Friday, October 29, 2010

Episode #2: A Cry in the Night.

With her lamp pointed at the head of her bed, Rose laid turned towards the light, her hands clutched tightly around a worn paperback copy of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The rock sat silently on her dresser, waiting. The room was very still, and the clock was slowly winding its way to midnight.

Suddenly, she threw the book, began to wear her famously dour look. Rose sat up from her bed, put on her hippo slippers, and flopped them furiously around the room. Until she almost heard someone say, “what's the matter?”

She stopped. It wasn't a sound, really. If it had been a sound, she might have heard it as “that's a meter” or some similar nonsense. But she knew it had been, “what's the matter”, just as much as she knew how many fingers and toes she had, or that her pajamas were soft and comfy. But it was rather silly to talk to a voice that was almost, but not quite was, so she stayed silent. But much to her surprise, she replied in her own almost voice. “It always ends the same way. They become great Kings and Queens in Narnia and save everyone, but then one day they go back, and none of it happened. It was all just... just pretend.”

There settled on the room that curiously dead silence, broken methodically by the ticking clock. Rose began to count the ticking of the clock. Ten, fifteen, twenty five clicks of the clock, and nothing. She knew she was alone, and then...

“Go to the window,” whispered the almost voice.

“That's silly...” Rose said, but her heart began to pound. She could feel a thrill of excitement crawling down her spine. What if there was something in the window? What if...

“And take me...” the voice came again.

Rose stopped, and looked around the room. Take who? Who would produce an almost voice?

Rose then remembered that her sister had said the rock had the heart of a hero. A hero might have an almost voice. And an adventure just outside her window. Somehow, if she could just imagine...

“I don't think there's anything out there,” Rose said to the Rock, but oh!, if only there was! If only she could see something other than the shadow of the tree on the lawn. If there was something there...

“Go to the window, look out, and close your eyes...” said the almost voice.

Rose was quaking. If she could look out and see something, or feel something, through the window, then maybe the world could be magical. And if it was magical, maybe the bad things wouldn't have to happen, maybe sometimes something better...

“It's not going to work...” she droned, listlessly. But still, she shuffled towards the window, not daring to look up. She tripped slightly over one of her books, but did not take much notice. She took a deep breath, then looked up through the window to see...

“The tree on our front lawn.” There was a bright moon, she saw. She turned her eyes down, and brushed her hands gently against the windowsill, feeling its cool, smooth texture. “Just the tree.”

“Close your eyes.” And somehow, the almost voice seemed less almost.

It won't be anything different, thought Rose as she stared out the window. It won't be anything different, she thought as she closed her eyes. And as she opened them, she thought, it won't be...

The world was suddenly a pool of water, floating and drifting every which way. Light seemed to bounce, and somehow the stars seemed brighter and bigger, and the moon almost like the sun. Without realizing, Rose opened her mouth and smiled widely, her eyes growing large, and reached through her window, and watched as the whole world seems to flow and shift with her touch.

“I told you. Sometimes you just need to try a little faith,” and there was no doubt that this voice was no longer almost at all, and was coming from...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Episode #1: A Lesson Begun.

My dear hearts and gentle creatures, there have been a great many stories in the world, and I am sure you have heard many of them. And as enthralling as these stories might be, this story is not like them. For they tell stories of the heroic and handsome, magical and mighty, determined and dangerous, but most of all, strangely like us. What we shall concern ourselves with is heroic but not handsome, magical but not mighty, and determined but rarely dangerous. But most of all, our hero is not strangely like us, though certainly strange. Our hero is, after all, a rock.

At the time of our story, our hero was sitting in a grassy field, relishing the bright sunshine of a mid-summer day. A small rock, one much too large to be a pebble, but too light and easy to pick up to be anything like a boulder. If you've ever met a rock, you would know this rock was very comfortable, like most rocks, with sitting very still, as impossibly content as a rock could ever be. This was very tragic, given that this rock was about to be picked up by a young girl.

This young girl, who happened to have sandy blonde hair, large blue eyes and a slight overbite smile that seemed a constant on her lips, had lifted our poor rock with an uncomfortable speed, and was staring at it eagerly.

“Rose! George! Look at what I've found!” she cried with a slight tremble in her voice of excitement.

“Oh, what is it, Daisy?” came a grumbly, mumbly boy's voice. “We've been running for a really long time. Maybe even an hour.”

“George, it's a rock.”

George looked carefully. He had large brown eyes, and a large nose. His hair was a messy, moppy brown scattered in every direction, and a thin, lean build. “So you dragged me all the way out here for a rock? And not even a very good one. It's kind of funny looking.”

“No it's not! I think it's very handsome.” The rock felt very much like blushing. “And I think it has a name. Can you think of a good name, Rose?”

Rose had short back hair that seemed like it couldn't decide between being curly and straight, and troubled, eyes that seemed almost black. Her nose was thin, and her entire face seemed small and a little sunken, and the gangly build. “It's... just a rock.”

“Come on, Rose,” Daisy said with a hint of being tired of this sort of thing, very much the big sister. “Use your imagination.”

“It's a rock.” Rose repeated, staring at Daisy with a look that made Daisy shiver and feel afraid.

Daisy lost her smile. She sighed, and broke away from Rose's gaze, and walked away a few paces, then turned back, her smile brighter than ever. “I'll have you know this is a... a great hero! Yes! He's slayed dragons and rescued princesses and saved whole kingdoms!”

George glumly shook his head. “How? It's just a rock. Did it stare them to death?”

“It's all about the heart, George! This rock has more heart than a million princes! It has the heart of a hero!”

By now the rock felt like turning a bright red, though it remained its normal shade of gray, sitting silently in her palm.

Daisy stepped right in front of George, and passed the rock into his hands. “Come on George. Just pretend.”

George stared carefully, turning the rock slowly over in his hands. “Right,” said Daisy. “His name is Theodore, the fearless. He is a very kind and warm and funny rock, and he eats a lot of food. And he always fights for what's right.”

George shook his head furiously. “No, no, no. He's not that type of rock. He's a wise rock that tells everyone what the right thing is, and everyone is supposed to follow him, because he's so wise. But no one does. What really happens is everyone laughs at him then goes off and gets eaten by horrible monsters with giant teeth.”

Daisy sighed. “George, you're always so glum.”

George held his head high. “That's just the way things are.”

Daisy turned and smiled at her sister. “Rose, what do you see?”

As Rose took the rock, a slight chill held her. “I see...”

Rose grew very still and silent, and Daisy and George both looked at her curiously. Suddenly her eyes seem to widen, and her mouth parted, as if she was about to say something...

“Nothing. It's just a rock,” she mumbled, shoving it back into Daisy's hands.

“Rose...” Daisy moaned, clearly exasperated. “You have to try! Here...” she put the rock in her sister's hands. You're going to hold onto this until you can tell me what Theodore is like.”

“Wise-Rock.” George pipped up suddenly. “A better name is Wise-Rock.”

Daisy ignored him, and held out the rock until, at last, Rose reached out her reluctant hands to cradle the rock.

The car ride back (George's mother, Mrs. Farrow, was very kind in Daisy's opinion, which she quickly voiced, which added to Mrs. Farrow's pleasure and George's annoyance). Rose held the rock like she was carrying a baby in her lap. She said little, even for her, and went through her entire evening and dinner almost wordlessly. Rose's parents asked about the rock she refused to put down, only resting it in her lap, but she only shrugged and continued picking at her broccoli.

Finally, at bed-time, Rose cleared a place on her dresser, and put the rock there.

“I suppose you think this is all terribly sad of me,” she muttered, vaguely in the direction of the rock. “That George and Daisy can think up all sorts of things, and poor slow Rose doesn't come up with anything.”

She pulled her pajama top on furiously, as she paced back and forth across her cramped, messy room, stepping between her toys automatically.

“Well maybe I do think you aren't kind or sweet or wise or anything, that you're just rock-like. And maybe that's enough. Maybe I just know that you aren't anything, and you'll never do anything.”

And with that, she threw open her covers, dived into bed, and yanked her blankets up so hard, that she exposed her toes.

“Nothing ever happens. Everyone likes to pretend, but... it's just pretend. Dreams just go away and you... you're like everything else.” Rose shut her eyes tightly, and fought the strange urge she suddenly had to cry.

But Rose was very wrong. For this rock was very special indeed, and was nothing like anything else in the whole world. For Rose had something to learn, and the rock had something to teach.