An Unletterd’s Letter

She woke up way before the alarm. At this age, she was getting used to it. The sole purpose of the alarm was to provide her respite from aimless wallowing in the bed on nights she’s afflicted with insomnia.

Things had gotten really tough for her after her husband had passed away about a month ago. Ever since the house seemed too empty, the front-yard looked unkempt, the television set turned rusty and the backyard grass had overgrown. She was a lonely inhabitant of a decrepit house whose existence seemed next to insignificant in the well-to-do neighborhood.

Yet still, she isn’t on her own in this world. She has a beautiful daughter and a 5-year-old grand-daughter. But she hasn’t heard from them in over a year, specifically from when her husband had a spat with her son-in-law. Her husband had turned callous after the feud and had built an invisible barrier for her too. She didn’t have the courage to transgress it by herself, even after he’d passed away. She submitted to that sickly feeling long ago and now vainly hopes for the ice to break from the other side.

It’s just another day in Brookside Avenue, and she withdraws from her bed to do her usual chores. Her feeble limbs barely support her senescent frame. Her once vivacious spirit lately seems to have no impetus to be so. The pedestrian tasks of the day drain her both physically and mentally, yet she wills herself to live on.

She steps out the door, looks at the unkempt front-yard and sighs. The front-yard, like herself, either had no one to take care of or had no one who had cared enough. She walks to the mailbox, as she does every day, with a tiny flicker of hope. She opens the rusty lid and half expects to find it empty. But it isn’t.

She finds some junk advertising mails about a world tour that she’s least bothered about. She almost throws them away in the garbage can when a lavender envelope catches her eye. She halts, holds it cautiously making sure she doesn’t crumble it and walks inside as fast as she can.

She forgets about the chores and even forgets about her morning coffee. She hasn’t missed one in the last five years. She sits on the sofa down the hall and carefully opens the envelope. It has small lavender hearts embossed on it and smells like sweet perfume and baby powder. She pulls out the letter inside and starts to read it.

Dear Grandma,

Its me!! I am dieing to see you. Mom says we’ll all come and tell sorry to grandpa next week. Then we will go have fluffy candy you promised me in the exhibition last time. Can you pleese get me the pony too?

And guess what grandma?? I can right write! I don’t need mum to call you now…we can talk ourselves. We can share…umm…what did you call it? Seacrets? Yeah! Seacrets!

I can tell you about school, my new english teecher. But she’s always scollding me for no reeson. I don’t like her.

You can tell me your seacret recipeas recipies and I won’t tell anyone, not even my Barbie. She told me she likes boys now…..ewwww! So I want a new Barbie too!

I miss your pickles grandma. I miss grandpa. I miss you.

Do you miss me????

Okay mum’s calling me….Sea you soon!!!

Love,

Your Marshmallow.

She pushes the paper away from her face to keep it from getting wet. Tears stream down her face uncontrollably. She doesn’t contain herself anymore, she doesn’t feel the need to. She knows a crisis is about to befall, but that seems the least bit troublesome. She thinks of an innocent 6-year-old who looks up to her, and she would face the storm for her.

It may be tumultuous. But like any other storm, this will pass too. She kisses the letter in her hand and thinks of her marshmallow. Her tiny glinting eyes and her slyly playful smile. She curses herself for being so craven. She never stood up for herself. It wasn’t fair what happened to her, but she felt like she had no choice. No one to help her.

But she was wrong.

She’s had a month to ponder over it by herself. Only now, she is sure. She has a newfound meaning for life. She hopes to present her life as a lesson to her grandchild. She knows she may have nothing to inspire the little kid. But she does have a lot to teach her. She may not be able to tell her what to do, but she can tell her what not to.

She’ll keep her strong. She’ll make her brave. She’ll teach her to be independent. And when she says, “When I grow up I want to be like you grandma!”. She’ll say, “You will child. You will be as wise as I am today, but without having to face the troubles I went through yesterday.

And I will be here to hold your hand and guide you for as long as I can.”

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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.