Archive for November, 2010

This is the house of your desire

Kylen smiled at Yori. “I… can’t thank you enough for looking after me,” he said. “I know that I could stay here and – and you’d continue to do that. I just – I need to at least try to get home.”

“I understand,” Yori said, his voice soft. He hugged Kylen gently and then stepped back. “Be well, Kylen.”

“Fates protect you,” Rune added.

Kylen nodded and then closed his eyes as he stepped forward into the swirling portal. He seemed to stumble, then, he fell. He sat up and shivered. It was a forest, but he knew immediately that it wasn’t his home.

This place was cold and windy. Snow drifted through the trees. No, this forest was not his home, but he could find his way home from here. This, he told himself, was what he’d wanted. Wasn’t it?

My dear lady disdain

Judson was poring over an old journal when Yori entered the Archives. They’d been working on the problem for nearly a week. He knew it was getting harder and harder for Kylen to believe that they would find a solution.

“Anything?” Yori said, not sounding too hopeful himself. They’d found the records documenting the other times when someone from the physical world had landed there. Most had died before anyone in the Snow Lions had found them. The few that had survived were left to their own devices. Forced to make their own way in the spirit world, most had not lasted long.

“Actually, yes,” Judson said. Adjusting his glasses, he beckoned to Yori. As Yori stepped up behind him, he pointed. “It seems they come through a portal that opens up randomly in the human world due to fluctuations in the weave.”

“Portals,” Yori said, blinking. He smiled. Could the solution really be so simple? “Then… we just have Leif open a portal to the physical world and Kylen can go home!”

“The problem is, portals to the human world are chancey,” Judson said. He sighed and pointed at a line of text. “You can’t control where they open to. Leif can get him back there, but we can’t say whether or not it’ll actually get Kylen home.”

Yori sighed. “I suppose it’s up to him then,” he said, his voice soft. “Does he stay here or take a chance on the portal?”

Judson nodded. He grimaced. “Nora stopped in for a progress report,” he said. “I told her the same thing and she said that she’d let the commander know.”

Snorting, Yori said, “She probably said we’d be well rid of him, no matter where he ended up.”

Chuckling, Judson said, “Would dear, sweet Nora say something like that?” He laughed at the expression on Yori’s face and held up his hands in surrender. “Fair enough,” he said. “So, are you going to fill him in or would you like me to do so?”

“I will,” Yori said, nodding. Part of him hoped that Kylen would stay. However, he sincerely doubted that would be the case.

Visions of Damascus

Kylen made his way through the trees that surrounded the little cottage that Yori and Rune shared. No one wanted him there, he could feel it. He felt the same way about being there. He wanted to go home.

He was startled out of his thoughts by a voice. His brows furrowed and he listened closer, trying to make out the words. Someone was calling him. He moved towards the voice, following it down a narrow side trail. There, in the center of a clearing, was the statue of a woman, holding a rose.

Kylen gasped softly as he saw her seem to look up at him and wave, inviting him to sit at her feet. Timidly, he approached her. She was still now, like stone should be. However, he couldn’t help wondering, as he sat down and leaned against her, if she weren’t trying to say that the place wasn’t so bad.

And the feeble brain scrambles desperately to translate

“So, we’re actually going to be trying to get the little human home?” Nora said, her tone one of disbelief.

Judson sighed and rolled his eyes. “No, Nora,” he said. Glancing over at the commander, he said, “I’ll work on the problem, sir.”

“As will I,” Yori said, nodding. He smiled at Judson. “Between the two of us, one of us is bound to find a solution. Right?”

“Fates willing,” Judson replied.

Yori nodded. Then, he looked briefly at Rune, who inclined his chin in silent ascent. “We’ll also keep an eye on him, sir, with your permission.”

“Very well, Captain Hummel,” the commander said.

She will remember his heart

As they reached the headquarters of the Tulip Division, Yori paused and gave Kylen a weak smile. “Wait here,” he said, his tone gentle.

The boy nodded and sat down in a chair.

Sighing softly, Yori continued on his way. He spotted Anna and hurried up to her. “Anna,” he said, “have – have human’s ever ended up here before?”

Anna turned to face him with a shocked expression on her face. Nodding, she said, “It’s very rare, but… yes. Why?” Then, she spotted Kylen. Her brows furrowed. “He’s so young.”

Yori’s brows furrowed and he nodded. “I was hoping the commander would know what to do,” he said. He shook his head. “There has to be a way to get the boy home, right?” When Anna bit her lip, he tensed. “What – what have we done in the past?”

“We… generally, we leave them to their own devices. The spirit world is a dangerous place for humans.” She glanced at Kylen again, added, “They don’t survive long.”

“That’s not acceptable,” Yori rasped. “Anna, there has to be some way to help him!”

Anna sighed. “He’s… the youngest human to have ended up here,” she said. “Last time a young one – though, not this young – ended up here… the commander didn’t seem to care about his age.”

Yori sighed and patted her hands. “Get the other captains,” he said, his voice soft. “Maybe, we can convince enough of them to sway the commander.”

Although Anna looked doubtful, she nodded. “I don’t want the blood of another young human on my hands,” she said. Then, she hurried off into the perpetual night of the Tulip Garden.

Riot on an empty street

Kylen blinked when Yori took his hand. “Where are we going?” Kylen asked, looking up at him with a confused expression.

“We need to see the commander,” Yori said. His brows furrowed. Hopefully, something like this had happened before and they’d have some way to send the boy back to the physical world, where he belonged.

As they headed towards the Tulip Garden, they passed through the Rose Garden. Although Yori didn’t see anyone, he could sense people watching. It was as if a thousand eyes were watching them from the trees. The boy’s very presence was causing such a stir that it was if there was a silent riot going on around them.

“The commander will know what to do,” Yori said. He just hoped he was right.

Domestic moments among the exquisite dead

Yori sighed softly as he moved through the tangled fallen branches of the dead pines. He shook his head. No matter how many of them he gathered, there always seemed to be more. He couldn’t help but wonder why it was so difficult to get his people to clear the brush.

He looked up and peered into the trees as he heard a familiar noise. His brows furrowed. “Tanglers,” he said. He shook his head and tossed the branches onto a pile. “This,” he grumbled, “this is exactly why I keep telling them to keep the paths clear of fallen branches!”

Yori hurried over towards the sound and peered through the trees. He could see the tree that he’d heard. It was at the bottom of the slope. It had already finished with someone. Hopefully, he could get its victim away before it went for round two of the attack.

Still the blood in your veins

Kylen skipped over the rocks as he headed down the forest path towards home. He hummed softly to himself as he did so. He’d had a good day at school. His parents would be proud of his grades on the test he’d taken the day before. He could hardly wait to show them.

A strange sound to his left caught his attention and he stopped. For a moment, he stood still on the path, listening for the sound to come again. Then, he heard it. It was rustling, like someone moving through the brush.

“Hello?” he called. His brows furrowed and he moved towards the rustling. “Ainsleigh? Is that you?” He frowned as he moved towards the sound. If it was Ainsleigh, he was going to tell her that her joke was about as funny as normal.

Suddenly, the ground seemed to drop out from under his feet. Kylen screamed as he slid down a steep slope, through tangled brush that pulled at his tunic. He rolled to a stop and groaned.

Then, he rolled over and sat up. He looked around and his eyes widened. The forest looked strange. It wasn’t merely that he was in a place he didn’t recognize. The trees themselves were different. The tall oaks and spreading maples were gone, replaced by swaying pines. For a moment, Kylen’s heart thundered in his chest.

Hearing the cracking of a branch, he spun around. His heart seemed to stop as he took in the terrifying sight before him. He had enough time to scream, before vines shot out and he was yanked off his feet.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart

Kylen stared out into the strange garden. It was beautiful, he had to admit that much. However, the constant perfume of roses, when there were no roses to be seen, was unnerving. The Lily Garden wasn’t much better, with the sound of hidden animals slipping through the brush.

He sighed and leaned back against the statue. He’d come to the realization that these people had no better idea how he’d come to be there than he did. Worse, none of them seemed to know how to get him home.

It meant he’d probably have to spend the rest of his life there. There were worse fates, but the knowledge that he’d never see his home again – that he’d never hear his little sisters’ laughter or eat his elder sister’s cooking again… Kylen released a shuddering breath. Then, he covered his face with his hands to hide his tears from prying eyes.

The real world is out there somewhere

Kylen sighed softly and glanced over at Yori. He shook his head. “I just want to go home,” he said. “I didn’t want to come to this – this world anyway. What is the problem with just sending me back?”

Yori grimaced. “The commander wants to know how you got here,” he said. He didn’t feel like he could tell the boy that they didn’t know how to get him home, just yet. Instead, he said, “We’ll try to get you home as soon as possible.”

Kylen nodded and looked out at the garden. “This world is… it’s just crazy – unreal,” he said. He shook his head. “Back where things make sense.”