Across the field
I was always read the stories before bed when I was little. A band of children would go exploring in the woods and take a wrong turn or meet a mysterious stranger and be whisked off into a world of fantasy where they were required to fulfill their heroic destiny in order to return home. Every child knows these stories and wish that it would happen to them. I felt that tinge as I sat in class, staring out the window. My instructor rapped me across the hands and asked if I was listening. I admitted no and he sighed. “Go outside while I arrange the next part of the lesson.” I jumped at the chance and ran out the door. I didn’t mind the extra tutoring, but it was a beautiful day and I wanted to play. I ran into the open field outside and looked for a stick to use as a sword. Playing knights was a favorite pastime and there was a dragon to be slayed! I found my “blade” and ran toward the big tree that would serve as my dragon for the afternoon. I got almost halfway there when I fell. I stepped and my forward foot missed the ground and I dropped into the hole. I hit the cold ground in the dark and blacked out.
I don’t know how long I was out, but I woke up and looked
for the light of the sun and I was nowhere to be seen. I felt around and found
a side of the pit and looked up. It was faint, but I could make out a few
stars. I began to feel around for something and I found a root about 3 feet off
the ground. I dug out above it and tried to climb out. The hole was about 6
feet deep and it took a bit of work, but I made it out. I rolled onto the grass
and breathed in the cold night air. I wondered if anyone was looking for me. I didn't hear anyone calling my name or shouting for me. I
got up and looked around. Nothing seemed right. I couldn’t see the tree, or any
of the familiar buildings. The field looked bigger and it crossed my mind that
I might be one of those kids who got transported to a magic land. I felt a brief mix of excitement and panic, but it
passed when I saw the lights.
At first I had thought they were stars, but they were very close to the horizon and were brighter than the others. They were clustered at the far end of the field. I began walking toward them when I heard it. It was faint and in the distance, but I was sure that I heard it. It was a roar and a rumble past the lights. I feared it might be some kind of dragon, so I began to run toward the lights. I hoped it was some kind of camp that could protect me from the dragon beast.
As I got closer and saw that it wasn’t a camp, just a cluster of lights on poles around a crossroads. The road was covered in a thick dark material that scraped against the leather of my shoes as I kicked at the edge. I was breathing hard from running across the field and from being terrified. I was alone in a new world that was home to some kind of giant monster that lurked in the dark. I went from panting, to hyperventilating, to crying. I dropped to my knees and sobbed. I missed its approach. I was sobbing too hard to hear it before it got close. By the time I realized it was close, it was almost 50 feet away. I looked up and screamed. It had bright white glowing eyes and was roaring as it approached. I rolled back off the road and down into the ditch and it began to screech as it passed. It screamed louder and then quieted as it came to a halt just beyond me.
It sat there, back to me, growling. I got to my feet and looked around, trying to remember anything on slaying giant beasts. I ran back up onto the road and was about to run into the field on the other side when I heard it. A voice. One of the beast’s ears moved forward and a man stepped down. He yelled something and began to jog toward me. I panicked and did the only thing that I could think to do. I raised my hands, pointed my palms at him, shouted, and willed the flames to shoot from my palms. A gout of fire flared forth and hit the beast in the back and side. The man running toward me was immediately engulfed in flames and dropped to the ground. I closed my hands and inhaled a breath. The beast hadn’t moved, even though it was now smoking and blackened on its rear. I was afraid it would turn around and attack me, but before I ran back into the field I pulled out a small scroll from my pocket and scribbled down the runes that were tattooed on the back of the apparently unfeeling beast before me.
“LONG HAUL TRUCKING”
I didn’t even know what it said, but Merlin always told me to take copious notes on anything I didn’t understand. I could look it up in the library the Mages College if I was ever able to return to Avalon.