Chapter 4: Friend or Foe



The man, or George, was sitting by the patio with his wife. He was reading a book about space and everything in it. It was a popular book written by a well-respected scientist back in his old world. It was his favourite book. He loved it so much because he loved to learn, and he loved to understand. This book allowed him to understand things which he had never even been able to comprehend before. When George went to paradise he discovered that there was so much more to the universe than what the book covered, but this made him love it even more. There was something fantastic about reading the words of someone who was truly ignorant of how massive and incredible reality really is.

But perhaps it was this lack of understanding which makes life so beautiful. Even in paradise George has very little knowledge about anything. He remembered back to the giants he saw back when he was in the line for the cauldron. He knows that there is so much more to life, and he knows that he will probably never know all of it. And he is okay with that.

George looked at his wife sitting next to him. She was bathing in the sunlight. His heart fluttered when he looked at her. There was a new kind of aspect to their relationship. Since they became young again they could do so much more. Not only were they completely in tune and spiritually in love, but for the first time in years they could also satiate a need for love physically. Youth truly is bliss.

However, even after such a long time he still had a strange feeling within his heart. He was so full of worry, worry for the red eyed baby, and it was making him anxious. He did not know why he felt this, but this anxiety was taking a toll on him. It caused George to have trouble sleeping, and when he did sleep he had horrible nightmares.

Every single time his mind begins to rest and he enters the world of dreams he has a nightmare. It is always the same nightmare. It would focus on a child with red eyes. George knew it was the red eyed baby, because those eyes are simply unforgettable. Every time he has the dream it begins with a lovely image of the little child playing in a field, but whenever George begins to feel happy for the child something bad happens. The sky turns dark and everything gets colder. A monster then approaches the child. It was always the same monster. It looked like a ghoul or a witch. It would trick the poor child and then devour the child’s flesh. Blood and horror ensues. George always tried to save the red eyed child, but he is unable to do anything to stop the horrible creature.

One morning George woke up in a cold sweat. He saw that his wife had already gone outside somewhere. He sat all alone and drenched in sweat. He had had the nightmare again.

“Why won’t they stop!?” He asked himself.

An idea suddenly popped in his mind. He remembered reading that writing down dreams can help someone understand if there were any problems. If he could identify the problems causing the nightmares, then that would be the first step to making them stop.

He thought of a diary and a pen, and the items appeared in front of him. Without a second thought he began to write. He did not write from his mind, but rather from his soul. He felt the words simply spill out onto the pages even though in his mind he did not even know what he was writing. As he continued to write he began to feel a comfortable feeling which quickly replaced the initially dark and evil feelings.

Eventually he finished writing. He read through everything that he had written. After reading just a sentence he noticed that the handwriting was strange. It was almost like a different person’s handwriting. He ignored this and began to read the exact words that he had written.

Fear, darkness, and void. Light shines upon the field of grass. It truly is strange. To have such a beautiful field of light surrounded by such darkness. However, even the light contains darkness. A horrible creature stands within the light. Suddenly the creature’s head twitches. It has seen something. A child steps into the bright field. His red eyes reflect the evil of the creature. The child speaks. He stands tall in front of the dark creature. Suddenly everything goes black. A crunch is heard. When vision returns there is blood on the floor. The child is gone.’

George nearly broke down in tears as he read the simple passage. Why was he so emotional about a child he spent such little time with? The rest of what he had written just repeated the same passage over and over. For some reason he knew that this dream meant something. He didn’t want the child to die. But what could he do?

 

Samuel woke up and saw the book next to his bedside table. He realised he fell asleep trying to read the book again, and he forgot to hide it. He was lucky that his parents didn’t find it. Whenever Samuel saw the book it made him feel so incredibly frustrated. He simply couldn’t understand a word of it, and it was killing him inside. His curiosity and need to learn never allowed him to have a moment where he did not think of the book.

He hid the book, got out of bed, and went off to play with Grace. He slouched everywhere he went. Ever since he read a bit of the book he had been in an angry and depressed mood. He had a strange obsession with it. He just had to learn what was in it, but he simply couldn’t.

He walked onto the market street to head towards the field, still deep in thought. He didn’t look where he was going and accidentally bumped into a large man. He looked up and saw an ugly annoyed face.

Samuel panicked a bit.

“S-Sorry Sir.” He said in slight fear.

The large man saw Samuel’s red eyes.

“Oh, you’re Richard’s kid.” He said in realisation “Haha. Don’t worry about it. Here.”

The large man threw a coin at Samuel, who just barely managed to catch it. The large man then walked off. Leaving Samuel just standing there looking at the coin in wonder.

The coin was copper, but what amazed Samuel were the small drawings and emblems all over it. His eyes widened. He suddenly remembered when he went on a small trip to the marketplace with his father. He remembered how his father had given a similar coin to a shopkeeper, who gave his father bread in return. Samuel suddenly realised what the coin was.

The coin must be something which forces people to give you things!’ He thought.

Samuel heart began to beat as he realised the value of the small copper coin in his hands. Of course, in reality, such a coin did not hold much value at all. It was just about enough to buy bread, but other than that it held little value. Unfortunately Samuel was not well educated on the monetary units in his country and he had misinterpreted this little coin to be worth something much more than it actually was.

Samuel stuffed the coin in his pocket and began to walk off towards the field to play with Grace. When he arrived he saw that Grace wasn’t there yet. He sat on the grass and began to think.

I want to learn whatever is in the book. Except, the only person or creature that might be able to help me would be the zombie witch in the forest.’

Samuel looked towards the forest in the distance. He remembered the encounter he had with the creature. When he thought back to that moment he realised something. The creature had never been hostile towards them. He was the only one who did anything wrong. Looking at the situation from the creature’s perspective would indicate that Samuel was the bad guy. After all, he stole the book from her.

Samuel remembered something his mother told him once.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ She said to him

Maybe the creature wasn’t evil at all. Perhaps it was all a misunderstanding.’ Samuel thought.

His thoughts were cut short by the arrival of a happy and smiling Grace.

“SAMUEL!” She screamed “PLAY!”

Samuel smiled and began to play with Grace. However, he couldn’t stop thinking about the zombie witch.

When playtime ended he looked at Grace and said “I won’t be able to play tomorrow.”

Grace was confused, but she saw the seriousness in Samuel’s eyes and nodded in understanding.

Samuel walked home. His mind was set. He would seek out the zombie witch and ask her for help. There was only one little issue. At the moment all he had done was be rude to the zombie witch. What incentive could the zombie witch possibly have to help him?

Samuel arrived at the door to his home. He knocked on the door, but there was no answer. Samuel looked at the sky and saw that it was only a couple hours past noon, meaning that his father was working and his mother was shopping. Samuel remembered that his mother gave him a key to the house in case there was no one home.

He reached into his pocket and felt around for the key. He pulled it out, but realised that instead of just the key, he was holding the coin along with it. His eyes widened. That’s it! He could give the coin to the witch and then she would have to help him. He unlocked the door and walked inside his house.

“Tomorrow.” He said to himself “Tomorrow I will meet the witch. And then I will finally learn what is in the book!”

 

The next day arrived quickly. Samuel told his parents he was going to play with Grace, but instead he headed off to the forest. He found himself confronted with the dark trees, void of light. He was terrified. But at the same time he was excited. Adrenaline rushed through his body at the thought of what he was about to do. He put one foot forward into the forest and felt a chill travel down his spine. A strange, nearly twisted, smile appeared on Samuel’s face. He entered the forest.

Due to the red cloths, which he had tied around the trees when he went into the forest with Grace, he could find his way fairly easily. The deeper he entered the forest the more fearful he became. Every piece of his body didn’t want to go deeper, but Samuel kept going. His heart beat like a drum, playing an anthem of fear.

Samuel didn’t understand death, but he knew he didn’t want it. He knew that if the witch was mad she could and would kill him. His life rested upon the coin.

Samuel’s head was filled with dark thoughts. But then he saw light.

“The field!” He exclaimed

He stopped before entering. He took a deep breath and attempted to calm his mind. With pure strength and resolve he stepped into the field.

Suddenly his body froze. An immense cold and evil feeling overtook him. The creature appeared in front of him. Her eye sockets stared him directly in the face. The stench from her rotten skin entered Samuel’s nostrils and made him want to vomit. Samuel had to force himself out of his state of shock.

“I have come here to apologise and make a deal with you!” He shouted at the witch.

Silence ensued.

“Speak.” The witch said in amusement.

“I’m sorry I stole your book!” He said “But I beg that you teach it to me.”

A horrible cackling sound emerged from the witch’s rotten mouth. Samuel could only interpret this as laughter.

“Tell me, child.” She said “Why would I teach you anything?”

Samuel swallowed his fears. Everything rested on this moment.

“Because I have this.” He took out the coin.

There was silence once again. The witch seemed shocked.

“A coin?” She asked in bewilderment.

Samuel didn’t know what this reaction meant.

“YOU OFFER A COIN!” The witch laughed “HAHAHA! A COIN! HAHAHA!”

Samuel didn’t find the situation quite so funny. It was clear that the copper coin was laughable in the eyes of the witch. This could bode death.

“I will not accept this coin.” The witch spoke again “But there is something you can give me.”

A glimmer of hope appeared on Samuel’s little face.

“Anything!” He offered the witch.

“Oh, that’s good.” The witch said “Well then, hand over your eyes.”

Samuel’s hope immediately disappeared, leaving a hole within his heart.

“M-My eyes?” He asked, wondering if he had heard her correctly.

“Yes. They are quite peculiar; I’d love to have them.” She said “As you can see, I’m missing a pair.”

She cackled as if it was the funniest joke in the world. When she saw the fear on Samuel’s face she sighed.

“Don’t worry. You won’t have to live without your eyes.” She said “After all, you’ll be dead before I take them!”

Her mouth opened up like a snake’s mouth. It expanded to a size ten times of what it should be capable of. The mouth was easily capable of swallowing a young child whole.

“Goodnight!” The witch shouted as she lunged towards the petrified Samuel.



 

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