Jon Lo searches for answers - Taboo Words contest entry
| A sudden gust of cool air in an otherwise warm and humid early morning, caused Jon Lo to shiver as he sat near the top of a rise near the southern gate of the village below. He knew instantly that the thing he had been tracking for years was close at hand. Shading his eyes against the glare of the rising sun, he saw it hovering, seemingly hesitating, near the eastern gate. Picking up his pack and water skin, he quickly began the descent to the narrow path winding its way through the southern hills and into the large village of Sandleth, with memories of his long journey drifting through his mind.
As far as he knew, he was the only person who had ever seen these magical beings, beginning over twenty years ago when he was only fourteen. He had, at first, asked his parents and then the village elders about what he had seen, but quickly learned from the resulting derision that silence was the better option. He made careful notes and had learned a great deal about them by the time he was sixteen. He learned, for example, that the strongest of them were somehow related to the worst of passionate emotions, such as hate, greed, and anger, and when they were near people, those emotions seemed to flare to life, sometimes with disastrous results. Each seemed to pass in and out of the village fairly quickly, their evil work apparently done.
This particular creature, if it was a creature, intrigued him more than the others. It moved slowly through his village, making life better for some and worse for others for no apparent reason. Sometimes the changes were dramatic, with the sudden death of an only child or the discovery of gold on the land of a poor widow. He left his village soon after, following the rumors of the evil or the serendipitous from village to village, but never actually seeing the misty, nearly invisible form again until yesterday. Deducing its path, he had hurried on to the hill outside the village.
Now, having entered Sandleth's southern gate, Jon Lo began to see the effects almost immediately. Shouts of joy in one direction mixed with shouts of anguish from another, much as he had seen in each village as he had traveled the land searching for what was now so near. He hurried to an area just inside the western gate, determined to place himself directly in the path of his quarry in hopes of finally understanding its machinations.
As he waited, scanning the crowds intently, a muddy and clearly terrified pig ran by being chased by a group of young boys laughing and yelling as they passed. Jon Lo had just turned his attention back toward the east when the pig ran through his legs from behind causing him to lose his footing and fall backward, hitting his head against the cobblestone. Everything went briefly black, but when his vision returned, Jon Lo found himself in a gray mist so thick that he could see nothing around him. He was not entirely surprised when he heard a soft, rumbling voice, more in his head than in his ears.
"What answers do you seek, child of time?"
"I want to know who you are. Where do you come from? Why do you do what you do?"
"And what do you think that I do?"
"I have seen what you do! When you pass by, some are rewarded while others are punished. One person lives while another dies. One gains wealth while another loses everything. I must know why!"
"You are surely an astute observer of your world, but you have drawn a very wrong conclusion. We are from very far away and live outside of time. We have been studying your world and we are amazed to see how people waste the small amount of time that they have. We do not cause the things you have seen, but merely observe the emotional reactions to them. It appears that many try to find some reason for the happenstances of life rather than accepting what is and reacting in a way that improves their lives."
Again, Jon Lo's world went dark, and when he awoke a number of people were asking if he were hurt, some cursing the "evil" pig that had caused his fall, He thanked them, told them he was not hurt, and immediately set off on a very different journey of discovery.