Sunday, July 8, 2012
Here's an imaginative composition written by one of my students.
It’s winter again in Garamond. I’d never thought this day would come so soon. On this day, most Garamonders called it the day of fortune, and they believed that a man in a black robe would always come to this town, giving money to the poor without people noticing him. There was an air of festivity and everyone was filled with joy and happiness.
Unfortunately, for me, it’s the opposite: On this day, I was always possessed by a melancholic feeling. I should be happy like the rest, shouldn’t I? I asked myself. No matter how I wanted to cheer myself up, it didn’t work. As usual, my mother closeted herself in her room. I knocked on the door, no reply...wonder what’s happened. “Has something happened?” an unknown voice whispered in my brain. “Nothing unusual’s ever happened,” I thought. I lived the days as usual. Almost every day, I went hunting for food with my friends all the way till the evening. Then we’d sell our haul to the shops in town and get paid. I would spend the rest of the day hanging out with friends at the inn by the port. “yet..w-why does my mother isolate herself from the world?” questions like this kept popping up in my brain. “There’s no hope. I should just forget it,” I sighed. The more I thought about it, the more depressed I was. It’s a never-ending cycle. When that day came again, I would feel the same. A few weeks passed, I was back to my normal self, doing things I usually did, and living as if nothing had ever happened.
As usual, I stepped out from the inn, where I always went to in the evenings, and headed back home. Night had fallen, everyone had already put out their candles in their house and the surroundings were so dark as if the sky had been painted black. It was cold and snowing, It was bone-chilling to the point where I hardly opened my eyes, seeing only faint light from the moon through a brief break in the clouds. It was as if a blanket had been thrown on me. Suddenly, I could hear sounds of something coming. At the same time things started to fade away around me, getting blurry. It turned out that the something was a person wearing a black robe, carrying a sword. Just as I got the chance to identify who he really was... I fainted.
I was brought to a hut in a forest close to the town. I woke up only to see the bed I was on, the broken and old rusty table with few chalices on it. The hut was very small and only three people could fit in the room and the ceiling was so low that I couldn’t stand straight. The black-robed man came in. The man finally said something, “Finally woke up, little boy?” I felt kind of tired, so I didn’t say anything. “But seriously, a little boy?” I thought. I was already 15 years old! With his tone of speaking, it’s clear that he sounded condescending. Seeing me standing still like a statue, he asked me a question, “Do you still remember me? I’m Gilbert.” I was shocked. I recalled something.
I was six to eight years old. With my mother and father strolling along the street in Renfall, a small town which was also the black-robed man’s residence. This man stopped us and was asking for directions and saying he was going on an errand. He invited us to have a meal with him at an inn. There, he did ask for more directions but when my mother and father looked away, he secretly put some white powder into my mother’s chalice. As I was still young, I thought of it was sugar and tried to drink it but my mother stopped me and drank it instead. At the same time, a pistol was fired and someone was killed. The entire inn was in chaos, with everyone screaming and running around. A bomb was then detonated. My father was killed. My mom lay unconscious on the floor. I was severely wounded me and cried for help, but no one came, and the man escaped. It was just too late. My mother and I became the only survivors of that incident. After that, I only remembered the man’s name, but had forgotten what he usually wore. “Have something on your mind?” The man asked me with eyes filled with confusion. There was no mistake. It was this man who caused the chaos back then when I was still a child, and it was he that killed my father. “It was you, wasn’t it?” I questioned him angrily. Still, why would he save me when I fainted on the road, when he already killed my father and tried to poison my mother? If he really hated my family, why didn’t he kill me on the spot? “I didn’t want to do it, but there was no choice. I just had to do it.”
With those words, he disappeared in a pall of smoke and I was left wondering with more questions in my head.
Right after he left, I immediately rushed out of the hut, and saw him leaning against a tree. “I just had to do it...” Gilbert's voice kept echoing in my brain. “He just had to do it? Out of much hatred? His hobby? Or he is taking a re...revenge.” “It’s enjoyable weather today...” Gilbert stopped my thinking. “The early morning breeze is somewhat freshening, isn't it?” “I.. I ...wanted to know...” I stuttered. “About the truth?” He continued my sentence. “21 years ago, when I was 12 years old, I already lost my parents, and in Renfall everyone is poor and are forced to work in a mine, However I lived the days peacefully without any problems until one day, a men dressed like a mage came in and presented me an easier way to earn more money. I gladly accepted it, and was then given a desert eagle and some pouches of white powder that looked like sugar. He also gave me the names of the families he wanted me to kill or drug. I was successful with the first few families. Of course, around that time, I would do everything to obtain money to support my own life. Every time I succeeded, the amount of pay would be doubled. Until now, even though I have a lot money, so much that I could purchase mansions, I still can’t stop killing as I always thought. This is it. This is the way to live. But I was wrong. As I was about to finish my job on your family, a companion of mine fired his pistol and a bomb hidden in the inn exploded. I was able to escape from it, but I again returned to the inn as I heard someone crying. The moment I arrived, you were already unconscious. In a split second, when I saw how severely wounded you were, I knew I had gone too far... I finally understood that I shouldn’t have accepted that mage’s idea... I was all wrong. This isn’t what it was supposed to be...” Gilbert let out a long and deep sigh. “T-then you..” I again stuttered. “Up to this point, I was already a well-known assassin who blindly killed families and left no traces. To get this over with... I actually started to do things to repay my debts...and hoped that someone would forgive me. Like, saving you...this is already the second time. I first saved you and your mother by sending you and your mother to a house I rented and told the landlord to never reveal my identity...No one would ever forgive me...” he let out another sigh. “Then I would be the first one to forgive you, knowing you and your actions, everything...even though you almost killed my whole family. My mother once said, ‘To live is to forgive.’ So, no matter what others do to us, they should be forgiven. If they are not given a chance, eventually everyone will be unstoppable and the power of forgiveness would lose its effect...I-I will forgive you and tell everyone that you’re forgivable.”
“Well, easier said than done, kid. How are you going to deal with the ‘forgivable’ part?”
“On that part ... I-I guess...”
“You would kill a dragon and get its blood. That’ll kill two birds with one stone... right?”
“A dra ... what?” I was puzzled
“A dragon, of course. Don’t tell me you never heard of dragons. One the level, is by proving that you have the ability to clear out the greatest threat to anyone in this world, and in turn everyone will then believe you and your voice will be heard. But right now, you are merely a commoner, who has no persuasive power at all. Let alone asking for a lower price to purchase land. This would be the best opportunity. Now, back to the dragon; it’s called Akor and it has been spotted flying back and forth around Garamond and Renfall these days, and villagers are intensely terrified that they won’t even light up a single candle ... from morning...all the way to the evening...”
A shiver went down my spine when he mentioned “dragon”.
“I don’t think I can do it... i-it’s too complicated for me to defeat a dragon..I think I ll pass...”
“I believe in you. You can do it without failure. Now, we should be heading towards the open area just the north of Renfall. It’s rumored that this dragon will follow any light source available. And if you are lucky enough, a critical strike would do. I will do my best assisting you in the process.”
The moon had risen again. And we headed towards the place. On the way, I started reminiscing about past events that happened.
A lot of things happened. It was tough and somehow made me feel uneasy.”Why I am doing all this? What exactly happened? What is going to happen next?” I questioned myself over and over. Once again, I was filled with a sudden surge of melancholy. But this time, it’s as if I was seeing afterimages for thinking too much, and someone appeared before me and answered my worries “To kill the dragon, get its blood and mend your mother’s heart...” My mind is clear. “This is it. All these happened so that I can save my mother,” I said to myself.
Ever since the incident I had been unclear what’s the objective of my own life. Even though sometimes I was given an opportunity, I simply let it pass and thought as if nothing had ever happened. But now the chance was right before me, I couldn’t let it go anymore.
We have arrived in an open area. Except for the moon , there was nothing in sight, not even a single tree could be seen. Gilbert had set up a fireplace using his flint and steel and light up a torch. Gilbert handed a sword and a bow with only one arrow to me. “Here, take these. These were originally given by the mage I met.”
All of a sudden, something flew by above us, making a swishing sound in the process.”It’s the dragon.” said Gilbert. The dragon flew towards us and just as it’s about to hit us, it let out a roar, and landed before us. The ground was shaken by its hostility towards us. It must have been attracted by the fire. Immediately after that, I held my long sword and tried to strike it but to no avail. The sword glinted with light when it scratched the dragon. “..a critical strike would do...” those words flashed before my eyes, and I was spaced out and my body stiffened and I couldn’t move. Seeing me standing still, the dragon slowly crawled towards me and opened its mouth. I was frustrated. “This is not what it’s supposed to be... it doesn’t work...” I was puzzled.
The dragon had unleashed its fire breath. Streams of fire came towards me. I was caught off guard, and now I was defenseless. “There’s no hope anymore...” I closed my eyes and waited for my death. However, the fire did not hit me... Instead... “Gilbert! What are you doing there...you would...” I cried. He didn’t respond. He dispelled the fire with his bare hands.
“How did you...” I said in panic.
“I was indeed the mage back then. The one that fired the pistol wasn’t me. Instead, it was him all along. and It’s me who gave him the offer. Now, hurry...Shoot the arrow and end it all...I am sorry, I lied.”
That said, he was pushed by those streams of fire, and vanished into thin air.
I aimed at the dragon, shot the arrow and crossed my fingers. The dragon was hit and slammed onto the ground. “I finally did it..” I said in relief, and took out a small glass bottle. I was able to obtain some drops of the dragon’s blood.
I rushed back towards my home and got my mother to drink it. Slowly, she opened her eyes...
“Is that you, Ravi?”
“Yes... it’s me .... it’s been a long time...” I burst into tears and hugged her.
It’s winter again, I’d never thought today was this season.
It was my happiest day ever.
Posted by YK Lim at 3:09 AM