I awoke in bed to find I was completely surrounded by ninjas!
Adorned all in black, they were the night, they were the shadows. I began to sit up and scream when one of them lightly jumped on my chest, putting his hand over my mouth.
“No noise.” He didn’t seem to speak using his mouth (or at least I didn’t see it move through his mask), but I could hear him.
I nodded my head. His voice carried the type of gravity that it would have felt wrong to react any differently.
“You have been chosen,” he said to me in his deep and very dramatically slow voice. “The world is in peril and we need you. The elders looked into their green smoke and found you. You will be trained at the top of the great ghost mountain in the way of the specter ninjas. It is our sacred duty to protect the Earth from all of the perils the commons do not know about. You will join us in fighting the giant rock lizards of Mars, the beautiful Venus army, and the ravenous smelting beasts.”
He removed his hand from my mouth and sat up. “The specter ninjas need you. You are to be our new leader, our hope. Scott Southern…”
“Scott Southard,” I corrected.
I couldn’t exactly see the ninja’s expression, but I knew it was confused. “Excuse me?”
“My name is Scott Southard, not Scott Southern. It is a common mistake.”
The ninjas looked around at each other and in a flash of green smoke they were gone.
I woke up feeling regret.
The battle did not go well, and soon all that remained of my battalion was the six of us huddled in that muddy trench. Everything around us stank, and I was strangely becoming used to the smell of the corpses we had piled up on the other side of the trench. After we did that, none of us had the courage to approach that area again for fear of disease.
I had always dreamed of visiting France, but this is not what I expected. When they came recruiting at my town, discussing the military joys in front of us (Fighting the huns! Saving the kingdom! Taking part in the war to end all wars!), I didn’t imagine this muddy hell awaiting me. I’m not sure even how I survived and didn’t end up in that pile over there. We were ordered to leave our other trench and run to this one. Which pretty much meant we were fodder for the many machine guns of the huns.
I heard my fellow soldiers cut down around me as I ran, but I could not look. I just focused on where I needed to get and then dived in, covered my head, and waited for the sound of bullets to stop ripping the air above me.
That was two days ago.
The only officer that survived was a lieutenant and he jumped back into the trench, his white flag (which was my old handkerchief) was stuffed back into his pocket. “So I spoke to the bloody huns,” he said in his very thick Scottish accent. “And they need a tenor.”
The rest of us looked among ourselves confused.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“A tenor,” the lieutenant said again. “They have a choir and during the last battle we seemed to have gotten a member of their group. If we have a tenor, they will allow him to live, he will be treated well in the prison camp, just as long as he sings in tune at their next concert for the officers.”
“What about the rest of us?” the soldier with the bloody and bandaged arm next to me asked.
“We will be killed in time, or starve. They don’t care,” the lieutenant explained and then spat on the ground. “They claim they have no room in their prison camp for more mouths.” He paused and took a cigarette out of his pocket. It was broken and bent but he didn’t care. He lit it up and looked among us. “So which of you can sing?”
I woke up trying desperately to remember a song I never knew.
After two weeks adrift in my plastic toy boat I had finally found land! I steered my vessel towards it and ran it aground.
My legs felt wobbly under me as I staggered out of the boat and onto the land. I almost considered kissing the ground, but stopped, realizing how weird it was that I was not on sand, but grass.
The greenest and most perfect grass I had ever seen.
I struggled to my knees and looked around and realized I was not on a beach but in a beautiful and serene field. This did not make sense; I looked back towards my boat and it was gone! So was the ocean!
“Hello!” I shouted.
There was no answer.
“Is there anyone out there!?!” I shouted again, but there still was no answer.
Now… I’m not certain how I knew this, but I felt at this moment all possibility. I was like a god arriving at a world that was only waiting my hand to forge it. For I knew, somehow in my soul I knew, that I could make this land into anything I desired. Yes, I might be the only person on this land, this country, but this world was mine to make of it what I wanted. While the grass was between my toes, I could feel the stars in my hair.
I could do anything.
A power seemed to erupt through my spirit, I almost wanted to laugh at the possibility in front of me… but just when I began to let our a mighty roar, my spirit changed to one of loneliness.
This world could be mine, but I suddenly didn’t want it. Something was missing, and without it, all of the possible successes of it didn’t matter a fig.
I woke up relieved to hear the sounds of my family downstairs starting the day.
If fiction is more your thing, I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors and Megan.
You can find all of these books via my amazon.com author page here. Thanks for reading!
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