**This is a short story that stems from a whole “book” I’ve been working on since my college days. I hope you enjoy it as much as I hate how long it’s taking me to develop it.
In a remote village at the foot of The Giant Blue Mountain (the villagers called it The Giant Blue Mountain because in fact, it was giant and quite blue, like the dark depths of an endless sea), a widowed mother raised her two children, Henri and Allie. Although Henri was younger then Allie by a few years, he was a man of 19 and felt the responsibilities and burdens as the protector of his mother and sister. The year Allie fell ill to the Blue Cough (it’s important to note that the Blue Cough was named thus-so because of the blue-like mucus that every victim conjured up during a bout of coughing, which no one attributed to the blue pollen that fell from The Giant Blue Mountain every Winter because educated thought was non-existence and superstition was the norm), Henri made up his mind to travel to the top of the mountain in search of the Wishing Queen. Thousands of travelers from all over the land would come through their village to trek up the mountain in search of this Queen who grants wishes. Some come back with no memories of ever attempting the journey while most are never heard of from again. The village has accounts from six travelers who made it back, but these accounts span over 500 years. From the recorded silk paper, one traveler describe the Queen as a serpent with green and blue scales, wearing a crown of jade upon her head. Another account describe her as a red fox with ten tales, flying through the trees. One description of the Queen, which most villagers agreed upon simply because it seemed the most harmless, was that of a young beautiful goddess. With her porcelain white skin and black almond shaped eyes, she wore a white gown covered in golden flakes. Henri liked to think she was a young beautiful goddess and would grant him his wish to make his sister better, but he was prepared to fight off a serpent and chase a red fox into its hole if necessary.
His journey into the blue mountain was strenuous. The first three days seemed an endless cycle of brown bark and blue leaves. Red and pink hummingbirds sang triumphantly through the air while herds of unusual mammals jilted through the forest. Notably, Henri came upon a black stag with a tale as long as a horse and a tiger with eyes as white as silk. None of these animals took care to him, but instead, went about their business (the black stag was nibbling leaves from a fallen tree and the tiger continued to drink upon the shallow stream filled with colorful fishes). As the village stories told; The Giant Blue Mountain was indeed magical and held creatures one would never find elsewhere (though this is a bold statement as the world is big and bountiful, don’t forget that this is a small village of uneducated people who live and swear by superstitious events). On Henri’s fourth night, he was visited by a shadow who refused to come out from behind a tree. It spoke to Henri as he was building his fire for the night.
“You sir, why are you here?” His voice was low and melancholic.
Henri jumped back in fright, grabbing a torched stick. “Who are you? What do you want?”
The shadow answered angrily. “How dare you answer a question with a question? Speak why you are here before I turn your skin inside out and give curses to your family for generations (we don’t know if it has this ability but who’s to question a shadow on a magical mountain).”
Henri stood his ground but answered cautiously. “I am here to find the Queen who grants wishes. My sister is dying from the Blue Cough and I mean to save her.” And he meant it. A chuckle came from the shadow. “You come for the Queen who grants wishes but how do you even know she grants wishes? Are you sure you are not just going to find her and then die?”
“The stories tell of a Queen in the mountain who grants wishes. If this was not true, then why would so many people from places I’ve never even heard of, come looking for her?”
“Because they are all greedy fools.” The shadow laugh so loudly, the tree from which it was standing behind, shook.
“I am not a greedy fool. I am here to save my sister.” Henri took the flame and inched towards the tree, determined to see if it was not just another villager, trying to scare him off. A hefty wind came suddenly, extinguishing all the light from Henri’s campsite.
“And what’s to say that, that in itself, is not greed?” The shadow laughed cynically, shaking the tree once more.
Henri had enough of the shadow’s nonsense. He held the fire-less stick tightly in his hand and charged towards the tree, prepared to be cursed for generations. As he got closer, a thick black smoke stood where the shadow kept peeking from. Henri sung the stick only to find that it really was just smoke, dissipating into the moonlit air. Stumbling back, Henri tripped on an overgrown root. Falling onto his back, his stick that had come loose somewhere in the struggle, came flying down, knocking him unconscious. It wouldn’t be until morning, when Henri arose, and saw that he was in fact, waking up to a field of human size dandelions (stems were emerald green and seed heads were a deep dark blue). He had made it to the queen’s garden after all.
(I’m sorry I ended it so badly and abruptly).