April 1st, 2007
Ghost Boy refused to move.
“Go,” called out the Mouth, “You’re out of the forest now. You’re free. There are mountains, rivers. There is open sky, no more the claustrophobic canopy. Clouds, wind, rain. This is for you. You chose this, I’m proud of you.”
Ghost Boy still couldn’t bring himself to move.
“I’d like to go back,” said Ghost Boy finally, with decisiveness, “I don’t like it out here and you will take me back now.”
The Mouth laughed sadly. “You can’t. It’s done. You stepped into me like an inhalation, and I breathed you out into this new world. It’s for you, all of this. You can’t reverse what’s done. I know it’s strange and scary. But you have to trust that you did the right thing for yourself.”
With that, the Mouth vanished.
Ghost Boy looked around. His arrows were gone, and his magic items: his chalice, his potion, his small powder skull. He felt naked. The sun warmed his skin and he heard the distant call of birds.
He took a deep breath and began to walk down the hill. It was different out here. No maze of a forest, forever forcing his path. Here there was openness, possibility. Ghost Boy was frightened of all the options he now had. He could do anything, walk anywhere, maybe head over to those mountains, with their promise of vistas and clean crisp air.
A few yards away he spied a pond. He walked towards it carefully, unsure of what it was.
He gazed into the reflection.
Instinctively he reached for his bow and arrow.
Behind him he heard a voice.
“It’s just your reflection,” said the voice. “Don’t attack it. Where are you from that you’ve never seen such a thing? The desert?”
Ghost Boy turned around, and there was a woman dressed in blue, eyes of blue, hair black, olive skin, teeth like pearls. The woman smiled.
“What is desert?” asked Ghost Boy.
“It’s where things are dead, there’s no life, no growth, just wandering and sand,” said the woman, concealing her surprise.
Ghost Boy paused, thinking.
“I am from the desert,” he said, and scooped up a palmful of water.