The Vicarious Voyage

He quickly ducks to avoid being charred in the fiery vortex spewed by the dragon. The dragon was a gargantuan metallic beast. Chiselled bronze shards on its body, that are ornately arranged in order, shimmer in the conical columns of light that peep through the perforated roof of his uncle’s old barn. His presence infuriates the beast and its glowing red eyes are suggestive of it. Homer can feel the gravity of the discovery and is eager to find out what happens next.

 

He marvels at its metallic intricacies and decides he’ll one day manoeuver it. Months whizz by like hours. Before he even realized, Homer has become the master of the Dragon. He still vividly remembers the first time he thought he listened to the cadence of its gears, the clinking sound that reverberated in the empty barn every time it took a step or flapped its delicate metallic wings. Training the dragon for flight was daunting at first, but now it has become a cake-walk.

 

Homer isn’t afraid of heights anymore and all his fears seemed to have dissipated. He’s transformed into a warrior. A proficient dragon trainer with exuding confidence. Soon he finds himself going on mysterious quests, with each one more precarious than the one before. Behind enemy lines, hostility is in the air, but Homer can only taste victory.

 

He can flick a switch on his inconspicuous pen and it will suddenly transform into a sword. He’s the coolest 9-year-old in town and probably the youngest vigilante ever. Every kid is envious of him and they all covet his bronze dragon. The entire town showered him with love and ardour, and called him “The Protector”.

 

Days fly by and things seem to be going well…until today. He sets out on his dragon for a casual night watch. The town looks peaceful from this vantage point, that is the sky. Everything below seems fine but Homer cannot fathom what might hit him from above. He’s almost done with the vigilance and thusly plans to return home, when a blinding light, which closely resembled an elongated tree branch, nearly misses the duo.

 

The highly energized air sends them whirling towards the ground. A tempestuous storm rages and the whole town is engulfed in a deluge. He grips the dragon tight as they’re both taken for a spin in a wild hurricane. Homer hopes he’ll survive the commotion and wonders if he’ll ever see the light of day.

 

Thankfully, he does. But he doesn’t recognize the place in which he woke up drenched. He made it out of the storm unscathed and so did his dragon, for it was just mildly dented. He cannot wrap his head around what is going on and senses he needs to freshen up to clear his mind.

 

Homer’s surroundings seem picturesque, like he plunged into a painting. The land is characterized by merriment and eutopia. He almost pinches himself when he is greeted by a man whose lower half is a goat, and nearly clicks his tongue for calling him “Sir”. “Call me Malakh”, the half animal-half man insisted. After the awkward pleasantries got over, Malakh took him to their base camp in the woods.

 

It felt strange. Homer got the feeling that he’s being expected here. Every stranger he came across had two things in common:  They were all dressed in medieval-looking austere clothes and they all welcomed him with a cordial smile. They all know me?  But how?  He’s ushered into the most magnanimous of tents present at the camp.

 

It was as vacuous inside as it seemed grand from outside, and on its far end is a bearded old man in a high throne. The word “ZEUS” is engraved on the protracted backrest and his fingers tap anxiously on the armrest, eager for the arrival of him. The arrival of his earth-bound son.

 

When he’s told that he’s in the land of the Gods and that he is the illegitimate son of THE ZEUS Himself, he puts on an incredulous expression and pants for breath. Homer had heard that his mother had died of humiliation, by committing suicide, for people calling him a “bastard son”, but he was oblivious to the whereabouts of his father. Zeus notices the rage in his eyes when his hug gets turned down by him. It was expected.

 

Zeus holds himself back, little longer he tells himself and explains to him his premise: How he cannot contact an earthling once they have a kid…and how much he loved his mother…and how hard he had tried to stop her through indirect means. Homer thinks he sees a convolution of pain and love in his father’s eyes and decides to trust him.  They had suffered enough, it’s time they reunited.

 

Zeus offers him to stay with him in his camp and live a life of peace and immortality. But he politely refuses. He reminds his dad of his role on earth. How his town needs his vigilance.

 

He tells him that he loves fighting evil. The battle of swords, the war of words, the tackle of wits and the clash of powers. All the action invigorates him and makes him feel alive. As he keeps saying it, visions of those wars keep flashing in front of Homer’s eyes and his mind paints a beautiful picture before them.

 

Swords and arrows are flying around, causing commotion everywhere. As he continues to describe the importance of his return to earth, Zeus eventually agrees.

 

Homer is filled with ardour and respect for his new hero. He feels truly inspired and an unbridled satisfaction warms his heart. Although he didn’t want it to end, he couldn’t wait to turn to the last page. He closes the book he had been reading for the past 2 hours and takes a look around to find himself back in his room. Back to his normal self.

 

A Closing Note:

The Book I refer to above bears a vague resemblance to “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan. That happens to be my first book and I wanted to write how I felt while reading it.

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