“Am I dead? Is this how heaven feels?”
“Meet me where the sky touches the sea
Wait for me where the world begins”
I felt lost in another world. Time flew by, and I didn’t know how to count the minutes that had passed. A startling atmosphere hung in the air. I couldn’t remember what had happened. Am I dead? Is this how heaven feels? Like an endless, blank room? Everything was plain white. It damaged my eyes to see nothing but one color, but I couldn’t give up. This was just an obstacle I had to pass through. I made up my mind to search this unusual place.
I had been walking for what seemed like hours. My eyes were sore, so were my feet. If I was lost, I wouldn’t know. I had wished more than once that Jak were here. He was my savior, for he always knew what to do.
Finding the situation hopeless, I put myself into Jak’s shoes.
“What would Jak do?” I asked myself. Pondering on this question seemed doltish.
But indubitably, it was quite obvious. Emptying my pocket letting coins and other junk tumble out and onto the white floor.
I chose a few items and placed them as my markers and continued to explore placing a marker every few yards.
Jak had taught me all about what to do if you find yourself lost. He inspired me to keep items in my pocket for safety.
Dreaming in the process of marking, I failed to notice that my markings had shifted in the place of a circle.
But I didn’t have time to finish my statement before the inside of the hole became a purple storm. A feeling inside me told me I had to jump. Whether the hunger had gone to my head, or I was just normally insane, I jumped.
I thought my leg would sink through the cloud, but I was shocked when I landed softly like a feather on a pillow.
“This isn’t so bad,” I said as I watched the clouds slowly sink down, and the top of the hole close. “Perhaps this is the new land I had been searching for!”
But of course I was nowhere close.
It had seemed all delightful at first, but my heart had skipped a beat causing me to choke when the clouds dropped me in a dark tunnel. My eye couldn’t focus, and my hand was invisible in front of my face.
My back hit the ground hard, and in an instance, I was moving in an incredibly fast pace down the slope. Light soon found its way in the tunnel lighting it up. Stalagmites hung from above sparkling with due.
I felt my stomach rumbling and had been wishing for the ride to be over after many quick dodges from death.
I pointed my heel down and tried slowing down. Dust flew in the chilly air and went down my lungs. I gagged and fell flat on my back causing it to make an awful sound as I bellowed in pain.
Giving up, no longer feeling like Jak, I allowed myself to slide the rest of the way down, shutting my eyes.
I wasn’t scared, if that’s what you are thinking. I was just tired…..
I opened my eyes slowly, as if expecting something — or someone — to jump at me. Instead I saw a room. The room itself felt like it was part of a house. A family room perhaps.The proof I saw to help prove my point was a fireplace that stood in the center, and a brown, furnished table built of wood that had seemed recently polished.
The table had nothing but a large china plate with a dozen pieces of bread covered in the finest honey that glimmered in the light. The table wobbled at my touch as I leaned on top of it to get a better whiff.
My mouth began to water. The orphanage had been given a jar of honey as a reward for taking such good care of one of the parents who adopted a girl named Melitta. But that was before the death of Mr. Floros.
I remember how fine the honey was. It was sweet in my mouth and softened my throat that was painful.
This honey, however, was golden and seemed to be pressuring me to reach out and eat it.
I couldn’t help but reach out and grab the one farthest away from me, and stuff it in my mouth. The honey was all that mattered in that minute of delectable goodness.
I hadn’t noticed that my eyes were closed. It came as a real shock to me when I opened them to see the whole room empty, just as I tried to reach for a second helping of bread and honey, but that was missing as well.
I nearly tripped over the dead rat that sat beneath where the table used to sit.
I got down onto one knee to study it. What had caused his death? I hadn’t seen him before. Was what I seen before an illusion? Am I stuck here for eternity like the rat?
Near the mouth of the rat’s, was his front teeth inserted in a piece of bread. Honey slathered all over his poor, lifeless body.
Questions threw themselves at me as I tried to solve what was currently happening.
Looking around once more. The table missing, as well as the china plate, and the fireplace. It was missing. It couldn’t have sprouted legs and ran away! Or could it? No. It couldn’t. I kicked myself for having been so lousy.
I was stuck in an empty room with nothing. I was done for. I would die of starvation if I wasn’t dead already. I was ready to sulk when I heard a faint tinkling music behind me. I turned around alert for anything. In the distance I saw a round mirror.
It had a gold frame, and pearls every two inches. The glass was polished and sparkling. Golden vines seemed to be entwined in the frame. Words can not describe its remarkable beauty that I saw that day.
As I inched forward, the mirror’s light seemed to have been radiating the sun’s glare. I managed to step forward. I was deeply startled when I did not see my reflection in the glass. Was it a fluke? I had no idea on how this mirror appeared so suddenly. Could it hear my desperation? Was it magic? I wanted to find out as soon as possible, which meant now.
I marched towards it, and brought forth my hand and let my fingers and the mirror collide together. The mirror was cold, and smooth. My fingers slid onto the frame tracing every mark. It was then, when I was caught off guard, did the mirror cast a deadly beam of light. So bright it was, I nearly went blind.
“Who dares to awake me?” said a bold voice coming from within. I licked my lips which had dried and tried to responded although it was hard to think of the right words to say when you’re still trying to figure out how an ordinary mirror can talk.
I could feel it deep down that I would regret offending this powerful object.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you,” I apologized, taking a step back.
“Ahh. Gawain Michel. Pleasure to meet you.”
I was starstruck! How did it know my name? The name of a poor orphan boy.
“Pardon me, but how do you know my name?” I asked, checking behind it to assure myself no one else was here besides me.
“You will find no one there, boy,” she said which made me blush. I hope it didn’t look rude.
“To answer your question, I am The Mirror Queen of them all! I know everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen. I know everyone by name! Every place that has been discovered or not. And I am immortal, to live forever in the souls of every hero. I never shall die or decay,” it fumed.
“Are you going to kill me?” I addressed her…or him.
The mirror laughed with it’s lights blinking on and off.
“I would love to!-” it replied.
“-But sadly I can not. You see, you have heard my tinkling noise. Only thee who hear it’s beautiful sound can see this very mirror, which is I. Mirror Queen. Therefore I can not kill you because you are the special one. My soul lives within you. And I can foretell that you have an important mission.”
I tried not to show it, but I was relieved that The Mirror Queen wouldn’t kill me. Although, I still had a question, but I didn’t know how to ask. I didn’t know if I even wanted to know-
“Ask me little one. I can hear your thoughts,” she interrupted.
” I-I was wondering, your majesty-” I bowed, “What would have happened if I didn’t hear your tinkling wonder?”
I didn’t know how, because this is all so hard to explain, but I could sense that she was blushing because I had felt a happiness inside me that did not belong to me..
“Well, if you hadn’t heard my tinkling-” she began. “That would have meant you had eaten the wrong dessert. You would have chosen the poisoned bread and honey. If you ask me, you have powerful instincts and I would advise listening to them. Tell me, boy, how you chose it, I’m pondering on how you survived. For nine out of the twelve are deadly. Two out of the twelve would open your eyes to allow you to see what is real, and depending on which of the two you chose, you may have even possessed power.”
“What did it do to me. Can you tell me which one I drank?” I begged ignoring her question.
“Unfortunately, darling, I can not allow you to divulge in what could have or has done to you, for the fates will not allow me to reveal such private facts. I am terribly sorry.”
I was confused and didn’t want to have to solve or be involved with the fates, but I did not let that show.
“Thank You Mirror Queen, but where am I? I thought I was dead at first, but now I-I don’t know!”
“You are in a dream, dearest boy. You are to awaken soon if you follow my command.”
“Of course!” I promised.
The mirror began to swirl in the colors of yellow, and purple.
“You must step through this portal. It will take most of the power invested in me, but I will manage. You will find yourself surrounded by my swirls of colors. Once you are in you must say one wish. Once you speak of it, it will appear on the walls and become real for a temporary amount of time.”
“The spirits will ask of you to step in, they will make promises they can not keep, but you must not! It is all an illusion,” she warned. “Instead you must resist the temptation. Instead you must destroy your dream. Here.”
A golden sword of similar color appeared out of thin air in front of me. My fingers found their way to the handle. I gaped at its wonder.
“Now go! There is a girl who is awaiting your awakening. You are both in trouble, and need to leave the premises! Best of luck, Special One.”
I didn’t want to risk leaving and dying, but my legs refused to listen and began to walk forward and into the portal.
“Will I ever see you again?” I asked.
She let out a soft laugh of sweet happiness. “All in a times come, boy. In the future, if you are to survive that is, we will see one another again most certainly. Although you may not be pleased to see me.”
I had disappeared as The Mirror Queen had recited her last word. I was blinded by the colors I had seen earlier. The swirls seemed to be coming closer. I didn’t have to even think about my wish because every star I ever saw, or every opportunity I could find to pray, or every birthday wish from my candle, I would always wish for the exact thing.
“My biggest wish is to have a family of my very own. Someone to love and hold in sad moments. That is my biggest wish!” I shouted through the swirls of colors that were inches away from touching my skin.
“We hear your wish, foolish child,” many voices hissed in usion. “And we can give it to you with no pay at all. All you must do is step throu-”
“Be quiet!” I shouted in a rude voice. “I know all you want to do is to feed on my blood, and feast on my bones. I will not step through the swirls!”
“Ahh, but you will change your mind. See here! This is what you can have.”
The swirling stopped. The room turned into an image of me having a picnic with a lovely woman and a handsome man. They were smiling into each others eyes. the woman — who I guessed was my mother — had brown eyes like me, and brown hair falling down her shoulders as she bit into her apple. She was wearing a tired grey dress with an apron tied around her that matched the the bonnet she had on.
The man had a brown mustache that matched his hair. He had blue eyes that were really quite sharp. He wore wrinkled clothing. I guessed that he was my father. Then there was I. I looked much handsomer, and less tired. I was chasing a little girl who I guess is my little sister. She looked like a miniature me, except for the girl part, and blonde hair.
I wanted to step through the picture. I wanted to be part of the scene. I didn’t care what The Mirror Queen had to say. I was ready to walk through the portal when the spirit awoke me.
“Yes. Yes. that’s it,” it hissed happily.
The scene was a trance! I didn’t actually want to cross! But it made no sense. Could it…be magic? No. It must be a dream. And to think of how sad I would be if that wish were to come true and be gone when I awake.
Pain would wash me. I took one last look at the scene. Without thinking I slashed off all the heads in the picture. Their eyes rolled to the back of their head as blood rained down.
The swirling stopped abruptly. I encouraged a smile to be plastered upon my bloody face. I awaited for something unusual to happen. Not that this or anything else that happened was unusual, but something to top it off.
My smile faded into an angry scowl. I was so caught up in my thoughts that if it hadn’t been for the slight creak in the floor, I would have died.
A devilish man with horns protruding from his head, and fangs that peeked out of his mouth, with a body of a horse came running with a silver sword towards me. The man was taking aim, and threw his sword. I was able to dodge out of the way saving my life, but my arm was severely scraped. Blood poured out of the wound, and onto the floor.
I held my arm in agony. “Why?” I asked through clenched teeth.
“My brothers and I haven’t eaten in ages, my dear. You are the first to come in over two centuries. I bet we can hide the fact that you’re a bit too skinny towards the belly, but I think we can manage,” he hissed.
Still on the ground holding my wound with a bloody hand, I managed to swipe my sword at him, missing by feets.
“Well done! You were able to stab the floor! I am impressed,” he mocked inching closer.
I was now swordless. I tried to think of a solution. I made a move of trying to grab my sword, but he blocked me off. If I were to reach down for it, I would loose my head with a flick of a wrist.
The sword was too far to reach it with my foot. If only there was another way! The man only continued to inch forward.
“Where are your brothers?” I asked, trying to spare myself some time.
“Where they should be. Lurking in the shadows awaiting for the right time to attack. Because like The Mirror Queen, we too are immortal.”
I searched for his brothers. I couldn’t locate any shadows. Where could the demons be?
“I find it cute, foolish one, that you can not seek them when they are right above your nose!” the man sneered.
Above my nose? My body stiffened as I looked above me. There on the ceiling lay more than a hundred demons. Each one unique in bad ways. One of them had three eyes and two holes for a nose, and no mouth.They were each a horrible sight, one worse after another.
“And you know what surprises me, foolish one?” the Devil asked. “Is that you have no idea of the power you contain. With one bite from you, I could possess all the power you maintain. Wouldn’t that be incredible.”
What could he be talking about? But I push my thoughts aside, for he was no more than five feet away from where I stood, as his brothers had almost reached my head.
“And who may you be, wanting to own my power. I bet you have loads. What could mine possibly be that you don’t have?” I countered. I was pleased on my come back.
“You joke! How dare you. I am your worst nightmare. The one that hides under your bed. They have many names for me, but I call myself the devil. The Queen must have told you. Well, screw her. You know that I have no power. That by simply devouring you I have enough to destroy, your majesty, while she is in her weak state. That’s what you get for helping others!” he whined.
I wanted to smile that he had no powers. It felt special at the moment, but I yet had no plan! He was close. Too close. If I were to outstretched my arm I could touch him, but I would have to be mad to do such thing.
“But aren’t I in a dream? You can’t kill me if I’m asleep,” I challenged him in a sassy one.
The Devil chuckled. It sounded deep and scary, and it echoed through the room.
“But that’s exactly how I receive your power. In your dreams. If I were to kill you now,” he said grabbing my chin tenderly. “Then you will — poof — disappear. Your soul with fly out of you, and on it’s way to heaven when I, the devil, will interfere — of course — and breathe you in where you will go to my kingdom. The most miserable, and feared place that the world will ever face. Lovely story, isn’t it?”
The Devil was already by my side. The sword lay on the ground. The Devil was on the opposite side from me. If I could be quick, then I could succeed.
Feeling better with a plan in mind, I took action. I jumped to the opposite side of the Devil and grabbed the sword. I was feeling a moment of bliss, when I fell to the floor. There was a heavy object weighing me down. It was the same color as the devil, but much more horrible. It had no eyes or nose, just one, wretched mouth. It’s body weighed me down as much as it could. I was being crushed.
Out of instinct and pure luck, I was able to dodge a few punches and stabs by the demon’s dagger. Out of pure frustration he meant to stab me, but I was able to lift my back high enough to pass it, but when I saw the opportunity dangling of the demons back, I took it. I opened my mouth wide enough and bit him. Of course to him, who had skin made out of iron, felt nothing but a pinch. Although startled at such a silly attempt, tried to shake me off.
Seeing my chance, I rolled out of the way, although my feet were still stuck underneath his weight. Without thinking much on what to do, I sent him a powerful kick on the back, causing him to drop his dagger.
I picked up the dagger that was bloodred. I stared at this object flashing before me with great beauty. A hand blindly attempted to search for it on the ground. I stabbed the it, pushing as hard as I dared to go. The hand was too large to be pierced all the way through, but enough to break his scaly skin. But I didn’t stop there, I pulled the dagger out. Green blood came pouring out. It flooded the ground, inches away from where I sat.
I let my dagger lead me, and I came so close to the demon’s heart. I hesitated on pushing it forward. I didn’t think I was capable of such criminal intention! Yet I had to do it.
I stabbed the demon’s body with his own dagger. I felt such burning guilt fill me inside. The demon shriveled up, becoming weightless.
The words: I had just killed someone kept floating back to mind. I had just murdered.
I had had a tough past, and killing would not help. I had sworn that the action of death shall never be committed by my name.
Yet I had done the very thing, I had betrayed myself. Even if he wasn’t human.
But there was no time to feel guilty. There was another demon to deal with, whether I wanted to or not.
While fighting, I had been oblivious to the shadow without a person. Realizing at the last minute, I threw my dagger at the shadow, square in the chest. The shadow disappeared into smoke going in all directions. I had been hoping I had killed it, but that would have been too easy.
I heard a voice in the distance cackling wickedly. I was turning my head in all four corners in the room, trying to make out the hidden demon.
“Ahh. I admire how you think your so powerful, full of…” He appeared in front of me, holding my chin between his warty fingers. “…Ability.” He said ever so casually. I held my dagger firmer in my hands, causing my knuckles to turn white. I swung my dagger towards his stomach. But of course, not being fast enough, he had disappeared into smoke once more.
I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turned around, quite swifter than I thought was possible. There he stood, behind him was hundreds of other demons. All bigger than he. All bigger than I. I knew I had no chance of beating them all. The thought of surrendering came to mind. But I pushed it aside. The only solution that seemed reasonable, was to stall.
I didn’t know what to say. I had never been good at talking. Instead I just let my heart speak, and kicked myself for every stutter.
“Well, that’s unfair. 200 against one. You must be very frightened by my skill,” I commented. “In Fact, Whenever I fought someone. It was usually just that person and I. Never had I thought, I would be fighting against demons.”
They all looked around, flustered by my comment.
“But never did I imagine that I would be fighting meek demons,” I finished off.
The demons gave me a look of murder plastered on their face, well, the ones who actually had a face. I felt proud of myself, but I didn’t expect for them to make the teams fair.
“Meek demons, did you say?” I heard a whisper in my ear. I felt hands rubbing my shoulders. Under other circumstances it would have been considered relaxing.
“Then, shall we get rid of these, ‘meek demons?’” the Devil hissed in a mocking voice.
I turned around and tried to stab the demon. No such luck. He had vanished once again into black smoke.
“You’re pathetic! Show yourself!” I shouted with rage. I held my dagger in my strong grip, resenting any sign of ridding it.
A few feet away from the demons, stood he.
“Shall we charge, sire?” a demon in the crowd hissed.
The Devil gave me a long look. He looked me up and down. His eyes seemed to be scanning me, seeing how strong I could possibly be. What my chance of winning is.
When his eyes reached mine, I saw fire behind his pupil. It was a wild one, swishing to all places. Nervous I took a step back.
The Devil seemed satisfied of my nervousness and smiled, I wanted to punch myself for showing weakness.
“No. Leave me be,” he replied, inching forward in a snake-slithering way.
“I SAID LEAVE ME BE!” he roared with erupted rage.
The demon seemed speechless. I almost felt pity for him. Almost.
The Devil then made an effort to push the demon, but instead of the demon falling to ground, it burst into flames. The flames as though of the one behind the the demons eyes. The demon screamed with pain. He was slowly sizzling away until he was nothing but black dust.
“Does anyone else want to object as well?” the Devil threatened. There was long, silent, pause. No one shouted out. No one even dared to breathe.
“Good,” he replied. Clearly content with himself. With a snap of his fingers, the army of demons swiveled away in a swirl of wind. They were gone. It was just the Devil and I. I was scared. The Devil just sent his army of demons away, he obviously knew I was too weak to defeat someone such as him. Someone who has been alive for eons. I stood no chance, and I knew it.
“Is that fair now, foolish one?” he asked in a wretched tone.
“Why did you kill that demon?” I couldn’t help asking.
“Why shouldn’t I have. He talked to me disrespectfully. That’s unacceptable!” Each word became louder as he spoke them. He talked with such disgust. Every syllable was pronounced with such anger, and sadness.
“Because…because it’s unfair,” I came up with. I, myself, didn’t believe my words.
“Enough with this ‘fairness,'” he responded with annoyance in his voice.
“But to answer your question, monsters can’t be killed. His soul remains where I rule. The kingdom where my power is endless. There he will rest until he reforms. Of course, he can not do so unless I consent, which may take a few centuries to figure out,” he added.
Every step forward he took towards me, I took a step back. When I felt my back bump against the wall, I felt helpless. I was done for. Something caught my eye. It was shiny, and was glowing, but I had no time to investigate, instead I saw the Devil grin a sly smile before he pounced.
I dropped to the ground, and rolled to my side. I grabbed my the object, that I had guessed was my sword, and stabbed the Devil in the heart. I was certain he would die.
“Every human’s heart is is placed in their chest, but a demon is not. Instead they are located in the head, and the brain on the foot, where it is safe. Therefore you have not defeated me, but weakened me, for that sword is poisonous to the flesh of a monster. But weakness is not death!” The Devil hissed with effort, for i could tell he was in great pain.
Thinking that I had won, when the Devil collapsed, I had let my guard down. The Devil gathered all his speed and twisted my sword. He had used so much force that my hand was sprained. I dropped the sword with confused pain. He grabbed my sword, ready to plunge it in my heart. As his arm came forth towards my chest, I dived to the floor and stabbed my dagger into his foot. Red blood came oozing out of his foot. I looked up to see that the Devil looked half dead. I then took the dagger out and plunged it into the other foot as well. That was when the Devil fell. Just to make sure I stabbed him into the head as well. I couldn’t help letting a tear fall down.
“You don’t deserve to live,” the Devil hissed. Those were his last words. And I had to agree with him.
I curled up into a tight ball, crying with heavy breaths.
How am I alive? was the question I continued to ask.