I ducked as the coconut flew past my head, landing on the ground behind me. Birds flew overhead, their cawing and cooing unnaturally rhythmic and varied, a song of their own. Words could almost be deciphered within. The trees and the grass were a vivid green like I had never seen before, the flowers glowing in blues and violets in the shadows. Through the canopy of the forest, I saw two suns burning bright in the sky, one vibrant red and the other a soft lavender. The air smelled of roses and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
I slowly stepped towards where the coconut had flown from, edging over inch by inch. “Hello?” I called, a frog catching in my voice. “Hello?”
A rustling in the bushes startled me. I jumped back, my heart racing in my chest. I didn’t dare to take another step. Instead, the creature within the bush took one towards me. As it stepped out, it unfurled its glorious wings, magic singing off of them. Its scales moved elegantly, seeming almost more like hair than what they obviously were. Its eyes glimmered a deep, reddish violet, the light of the suns glinting off them. Golden teeth rimmed its open mouth, framing its pinkish tongue. Each step it took resounded musically, each step a new note in the song it was creating.
When it stopped before me, it bowed its head, touching it to the dusty ground. The dust cleared from its path. It looked up at me, eyes flashing. “Greetings, dear visitor.” Its voice matched its appearance in glory and beauty, its musicality matching that of its steps. “Forgive the flying fruit. Some don’t have the manners to greet visitors.”
“Where am I?” I asked. “I need to get back home. It’s lovely here, but I have important things to do.”
“In order to get back home,” the creature boomed, “You must pass my test.”
My heart sunk. A test? Typical. How Sphinx-ian of it. I gathered my courage and continued, “What kind of test do you mean?”
It smiled, an eerie kind of smile that instills discomfort in the very soul. A chill passed through my body. Its teeth reflected the light into your eyes, temporarily blinding me. When I regained you sight, the creature had swooped closer to me. It stood directly before me, infringing on my personal space. “A test that only you can pass, for each test is personalized for each individual.” It started circling me. “You, my dear, have an interesting task indeed. Curious. I’ve never seen it before myself. Who are you that you deserve your own brand of test?”
I shrugged. “I’m no one in particular. I’m a simple young woman who wants to get home. I have a lot to do.”
It stared me down. I could feel its eyes baring into my soul, looking into my heart as if reading my intentions. It ran a finger down my cheek, its nail soft against my skin. “You, my dear, must weave me a story as of yet unheard in this world, but you must do it at nightfall, proclaiming it to the young as they prepare to sleep.”
It flew away before I could respond.
For the entire day, I pondered what sort of story I ought to tell. An adventure? A romance? A comedy? I didn’t know how to appeal to these people, if they were even people at all. A thought which frankly terrified me.
When evening fell, the creature came to fetch me, setting me up on a log in front of a bonfire, burning warm and bright. Around it sat many young and sleepy people, exactly like myself. What a relief! And so I told the story of Cinderella.
They were enraptured, hanging on each word. They called for an encore and I told them Rapunzel. Sleeping Beauty. Snow White. These young people hadn’t heard the classic fairytale! They begged me to stay, explaining how much they needed my talents. How could I refus4 these people? And so I stayed for years.
Finally, one year the creature confronted me and told me that my test had finally been completed. I had given this world the concept of fairytales and myths, the beauty and the lessons that they have to offer. I had catapulted their culture into a world no one had thought possible. They fairly worshipped me. “It is now your time to go.” It told me to close my eyes and touched my head.
When I awoke, I was back home, completely in tact. But it was a day later than I had left. I didn’t care and immediately pulled up a new document to tell my story.
Prompt: “I can’t believe I missed it, but…” As a sort of apology for missing yesterday.