The Curse of Time: Chapter 8
Raven found herself walking down an empty road. She didn’t know how she got there, and she really didn’t care. She didn’t know where all the people were, and it really didn’t matter. Her mind was set on one goal, to find out his name. She couldn’t even remember whose name she needed to know, or how she had met this person. All she knew was that she needed to know his name.
It was a consuming thought that blinded her to the world around her; otherwise she would have noticed the people staring at her from behind barred windows and blocked doors. The only thing she could think about was his name, until he appeared. Like a ghost in a dream, he suddenly was standing in front of her. Tall, with pitch black hair and black eyes that seemed to bore into her, he simply stood and watched her. His face was scarred unpleasantly, stretching in jagged marks from the left corner of his forehead to the right corner of his chin. While the scars were unpleasant, his face was not and is smile seemed to give of a comforting glow that permeated the air around her and drew her in. The deep black of his eyes was friendly, although partially held shut by the scars, causing him to look like he was always squinting.
This man was completely unfamiliar at first, but then she looked closely and saw that she had met him before. She couldn’t quite remember when or why, but he had been at her school. He was wearing the same black suit as he had worn then and it suited his pale complexion and dark features well, even more so because of the red flower that he wore in his pocket. As she looked at him, she suddenly forgot what she wanted to ask him and found she had nothing to say. She only watched as he smiled and wondered how she knew him.
“It’s good to finally meet you.” His voice was warm, gentle, and agonizingly familiar.
“Do I know you?”
“Perhaps not. I cannot say.” He smiled as if he knew everything would be alright. “You are confused I can see. So tell me, what is it that you wish to know?”
“I…” Raven knew there was something, but she couldn’t remember “I don’t know.”
“I see. Well then, instead of telling you what you want to know, I will tell you what you need to know.”
“What I need to know?”
“The flower may be a key to unlock the worlds, but it is not the master key.”
“The master key?” Raven was painfully aware of how childish she sounded, but she found it was all she could manage just to speak.
“Yes. You do not truly believe that the master key to open all doors would be entrusted to a plant, do you? No, the flower can only assist the true key.”
“The true key?”
“Yes, the true key can be found anywhere, and nowhere. It is not an object or a person. It is found here,” he pointed to her heart, “and here.” He pointed towards her head and then lowered his hand with a sigh.
“What is it?”
“I’m afraid you have a long and hard path before you. Yet do not despair. Your friends will help you along the way. Trust them, as much as they trust you, and they will help you find your way.”
With that, he turned around and walked away. As if waking from a trance, Raven shook herself and suddenly remembered what she had wanted to ask him.
“Wait! Who are you?”
But it was too late. Even as the words left her mouth, he disappeared into the fog and the world suddenly burst into life as people began to come out of their homes and go about their business as if they had never been cowering behind locked doors. The street was transformed into a beautiful and jolly road that was teeming with life and happiness. And yet, Raven felt like she was missing something; something important. As she turned around and walked back in the direction she had come from she pushed aside all thoughts of the strange man and attempted to be happy. She pushed herself to smile and skipped down the road like a little child. As she skipped along, she found herself transforming, changing into a small child without a care in the world. Beside her, a small boy skipped along and laughed as he tripped over his own feet. Letting go, she laughed along with the boy and finally forgot the man.
It’s always the most important things that you forget first.