The prophecy was clearer than an invisible jar full of ether.
This ancient directive firmly laid a trail of terror that was the sole supplier of ancestral trauma from his bloodline.
Nine thousand and ninety Redbird’s Feathers line the way to the Gate where The One goes with Truth to end the Fate.
Rieath, the son of the now dead nine thousand and ninetieth Redbird Queen, rolled his closed eyes and groaned as the weight of being The One pressed him further down into his mattress.
Those who tried to enter the Gate before never had a chance to learn from their mistake as the Dry Wail sucked the water from their bodies leaving behind piles of dust, bones, and fearful rhymes to scare children.
Knowing that he’s The One who will travel through the Gate made for a terror-filled childhood with limited true friends.
Now his childhood was gone overnight and his unfamiliar body writhed as the sun began to call him from his bed.
Resisting was futile as the force surrounding the Gate shrunk his world daily until now he couldn’t be more than a field’s distance from the mystery of his fate.
Today was a day Rieath wouldn’t remember, but would be remembered for.
You can always count on butterflies to deliver your map.
I flitted this phrase around in my mind on a well-worn path yet still arrived at no satisfactory destination.
The markings on my arm demanded my attention daily and reminded me how little I knew about the journey before me.
The markings, the message, the dream – it all taunted me.
Feeding my restless frustration, butterflies came and went, but I was still without a map.
Finally it happened – the sweet stream trickle of a butterfly song became the key.
Bone-deep searing pain engulfed me as the markings shifted, now clearly showing the beginnings of my map, while my mind’s eye cowered from the bombardment of incomprehensible dreamy images.
I couldn’t consciously wrap words around this silent song’s calling, yet I knew what was to come.
And though I saw my eventual death, I took firm steps toward the forest.
He waited a lifetime for his turn to ring The Bell.
It was said that The Bell opened the Next Door.
Even though no one knew where the Next Door led, everyone spoke of it in hushed tones and reverently blinked when referring to The Bell.
His many memories of The Bell were fuzzy, soundless, and surreal which allowed another door to open – for doubt.
The solid sure footsteps he started with now shuffled tentatively while beads of sweat turned into streams.
His hand trembled as he reached for The Bell’s chain. Eyes closed and teeth clenched, he felt the cool links slip into his palm as if they belonged. A soft pull later, a deep dark stillness enveloped him.
A slow blink later, his Next Door appeared and intricately beckoned to be opened.