Aquamarine path

road in space

"This Land made an alliance with Wind," said her brother on the third day of their journey, "and the union turned out unhappy for both. The Wind dried the Land up, doomed every living thing here to die of thirst. Once the last forest is gone the Wind will suffer too for there will be no place for him to sing, no shade for him to hide, and no one to make him company. Immortal, he will wander the dead world forever, wailing and crying alone. A sad end of the sad tale."

The little girl raised her eyes, beautiful eyes with violet irises and snow-white eyelashes, and looked at her brother.

“What will happen to us?” she asked, very serious. “Will we die of thirst as well?”

Her brother gently patted her on the head. His little brave sister… Her lips are dry, cracked, and crusty with blood, yet she keeps walking and doesn’t even complain of being thirsty and tired. He wouldn’t dare to lie to her.

“Yes, we will, unless we find the next portal. But I think we’ll find it. It’s not that bad here. When I was your age our father led me through a world where the Land made an alliance with Fire.”

...It still hurt him to remember his father but not as much as before. Soon, he will be able to bring himself to tell his sister everything about their parents’ death and the Aquamarine Path…

By the next midday, they managed to find a timid little spring hidden from the Wind at the bottom of a deep ravine. Over the ages, the silver ribbon of water had gnawed its way through the rock and washed myriads of little gemstones from it. Blue, green, and greenish-blue, they merrily shone and sparkled through the water now, so different yet so similar, like siblings.

It was the best camp they had had in days. Water meant life. They were safe as long as they kept travelling by the spring.

The siblings had barely talked before, their throats dry from thirst, their lips cracking again with every word. Now, the brother did his best to make up for the long silence. There was so much he had to teach his little sister.

“There are many worlds in the Universe,” he told her, “most of them being unhappy unions. The first world I remember visiting was the one where the Land made an alliance with the Sky. There were islands floating in the air, each with its own unpredictable path. Some wandered alone, some in groups, some fed on dust clouds, the others preyed on them, chasing and crushing them to rebuild themselves. Our mother and father tamed a herd of peaceful islands to travel there. I remember our herd being chased by predators, the rocky islands with sharp edges…That horrible world, my first world… I saw many unions after this one: Land-Space full of deadly dark holes to nowhere, Land-Bamboo where you have to sleep on the solid rock or the carnivorous plants would grow right through your body, Land-Ice, Land-Dream… and all the others you may remember yourself. It’s very important to always remember where we are going. There is a Promised World in the Universe where the Land made an alliance with Water. Half a year ago we visited a world we thought was the one, remember? We were so happy back then. But that alliance was unequal, corrupted. It was a land of endless rain where life hid in caves and couldn’t thrive. Yet it was an important milestone. It let us know that we were on the right path to the Promised World where Land and Water coexist in harmony and life is free under the sky. This is the path we should follow from now on. Remember, no matter how terrifying are the worlds you must travel through, always stay on the path.”
“I will brother,” the girl promised.

She wanted to say more but was interrupted by a cold drop of water that fell on her face. A burst of thunder exploded in the sky and it started raining. The celestial water quickly turned the dead cracked ground into soft mud. The children kept walking.

“Brother!” exclaimed the little girl grabbing his sleeve. She pointed somewhere ahead of them.
“No, little one,” her brother sighed. “The next portal is far away from here, somewhere behind those mountains.” He waved toward the horizon.
“Brother!” the girl cried out again. “We were walking by the spring when that happened: the wind fell silent then it started raining.”

The boy froze on the spot… A moment later he grabbed his sister’s hand and ran back with her in tow. The rain ceased, the dry, wailing wind returned, the land around was dead and cracked again. Only the spring looked the same in its gemstone bed.

“When our father was dying he told me that the path to the Promised World is an Aquamarine Path. He had died before he could explain…”

“What if these stones are aquamarine?” the girl shrugged. “They look different and so similar at the same time, their colours make a spectrum from blue to green they all share… Then the Promised World must be where the spring begins.”

Her brother barely heard her, engulfed in memories and emotions of That Day… His parents were dying before his eyes once again, his father whispered the words forever etched in the boy’s memory: “Aquamarine Path crosses many worlds and leads to the Promised World where the Land made an alliance with Water…”

Brother and sister kept walking by the spring for years. They went through many alien worlds, terrifying and wonderful, yet the gemstone bed led them further and further and the spring seemed to have no beginning. They could only hope it existed somewhere, the beginning of everything, the world where Water nurtures Land and life is free under the lucid sky. Everything has a beginning. And every journey must have an end.

(July 13, 2005)

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English is not my native language.
If you see an error or a typo, please, tell me. I will fix it.