Beginning of the Journey

Reads: 187  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
After her grandfather dies, Dee must accept her responsibility as the family's eldest and embark on a journey back to her grandfather's home. But what if she doesn't want to do it? What if she wants to escape, be free for a while? This is unique encounter with three interesting pilots and their glass plane.

Submitted: October 27, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 27, 2013

A A A

A A A


In the beginning, it was dark and cold. I reached out with my hand into the cloud of darkness and felt nothing but the particles of dust and water zig-zagging toward and away from my skin. And then there was water… no, the sound of water; ocean waves crashing against a sandy shore. The beach is near, I thought, and I strained my ear trying to locate it.

I turned in the cloud to what seemed to be my right and reached out with my hand again, this time touching the wet sand and feeling effervescent foam on my fingers…

And then there was light!

A gurgle bubbled up from my throat as I covered my face. Mom came into the room followed by the sound of a furiously flapping paper. My eyes felt wired shut but I forced my torso to sit up and squinted into the blinding light.

“Dee, it’s your grandfather,” she said sternly.

“…Oh…,” I responded.

The expression on my mother’s puffy face was one of genuine concern. Her freckled brow creased dangerously in a frown and her thin lips were savagely gnarled in her expression of emotional pain and sorrow.

“Dee, I want you to take a journey overseas. It’s tradition.”

“…Oh… Okay.”

# # #

The streets were wet and grey as I stood outside the glass office, waiting for my approval from the Civics’ Ministry. I was annoyed watching the bustling people around me ignore me as if I was not real, or that I wasn’t there so they could just walk through me, push me around, push me aside.

My cell phone started vibrating beneath my black jacket and I picked up.

“Dee, what’s taking so long?” my mother asked sharply.

“They’re discussing my approval, mom, relax,” I responded dully and rolled my eyes.

“Well, there’s no use in waiting all day. They’re gonna approve you anyway, so you might as well come home and pack. Now!

She hung up.

# # #

The day is now night and dark. I stood a few kilometers away from the little house that was my home and waited with my hands stuffed inside my black pockets. Mom sauntered up to me, her great whale body trembling beneath her thick black dress, and handed me a black knapsack with water bottles, a couple of take-out menus, and dried food. In the distance, a thin black figure bounced enthusiastically up and down as it ran toward us. It ran quite quickly too, and as it neared I realized it was my neighbor, Victoria, running joyously toward me. There was an excited smile on her face and her long auburn hair was carelessly unbound and thrashed to and fro in the gentle evening wind.

Victoria came huffing and puffing up to us and gasped, “I wanna go with Dee on her journey!!” Mom and I both noticed that she was wearing black clothes (as was required by tradition) and had a black knapsack slung over her left shoulder. Mom opened her mouth wide, but then only released a sigh.

“Well, Dee’s journey is going to be really long because it’s overseas, but first she’s got to stop by the cemetery in the West,” Mom said, almost scolding. “Did you ask your parents about this yet?”

Victoria let out a tiny laugh then shook her head and ran back the way she came. Mom and I were eager for me to get on my way, but we waited another five minutes for our young friend to come back, huffing and puffing again.

“Okay, they said yes. Let’s go!”

# # #

Victoria and I traveled quietly together through the dried marshes of the countryside. It was already dark so we brought out our lanterns to light the way. It wasn’t long before we reached the cemetery over a small rocky hill. Judging from the moon in the sky, it was probably about midnight, or maybe a little after. We chose a spot before a gravestone named Clark Larson (death date: 1921) and made camp.

“Dee.”

“Hmm?”

“Why do you have to come to the cemetery before going overseas?”

We were crunching loudly over a dry dinner and sipped painfully at the water bottles. The big contrast between wet and dry was annoying to our tongues, but considering the circumstances, it was better than nothing. I heard Victoria’s question and stopped crunching on my food to ponder an answer.

“…So I can get an epiphany,” I finally replied.

“Oh… an epiphany?” Victoria asked, confused.

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Oh… Okay…” I cocked an eyebrow at her.

“You’re not afraid of the cemetery, are you?”

“Of course not,” she responded dully and finished her meal.

That night, we slept in the dark. The light from the moon was brilliant, and it lit the whole cemetery like a giant lightbulb. I remember dozing off to the rhythmic silence of the night and waking up to the startling sound of whispers. I got up with a start. Whispers… from the dead? Maybe stopping at the cemetery was a bad idea, because now I’ve literally woken the dead!

To my relief, the whispers were only coming from a group of three men huddled around a tiny fire. But even then, I thought it was peculiar for three men to have a campfire in the middle of a cemetery. I became worried for me and Victoria. After all, we were two young girls in the presence of three grown men, and anything could happen! But I neared them anyway, hiding behind gravestones to hear what they were talking about. It became apparent that they did not notice the two girls sleeping a little away from them since they never looked in our direction. They were dressed in baggy brown clothing, like work men’s clothes, and wearing thick dusty gloves on each hand. There were also things strapped around their heads that I could not immediately recognize. They disappeared as soon as I got close, making me wonder if they had been real at all.

# # #

The next day, my companion and I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. There wasn’t much to pack, just the lanterns, and we were on our way again.

We were traveling east now, toward the docks, and ate berries that hung from the trees. We exited the cemetery over the same rocky hill that we entered through last night. Under the clear sunlight, we could better see the many upturned roots and fallen trees that littered the soil.

For the duration of the day, we passed over grassy flat plains and small hills, always avoiding the bustling business of the streets. At one point or another, Victoria and I passed our respective houses and looked their way in remembrance.

That night, we made camp on the outskirts of the city, just a few feet away from a storage house by the sea. There were trees all around us. We were ravenous and ate almost all the remaining food and hogged down the water, then we fell asleep immediately.

That night, perhaps a few hours after midnight, I woke up to the sound of footsteps. Our lanterns had burned out (we had to purchase more fuel in the morning) and Victoria was nowhere to be found. I started once again, wide-eyed and aware of my loneliness beneath tall trees in a vast, wide-open space. Victoria! I called. And I continued calling for her, looking around frantically. I checked for signs of her forced disappearance, maybe even a kidnapping, but her knapsack wasn’t there; not even crumbs from our dry dinner last night. It’s as if she was never there.

A dark cloud was passing over the moon, blocking its immaculate light. I felt exhausted with worry and felt clammy all over. I finally made up my mind to go look for her in the storage house where she might have gone to ransack for supplies. I shook my head at the absurdity of the idea, but then again, I didn’t know what to do.

 So I trotted across the wide-open plain into town, not at all thinking about the food, water, and lantern I had left back at the campsite…

# # #

The storage house was empty as expected. I stared at its grey walls from a desolated dusty street zig-zagged by telephone wires overhead. The streetlamps were out and I was starting to feel cold and clammy again. I looked up at the dark cloud hanging over the sky, hiding the moon. I felt like stretching my arms out and reaching toward the cloud, parting it, and opening up the moon like pruning plants for a flower to grow. But, it turned out I didn’t need to: a cold wind swept across the beach, it ushered the cloud away, revealing the big bright moon behind it.

Oh, and it was big. I looked down and found myself suspended above the storage house, above the wires, and above the street lamps. I was puzzled and found that I couldn’t even locate my legs. I tried to thrash my arms around, but I had no arms anymore. Only wings. Two white flapping wings.

I was nothing but a pair of flapping wings suspended in midair. I hovered like a seagull over the concrete structures and the dusty avenues beneath me and felt, for the first time, a strange freedom. I locked my eyes upon the sea and felt it calling toward me. As fast as light, I swooped down toward the crashing waves, gliding over them, feeling their powerful impact against the shore. The seascape shifted as I glided right-side up, upside-down, this way and that way, up toward the moon, and down into the ocean, and resurfaced again. I frolicked near the sand, taunting the water to catch me every time it crashed. Effervescent foam welled up like volcano eruptions, trying to snatch me out of the air.

But as I played, a tiny dot appeared in the sky, growing, growing into something big, something with wings. The object morphed from a little ball into a giant silver hawk, swooping down at me, its prey. I dove away quickly and the two of us made a parting formation; I, speeding away toward the right, and it, slicing away toward the left. I reared my head back to glare at this giant intrusion on my night and arched up toward the sky and veered toward the top of a building and landed. I watched contemptuously as the hawk circled the sky, mocking me with its sharp turns, wide circles and tyrannical swoops toward the moon, stealing it away from me. It finally turned and headed back toward the shore, passing smoothly over the sand. It slowed at street level. As it landed, it extended two wheeled talons toward the ground and folded its huge wings back and up, making a sound like a mechanical vacuum. I realized that the silver hawk was no hawk at all! Rather, a small airplane with gleaming glass wings and what seemed like thin plates of pure silver fixed to the head and tail.

There were three goggled men on the plane, one on each wing and one in the cockpit. The three men jumped off the plane (the one in the cockpit had to squeeze out of a window) laughing and hooting, high-fiving each other with brown gloved hands and twirling their goggles in the air. The silver plane behind them released a loud puff of smoke, as if giving its own input to the celebration.

“Didjar see that, lads?” the first man said, pointing out at the sea. “That dive ova there? Blimey, that’s the knife to ma butt’er!”

“ ‘Course it woulda been sharpa if you’d let me ride on the wing!” the second man teased playfully and started cleaning his goggles. “With yo’ur blokin’ weight, we’d o’ been a subarmine inshtead o’ ‘n blokin’ plane!”

“Well, fell’ows,” joined the third man, “we had an unexpected visit’or tonight. Caused a bitt’a distraction, it did aye.” He shuffled around in place, sending a cloud of dust into the air. “Where’d ‘at litt’le thing go? It was all flounderin’ ‘bout on the beach, it was!”

Grabbing my chance for recognition, I fluttered down to the third man and threw an all-out tantrum expressing how they nearly killed me while flying in their silver contraption, but the man simply laughed. All I achieved was entertaining him with a little birdie dance.

The towering man bent down at me, totally oblivious of his two friends still debating over who gets to ride the wing next, and said gently, “Well ‘ello litt’le o’ne. Nearly caught’cha back ‘ere on the beach, now, din’t we? Wot’s a litt’le thing like you doin’ out ‘ere anyway?”

I was getting impatient with my lack of ability to communicate with him and decided to just showcase my flying skills. So I swept into the air and plummeted through the zig-zagging wires above the streets, making the perfect turns and dives suited for maneuvering through them. I felt the wind ruffle beneath my wings and enjoyed how it seemed to lift me up effortlessly with every swoop and tilt of my body. Back on the ground, the pilot watched amusedly with his arms planted on his hips.

I landed back in front of him and found that he was all of a sudden alone. The other two men had gone, but the plane was still there. The man smiled and said, “Well Il’l be! ‘At’s some good fly’in’ right ‘ere.”

“Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet!” I chirped while bouncing around on two clawed feet.

“Tradi’tion stuff, ye say?”

“Tweet tweet tweet!”

“Yar don’t say!” He chuckled and pulled out a dusty brown hat in his flying jacket and plopped it on his head. “Well, it been a mah’vel ta fly wit’cha dearie. Best wishes ‘n hope ya get that ‘prov’al soon!”

And the pilot sauntered back toward the silver hawk and climbed up onto the wing. As if reading its master’s mind, the plane shuddered with a loud bang and unfolded its glass wings with a mechanical vacuum. I watched dreamily as it slid back toward the water on its wheeled talons and took off in a rush of cool sea air, swallowed by the light of the moon.

# # #

The next day Victoria and I woke up to another sunny morning. The energy of the city was already bustling and it carried over to us, making us excited and eager. After a quick breakfast, Victoria and I set on our way, trotting elatedly across the vast grassy plain, past the thick bushes that border the city and through the storage house, now bustling with activity and operating machinery.

We strolled down the same dusty avenue as I did last night, only now it was teeming with people going about their business; working, talking, shopping, and frolicking toward the beach. We made our way a few miles down the shore, away from the people, where there were weeds and vegetation. There was a pier with ships docked there and we watched as they pulled in, got anchored, and guests poured out from the ship onto the dock.

I scanned the horizon and found clucking seagulls, wandering kites and an occasional passing cloud, but no silver plane or the three pilots that rode it. A nostalgic breeze pressed on my face and rustled my hair.

“Dee, you okay?” Victoria asked me and I felt her hand upon my shoulder. I blinked some salty vapors out of my eyes.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said distantly and fished out a vibrating cell phone. It was my mother; my journey had been approved.

 


© Copyright 2018 Yang. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

More Fantasy Short Stories

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Yang

Beginning of the Journey

Short Story / Fantasy

Popular Tags