“Um, I can explain? I think?”
The leshy settles on a branch close to me. I look at his sideways scowl of disapproval.
“Look, I just wanted to change how I was seeing things. Maybe see if the feather was tied to being over the river relative to my perspective. I never thought the water would follow suit.”
He sighs, and rubs his hand on his face.
“I don’t know how you did this, but this can’t be good. Master Puck likes his world the way it was. I don’t know what he’ll do to you now that you’ve gone and messed up his river.”
“Well, I don’t know if we have to worry about that.”
The wind starts billowing and blowing in a full gale seeming to scream at me. It kicks up more branches, leaves and dirt than you’d expect.
And then we hear the thundering voice.
“PUNY MORTAL, WHO WILL FEEL PAIN,
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY DOMAIN”
I sheepishly look at the angry wood spirit with his ‘I-told-you-so’ face.
“You know, I could be wrong. Small chance we should worry.”
The wind ramps up, throwing debris everywhere. I squint and put my arms up to protect my face. The wind sounds like it’s laughing. Something maniacal.
“Wind, leaf, dirt and rock.
Our dear mortal is in for a shock…
Fire, rain, thunder and grave.
How much longer can he be brave?”
The wind spins faster around, whipping rocks through the air. They keep hitting me, despite my attempts to turn intangible. I’m too afraid. I look to the wood spirit and see him pressing against his tree to keep from flying away himself. But with everything going on, I still don’t see Robin Goodfellow.
“Robin! Stop it! I’m sorry! I can put it back! Just stop!”
The air spins even faster, applying pressure from above and push me into the rock I was standing on as his voice booms out.
“He thinks he can fix a world unturned
How many times must this lesson he learn?
Fear flows freely, giving me reign
And now for dear mortal to have some more pain!”
Fear. Shock. Brave. He told me before, I was afraid. That I had an emptiness. Is he still on that? Is that my way out? But how? I can’t even see him. I don’t even know what to do.
I look to the wood spirit again. His gaze was transfixed on something. Saying something. I couldn’t tell, the wind was too much. I looked at his mouth and focused as hard as I could on what he was saying.
It looks like… beh-ker… no… beh-ther…feh- FEATHER! He sees the feather! I follow his gaze. And there it is. It had a slight blue glow to it. It’s floating around me. It’s… it’s keeping pace with a small rock being whipped around in the wind!
Yes! My perspective did change its location! I push with all my might to stand and reach out trying to time the rotations. The feather moves outward. Crap!
I push forward, trying to get closer. The rocks are hitting me at a greater frequency. I don’t know how much longer I can take this. But I have to get it.
“Fruitlessly fighting for what? I wonder.
How can you force yourself into this blunder?
You have no power. Your hopes are dashed.
And fighting my wind will only leave you thrashed.”
“Give up. Give in. Be still. Be afraid.
Try to not think of your body being flayed…”
I’m at the edge of the large rock. I have to get down. I try to maneuver my legs to slide down backwards, but the stones flying through the air whip at me harder! I can’t do it!
“I… I… I can’t-”
Goodfellow’s voice comes bellowing back.
“Can’t what? Fight? Fly? Be anything, but weak?
Give up now. Your chances look bleak.”
I think of my family. I think of my job. I think of dying, fighting death, and this stupid journey. I think of what Robin told me earlier of my fear. Of how it affected my work and my daughters…
I think of my building. The skyscraper I designed all those years ago. How my firm never wanted to use it. How I could never sell it somewhere else. How all these ugly buildings went up, when my masterpiece sat on a stretch of paper. And I decide that was enough.
“Don’t tell me I’m not good enough…”
“What was that mortal? I’m afraid I-”
“DON’T TELL ME I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH!”
I scream out louder than Puck. Louder than the wind. Louder than the hastened beating of my scared heart.
I push myself back up on the rock and force myself to stand. I look back out at the flying feather. It’s even further out, much too far to reach. I push back as far as I can, run to the edge of the rock and jump.
It was quick. I could barely remember it. But my arm shot out and my hand closed around the whipping debris.
And I land. And the wind stops. And the leaves and rocks fall.
The small leshy looked around in the air, surprised at what happened. But in all this, all I could think was, I did it.
I open my hand to see a lightly glowing blue feather.