Recently, my friend wrote a post on her blog. It was a short story she came up with from a writing prompt and I really enjoyed reading it! It got me thinking though. Where had my creativity gone? It's been a while since I wrote anything creative, in fact. So I decided to take her prompt as a prompt to me to get my creative juices flowing. I ended up spending about 2 hours last evening, hunkered down in front of my laptop writing the piece that follows. It's far from perfect, but for the sake of keeping up with my blog, I wanted to get it out and posted.
Writing Prompt: As a child, you and your best friend made a pact to go on an real fantasy adventure. After growing up, starting your separate lives and families, and losing touch, one day he/she bursts into your office, throwing you a sword and insists you accompany them.
The door bursts open; staring at me is Jonathan, my childhood friend. His hair is a mess and he looks at me with wild eyes.
I haven't seen him in years, but he looks exactly like the last time I saw him. In fact, he looks to be wearing the same black and red flannel shirt, blue jeans and beanie hat he had on at his going away party, over 10 years ago. I remember it clearly, because he was getting ready to go off to Princeton. We joked that he looked like he should be going to university in some hipster town like Portland or Seattle, instead. Funny how some things never change.
Then I realize although his outfit is the same, he is carrying a sword in one hand and strapped to his waist is some sort of utility belt. On the belt I see a small blade and a stone attached to a string. How puzzling.
He throws the sword towards me and says, "Rob, take this. We have to go, quickly! There is no time to waste."
My sword catching skills are lacking, so rather than reach my hand out to grasp it, I jump away. It falls to the floor with a loud clatter.
Without hesitation, Jonathan picks it up and mutters, "This is not going to be as easy as I had imagined."
He steps towards me, takes my hand and says, "Here, take this." He places the sword into my palm. It feels cold and heavy. It is much heavier than one would imagine a sword to be. I almost drop it, but don't.
"Is that all you have to wear?" he asks.
Looking at my reflection in my large corner office window, I take note of my attire. I have on a blue Calvin Klein suit, shiny gray tie and black winged-tip shoes. After college, I worked my way up the corporate ladder and am now a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I take my job seriously and that includes dressing the part.
"No, I do not. Jonathan, what is this all about? I am very busy, I haven't seen you in years and quite frankly, do not appreciate being bombarded at work like this."
"If the situation were not dire, Rob, I would not have come. Believe me. What will it take for you to come with me?"
"I am not going anywhere until you tell me what this is all about."
He sighs. "Fine, I’ll try to give you the abridged story…for the sake of time.” He looks at me for approval to continue.
"Go on..." I say.
"This is going to sound completely crazy, but please hear me out. It all started 10 years ago, the night of my going away party. After everyone had left our house, my parents went to bed. I was still wide awake from drinking one too many Red Bulls that night, so I decided to play Minecraft. I had just started to create a new world when all of a sudden I heard this loud bang from downstairs. I ignored it at first, thinking it was just Jax. You remember, Jax, our Jack Russell Terrier?" He continues on, not waiting for a response.
"Well, then I heard it again. A loud, BANG! So I put down my Xbox controller and decided to investigate. I turned on the lights in the upstairs hallway and approached the staircase slowly, listening for any noise from the floor below. It was eerily quiet. I took a very step slowly onto the top the staircase. I stood there for a moment, determining whether or not I should descend. My stomach growled. Deciding I could use a snack, I figured I may as well get something to eat and check out the noise."
"I started going down the stairs, this time hopping them two at a time. Just as I reached the last stair, the banging started again. Only this time it felt like the entire house shook. And, then it happened again."
"It was someone or something banging on the front door. BANG! The bang was so loud; a vase on the entryway table fell and crashed to the ground. I tried calling for my parents. But all that came out of by mouth were a few gasps. I was freaked the hell out, man."
"Then it happened, once more..one final...BANG! The front door flew open and what I saw... I still can't believe it. It was like something out of Jumanji, man. Instead of looking across the street at Mr. and Mrs. Peterson's old white Victorian house, I saw a jungle. Not just saw a jungle, I felt it, smelled it and heard it."
"There were sounds of baboons screeching, birds singing and the soft rustle of rain dripping from the tree tops. The smell…It was a mixture of early morning dew and sweetness, like Starburst candy. Yes, man like freaking rain and candy. And it was hot, but not NJ humid hot. Warm, but inviting. That's when I realized I had to be dreaming. I must have fallen asleep while playing Minecraft. And then, I heard her voice..."
"Jonathan...please help me." It was like a whisper floating to me from the clouds. "Please, I need your help." The voice beckoned me to follow. Well, I figured I was dreaming, so why the hell not? After all, maybe it was a hot chick. I stepped across the doorway into the deep, dark, sweet smelling, and sauna-like jungle. BANG! The door front door closed behind me. And as it did, vines, moss and weeds quickly swallowed the front door to my childhood home."
I look at my watch and cough. Jonathan stops talking. I think Jonathan's gone mad. Either he has gone off the deep end or he is hooked on drugs. Either way, my childhood friend has been through some pretty heavy stuff over the years.
"Jonathan, it's been great seeing you. Really. Your story..well, uh it's unbelievable."
He cuts me off, "But, I am not done. There's more."
"I don't need to hear another word. Jonathan, I am really a very busy man. I hope you don't mind me being blunt. I can recommend a good therapist or even an addiction program. You’re an old friend, whatever I can do to help in that way, I am happy to do so."
"Rob, I am NOT crazy. I am not a druggie. Hell, sometimes I wish either one of those were the case. But no, for the last 10 years I've been stuck in an alternate jungle universe where a beautiful princess needed my help. That voice that beckoned me forth, it wasn't a hot chick. It was an evil troll. It tricked me to leave my home and venture into the deep dark jungle.”
God damn, he is certifiably insane, I realize.
He continues on…
“He captured me and held me prisoner in a cage made of vines, for months. Months! He rarely acknowledged my existence. He talked to himself a lot and laughed. I was freaking a prisoner to a troll! Then one day a man with a sword showed up. He told the troll he would trade a beautiful princess in exchange for me. And man, was she beautiful. She had long black hair, skin as white as pearls, soft pink lips and damn her body was banging. The troll couldn't believe his luck and he agreed to make the trade. The man took his sword and slashed through my cage made of vines. I fell to the ground. He gave the princess over to the troll, turned to me and said, "Let's get out of here...fast." He ran towards the jungle and I followed after him."
"Wait, stop!" the stranger said to me, "Look."
"We kneeled behind jungle brush and watched the troll with his new captive."
"Uggghhh... aren'ta you a beautiful huuman." the troll said.
"The princess just stood and stared at him without saying a word. I remember thinking how odd, she didn't even seem scared or all that concerned. The troll started laughing, hard. I guess he couldn't believe his luck. Then, it happened. A dark green mist started rolling into the troll's den and surrounded the beautiful princess. It completely engulfed her, her black hair, translucent skin, pink lips and awesome body disappeared. Then just as quickly as the mist rolled it, it rolled out.
However, when it did...the princess was gone too. In her place was a large boulder dressed up to look like a woman...it had twigs for hair and a face drawn on it -- it looked like something a five year old would have drawn.
I then heard laughter beside me...but it wasn't from a man. No, it was laughter from a woman. Not just any woman, it was the princess."
"What the hell?" I whispered.
She laughed some more and said, "Come on, let's go before the troll comes after us."
"Come on..."she giggled.
I cut Jonathan off. "This is taking much too long..."
"Ok, ok. I'll speed things up. Turns out this chick was some sort of magical princess. Her father, the king of Junglonia, had been captured and a curse was put on him. It turned him into a stone. The only way to reverse the curse was to kill the evil wizard. The thing is, the evil wizard wasn’t that easy to kill. The only way to kill the evil him was for two men from an alternate universe to pierce his heart with two sterling silver, magical swords. Moira, the princess, and I have been searching for months to finds the swords. We finally did. You are holding one of them. I then needed to find a way back here to get you."
"Me? What are you talking about?"
"You know, two men from an alternate universe? That's you and me, man. Like from our childhood adventure pact, remember? Somehow, some way, the adventure is real, dude. I need your help. Moira needs your help. Her father, the king, needs our help!"
"Whoa. That is enough!" I yell.
"I don't know what has happened to you in 10 years. But, I have a life now. I have a very important job, a family, children and many people depend on me. We had a great childhood together, but whatever you are mixed up in, I want nothing to do with it. I can't have it. Please, leave."
"Rob, please, we need your help. I love her.. Moira. I fell in love with her. That's why I never tried to leave. But, time is running out. If we don't kill the evil wizard in two days time, her father will remain a stone forever. Just take my hand, I'll show you." He steps towards me.
"No! Leave!" I walk towards my office door and thrust it open without looking.
All of a sudden I feel warm air, smell something sweet and hear water trickling. I turn towards the door and cannot believe my eyes.
There before me is a jungle. Just like in Jonathan's story. How can this be? Did he somehow slip me LSD or something?
"What the hell?" I whisper.
"Rob, please we need your help..." a female voice whispers. "Please..." It gets louder, until standing before me, with the jungle behind her is a beautiful woman. So beautiful she takes my breath away.
She is wearing a green dress, looks to have been made of leaves and twigs; her hair is long, dark and lustrous. But it's her eyes, there is something in them; a mixture of grief, hope and love.
"Please come with us. You’re our only hope."
I look from her to Rob, who is still standing in my office. The difference between my office and the world beyond my office door does not befool me. Do I defy all logic and step over into the jungle and go on this wild trip (drug trip, for all I know) with Jonathan or stay in my expensively decorated corner office, crunching numbers for the 1st quarter budget?
Maybe I am dreaming, I think. Yes, that has got to be it! I really didn’t sleep all that well last night. If so, stepping over to the jungle side can't hurt...right? And, I'd be accompanied by a hot chick and my childhood friend. Why not?
"Jonathan, I bet I am dreaming."
He smiles at me, knowingly.
I step through my office doorway into the jungle, in my Calvin Klein suit and wing-tipped shoes, magical sword in hand..."Let's have that adventure."
"I never thought you'd say that. Come on, this way!" Rob yells.
As I start to follow, my office door bangs shut behind me. It is quickly swallowed up by vines and jungle brush... to be seen no more.