Let me tell you a fairytale…. English
Alas, I find myself in front of that damnable keyboard. It taunts me with its hard edges and low-cut keys; mockingly it sits there on my desk, silently cursing my very existence. Even without having to struggle it bends my entire being to its will, and forces me down into the very chair I’m sitting in now, to tell you a tale.
As stories and fairy tales come, the one I shall tell for you today is by no means a original one. It is filled with classic elements: bravery, fear, evil and adventure. Glory so grand you’ll weep of joy; shame so deep your tears will turn bitter. Influenced deeply by both old and new Grand Masters of writing, I tell you now – you will recognize elements in both the stories and my characters. Some will call that stealing… but for me, it’s merely a homage to those greats that walked the path before me, lending inspiration to those of us of lesser talent. I speak of people like Terry Pratchett, Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Robin Hobb and Neil Gaiman just to name a few. Please, lean back and let your fantasy flow free, and step in to my world and enjoy…
I wonder… can I ask you a question? I’m sitting here at my desk, adding up the bills for the month, but my mind keeps wandering. Can you try and think back to when you were just a kid, growing up. Can you always distinguish which memories were real and which were just dreams and fantasies? Can you tell the difference? I can’t… I keep trying to convince myself that those unbelievable things I remember from my childhood must have been dreams of some sort. The fantastic places I visited, the friends I made, the enemies that haunted me and the battles we fought together. All those thoughts and memories… is it possible I just made all that up? All that? That question is driving me mad! Because if all of that really happened… it would mean that there is another world out there, coexisting with ours, a place that I desperately have to return to… and I don’t know how!
It all started the year I left school, in the summer of -87…
I was sitting in class during the ceremony that always ended the school year. We had gotten our grades and reports, and I was thinking about what I’d do the next couple of weeks, just waiting for the day to end. Suddenly a voice jerked me out of my daze. -“Jack! What are you waiting for?” The voice called out to me across the now empty classroom. -“What…oh, I’m… I’m sorry, Mrs. Nicholl! I… I didn’t, well…”, I stumbled. -“School is over! It’s time to start the summer vacation, don’t you think? I hope you make a good start at your new school, Jack” she said, cheerfully. -“And perhaps a little less daydreaming wouldn’t hurt either… and also, you aren’t supposed to scribble on your school report”, she added a little remanding. Saying my goodbyes, I made my way through the empty school. Drawing and daydreaming. For me they were both the same; I did it all the time. But school was obviously not the place for it… you just had to look at my grades to see that. Opening the front door of the school, standing on the steps before the building where I had spent the first years of my life. I realized at that very moment that I was leaving the building for the last time, and a lot would be different after the summer.
Having talked with kids in my class about where they would go to school after the vacation, it became increasingly clear to me that things were about to change. They all knew where they were going, where they were staying and who would be going with them. I still had no idea. I clearly remember the feeling that things were happening around me that I did not really have any control of. My father always said it was my own fault, and I should focus more. What I focused on that day was the six full weeks of summer vacation at my grandmother’s in the countryside. THAT was the highlight of my year. Six weeks! At that age, it seemed like an eternity. Back then, I don’t think I was even capable of thinking beyond it.
Sitting at the sidewalk in the sun waiting for my father to pick me up wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It was warm and rather pleasantly calm around the school for once. As usual, he was late. Probably something at work. That was usually the way it went. After waiting for almost half an hour beyond the time we had agreed on, I finally saw our rickety old WV beetle come chugging down the road….”
More to come…