Thursday, June 14, 2012
Thursday Tales: Poison
The forest was thick. The sky was fading to dark. The wall in front of me was smooth and high. Very very high, and it seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see in both directions. It would take me days to walk around it, and I didn't have days. My best friend, Reese, rested two miles back on the forest path, an arrow through his stomach, and the only medicine in this forest was on the other side of the wall.
"Caitlin, no," he'd protested. But I couldn't just let the only friend I've ever known perish, could I?
I'd never been on the other side of the wall. I don't think I even knew anyone who had, but the tales and legends of magic and medicine were known to us all. But how to get through? I couldn't get around it. There were no gates, and the surface was as smooth as polished stone. I didn't think I could climb it, either.
Sitting on a fallen log, I dropped my head into my hands and tried to find a solution.
"You could always use the door, you know." The voice made me jump. It came from a little man, not more than four feet tall. His face was weathered from untold years, and his brown hair out in tufts underneath his faded green hat.
"There." He gestured impatiently behind him and I suddenly noticed a little yellow door at the base of the wall. "Little" being the operative word here. It couldn't have been more than 18 inches high.
"I appreciate the help," I began. "But, I think that's a little small for me."
I leaned forward and plucked the bottle from his hand. It was a pretty crystal container, with a rich pink liquid inside. I read the label that accompanied it. "Mr....?"
"Daythan. Just Daythan" he provided.
"Daythan... Is this some sort of trick? This says its 'poison.' It doesn't seem like it'd be very safe."
"The world isn't very safe, Miss. Poison is relative, anyway. It's only poison if you aren't immune to it. Why, you might call the air of your fair city 'poison,' wouldn't you?" He wrinkled his nose in distaste. "And yet your folk seem to live in it. The words you speak to each other? Poison of another variety. And you survive."
I quirked a smile at him. "And the poison that comes in a bottle marked POISON? I'm supposed to believe that's just fine?"
"It's only poison to the weak, to those who aren't braver than their fears. But to the courageous? The strong? Those who have the resolve to resist its powers? They can withstand the dangers. The question is... are you one of them? Young Reese awaits."
Indeed. Was I one of them? I didn't feel particularly strong and courageous. I felt afraid. I felt worried. I felt helpless. I plucked the key from Daythan's hand, popped the top of the bottle, and drank. Sometimes you had to have more faith in what could be than in what you feared.