It could be said that Rose awoke a short time before the coming of the dawn on the fateful day, if, of course you could believe he did sleep in the conventionally known manner of sleeping. There is, however, no way of knowing what state a dreamweaver succumbs to when their energies grow weak (if they ever do). It’s said that they depart wholly from earth and travel through strange and unknown chasms and vortices across the shadowy universe; that they dissolve their tangible forms and roam endlessly through aeons of time before time as vaporous entities.
This, though, is impossible to accept as fact, since no dreamweaver has ever been seen by mortal eyes, or any other eyes of this earth for that matter, save for the very few isolated occasions when a dreamweaver has made themselves visible.
From what is known, the last occurrence dates back to a time before dates – before the rise of the first civilizations known to man – and has existed henceforth only as hushed whispers and unbelievable myth. Of course, there is a legend as to why the dreamweavers ceased to show themselves to the world, but it involves the early civilizations unknown to man and therefore the secret cannot be shared. You see, this known evolution isn’t the first time humans have risen to advanced society. History repeats itself, they say. If you knew of humankind’s first encounter with knowledge, you would surely pray that this was not true. Sometimes, history should remain buried and forgotten. Oddly though, it always seems to find its way back to the surface. The cycle of things.
The morning was dank, with a heavy, crystalline blanket of dew weighing down the thick foliage of the forest. A thin mist hovered across the earth like a magnificent phantasmal ocean, and the soft, musky scent of lush growth swelled through the fresh air. Rose wove through the massive boles of the ancient hardwoods, plucking berries and listening intently to the vast orchestral songs of life. He drank in the gentle peacefulness of the day with a contented smile.
Rose was, as he was on the wake of every day, in pursuit of Leaf, the emerald wizard. Most often, Rose found Leaf perched atop the highest branches of an ancient willow tree that loomed upon the summit of a steep, sparsely vegetated hill, overlooking a small meadow. It was a great distance from the heart of Shadow Wood, where Rose dwelt – many days travel for a mortal man on foot, and many perils to mortality in the deepest corners – beyond the grand valley of ancient, giant trees, and dense pine thickets, this meadow lay; created by the very hand of its lone occupant – the strange and silent wizard.
Rose was generally accustomed to making this journey by air, dissolving his organic material form to vaporous atoms (for, you see, Rose was an entity unlike any other this earth had ever permitted. He had earned the gift of a freed spirit. He had possession and control of matter and mass. No other had ascended to his level of being and survived corruption. He was the first, but he was the beginning – not the end.). On this day, however, he enjoyed the rich fragrance of the dew-soaked earth so much, and relished so lavishly in the beautifully haunting music of the morning, that he chose to frolic across the shadowy floor of the forest and play with his world. If he had known what this direction would reveal…
If he had known…
It was nearly midway through the morning when he came upon a small knoll near the edge of the hardwoods that stopped him abruptly in his tracks. Sitting there, in the soft grass and foliage, was a young, human boy. He was absorbed in funny scribblings in a small, leather bound book, occasionally ceasing the determined scribbling to gaze vacantly upon the scene before him. He almost seemed vaguely aware of the audience his presence had gathered; for, all about him was the aether of faery, and the tittering laughter of the spirits of the Wood. Upon the very sight of this curious mortal, a queer passion began to stir within Rose. He was drawn to the boy. The boy, whose aura swelled and pulsated in violent hues of violets and greens. This boy, who sat alone amidst the spirits of the Wood – and they embraced him, excited by his company. They serenaded him with soundless songs, and bestowed upon him faery sight. Yes! The violet – absorbing him, consuming him…transcending him. Rose knew. He knew that he’d found this mortal by no chance accident. This was a moment. The boy was waiting for enlightenment – to be taken deeper into the unfathomed reality that surrounded him. He was a gift unto Rose, and Rose unto him. He knew, but he had to check. There were rules. He knew very well how easily instinct could be swayed. Quickly, he reached for the stone and, in a razor moment, froze – for the stone was not there.
The moment was only mere seconds, but the panic crept into Rose’s throat and his belly tightened to the impact of an unknown. He’d never been without his stone before. But just as quickly as the panic came, he pushed it away into the shadows. He should have known the shadows were never a good place to put anything -but he could think of nothing more certain than his tie to the mortal boy. He eased in closer, and in the same instant the spirits of the Wood disappeared into the dim forest. The boy’s aura swelled out to Rose; enveloped, blended, possessed his form with a trembling hum of energy. The panic over the precious stone melted away in the oblivion of shadow.
The moment in which he touched the boy’s mind was not the moment Rose had expected. It was with a satin winged breeze that he opened fantastic, unrealized paths in the boy’s mind; but, his reaction, or shock, was rather disquieting. The boy’s fixed stare swayed, then fixed again in a new place – and held, piercing, pushing, beholding an invisible world within the world. his eyes burned like screaming orbs of fire, slicing through everything – something…nothing. He shifted nervously. His eyes darted uncomfortably to random shadowy visions, beholding dreadfully strange and primordial secrets. He jerked violently to the sounds playing upon his ears. Phantasmal twinkling bells, voices, softly chanting whispers, rhythmic, eerie flutings and pipings, voices – flowing freely over deep, moaning vibrations that seemed to swell from the earth and all things. They were singing the song of life – roaring.
The terrified boy stumbled to his feet and backed away from the blasphemous sights that bloomed before him – the unbearable manifestation of an infinitely haunted, phantom world. He spun around suddenly, then stopped abruptly.
It’s interesting to note the swiftness of the elastic body’s transformation to stone stiffness in a sudden moment of terror. In this moment, Rose was entirely doubtless that the boy was looking directly at him. He could feel the boy upon him. This moment in which the two looked upon each other was a mere space too slight to measure, but in the delusion of surprise, it held within it many ghostly hours.
Then the boy shrieked madly, and bolted clumsily into the terrifying new wilderness.
This final crescendo of madness disturbed Rose particularly. He’d not envisioned himself as such a hideous thing as the boy’s wild, shrill howling had implied. He felt as if an odd curse had been laid upon him. It wouldn’t have touched him quite so deeply had he known that he was suspended in a phosphorescent specter of the boy’s own image. That fact, however, implied something that wasn’t much more pleasant than what he was mistakenly thinking, anyway.