A Fantastical Meeting

Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I feel bad for posting so little when my compatriots are posting left right and center so I thought I’d write out a scene I’ve thought of. Please feel free to leave comments on what you think of it.

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It was just another Tuesday. I spent hours at work, slaving over a hot stove for customers who didn’t appreciate good food when it was placed in front of their snobby little faces. If I hadn’t needed the money, I would have quit my job as a cook right then and there. It’s quite the thankless job. You work hard trying to make the food fast and tasty but, when you get it wrong, they complain and if you get it right, which I normally did, they didn’t give one word of thanks and the waiter was the one who got tipped for my own hard work.

Anyways, that’s not the point. I’m not leaving this letter to complain about my worklife. I’m leaving this to explain what happened to me and where I went. You’ll understand once I’ve explained.

As I was saying, it was just a normal Tuesday. I was driving back home after work and I decided to grab a snack on the way home. So, instead of turning left on Main Street, as I usually did on the way home, I turned right instead. I found a parking spot and was walking towards the local sandwich joint when I saw it. Him. As I was passing an alleyway a sudden flash of light blinded me. And I mean blinded me. I literally couldn’t see for a good few minutes. My eyes were burning and I was blundering around, running into walls and I think I knocked over a trash can. By the time my vision cleared, I was deep in the alley way, leaning against a wall for support and a strange looking man was standing next to me.

He was wearing one of those old fashioned military uniforms. You know, the one with the  epaulets on the shoulders?  Well, obviously he was out of place here in a dingy alleyway and it showed. He was pacing around impatiently, as if he were waiting on a friend who was late to a meeting and he kept glaring up at the buildings around him. Once he noticed I had seen him he stopped pacing and crossed his arms.

“Well, you coming or not?”

Thats the first thing he said to me. Obviously I was confused. Here was this wacko in a old fashioned military uniform, standing in a questionable alleyway, asking me if I was coming. Normally I would have just walked away as fast as possible without questioning it but, for some reason, maybe it was the circumstances of the meeting, I felt like talking to the man.

“Coming where?” I asked him.

He looked at me like I was stupid. He stared at me for a moment, scratching his beard, as if trying to figure out if I were joking, then raised his hand and pointed straight up.

“On the ship of course.”  He looked down onto the clipboard his was holding, running his finger down a list of some kind. “You’re Matthew Davies right? You’re on the passenger list.”

I was just coming to the conclusion that this guy was crazy when I realized what he had said.

“How do you know my name?” I asked him. And let me tell you, I was freaked out by this point. Something seriously strange was going on. First the flash of light, and now this strange guy looking like he stepped out of the history books was talking to me and he knew my name to boot.

Well, by this point the man was looking very annoyed. By the way he was acting, it was as if I were the one acting crazy and he was being perfectly normal. Now that I think about it, maybe from where he comes from, he was acting normal. Anyways, he started tapping the clipboard with his finger.

“You’re on the passengers list Matthew. So are you coming or not?”

“Coming where? I don’t understand!”

The man sighed, then walked over to me. “There!” He grabbed my head and tilted it up.

Now, you probably won’t believe me, no, you definitely won’t believe me but, above us was a massive wooden ship. Kind of like the ones that pirates used. It had two large masts with their sails furled up and tied down. Now, other than the fact that this ship was flying, there were a couple of other strange things about this thing. One, it was absolutely huge. It was bigger than several of the buildings in downtown combined. The second thing was that this ship had two wings sticking out from its sides that looked like the wings you see in those old videos of people trying to make flying machines. The difference here is, instead of just snapping and the flying machine falling to the ground in a heap, these wings were somehow allowing the ship to hover in the air and fly.

To say I was surprised would be an understatement. My mouth was so wide open, I probably could have swallowed a bird if one had decided to fly down my open throat.

But, yea, the man in the military uniform shoved something into my hands and said, “Here’s your ticket. If you’re going to come then pull the serrated edge off before 10:00 PM tonight and we’ll come get you.”

“Where does this ship go?” I asked the man, glancing down and the small rectangular ticket. It was a peculiar shade of green and it had my name typed on it in little black letters, the time of departure, and the name of the ship; The Swallow.

The man looked at me, staring me straight in the eyes. “Boy, this ship picks up passangers who aren’t satisfied with their world. Every world has people who aren’t happy with their lives. They might be poor and living in squalor or a slave, being whipped day after day, not knowing if you’ll even survive or they could even be a spoiled lord, bored of their monotonous life. However, only a very few people are dissatisfied with their world itself.

These people never quite fit in. They try and live their day-to-day lives the best they can but they never feel like they belong. The world itself rejects them. These people feel disconnected with the rest of their world. This is because some of these people truly don’t belong in the worlds they live in. They’re special and they should go to a world where they belong. A world where they can start to learn and utilize their own special talents, whether it be magic or alchemy or what have you.” The man nodded up at the ship, still moored above them, blocking out most of the sunlight from reaching the alleyway.

“That’s where we come in. Our ship travels between worlds, picking up passengers who don’t belong and want to do something greater and we take them to a new world.”

The man poked me hard in the chest to make sure I was looking at him. “However, don’t think these worlds are going to be flowers and roses. They can be very dangerous. You have a chance at a better life. A life where you can become someone great and do amazing things but that doesn’t come without risk. There’s no guarantee you’ll succeed. There’s no guarantee you’ll even survive.”

I was speechless by this point. I had no idea what to say. Everything he had said about not belonging and feeling like the world itself was rejecting you was true. As for the danger part; what’s life without risk? I never felt like I belonged here. Even when I was smiling and laughing with you I felt as if I were doing it behind an invisible veil. I could see and interact with you but I was never truly with you.

“Alright kid? You have until 10:00 PM tonight to decide whether or not you’re coming. You tear that tab on your ticket and we’ll see you tonight. If not, well, good riddance. Go live your unsatisfactory life.”

After that, there was another blinding flash of light and the man was gone and the ship was nowhere to be seen. I forgot about getting food and everything else. It didn’t matter anymore. I already knew what my decision was. I drove straight home to write this letter to you.

I’m sorry. I never belonged here. I was never truly happy, even when I was with you. You made me the closest to being happy than I ever was in this world but it just isn’t enough. I truly care about you and you deserve someone better than me. I’m sure you can find it. I’m sorry.

Danielle Rodriguez had tears running down her face, eventually dripping and falling and smudging the ink on the letter she held in her hands. On the floor, by her feet, lay a sliver of green paper, serrated at the edge. The rest of the ticket was nowhere to be seen.

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