Dream mountain, p.1
By Charissa Taylor Lees
Copyright © 2012 Charissa Taylor Lees
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Excerpt from Lil’ Sherwood
The mountain stood as a single sentinel, tall and proud. No one would dare burst his solemn reign for to do so would be to disturb something sacred; something that existed beyond space and time. The mist surrounded the mountain as a silent mystical guard. Legend told that those who entered the mist never returned, yet whether that was because they died or found something to wondrous to return from no one knew.
The mountain and his mist partner stood there long before any humans had stirred in the forest lying before it. Only the creatures of the forest could tell the mountain’s true story. And they weren’t talking. No one would have believed them for the story, the true legend, was almost too wondrous for even them to believe. Yet, they did, for that mountain and his story held the only key for their survival.
The creatures, great and small, stopped their reminiscing as the soft footfalls echoed in their forest. Humans rarely came to this side of the forest where the animals took up a forced residency, for it was too close to the mountain and his mist, which lapped at the forest’s edge. Yet, footfalls echoed as some of the creatures sprang up to see the human brave enough to enter this section of the mountain’s forest.
She didn’t notice them as she walked. Her heart was full of the mountain’s song that called softly to her. It pulled her, coaxing her to come where no one dared. She could no more ignore it than she could ignore her beating heart or the whisper of her grandfather’s gentle pleading voice in her ear. She knew only that she must follow where it led, even if that meant to the heart of the sentinel mountain.
It’s still ringing clearly, as if it can pull me with its might. It’s so odd, the song seems like it has a force that could move a mountain, yet is as gentle as a mist.
It doesn’t make any sense. Why me? Was it Grandfather? I never heard the song until he told me that story. He said heard the song all his life, but if that’s true than how could he have resisted its magical pull? How could he have lived such a full life with this song constantly pulling him here? He said he had to, that while he wasn’t the one and that I shouldn’t resist, but needed to follow and trust. I am following, but I don’t know what to trust. I wish I knew if I am doing this right. I just wish I understood more.
I stopped my musing when I stepped on a stick and its crack echoed loudly thought the forest’s stillness. I winced automatically. It was time for a break. I started walking at sun up, but I really needed a break from my thoughts more than anything else. I sat on the closest stump, its moss cover providing a nice cushion.
A movement to my left caused me to look in that direction. A small squirrel watched me from underneath the foliage. Expecting him to run, I stretched out my hand and made a calling noise with my mouth invitingly. The squirrel didn’t blink. I reached into the tan pouch at my side and pulled out a piece of bread, crumbling it in my fingers. Slowly, I stretched out my hand again, this time the squirrel sniffed appreciatively. It was unusual for the squirrel not to have scampered away yet. Was everything about this forest strange? I waited for the young one to make the next move. Another minute and I watched amazed as he ate tentatively out of my hand.
When he finished, he sat back on his hind legs for a moment, before cocking his head at me, then scampering away. I watched him go silently, somehow knowing he had said, “Thank you. I’ll be right back.” I decided to wait and see if my little friend did return, after all a few more minutes rest could only help me.
“So you’ve finally come.”
I jerked awake to find a pure white mare standing before me. She stood about fourteen hands and her soft white coat almost shimmered. Her eyes were a light blue that saw into one’s soul. And I was pretty sure she had just spoken to me.
“Excuse me?” I asked, my voice only a whisper.
She seemed to smile at me. Then I heard her voice as clearly as one can see a ripple in a pond. “I said you’ve finally come. We’ve been waiting a long time for you.” Her voice had a mix of sweetness and relief.
“I must be dreaming.” I shook my head, trying to clear it.
“Why is that, my dear?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because I’m talking to a horse!”
Her serene older façade fell away with her next answer. “Lots of people do that. We just happen to think most humans are too ignorant to reply too!”
“Whoa! Total turn around!” I shifted backwards at the snap in her voice.
The horse sighed. “Maybe we should start over.”
“That’d be nice.”
“What’s your name?”
“It was Grace.”
“Was? You’re not sure?” She was amused now.
“I’m not sure of much of anything right now,” I replied, feeling very lost.
“That’s obvious. But your name is very important to whom you are,” she said wisely.
“So what’s your name?” I fired back, tired of the questions.
“You tell me.”
“I’m sorry?” I was royally confused now.
“I want you to tell me my name.”She spoke slowly, as if to a child.
“Hold on. If names are so important, how come you don’t know yours?”
“I do. But I want you to tell me what it is.”
“Is this some kind of test?”
“You could say that.” She leaned close and rubbed her velvet nose on my shoulder, than blew gently in my face. “Come on, Grace, look at me. What’s my name?”
I looked at her soft white face and into her blue eyes and I knew. “Daydream. Your name is Daydream.”
Daydream smiled. “That’s right,” she affirmed softly. “I knew you could do it.”
“But how did I know?” I was completely amazed I had guessed right, though I couldn’t even say it was really a guess, as much as I suddenly just knew.
She shrugged. “You’ve always known. It’s always been inside you.” She had more human facial expressions than most humans.
“I don’t understand. Are you here to help me?” I asked hopefully.
“Um…yes.” She said non-committedly.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I’ll give you support as you need it.” She paused. “What do you understand?”
“Not much. I know I have this song and that I need to follow it wherever it leads me,” I said, looking at her and hoping I had answered right.
Daydream nodded. “That’s a start. Keep going. Tell me about yourself.”
Why, was what I wanted to ask, but I didn’t think it was a good time for more questions. So, I just started talking, giving my life story in a synopsis version. “Well, when I was ten years my parents were killed in a car accident. So I went to live out in the hills of Pennsylvania with my grandfather. I was home schooled, but my grandfather put me in this tiny public school, though I never really fit in. My favorite times were on the farm when I could be alone and just lose myself in a daydream. Then about a month ago he got really sick.” I had to pause and take a deep breath as I once again saw him on the hospital bed. Daydream made a sympathetic noise and nudged my shoulder.
I continued, “Right be
Daydream nodded. “You’re not in Pennsylvania anymore.”
“I’m not in Kansas anymore!” I exclaimed.
“Huh?” Daydream looked at my confused.
“Never mind. It’s from this movie…never mind.” I was getting a headache. “I need answers. I have too many questions and zero answers. For example, where am I really? I know I walked into the forest a few miles from my home, but I’m guaranteeing this isn’t the same forest.”
“Not really. You might say you walked through a natural portal.”
“A portal?” I asked dubiously. “I said I needed answers, not more questions.”
“That’s what I gave you. The forest acts as a portal connecting your old world with this one. The portal has been shrinking due to the logging on your side of the forest. That’s why all the animals have been forced this way, closer to the mountain.”
“Wait. Two different worlds? So, what world is this?”
“That’s part of what you have to figure out. I can’t tell you everything. You need to earn this and claim your destiny.”
“You know, it’s funny, but I really don’t recall hitting my head,” I muttered.
Daydream laughed. “Probably because you didn’t. This is all very real. And it’s time your real journey started. Are you ready?”
“Okay, stupid question.”
“Well, come on, we need to start anyway.”
“You’re coming with me?” For some reason, I figured I had to do it alone or something.
Daydream shot me an astounded look. “Of course I am. I’m here because of you. I told you I’ve been waiting for you.”
“But why? Why me?”
“Because I was created for you. How do you think you knew my name?”
“Created for me? How is that possible?”
“The one thing you should have learned by now is that anything is possible.”
“I guess,” I replied still working on the fact that a horse was created just for me.
“Grace, trust me. You’re going to need me. Besides, there’s more to me than meets the eye.”
I looked up at her. “What do you mean?”
Laughing, she answered, “I have to save some surprises. Don’t worry, I promise you’ll like them.”
I stared at her a moment then decided to take her at her word. “All right, where is the mountain?”
“So, you are ready. The mountain is in the direction your heart is calling you. All you need to do is to follow the song. Let’s go then. Hop on.” She lowered herself and I climbed on.
A clattering noise came from above me and looking up I saw the squirrel I had first befriended.
“You went to get Daydream for me, didn’t you?”
He nodded yes.
“That was really kind of you. Thank you so much. I hope I can repay you one day.”
“If you do what we believe you are destined too, then you will more than repay me,” he chattered before disappearing into the tree.
“Do all of the animals around here talk? And what did he mean by that?” I asked, astounded.
“Yes, and you’ll see.” She answered cryptically, before adding, “Which direction?”
The song had already begun to pull me again and it was easy to point her slightly to the right. She nodded and we set off.
Dream Mountain by Charissa Taylor Lees / Fantasy have rating 4.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes