Bear’s Den is a folk rock band from London. The combination of folk, rock, and London was more than enough to ensure my interest in the band, not to mention their great name, but then I stuck around for their subtle, rumbling tunes, that become more enjoyable on subsequent listens. Today’s blog song is their tune New Jerusalem, and is one of my favourites.
My last post was all about what fantasy stories mean to me and a bit of my history with them. This was supposed to be introduction to another bit of writing, some almost flash fantasy fiction, but then quickly became a blog post in it’s own right. Good for it. Anyway, that leads me today where I will share the almost flash fantasy fiction. In fact, I’m going to do it right now before this introduction gains it’s own life and we go through the whole cycle again.
I think it’s time I was leaving. I don’t want to work at this job anymore. I’m not really sure I ever did. Now, I know I don’t. It’s not that it’s a bad job or that I work with bad people, it’s just that it’s slowing making me sadder everyday. It’s getting to the point where I find myself thinking about if I were to be injured and how great that would be because then I would have a legitimate excuse to not show up tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, or even the next week if it was particularly bad (but not in a serious or long term way, or in any kind of way that meant I was limited in what I could do).
Worse, the weekday, workday, sadness has started infecting my previously cheerful weekends as well. Two days doesn’t seem very long when you have to work five, which actually feel like ten. Sunday’s a ride off because it’s really pre-Monday at this point. Which leaves me with Saturday. One day where I do my best to not think about having to make that trip into work. Or face another email regarding something I no longer give even the smallest shit about. Or kill time just for the sake of killing time because all I really want is for the clock to read four pm. One day spent waiting for the week ahead which I know if shown on a graph would display a steadily increasing red line of sadness.
What’s even scarier is that the red line of sadness has on occasion flickered into a greyish-blue line of nothing, just…nothing. When that greyish-blue line is present I am dispassionate, disinterested, and indifferent to all the good things and the bad; and I know that if the red line changes to the greyish-blue line for good, well, then I’ll never leave. So, I really do think it’s time I was leaving. While I still can.
I don’t know where I’ll go, or what I’ll do, but I know wherever it is I want it to be somewhere where the fantastic can happen. Somewhere where I would never eat an overpriced apple cake, that I don’t really need anyway, just as a means of reclaiming the five minutes it takes me to do so.
Maybe I’ll go hunt dragons. Strap on some heavy armor, run through the wild, and bring down one of the beautiful and terrifying beasts. Feel the sweat pour down my back as the bright sun gleams off the battered metal that clothes me. Breath through intense exhaustion as the scaled animal, that just might be a god, and I go head to head. Or maybe I’ll help them hatch their eggs. I’ve never really been much of a fighter anyway. I could build a giant nest for them and light a fire underneath to get the temperature just right. Then when the eggs hatch, I could help care for the young, feed them, teach them, sing to them. A dragon nursemaid. Why not? It certainly sounds fantastic enough.
Or perhaps I’ll go somewhere cold, but not from air conditioning turned too high. Rather, the kind of cold that will penetrate down through me to a microscopic level so that even my individual proteins will feel like they’re shivering against each other. I’ll go to a land that is defined by its cold. One that has an endless winter. I’ll find, no, build, a small cabin where I can hide and be alone. I’ll grow a beard and chop wood and have a small fireplace I can sit next to with a blanket and a mug of something that burns as it passes down my throat. I might let one person join me there. A lady who is kind, and loves me, and happy to drink by the fire as I tell my tales of past adventures, and she tells me hers. We’ll have a pet wolf, of course.
Or maybe I’ll go talk to some ghosts in the southern states of North America. Visit a part of the country that’s part Caribbean, part French, and part something else entirely. A place of music and magic. I’ll take a paddle boat down the Mississippi and eat gumbo as I converse with a voodoo Queen, dead over two hundred years ago. I could learn her songs, stamp my feet against the moist ground, and raise an army of the dead; then ask them to help the living. I could possibly conquer all the Americas with an undead voodoo army but charity seems a better use of their time. Mine as well. At least I’ll know my efforts are being put to a good, human, use – not just helping a company continue to be a company.
Or maybe I’ll take to the ocean. Grow some callouses and be a pirate. Feel the solid wooden boards beneath my feet and know how fragile they really are against the might of the sea. I’ll drink rum with the women and men that make up my crew, learn every part of what makes a ship, speak in nothing but nautical terms, look at the stars at night, and forget about things like light pollution, and social media, and office attire, and alarm clocks. I’ll sail through tropical archipelagos and come across a school of sea serpents that writhe and wriggle from the water as the try to destroy my ship. I’ll fight them off then find a baby serpent trapped under a rock and realise they were just parents doing what they had to to care for their young, as so many of us do. I’ll befriend the baby, help make her strong, and journey across the many waters so she can reconnect with her estranged parents. It’ll be hard to say goodbye, but I’ll do it, and I’ll be richer for it.
Or perhaps I should become a King. There must be some fairy tale land out there in need of one. I’ll rule with an iron fist and a gentle heart, and a sword of immense power; naturally. I’ll care for the fairy folk under my rule and lead them to great victories over the creatures of dark magic. I’ll battle their powerful leader, a demon warlord from the forgotten realm who, rumour claims, was once a man; no doubt one kept too long in middle management. We’ll go one on one in a final fight, winner take all. Except when the time comes I won’t fight. I’ll drop my magic sword and give him a hug – because that’s all those middle management types really need. The evil taint will leach away from him and his horde, and peace will once more reign across the land…until the next time
Or maybe I’ll befriend a troll and go on a long cross country adventure with him to the land of giants. We’ll sleep beneath the stars and walk until our feet feel ready to drop off. We’ll visit little villages along the way and in some we’ll be heroes and in others we’ll be villains. We’ll drink too much ale and discover a lost magic forgotten millennia ago. Forgotten by all but the giants. We’ll make our way into their giant city (both for giants and giant in size) and we’ll feel small. But not small like someone unseen and lost in the corner of an office somewhere, simply small in stature but big in heart because our adventuring has taken us somewhere new and exciting. Too exciting in fact, because the leader of the local mafia will take a liking to us and before we know it me and my trollish friend will be caught up in her crew. Except it’ll turn out she’s not really a mafia Don but the deposed Queen. We’ll give her the forgotten magic and she’ll restore order to the land and name us knights of her royal order. The smallest knights that ever served.
Or perhaps I’ll get lost in a world of rain forests where the people resemble a kind of sloth-human hybrid and communicate through singing. I’ll live in a village made of tree houses and vines, and that exists so high up in the canopy you can’t even see the ground. I’ll eat exotic fruits, drink rainwater fresh from the sky, and learn that the diverse and chaotic jungle is actually one big organism interconnected in ways I’ll never understand. I’ll take a lover, build a house, raise a family, and protect them from the dragonfly people that occasionally attack our village. It’ll be a good life, one where I’ll never think of red lines, or greyish blue lines, or graphs of any kind. I’ll grow old in my tree house home, and die, and my children will weep as the lower my body to the unseen forest floor to decompose and take its part in the endless cycle.
Or perhaps I’ll get possessed by a fox demon. A friendly fellow who speaks in a cockney accent and makes my beard bigger and more luscious than it’s ever been before, but, as is usually the case, his gifts will come with a price.
Or maybe I’ll learn to talk to the spirit of cities and discover that they don’t think much of us humans.
Or I’ll meet a witch who’s sick of people no longer being afraid of her kind. One who seeks to change public perception back to one of terror.
Or I’ll visit the lost city in the clouds who think a world made of earth is purely children’s tales.
Or I’ll come across a magic snail who’s lost his shell.
Or I’ll live forever and have centuries pass as days.
Or maybe I’ll do all these things.
And maybe I just have, and you have too.
There’s so much to do, so much to learn, so many places to visit, so many entities to talk with, so many adventures to go on, and so many stories to read.
So I really do think it’s time I was leaving.