Dichotomy (First part of an extended and as yet incomplete series)

  
Via:  Broliver "TheSquirrel" Stagnasty  •  9 years ago  •  5 comments


Dichotomy (First part of an extended and as yet incomplete series)
 

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Each according to the dictates of his own conscience.

Norman Rockwell, et al.

The world reeled on its own course, heedless of the thoughts or actions of the people who thought they ruled. Long after Gaea was conquered for the umpteenth time, the last final leader anointed by his gods high hand, Gaea still circled the sun; still the third planet; still the living mass of rock; still except for the cacophony of small noises rising from its surface.


_______________________________

Frost struggled to maintain its grip on the valley. The wind still carried the chill of snow and ice even as the sun, clearing the ridge, poured energy into the forested glens near the village of Aberdale. Spring was coming. Aberdale was arising as Temon slipped into the early morning and began his chores, hoping for a quick completion of the tasks at hand. Tomorrow would be like the day before in this little backwater town, but today would be different. Today he was going to be king. Well, for the Spring Dance anyway.

The exact confluence of events that had lead to his coronation as the Spring King still eluded him, but the Village Board had recommended him, the villagers had approved, and tonight, as the sun was setting and the last chills of winter were setting their precarious hold on the town, he would hold court in the grand hall of the meeting center. There he would call the dances, and have the pick of all the girls. Indeed, he actually had to dance with all of the girls at least once. Since there were several communal dances early on, that would not be difficult. It was after the communal dances that he was allowed to choose his partners, and no one was beyond reach of the Spring King.

After several hours of dancing, the Spring King who chose the people who would stay at the dance. He didnt know what transpired after that, for he had never been allowed to stay. Even in this small community, where everybody seemed to know everything about everyone else, he hadnt been able to find out one small scrap of information, much less cross check it with another source, about what went on after the king made his selections. He was burning with a desire to find out, and the lack of credible information merely sparked his teenage imagination down roads of wild fancy.

Not that he needed to be Spring King to know who it was he was going to be dancing with. It had been plainly obvious to the entirety of Aberdale whom Temon Wber would be dancing with (if he had his druthers) since about two years past. Miss Trancy Ardon would dance with him for longer than she had ever before. She would definitely be one of the ones invited to stay after the rest had been sent away, and then

Temon! Hey! Temon! Youd get more work done if your hands were moving. And wipe that stupid look off of your face or youll never have any dances tonight, Spring King or no. If I hadnt seen that grin that flashed across your face just then, Id have been thinking you were havin one of your fits. Temons father gave him a good natured slap on the back and continued on into the mill. It was only then that Temon realized that he had been standing at the doorway to the mill, daydreaming about what would occur tonight.

His fits! If only he didnt have one of his fits. They had been the bane of his existence since the age of twelve, and had been occurring with greater frequency of late, though they were still sporadically placed. They could come upon him with little or no warning, and it was then that his imagination got left behind. The stuff of dreams, or nightmares, was what it was like when he stepped into one. Stepping into one. That was what it was like. He would be walking along and suddenly the things that were real and the things that were fantasy became one and the same. Strange things started happening around him.

People changed. Sometimes they changed in small ways. His friend would have a different hair cut, or maybe his father, he knew it was his father, would have a different color eyes. Sometimes the changes were more intense.

Two years past he had been out hiking with some friends, on a welcome respite from chores and tutelage. In the air was the fresh scent of new growth from the fir trees mixed with the musk of dirt just relieved of its last crusting of snow. The sky was a bright and clear blue that just seemed to call out Springtime, while a chorus of birds filled the air with the flash of feathers and trills.

Turning to help the others up onto a boulder, he levered them one by one to the crest of the rock, releasing one and turning to the next. The last in line, Trancy took his hand and they both heaved together, and suddenly the world around them changed. No longer were they on a mountain boulder enjoying bright plumage and birdsong in the fresh springtime air. They werent even on the mountain that they had been climbing. A flat, dry plain stretched to the horizon in all directions. Where just moments before had been towering trees there was a drying grass carpet. Even the sky seemed to offer a dull, brownish hue. Staring wildly about at the instantaneous change in scenery, and thrown off balance in the midst of a motion that was no longer necessary, they stumbled forward, clinging together, each clasping the others hand like a lifeline.

Terror would have been too mild of a word to describe what they saw in each others eyes, and wonder too pale a description of the feelings racing through them as they struggled to comprehend just what had happened to bring them to this place. Glancing down they realized that they each were still clinging to the others hand, and when they dropped the clasp in embarrassment, they were back on the mountain, with the same sky, the same plants, and the same boulder, but in a slightly different location.

What the, they had both started to say when Temons best friend Nocs burst from the bushes, calling angrily, There you are! Weve been looking for hours. His anger turned to puzzlement, and then a knowing grin slowly crept across his features.

Ahhhh, he said tapping his finger along side of his nose. Right. I see that you must have fallen in the bushes. And from the looks of you two, the bushes must have gotten the better end of the deal. I know that can make a person disheveled, and you certainly are disheveled, he winked. The grin contained in Nocs voice brought Temons awareness to the fact that he was lying in a small clump of bushes, with his clothing in a frightful state of disarray. Trancy was lying beside him, and her clothing looked to be in much the same condition.

But we werent We were just hiking along there was this big field, bigger than any I have ever seen, Temon tried to explain, and it was so hot he trailed off when the grin stretching Nocs face seemed to grow larger. Their surprise turned to indignation and then to anger when they saw they were not to be believed, and both stepped on the others words in a futile attempt to stop Nocs laughter, which just grew louder as their protestations of innocence increased in volume.

That was how the rest of group found them, Nocs nearly incapacitated with gut clenching mirth, Temon and Trancy still flushed with anger and rumpled from their fall in the bushes. Knowing he was fighting a losing battle, Temon murmured one last protestation of innocence and started down the trail.

That had been one of the worst episodes in terms of severity, and also because everybody knew of it about an hour after their return to the village. Or at least the version that his so called friends had spread, complete with rumpled clothes and what they saw as the lamest of excuses. Aberdale, as a community, thought it rather funny, which was puzzling to Temon. Other youngsters who had been caught rolling in the bushes had been called down, some of them quite severely. When the news reached his father though, the older Wber took Temon aside with a concerned look and asked him if he was all right.

I didnt do anything wrong with Trance. Honest, I didnt. he proclaimed.

I believe you, he had said, confounding Temon even more than he had been at the towns reaction. Temon was taken aback. He had expected an altogether different response from his father than he had received from Nocs, but his fathers reaction had varied in a way he had not expected. You had another one, did you? he said, more of a statement than a question. Describe what happened and how you felt.

As Temon went over the events of the afternoon, they flashed before his minds eye, still crisp in his memory, still frightfully real. His father just stood there with the worried look gradually changing to one of what seemed to Temon to be relief. You go get some supper and go to bed, he nodded, unsuccessfully trying to sound stern, I will talk with Trancys father and see if her tale matches yours. Then he grinned, he actually grinned! Temon was flooded with puzzled relief. Heading towards the kitchen he was suddenly aware of just how tired he felt, tired and relieved that he hadnt faced a more severe punishment than being sent to bed. Sent to bed! At his age.


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