OF QUEST AND VALOR
By Shyla Fairfax-Owen
You have to give yourself the life you want, because nobody else can.
Figuring that part out is easy; the difficulty begins when you ask yourself how to go about such a task, and germinates further when you ask yourself what life it is you even want. It may start somewhere as simple as happiness, victory, or revenge; but at the core it’s always far more complicated. I let myself ruminate on the subject for quite some time as I lingered outside of the threshold. I knew being there meant my decision had been made, but I also knew I had not yet fully absorbed the absoluteness. With a contrived sense of self-assurance, I stepped forward, all the while resisting the urge to take one ablutionary glance backwards at what I was leaving behind; the life that would be forever woven into the tapestry of my being. There was a sense of edict hovering about me as I entered this new world, and yet it also felt unexpectedly refreshing. Despite all of my incredulity, the moment was upon me, and I was determined to be present in it.
I wondered suddenly what the experience would be like, and if I might someday feel the need to bowdlerize it while exchanging mandatory pleasantries. Or, perhaps it would be this very time and place that would become the source of all my future reveries. And then I wondered: could there even be a future for a savior – a savior to whom all the worlds were looking; a savior who does not even understand her gifts?
Just then, a balmy voice called out to me. It was a voice to which I could not reply for lack of understanding. Although the words were unclear, I recognized a sentiment in the tone that was nearly filial. As the voice danced in echoes around my head, it took on an eerily flotsam characteristic which was at once uncomfortable and entrancing. It was no longer just a voice, but an iridescence which overtook my vision (all of my senses, really) until I could only be sure of an omniscient presence before me. A great deal of anxiety fell upon me at the chance of not applying the correct decorum in a circumstance I could know nothing about. Why had nothing about this brought the elatedness I had assured myself it would? With that nervous thought the magic dissipated, the spell broke, and the myriad colours dulled to a number.
As I regained my equilibrium, the ground beneath me grew more solid; it was the first moment I realized it had never yet been sturdy under my feet. It would have been the time to hurtle back through the door if there ever was one; but I knew better than to believe the other side would ever exist for me again. Now there was only what lied ahead, to be revealed to me by this being whom I so hoped would be anthropomorphized- my distinct desire to relate to it. And when it spoke, it roared; and when it roared, it roared my name in a way I had never known, and in a way that promised me I had come to the right place at last. The roaring corrugated the air all around me, making breathing it in an additional challenge. The nerves were welling up inside me, despite my efforts to remain calm, and I truly feared they would never be placated. In just a moment’s time, the worlds’ detritus would be at my feet.
To whom the roaring belonged, I was not told. Indeed, I was told very little. There was no grandiose welcome, no ministrations; not even any formal introductions. There had been no time. The secrets of the worlds, the key to life, anything positive I had let myself desire remained wreathed; sheltered from my undeserving eyes. Surrounded by muck and debris, I made myself breathe slowly, the way I swore to myself I would no matter what I would face from this day on.
To my surprise, with each step I could feel the vestige of my past melt away until all that was left was each new step ahead of me. The journey had begun.
Shyla Fairfax-Owen holds a Master’s Degree in Film Studies and a Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Throughout her grad school career she specialized in the Horror genre, and has recently decided to follow her passion for writing speculative fiction. Her latest endeavor has been flash fiction, for which she launched a site that is dedicated to sharing those works.