Washed up writer Lyal Wynn falls through the bottom of a well into a fantasy land...
|There is more to life than what we see, a thought Lyal Wynn obsessed over, almost to the point of desperation. As if mulling over it enough in his mind would somehow make it so, what Lyal Wynn was soon to discover however, was just how right he was.
It was a mundane Monday morn, the type one could easily forget. Lyal was driving to a book signing in a town he didn't recall the name of nor did he care to remember it. His book, ‘The Land Beyond the Boundaries of Time’ was his first and last bestseller, which you could imagine didn't sit well with Lyal Wynn.
Wynn was a mild man, both in temperament and in presence, though he had his own struggles with anger from time to time. Nothing much stood out about him, he was somewhere between the latter part of your twenties and the former part of your thirties, not tall but not quite short, a slender man. Though he moved here from England, what seemed like ages ago, he had retained some form of an accent. This may have been about the only thing interesting about Lyal Wynn.
He passed the empty cornfields and worn down farmhouses along the way to this town without a name, the radio on but too low to listen to, it was more for ambiance or possibly distraction. From what? Well, the day ahead, and the inevitability that this book signing—something of which his publisher had strong-armed him into with a rather stern yet sad ‘or else’ speech—would turn out much like he envisioned. Which is to say: bleak, sparse and Barely-crowded—if such a word even existed.
He pulled into the desolate parking lot of the bookstore to which he was summoned. A quaint little shop, aptly named "Little Big books" with the L in little and the B in big, worn out and faded, reading "ittle ig books". Lyal retrieved his stack of books, pens and such from the trunk of his car and proceeded into the bookstore.
Upon entering, two thoughts entered his mind, "Is this it?" and well, the other would be too rude to quote, so instead we'll just say it rhymed with duck and implied that he would indeed rather be elsewhere.
A man approached Lyal, a portly man, who somehow believed the clothes in which he wore were meant for a man of his dimensions.
"Greetings, you must be Mr. Wynn," The portly man said, with a southern twinge to his voice.
"Well, I don't know if I must be, but yes I am, and you are?" Lyal said.
"Oh, where are my manners, my name is Alan Tooley. I am the owner of this establishment, and may I say we are honored to have you here today Mr. Wynn, may I call you Lyal?" Mr. Tooley said.
"If you're able to, by all means, have at it," Lyal said, rather smugly.
"You sure are quite the character, Mr. Wynn, oh I mean Lyal. Why don't I show you to your table, and we can get this show underway," Mr. Tooley said, with a chuckle.
"If we must," Lyal said.
Mr. Tooley walked Lyal over to a small table which had been positioned next to a rather disconcerting cutout of Mr. Wynn himself. Lyal could not help but stare at it, vehemently.
"Oh, I see you noticed our display," Mr. Tooley said, wiping sweat from his brow.
"Well it's hard not to," Lyal said.
"Well, it was difficult to find one of you smiling. I must say Mr. Wynn, I mean, Lyal, that it would do you a heap of good to smile more often. Every smile leaves the world just a little bit brighter," Mr. Tooley said with a vigor and enthusiasm that Lyal just could not wrap his head around.
"If you say so," Lyal said.
"Alright now, I'm going to go get everyone’s attention and then you can do your thing, sound good?" Mr. Tooley said.
"Magnificent," Lyal said without meaning a single letter of the word.
Mr. Tooley waddled off from sight and left Lyal alone to set his table up. Which took roughly less time than it takes to blink twenty-seven times. His stack of books piled up on the table, narrowly a fit. His pens and pencils set up to his right, he awaited the return of Mr. Tooley and what he could only hope was a crowd of people of no similarity.
That is a wish, he would not receive, however. For upon his return, Mr. Tooley had following in tow, what could only be described as a blur of brightly colored outfits and enough sweating masses to undoubtedly fill a swimming pool or two.
The group entered and found their seats, and once the chatter and wheezing subsided, Mr. Tooley spoke.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of Blah blah, I am proud to present to you, Mr. Lyal Wynn!" Lyal was barely paying attention, and even upon hearing the name of the town spoken directly within earshot, he couldn't be bothered to remember it.
The crowd clapped and noises were made, and Lyal rose and smiled, or as close to a smile as Lyal Wynn has ever gotten. He sat back down and spoke.
"Well, as my gracious host Mr. Tooley said, I am indeed Lyal Wynn. Author of the best-selling book "The Land Beyond the Boundaries of Time", now I'd like to start off with questions anyone might have for me, and then we can move on to the book signing," Lyal said.
A slew of hands shot up, with questions ranging from, "Did the main character really die?" to "How did you come up with the idea for the book?" and his personal dis-favorite, if such a word existed, "Will there ever be a sequel?".
It was this last question, or more precisely the one which it led into, that really got under his skin, "How does it feel to be a one hit wonder?"
Like a strike of lightning or a crash of thunder, Lyal saw red and when Lyal saw red, he reacted, and react. he. did.
"Excuse me? Excuse, me?! right, I wasn't aware we had a prolific author among us, well sir I congratulate you on your bevy of literary successes, oh what's that? You’re not a writer? no? not one single book? I see, well then," This next part, again, is rather too rude to quote, so let's just say it ended with an escort out of "Little Big Books" without even one book signed.
"Mr. Wynn, Lyal. I, in my fifty some-odd years of living, have never seen or heard such a display. You are banned from this establishment and I will be placing a call in, to your publisher. Good day sir," Mr. Tooley said, as he walked back inside.
"Yeah, well, I never wanted to do this ridiculous book signing anyways! I am a professional and above all this drivel and, and, your town stinks!" That last remark made his entire speech fall flat, much like his career.
Lyal Wynn entered his car, tossing his books into the seat next to him, he slammed his car door shut and sped off, with the intention of putting miles between him and the town without a name. Just as he was driving, with the radio still on too low to be listened to, his phone rang. It was his publisher, it would seem Mr. Tooley followed through on his word. Rather than answer the call, like a normal, responsible adult, Lyal ignored it, opting to listen to the voicemail that was left. A loud and lengthy voicemail, with such foul language, some of which Lyal wasn't too comfortable hearing. This of course, did not help settle his mood and thus he slammed his phone down, turned the volume up on his radio, and began tossing books out the car window. The pages flapping in the wind before scattering about the highway.
Perhaps it was his state of mind, or the loudness of the radio—a rarity in Lyal's car—whatever it may have been, it had caused him to miss his turn entirely, and so he just kept on driving and driving, and driving. In fact he had driven so far and for so long, that he was what one might call, lost.
It was only when his car had begun making strange sounds, sounds of which one's car should never make, that Lyal noticed he had missed his turn, with no idea where he was. He pulled over to the side of the road, amidst a large open field with nothing for miles and miles, nothing that is, except an out-of-place well, a rather old one at that.
Lyal exited the car and slammed the door shut, pacing, dialing numbers on his phone to no avail, the signal strength was all but non-existent out here. He made his way over to the well, still trying in vain to make a call out to, well, anyone, though his contact list was rather slim these days.
The sun was setting, soon night would be upon him, all varieties of terrible thoughts entered Lyal's mind, "What am I going to do?", "What if no one finds me?", "What if I die out here?" and it was that last thought which lingered on the longest in his mind. The thought of death, and missing out on everything he held dear, which come to think of it, wasn't much, and this led Lyal down a different path of thoughts, thoughts of what he would miss if he were to die. And somewhere deep within, as if waiting for this moment, one thought came to mind, one magnificent thought, "writing".
It surprised Lyal too, for he couldn't even remember the last time he could write. Once the book became a bestseller, he was off on book tours and signings, interviews and cameos, but when his fifteen minutes of fame ran up, Lyal was left standing still, stuck in place, somewhere between what he had achieved and what laid waiting for him.
It was at this moment that Lyal walked over to the well, and pondered exactly that, ‘what laid waiting for him’ and how he could ever hope to get to there from here. This frustrated him so, building up inside his chest, winding tight, until he whirled around and without pause, tossed his phone down the old well and turned to walk away.
However, fate had other plans in store for Lyal Wynn, and this is where it all began, with a "Thump".
Lyal spun round, his eyes darting back and forth, trying to find the source of this pain, when his gaze took him to the ground, and what laid at his feet. The phone, he very much just tossed down a well, only moments ago.
He was at a loss for words, thoughts, anything really. Lyal bent down slowly, and with great caution, picked up the phone. He walked back over to the well, peering down into its vacant black nothingness, and curiosity struck, so with a casual flick of the wrist, down his phone went once more, and once more Lyal turned and walked away.
"Thump", it had happened again, Lyal whirled round and saw the phone, once more at his feet. The situation was getting more curious by the second as was Lyal. He approached the well, studying it all around, nothing seemed out of place, it seemed like an ordinary, albeit old, well. This time, Lyal tossed the phone down the well, but did not turn away, instead, he waited, and waited, seemingly endlessly. Maybe it was all in his head, maybe he had finally lost his mind, these were thoughts rushing through his head, until, "Thump".
Out shot the phone, like a bullet through the wind, hitting Lyal directly in the stomach, he lurched over and lost his footing, struggling to turn around, but it was too late. Lyal had slipped over the edge and down into the vacant, nothingness of the well.
Faster, faster he fell, darkness all around, Lyal had no time to think, or even panic, he fell deeper and deeper, until, he soon was falling through the sky. Lyal was more than confused and rightly so, well's didn't work this way, did they? Admittedly, this was the first well Lyal had fallen into, so he was not exactly an expert. He kept falling, nearing the ground below, at this point Lyal closed his eyes and resigned himself to his imminent fate, and waited for the impact.
Only, to his much-relieved surprise, there was no impact, Lyal was safely on the ground below, staring up at the well high above him. He stood, taking in his surroundings, what should have been a cramped black void, was in fact not, it was instead a lush field of grass and flowers, that seemed to extend beyond the horizon.
This made absolutely no sense to Lyal, how could he have fallen down a well to his death, only to end up in this field, unharmed and very much alive. That's when the thought struck him, ‘Oh dear God, I'm Dead’, it was the only thing that he could realistically believe, and it was very possible, Lyal had never died before, so maybe instead of intense pain, it just ends, no muss, no fuss. Which led to the question, ‘Was this heaven or hell?’.
Lyal continued on pondering, when out of thin air, a girl appeared, a beautiful girl in a beautiful gown, with flowing blue hair, and a fair complexion. Lyal froze, caught off guard, surprised, and at a loss for words, all he could muster up was 'Hello'. The peculiar girl stood there for a moment as if she was eyeing him up, and then with a big smile on her face said, “What took you so long? Now hurry up and come along, you’re going to save the world!”