The Landscapes of my Youth

I had an active imagination when I was younger – I dreamed up elaborate histories for the fictional worlds that inhabited the landscapes around my childhood home. This is sort of a “description” of the world I’d imagined around my home, but it’s also partly a story of a single day – or maybe a single year.

I had an active imagination when I was younger – I dreamed up elaborate histories for the fictional worlds that inhabited the landscapes around my childhood home.

This is sort of a “description” of the world I’d imagined around my home, but it’s also partly a story of a single day – or maybe a single year.

This is typed up from a notebook where I jotted them down, so it’s a little rough. But it’s interesting, so I thought it might be worth sharing.

Enjoy.

Gomez: The Kingdom of the Elves, perched high atop a forested hillside – jutting out into the swamp.

With its flat top and steep sides, and the deep forest perched atop it – a reminder of the elder days where the elves lived in safety, hidden away from the prying eyes of men.

The Valley of the Pines – cut by the Great River – divides the elder forest from the younger forests to the north.

The Great River, which feeds into the swamp, which stretches for miles, eventually turning into a marsh of salt waters where it meets the sea.

The Great River tumbles its way down the valley from the mountains to the west, carving its way among the ancient stones, moss-grown pools where some say you can still see fairies playing in the summertime.

Deeper to the south, the forest continues to stretch through great folds in the land, carved east to west by some long-dry river – or perhaps by the rays of the very first sunrise.

Far to the southwest, the ruins of an ancient civilization. Overgrown now with trees, save for the few stone-paved areas that still stand warm in the sun, through time is wearing them thinner and thinner. Silt covers the once shiny stones, and grasses and small shrubs grow in what was once a bustling square.

The ruins are empty now, all but forgotten, even by the trees.

Further south – the great wasteland of the southern desert stretches across endless miles – impassible to all save the wind.

Pine trees and dense groves of pines mark holy places in the world – even if elves and men have forgotten them and no longer worship in the old ways.

To the West – the once great Western Forest now stands in ruin – an open plain of scrub grass and bushes. A blight years ago wiped out all the trees here. In between scraggly & thorny bushes, the remains of ancient forest temples still stand.

To the North – a younger forest grows, thin in places, for this is the home of men. In places there are great clearings – fields for the food of men.

Further north, the Icy Mountains – the White Mountains loom. Here is a land of ice and snow. Nothing lives here for long. Even the Sun seems somehow weaker the higher into the mountains one goes.

In the morning, at sunrise, the mountains in the West glow blood red in the summer… and sparkle like pearls in the winter.

Deep in the valleys a thick mist clings to the trees and the rocks, still whispering its sorrowful song.

The leaves – Golden in the Sunrise.

The air – the breeze from the Sea to the East: the Breath of the Sun.

The Midday sun bears down in summertime, but the forest remains dark and still and cool.

Evening is falling and the mountains in the West are a black silhouette against a deep red sky. The chill wind comes down from the mountains and twists its way among the trees and rocks – the rocks, now cold in shadow – the trees, now long shadows crisscrossing on the ground. The silence that falls upon the forest is so intense – none dare break it.

Night falls on the Deep Forest.

The elves move now in the moonlight – nothing more than the flickers of shadows to the eyes of men. Little else stirs – the forest at night is no place for mortals.

Even the rocks and trees seem filled with malice to the eyes of anyone brave – or foolish – enough to venture out into this deep dark.

This is the Landscape of my Youth.

In the middle of it all is the Green Tower, the meeting place of all the good peoples of the world – elves, men, and dwarves. An ancient structure, full of mystery – none know all its secrets. Whole sections of the tower – including the uppermost floors – remain sealed forever, their keys lost in the depths of time, but their doors built to outlast the ages.

As of late, the elves have retreated deeper into the Southern Forest. The swamp has grown, pushed by the force of the sea deeper inland. Soon, the Kingdom of Gomez may become an island among the swamp – which itself may become a great lake, as the land continues to sink.

The Great Waste to the South continues to move and shift its ever changing sands.

The fields of men seem ever more common.

And somewhere, hidden amongst it all, lies the secret to the Green Tower and the ruins of the world…

The Night was Dark and Still

I ran across this the other day – an old story fragment I had written long ago.

The night was dark and still, but they could still see the figures dancing.  Like shadows, they seemed to melt into the very darkness that created them.  Yet still there was no sound, and that perhaps was the most disturbing fact of all.  The light of the fire seemed only to annoy them, as they danced around the borders of the light.  The flickering light seemed to dance along with the shadows themselves, engaging in a terrifying display of the power and terror of the forest.

Still, they kept the fire burning, and as long as there was light, the shadows seemed to stay at bay.  So all through the night, at least one person was awake to feed the fire, and ensure the safety of the others.  But there was little that could have been done, if the shadows had chosen to attack.  They called with their silent voices, taunting and teasing.  They made no sound, but it was impossible not to hear them.  Even their vague, dark shapes spoke to you, holding your attention until the last moment, when you realized that the fire had almost burned out, and the shadows were almost upon you.  But always they released you, only to taunt you again when the fire grew bright.

Those who slept were no better off than those who were awake.  They stirred frequently in their sleep, and sometimes moaned as if they had seen horrors untold.  In their restless dreams, the shadows had no fire to fear, and they danced and called without fear.  Sleep brought no rest.

Suddenly, the silence of the night was shattered by an ear-piercing wail.  All were awake instantly, some in a state of confusion, others in a state of fear and panic.  But all states of emotion were driven away by the second wail, louder than the first, bellowing into the night and echoing off the trees and the infinite shadows.  The sound spoke of death, of pain, of terror, of hopelessness, of futility, of fear, and of hate, all at the same time.  The very sound of it seemed to beat at your eardrums, confusing you as if you had been struck in the head.  The sound continued until it became almost unbearable to hear, and then it stopped as suddenly as it began, and the forest was silent again.

The silence was almost as bad as the wail, for a short time.  No one was able to move or make so much as a whisper to break the terrifying silence.  But there was no need to.  So slowly and softly that it was almost unnoticeable, the normal sounds of the forest resumed.  The crickets began to chirp again, the tree frogs began to sing again, and finally, birds could be heard singing praise to the light which was forming in the east.  Dawn had finally come.

Night Time

Once he got behind the steering wheel, and the music began to play, everything was different. His mind was clear… focused. His hand moved to the stick. His other hand gripped the wheel. The engine revved. He was the car. But like all good things, it had to end.
Once he got behind the steering wheel, and the music began to play, everything was different. His mind was clear… focused. His hand moved to the stick. His other hand gripped the wheel. The engine revved. He was the car.

But like all good things, it had to end.

As he lay in bed, night closed around him like a warm blanket… night, his good friend. Goodnight…

A Day In The Life…

As the heat crept up his back and into his body, he gradually became aware of the fact that he was eating pepperoni from a plastic package. He heard the crumpling sound of the plastic as his hand, without direction, picked the pieces up and moved them into his mouth.
As the heat crept up his back and into his body, he gradually became aware of the fact that he was eating pepperoni from a plastic package. He heard the crumpling sound of the plastic as his hand, without direction, picked the pieces up and moved them into his mouth. From the taste, and the feeling in his stomach, he knew he had been standing there eating for some time. Like water melting from ice, he remembered getting the pepperoni from the fridge; his hands groping for the opening to the package. Walking to the heater, and turning his back to it.

He continued to eat.

What is that ringing noise? It was a sudden sound. It stopped, and then started again. Oh yeah, the phone. His feet moved, and he turned away from the warm heater and into the bedroom. The phone was on the floor. He bent to pick it up, and his hand clasped the hard plastic shell while his arm brought the receiver to his ear.

“Hello?”

Someone was intruding into his world. Another human voice – but was it human? How could he be sure? The sound came from the plastic thing in his hand. He supposed it was someone actually talking to him; this was the sort of thing you were expected to do. Talk to people on the phone. People, humans; other beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. He was aware of his own voice, speaking; his mouth moving, not to eat now, but to form sounds which whatever was listening on the other end of this intangible line would interpret as words, as speech.

When he put the phone down he couldn’t remember what he had said. The sounds – no, the words – he had heard floated in his memory like drops of blood in alcohol, slowly mixing; and slowly dying. Something about coming out after work for a drink, that’s all he could remember. Well, it might be a good idea.

A drink. He had a drink. Or maybe he went and got one after answering the phone. He couldn’t recall; and it wasn’t important anyway. The can was red, but that was only an after-thought. It was the same thing he always drank. Supposedly it had a sweet flavor, but he drank it like it was water, the taste hardly registered. Soon, the caffeine in the drink (the words “Code Red” bubbled to the surface of his mind, but they were lost; disconnected, devoid of meaning without context) would bring more thoughts, more memories to his mind. He’d be awake for a while longer. Best to be as awake as he could. And besides, it was time to go.

Keys in hand, jacket against the cold, he stepped out into the night. Just another day…

-Keithius