A Short Story by Stew Stunes
Chapter 1: The Boy on the Top of the World
Chapter 2: Escape With Me
Chapter 3: The Light Comes to You
Once they were above the waterfall and they could see the light from the hallway, they wasted no time as he pointed in the direction they should go while she flew them at top speed. Nearly crashing into the same old woman who had scolded Elisa before, they had arrived at their location. Ignoring the old woman’s cursing they ran past her and charged through the closed door into a very formal looking meeting.
“Dad!” Booker shouted as if their noisy entrance and the screeching old woman wasn’t enough to alert everyone in the room of their arrival. “Dad, we need your help.”
“What is the meaning of this disturbance?” The man that looked like an aged Booker bellowed from the center of the court. “Do you not realize you are interrupting terribly important proceedings. If this is not an emergency that your mother has passed away due to some freak accident then I want you to march right back out of this room and we will pretend that this never occurred. But if you take one step further you tempt my own and the council’s anger.”
“Please dad,” Booker begged. “It’s not about mom, but it is equally important.”
“Then speak like a man of age and raise your voice to the entire council,” his father championed.
Elisa squeezed his hand for reassurance, she hoped his father was just being hard on him, but had a sinking feeling that they would be treated unfairly.
Booker cleared his throat before speaking to the entire room. “We were just down near the waterfalls and discovered something bad. The whole cavern is filled to the top and about to burst and it will completely destroy the village below that my friend calls home. I think we can stop it from happening but we have to act now there isn’t much time.”’
At once Booker’s father slammed his hand on the stone desk in frustration. “You know it is forbidden to go down there. I will hear none of this talk of outsiders and water. You’ve distracted us enough already. Leave this session; I will talk to you about your friend telling you lies after we are done here.”
“It’s not a lie!” Elisa shouted and stamped her boot.
The entire room fell silent at the sudden outburst from the fiery young girl.
“I would like your help and it is your choice to give and also your choice to not give aid. I pray that you do, but if you don’t then I guess I will have no choice but to try and save my village alone. I’m fine with that, but I will not stand for you saying that your son is a liar. Booker is a good and honest person. I’ve only known your son for a week now, but I feel like we’ve always been friends. I can stand being ignored, but I cannot stand being made out to be a liar. You must help my people. I beg you,” she cried before bowing to the council’s judgment.
Booker’s father remained silent for a moment as he considered her words, before responding in a much gentler manner. “I wish for a moment that the words you have just spouted at me were remotely true. You are a person of great spirit and fire, but the council can hear no cases rooted in fantastical villages on the surface of the earth. All life on the surface has been washed away ten times over. Leave now, before the council grows angry with your tirade.”
“I need to go now. I need to save my family,” Elisa excused herself with a heartbreaking crack in her voice.
“Elisa, I’m sor…” Booker never got to finish his sentence as Elisa was gone with a rush of wind replacing the warm space she had once occupied beside him. She blasted out of the castle, this time not slowing for any doorways, passageways, hallways or any other barrier ways that might get in her way. Going as fast as she could, wind and rain ripped at her small body careening down the mountain at top speed towards her village.
Just as day was breaking over the mountain tops, like a whirlwind she blasted through the door of her home into the very anxious and worried faces of her parents.
“Where have you been?” They both demanded at once, but dropped all questions as soon as they saw the near-to-tears look on her face.
Huffing and puffing, her message managed to spill out. “There’s no time to explain, but there’s a lot of water trapped inside that big mountain and I think it’s going to burst very soon!”
Her parent had no idea how to respond. It sounded too preposterous to be real. Her father was the first to reply. “When you weren’t in your bed this morning, we thought you ran away for good. You had us worried sick.”
Elisa’s mother nodded in agreement, but before Elisa could make an apology a deep rumble from inside the earth make Elisa’s heart skip a beat.
“Oh no, I’m too late. Run for the hills it’s happening now!” she shouted before rushing out the door with her parent’s right behind her. The earth shook and thundered all around them.
They all shouted in astonishment as they saw the mass chaos of boulders the size of the entire village being pushed by a wall of water. It was too crazy to comprehend as the tsunami sized wall of water rushed towards their peaceful village.
Elisa jumped in the air and picked up the first few people she could grab and rushed them towards the mountains on the other side of the valley. She dropped them on the ground in her rush to turn around to go back for more people.
The wall of water was moving faster than she knew she could go. Her boots weren’t made for speed, but that did not deter her from rushing head first and as hard as she could towards the village. All the while hoping to be faster, to have a chance of being able to save someone, anyone. Like watching a collision in slow motion, she couldn’t look away as the wall of water tumbled over her village erasing it in an instant of terrible finality.
Her flight trajectory sent her over the flood of water, searching for any sign of life that could be rescued. Nothing but rushing water was visible for miles around. Despite knowing that her worst fears were coming to a reality, she circled around the scene of destruction hoping for any sign of life.
The entire valley was now covered in deep water. A single tree remained standing above the torrents of ragging flow. Elisa settled on the tree, feeling more defeated than ever, numb and beyond tears.
For a long time she sat and watched the water rush by her. The long missing sun spilled over the valley, breaking up the storm clouds that had hung over the valley for so long. Her skinny legs swung in the tree and with a last look back to where her home and village should be she was finally overcome with the grief of losing everything.
Without any forethought of her actions she leaned back in the tree and tugged off her red polka-dotted boots. Elisa held them in her hands, looking at them as if she never really owned them.
“Why couldn’t you fly faster?” she asked the now muddy looking boots. Elisa held them over the rushing waves, ready to release them into the frothing waves below her. A tear ran down her face, about ready to let go of it all, she heard a familiar shout.
“Hey!” A shout echoed across the valley and into Elisa’s ears.
Refusing to believe that anything good could happen on such a bad day, she did not turn around.
“Hey!” The boy shouted louder. “I think you don’t want to lose those rainboots. They saved your life.”
Still half expecting it to be a dream, she turned around to see the boy and all the people from her village in some sort of large bubble. The bubble had risen out of the turbulent water and was floating on top of the rough water as if it were perfectly calm.
Elisa tilted her head to the side as she noticed that the boy was wearing his own pair of green striped rainboots. He waved to her. “Yours let you fly so you can escape; mine make a shield that nothing can break.”
Overcome with tears and emotion at having watched her family be washed away in a flood and now seeing that they were all perfectly okay was too much for Elisa as she accidentally let slip her rainboots. Without any hesitation, she dove into the water after her rainboots. Swimming hard with the current, she was able to grab onto her rain boots as a wave swept her under the water.
The village and the boy held their breath, hoping that the young girl would surface. Anxious faces looked on, unable to cross the fast moving river to help.
Elisa rolled in circles under the water. All the while struggling to pull her boots on; like a key finding the right lock, her feet slid into the familiar boots. As soon as she had her rainboots on her feet, she was above the water and already colliding with her family holding them in an embrace that would never break.
Only when Elisa was completely convinced that this was all real and not some part of a terrible afterlife dream, she released her hug on them and grabbed onto Booker.
She kissed him on the cheek and whispered in his ear. “Thank you for saving my family. I couldn’t have done it without you, Booker.”
The young boy smiled with pride at his accomplishment and blushed at the kiss he had received. “As soon as you ran out of the council, my dad realized he was wrong and gave me these special rain boots. He said that they had been a gift to our family long ago and I was only to be allowed to wear them when I grew into them. I guess after hearing the good words you said about me, he decided that my feet would fit them now.”
Elisa pulled him into another deep hug, thanking him with an expression beyond words. Clearing the tears out of her eyes, she said to him. “Come on, now I have a promise to fulfill. Let me show you the sea.”
Booker never had to reply as his bright smile was enough of an answer. They leapt into the air together and flew above the wide valley that was now filled with water from side to side. The sun reflected off the water perfectly, giving them their own personal sea.
“I have to admit,” said Booker. “I was expecting something even more amazing than this the way you were talking about the sea.”
Elisa nudged him playfully. “Well then I guess we’ll have to fly to the real sea and find out for ourselves.”
They laughed as they sped past the wide valley, past sunrise and sunset, beyond moonshine and turbulent skies, and onto further adventures.
11/09/14 – Next Sunday! Official release date for The King’s Challenge, my second full length novel
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