Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Seer's Story 04

short story continues:

At her house, Lily turned to Tally. She looked at him, opened her mouth to speak, and hesitated. Tally looked at her expectantly, hoping that she would verify what had happened wasn't just his imagination, that something made sense. A couple of yellow leaves fell, twisting gently in the breeze. Lily held her breath and almost spoke.

Instead, she squeezed his hand quickly, turned and ran inside. Tally stood there. The morning had been unbelievable. Was it the morning? Was it a dream? It couldn't have been. It was so visceral. He walked slowly toward his house, feeling the gravel of the drive crunch under him. His feet touched pavement; a firm footing. The few leaves in the trees cast playful shadows down the road as the breeze pushed the branches. It was warm, almost muggy.

He could feel his body tingle slightly as it absorbed the weather. He had a few blocks to walk alone and muse about the day. What could have made that happen? He kept pushing the answer out of his head. There was no basis.

Seers. Magic. The dream. But it was just a dream. He paused. The street had become quiet. It was completely still. A shiver ran down his spine as he pulled his backpack off and opened it. He reached his hand down slowly into the bag, trying to keep his composure. He felt it and his hand jumped back as if it had touched a hot coal. Tally was breathing heavily. He looked at the backpack, zipped it up and ran home.

The door slammed behind him unceremoniously. He threw the backpack to the other side of the room and it hit the closet door with a thud. The contents spilled out. Tally looked; he tried to make it go away but it wouldn't. The rope had fallen out of the backpack and was coiled like a snake facing toward Tally.

A mixture of fear and excitement swept over him. There was something real about the incident earlier today. He had proof. The rope was there. The seers. Were they real?

Tally whirled around and looked at his bookshelf. Hundreds of books lined the shelves. He searched for his favorite. The best written—only the best books could open the gates he thought. He had books from when he was a baby to his first reading books to the long chapter books that he had been reading. He knew immediately which one he would choose. It had to be Alice in Wonderland. He flipped to his favorite part—the tea party. And he started reading. He held back his mind from wandering, but still couldn't help looking around every few sentences.

Nothing. He read all the way to the trial but didn't notice any changes. He had gone to another world earlier in the day. What had changed? He went out back to the porch and sat in the sun. Th large oak tree that covered the back yard swayed gently in the breeze. It's long branches twisted and gnarled in the most magnificent patterns. It was such a beautiful tree. He had spent hours under that tree playing and climbing it. The oak must have been at least two hundred years old. Tally wondered what it would say if it could talk.

“The squirrels are messy, but they are entertaining,” said the tree.

Tally opened his eyes lazily, “yeah, aren't the birds entertaining?”

The oak had a full voice, smoky and rich as brandy, “yes, but they fly away in winter. I need company even in the darkest months.”

Tally felt sorry for the tree. Hardly anyone ever went out on the back porch and all of the trees around him had been cut down and replaced with houses; and he was the only one who had ever talked to it probably. “Are you lonely?”

“No, I pass my days feeling my leaves strain toward the sun and my roots dig into the dirt. It is a pleasant sensation; you humans are too busy to appreciate that though.”

Tally smiled at the tree, reached for the low branch and rubbed a leaf between his fingers. “I guess not, but we have fun in other ways.”

The trees branches swayed in the afternoon breeze, “I suppose. I will never know the joys of humanity, and you will never know the joy of being a tree. You humans come and go too quickly; never stopping to speak to an old oak like me.”

Tally let go of the leaf and apologized, “we don't know how to stay in one place; it's not that we don't like you, we just don't know how to talk to you.”

The tree laughed a deep rumbling laugh, the entire earth seemed to move, “you speak to me now, what is so hard about talking to me?” The tree swayed and creaked as a gust of wind pushed through, “take a leaf from my branches, keep it safe.”

“Why?”

“It is a gift; you have earned my friendship. Few know this but the leaves of an oak are magical. Humans may be able to evoke the magic, but trees store it. We hold it in our roots and our trunks and our leaves,” the oak cleared its throat. At least it appeared to somehow, “the leaf you hold will help you summon the magic when you need it.”

Tally held the leaf by its stem, twirled it. “So my dream is real. The seers do exist.” The world pulsated around Tally and he was on his back porch, but the tree wouldn't talk to him anymore.