had seen or felt.

,The half starved boy nodded sagely, ‘We all are, but now you have us, don’t be afraid.’ That night they shared their food and told him of the killings in their villages. The younger ones sobbed, so with nothing else to offer he told them a tale of great wizards and dragons that once roamed the lands of earth.

A young girl struggled to keep her eyes open, desperate to hear the whole tale. ‘Maybe one will come and help us,’ she whispered as Flax finished.

Ahmed shook his head. ‘It’s just a story Ellen.’

 Ellen looked at Flax who hovered a stone and lowered it again so only she could see. He winked at her as a smile lit up her face.

It was five days into their travels before Max arrived, the youngest and the cleverest wizard in Flax’s class. He had been a loner at the monastery and rarely spoke but excelled at everything to the irritation of his classmates. True to form, Max hardly acknowledged Flax as he assumed the role of leader and quickly organised the weary travellers. At night, he heated boulders for warmth and during the day he organised food and wood, cleaned the water and healed the sick. Flax worked alongside him and told tales at night but it felt inadequate and feeble compared to Max’s contribution.

 Flax shook with horror as they finally walked through the thousands of small dome shelters constructed from twisted branches and odd pieces of sacking or plastic. This was the children’s’ hope of safety and their future. All the people were hungry, many sick and weak. Old men helped the young while babies cried and children played in the dust while queuing for water.

Why was he here? he wondered. What could he do? He wasn’t Max; he wasn’t a leader. All he was good at was retelling the histories of his people. With troubled thoughts, he walked aimlessly through the miles of shelters until a terrible sand storm suddenly struck the camp taking Flax unprepared. It was a relief when a lady pulled him into a tent. The lady studied him curiously and Flax considered her in the same vein, wondering what to tell her. ‘I am a visitor here,’ he explained. ‘I am Flax. What are you doing here? These aren’t your people.’

Suzie sensed a story, who was this person with white hair and fair skin untouched by the sun. His long fingers and strange ears were nothing compared to his voice which rang in her ears like music. Moreover, what was he doing in this camp?

‘We are reporters,’ she told him, ‘sadly packing up to go home just as soon as this storm passes. No interest anymore in the plight of these people, news has moved on to other events’

‘I have been travelling with a group of homeless children for many days.’ he told them wearily. ‘Surely any civilized people would not let people suffer like these are?’

 Suzie glanced at Mike the sound man, ‘We are trapped here for a while, why not tell us your tale? Maybe we can use it to tell others.’

So Flax focused all his skills and told his tale. He told them of Ellen and Ahmed. He described their hopes and fears, of their families and lost lives.

Suzie and Mike sat in stunned silence as his words drew pictures and the weight of shame and sadness tore at their emotions. It was late that evening before he finally finished. Putting the camera down Suzie shook. She had witnessed many terrible sights in her life but never before had anyone drawn a picture with words like this boy had. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end as she watched him close his eyes and fall asleep.

 

 ‘Good morning,’ Suzie called brightly as Flax woke.

‘If the Gods are kind,’ he said as he opened the tent flap and went outside to stretch his legs.

 ‘Coffee’s ready,’ She shouted a few minutes later just as the sound of gunfire shook the air.

 

Flax huddled in a small hollow as gunshots, screams and the roar of engines filled the camp. It was late morning before he felt brave enough to climb out. Looking around anxiously for Max he lifted the flap of one of the big tents.

‘Don’t just stand there,’ called the doctor from within, ‘I’ve been waiting for help all morning. Come and help. My name is Claude Bauchet, who are you?’

Flax went over, ‘I am Flax.’

Not bothering to look up the doctor pointed to a table with baby food and scales. ‘You look after the babies and small children, all wounded ones to me.’

 They worked without a break throughout the heat of the day. Claude talked mainly to himself rather than Flax muttering about the wrongs and rights of the situation. 

Flax was feeding a small boy when a helper brought in Ellen.

He stopped what he was doing and took hold of Claude’s hands, moving them away from Ellen’s shattered legs.

The Doctor stared at the elf as if seeing him for the first time.

Dr. Claude Bauchet watched as the skin began to close over the girls wounds. The white haired boy tenderly rearranged the child’s coloured beads, then spoke to him.

‘She is called Ellen, take good care of her she has fought hard to find you. You must change what is happening here Claude Bauchet and stop this suffering. We all have a path to follow. I think that if you choose to, you can help stop this.’

Flax looked into his eyes, ‘Now I must go, I have a friend to find.’ and he walked out of the tent.

Claude Bauchet ran after him, ‘Who are you?’ he called but the strange boy was gone. Crouching down beside the little girl he touched her necklace of coloured beads, ‘Ellen,’ he whispered, ‘an angel has just visited us.’ Ellen opened her eyes and smiled knowingly. Close by a female reporter watched. ‘Ellen,’ she repeated to herself.’

Flax cradled Max’s broken body in his arms.

‘Why didn’t you save yourself?’ he cried, ‘you are a brilliant wizard.’

Max’s eyes fluttered open and he smiled at Flax, ‘Please stay with me. To be alone in life was hard but to die alone frightens me.’

Flax swallowed hard. ‘I’m here my friend.’

‘Friend,’ muttered Max, ‘I always wanted a friend. Do you think I will be alone where I am going?’

Flax held him close, ‘You won’t be Max.’

‘Yes,’ mumbled Max, ‘I think you are right.’

‘Stay with me Max.’ but Max didn’t hear him.

 

The UN truck driver squinted through a dusty windscreen to see two people in the road.’ Stopping he jumped out but when he looked again the road was empty.

 

‘Welcome back,’ the teacher said softly. You have walked the paths of the universe and have seen the paths of others. In doing so, you have changed the lives of many. Many days may have passed but within the classroom, it has been but an afternoon. You must now consider what you have leant.’

Flax looked at Max’s empty desk, ‘But what of Max? What did he die for?’

The teacher sighed sadly. ‘Max died to save Ellen and in Ellen there is hope. She is like a drop of water in the desert. All that see her will wonder at her miracle and nations will be moved by your tale. Sometimes our actions can be like ripples that grow into great waves that can wash away mountains.’ The old man picked up his staff to leave but then looked back at Flax. ‘More important Flax is that this morning Max had no friend and yet now you will mourn his passing.’


© Copyright 2017 Rosie Cottier. All rights reserved.

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