Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Realm Crossing -- The First Time

When you're a child, nothing is impossible. Nothing is strange. That's how it was for me and Hanover the first time we crossed over into a different realm. We didn't even know we'd done it. We were just playing marbles, wishing to see snow because we'd only ever heard of it, and whoosh. The next thing we knew, we were sitting in a snow drift. We just figured our wish came true and we ran around, pushing each other down, laughing as we slid on a slick sheet of ice. That went on for some time and I can say, we did have fun. But then Hanover's teeth started chattering and we looked around and couldn't see home. You see, we hadn't really cared before then. It was like make-believe was for us back then – more real than real, but safe. But this time, it wasn't make-believe and it wasn't safe. I think Hanover realized that before I did and that's when the shivering set in and then the crying. The wind howled around us and we were scared – for real scared – not like when you have a nightmare and wake up screaming, but then your mama kisses you and the nightmares fly away. This time we were scared for our lives.
That's when we heard the roar – a roar that shook the ground beneath us. We clung together, afraid the slippery ice would break and we would drown in icy water. The snowdrifts rose up in front of us in huge spiky peaks and then two big hydrangea-blue eyes rose up out of the snow. The monster shook the snow away, surrounding us in a momentary blizzard. And then it ended. A crystalline dragon stood before us laughing.
"What are you wee ones doing here?" he giggled. "Fairies don't cross this way often."
"We're not fairies," Hanover's fear was gone, as if the dragon's presence confirmed it was just make-believe. "Fairies are only in stories."
I didn't argue with him. I had seen fairies with my own eyes, but that was my secret – one of the few I kept from Hanover.
"Well what are you then?"
"We're children." Hanover answered.
"Human children?" The dragon's mouth gaped open. "What are you doing here?"
"Playing in the snow. At least we were until we started to get cold." I remembered reading stories about dragons making fire and had an idea. "You wouldn't know how to create a fire for us, would you?"
The dragon laughed. "You've got the wrong dragon if you want fire." Concern wrinkled the dragon's brow. He reached out a claw to touch Hanover's face. I noticed it was bluish pale. "That's not the right color for a human, is it?"
I shook my head. "If you can't build a fire, can you fly us home? We live in New Orleans, Louisiana."
"I'm not allowed to leave." The dragon cast his eyes down. "But climb under my wing. At least it'll keep the wind of you for a bit while I think of what to do." The dragon lifted a wing and Hanover and I snuggled against each other beneath it until he stopped shivering and we both fell asleep.