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The Blessed Pond of St Francis
My brother writes this as I dictate my story. I am Tina and I am blind, I have been blind since birth, but I have something to say before I leave tomorrow. I will be 10 years old tomorrow I have an opportunity to leave for good. Travis doesn’t want me to leave, but he knows it would be best for my future. He is 17 and calls me “lil bit” because I am a “lil bit” of sunshine to him.
Our parents, well momma anyway is busy taking care of my father and the farm. We live on a rural farm deep in the woods of St Augustine, Florida and we have a few horses and other small animals. Last year, my father was kicked in the head by a bucking horse. He is ‘stable’ but that is only a word to me. He is unable to function properly; he can’t work the farm anymore. My brother Travis has become foreman, father and caretaker of our family. Travis tells me that Daddy just sits and stares out a window at him as he works. But other days Daddy leaves the room and his temper leaves me shaking and I lock myself in my room till the storm passes. His personality has changed from kind to cruel. He recently started making comments when he thinks I can’t hear him. There’s nothing wrong with my hearing.
Last week something happened. Travis took me out into the woods, we love walking as far as we can just exploring. We came across a beautiful pond and took a swim in the cold deep water. Suddenly I heard something.
“My goodness!” said a little voice. I turned around, the voice wasn’t Travis. He was behind me in the water and the voice came from the edge of the pond. I asked who was there. Silence.
“Travis, is there someone on the shores? I hear someone talking to me.” Travis was by my side in a second, he told me there was, a tiny little man wearing a long shirt belt and sitting by the edge of the water. Travis I am sure was pulling my leg.
“Young man, do you notice anything?” The voice said again. I heard Travis gasp, I asked him what was the matter, is there something wrong? Travis said that the world suddenly seemed brighter. The colors were now more vibrant, luxurious and rich. “Like an artists painting!”
“Young girl, being blind is not unusual for something your age.” Something my age? What is this thing talking about?
“What are you talking about?” I was highly suspicious of this person.
“My name is Bart. I am a woods keeper and also your guardian while you are here with this family.” My brother started paying attention to the creature talking to us.
“She is my sister, she belongs with me.” He said and pulled me closer to his side. I could feel how protective he was over me.
“Indeed she is your sister, but she simply was placed within your family until she was mature and you have been a very protective brother! I couldn’t have been more pleased when you took her as your charge and cared for her as you have. Thank you.” The voice deepened with authority as he took a breath and continued. “Please allow me to explain. I placed her when she was a mere egg into your mother who was an alternate mother, simply put, she was a female and was able to carry a child. Your mother carried you full term and gave birth to you. You simply have taken on the physical characteristics of her, you have her arms, legs and a good mind. However, this is not your true form, nor is it your true purpose.”
“Your talking s*** Bart, come on Tina, let’s go.” He grabbed my hand and pulled me to shore. He handed me my cast off dry clothes and I dressed hurriedly at my brother’s urgency.
“Please, I tell you the truth, she has never been sick, ever. Has she? She has never gotten hurt, not even a sunburn, am I right?” I could feel my brother halting and consenting to conversation.
“None of your business!” He suddenly shouted and grabbed my hand and began to lead me out of the clearing with the cool pond. I could hear footsteps around me and could feel Travis growing impatient as he tried to alternate directions as voices and as Bart tried to interfere with his retreat. Finally he stopped and stood. I smelled the air. I don’t smell anything except a strange smoky scent and dark damp scent of earth as though we just dug into the layers of earth.
“What is it?” I asked slapping a mosquito as we neared another small clearing, I could feel much less undergrowth of grass and scrubs. He said nothing for a long moment.
“A church, a tiny one, there is one right here but I’m sure I would have seen it on the way here. This is strange.” He said simply.
“You wouldn’t have seen it until your eyes were cleaned young man. That pond is full of water from our world, and it was blessed long ago by a traveling monk who was assigned to collect and protect our world. He was a monk from St Francis himself, he traveled upon the boats with the other pilgrims for religious freedoms over a century ago. The group he traveled with also came from Assisi, Italy for the specific purpose to locate supernatural creatures and place them under his protection. We have been blessed by the monk and our world can now be viewed by those cleansed by our waters and through the special window in this church. Please, go see for yourself.” I could hear the little footsteps quickly climbing steps and the echoing creek of a heavy door being pushed open. Travis guided me into the church. I asked him to describe it.
“A long table is under a great big wide stained glass window, and there is a strange lamp with smoke coming out of it, I guess its incense. Stinks, but it’s not bad. There is a long bench facing the window for people to watch the window as someone can watch TV. But there’s nothing special about…wait. The window! The pieces are moving around so quickly! It was a scene of a field with just a few trees, now there is a horse coming into view, it looks different, but not really, it’s grazing. Wait a second, are those wings?”
“Yes, this field belongs to the Pegasus; they eat in this field and wander into view sometimes.” I could hear movement. “This is how I can watch what’s going on in our world. I can tap the glass along the edge and it allows me to view another scene. Like cameras according to your world.” I could hear Travis gasp in amazement.
“You should see this! There is a sky and the sun is being pulled across the sky by a dragon! Its amazing! There is a massive wing span and its flying so high! The tail is swaying back and forth like a snake in the water. Its brilliant red, and the scales are singed, scratched, damaged as if burned by the sun, or by war! So amazing!” I could hear the awe in Travis’s voice. I couldn’t see a thing!
I heard Bart cough and clear his throat.
“This is your mother young girl. We call her Inexa. She is ancient, and she is dying. She is roughly over three hundred years old. She gives birth to a single egg every century, but there is a war going on in our world. Whoever controls the dragon controls the sun, and there are some evil creatures that thrive in darkness. Years ago they stolen the prized egg one night but I intercepted it during travel, and I escaped our world into yours. You would not live long enough to mature into your full potential I feared. I placed you in this world so that you could live and you have. However you must return to our world, there you will return to your full form, to your true nature. Once you reach your tenth birthday you will die in this world, because that is when you are supposed to take flight, and your vision will be given once you are up in the stratosphere. You are the only surviving egg in three centuries, and our world is counting on you. I implore you child. Come home soon.” Then he was silent. Travis was silent.
“Your birthday is in three days.” I felt a shiver of dread come across my belly.
“Young man, you are her guardian, I will provide you access to the church and to travel into our world, and you will still be by her side.”
“How do I come into your world?” I asked, curious and scared. I heard the grateful sigh of Bart.
“Swim child! Swim into the center of the pond and dive under the water. Your current body will be cast off and will remain here and be buried with your family, while you will finally be free and will reappear in the pond in our world.”
“Travis? I want to live.”
“It’s time to go home.” He sounded different, tight, sad and I didn’t like it.
Two days have passed, a sharp ache in my body has erupted deep in my belly and kept me in bed according to doctor’s orders. I have a chilling feeling that if I don’t leave the house by the morning I won’t be here by tomorrow afternoon. The ache is ontracting my stomach and I curl myself up into a ball.
So, I’m saying my goodbye. Travis wants to take me into the woods to the blessed pond. So he wants to document my experience. I don’t have any words of wisdom to say, nor do if feel courageous. I want to feel better and I want to live, I want to see. Travis says its time to go.
I can barely walk into the clearing, Travis says Bart is there, but I don’t care. My pain hurts too much and so Travis picks me up and carries me into the water and the cold water startles me as it rises with each step toward the center. I am crying in pain. Bart is shouting from the side of the pond. What?
“She needs to go under the water! Swim! Swim! Hurry she’s dying!” He is shouting.
I hold my breath as we dive under the water. Strange, I feel like I am suddenly wearing a heavy coat underwater and its dragging me down. I shove the water weighted skin off of me and suddenly I feel free. I wiggle out of Travis’s arms. I surface and shout and gasp for breath. A strange feeling of not knowing my body takes over. My arms feel longer, thinner. My throat feels like its elongating. My legs feel powerful and my back hurts so much and suddenly water come over my face. Wings! I have wings!
Travis is struggling to pull the child I once was back to his side and I hear his voice call out.
“Tina? Lil Bit? Whoa, girl! Easy, easy remember me? I’m your brother… easy. Atta girl.” I think its funny, he’s talking to me like a horse. I struggle to say something, but I can’t, it comes out strange, like a full trashcan being drug against concrete. I’m a dragon. Now what?
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