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The Other Side of the Mirror

Chapter 1: Adventure Begins

By Hyde Wunderli Published 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 7 min read
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The Other Side of the Mirror
Photo by Jovis Aloor on Unsplash

Chapter 1: Adventure begins

White sheets whiplash in the wind like sails out at sea. The clothesline swung as a loose trapeze. A crow, perched on the roof, took flight into the incoming wind. Shutters of the old house clapped as the thunderous symphony began its opera in the sky.

Little Bran was in the dirt. Lost in his head with his toys and wild imagination. He didn’t notice the soft pats of rain against the hand-sized mirror beside him. Or he did, and just didn’t care.

Along with his mirror, he had by his side, a stuffed bear, sticks he’d gathered into a pile, and shoes he didn’t bother wearing because of the scratching from the worn-out insoles.

He sat barefoot with his legs crossed. If his red toes were cold, Bran showed no sign of it. In front of him, a family of dandelions held his hand through tremors of anguish. His other hand found further comfort by tracing squiggly lines along the glass of the mirror.

Plenty of dirt had already made its way into his blonde hair. His already puffy cheeks swelled into red gobstoppers. While he escaped harsh reality he hummed. It was no particular tune. Just random buzzing from tight lips.

“Bran, no more of this madness. Come inside where it’s warm. Please, before the storm gets worse,” Melanie said, running to save the sheets.

Her voice was steady. But in a way a pilot flies a plane in a snowstorm. She flies firm because she must.

There are two ways to describe A mother such as Melanie. The way Bran sees her, with her firm touch of his arm that guides him to safety. And her leather fingers that caress his forehead while her angelic voice sings him to sleep. When she doesn’t smell like cigarettes, the aroma that spills from her pours bonds them together. Often she also smells like freshly cut vegetables. Bran likes to take her fingers and bring them to his cheeks so he can smell fresh garden soil in her fingernails. She’s as firm as she is alluring. And strong as she is affectionate. Despite the current circumstances, Bran does love his Mother. And very much relies on her trustworthy compassion for him.

Then there’s the eye of the unworthy. The feeble-minded see a widower with plenty of golden years left. Thirsty men who give ill attempts at swooning her, only to have their lazy pickup lines castrated in public. Most people only see her buttery hair loosely tied by a frayed ribbon. A blouse unbuttoned at the top to let the southern breeze air out her well-endowed chest. And sharp blue eyes that will cut a man’s tongue if they say the wrong thing.

Melanie wrapped the sheets around her arms and took another crack at Bran’s stubbornness. “Can we talk about it inside? I know this isn’t easy for you. Let’s talk. Come inside Bran.” Her blonde hair was already starting to get wet.

Bran gave no response to such a distasteful demand. He pounded both his hands against softening dirt with open palms and shifted his body in a discomfiting agitation.

“Alright have it your way.” Melanie rushed back inside and kicked the door closed. She went to the kitchen window and said, “At Least come get your coat. Or a raft. This storm will swallow you whole.”

She watched gray clouds rolling in. Felt the rain tap upon her face and decided to keep her head out the window a moment longer. Her cheeks were still wet from the unfortunate news she heard moments ago. And the rain, hiding the evidence, somehow released some of the grief.

She finally gave up on her attempts to lure Bran inside. There was a mess to be sorted anyway. So she rolled up her sleeves, took a deep breath, and set to work.

Lifting the dinner table back to its rightful place was the biggest challenge. It was heavy. But she didn’t let it stop her. She got it to her thighs, threw her weight into it, and gave it a good lift and shove.

She then picked up the trash can, the flower pot that was thrown from the counter, and the chairs that were displayed along the floor. Under one of the chairs, a picture of Melanie’s father was broken. Pieces of glass scattered along the floor.

Sometime between the bad news and Bran rioting in the kitchen, he’d gone and grabbed it. It was a picture of Bran on Grandpa's shoulders. They stood in the middle of the family apple orchard. Bran was reaching for a tree branch. Grandpa Freud was laughing.

Such overwhelming emotions typically took longer to process. Bran was silent in his room for long enough that Melanie foolishly believed there’d be no “hurricane Bran.” But there in fact was. Probably the worst she’d ever seen.

So after his energy betrayed him, Bran felt it was the logical conclusion to retreat outside and catch some air.

The tricky part is, sometimes to find the air he’s looking for, it requires going to a place that existed only on the other side of his mirror.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Ah look here Ursus, a weary traveler,” Said a screeching voice. He had a beak for a nose. His tiny eyes hid behind bushy brows and a feather hat.

“ He’s just a boy,” said Ursus. He spoke like someone who had golf balls in his mouth. He was the shape and size of a bear; hairy like one too. His stomach protruded through a penguin suit. A top hat rested crooked on his Humpty Dumpty head. “You look hungry seedling”

“Don’t scare the poor child with that boulder nose of yours,” Said Corvus the bird-human.

“And your monstrous beak will comfort him will it?”

“You don’t scare me,” Bran said calmly. Then he bowed his head again like he was before.

“Why you sad Boy?” Corvus scratched his beak.

“Sad? No. He’s just hungry,” Ursus said. He pulled some berries from his pocket and offered his stretched hand to Bran.

“Ma says grandpa is dying. She says we can go stay for the summer if we want. He lives two states away, ma says.” Bran pauses a moment and fiddles with blades of grass between his fingers. “What do you do when someone’s dying?”

“Well, I would eat.” Ursus pulled some biscuits from his other pocket and shoved them in his mouth.

“This is someone you love?” Corvus asked.

“Very much,” Bran replied. He lay down on the grass. It tickled a bit, but it was mostly satisfying against his skin.

“Hmm. Well, the only thing to do is love them more I suppose.” Corvus sat next to Bran. His feather coat smelled like a taxidermy office.

“And give them cakes!” Ursus proclaimed with a mouthful of food. He collapsed on the grass and sprawled out like a starfish. His enormous belly partially shaded Bran from the afternoon sun.

“How do I stop feeling sad? And angry?” Bran sat up, suddenly feeling restless. “And scared?”

Ursus rubbed his belly with both his hands.

“Don’t say it,” Corvus said, pointing a long finger at him. “Come child, we must consult the king. He knows a thing or two about being rid of this, scared.”

Corvus leapt to his feet. He extended his hand to Bran who then took it with some hesitation.

“Ah, we were just getting comfortable. I think maybe what the boy needs is a nap snack and then a good…” Ursus yawned. Then continued. “Restful sleep.”

“Nonsense, onward we go.”

“Go right ahead, I'll catch up,” Ursus said sleepily.

“You’ll need to carry the boy when he gets too weary.”

“Tart my blueberry pie. I will not do such a thing.”

“Ursus. This boy needs our help. We are noble creatures of the king’s aid; it is our duty.

“We are nothing more than servants.” Ursus retorted.

“If you refuse to help, I will tell the king's guard you’re stealing baked goods in the night.”

Ursus gave a heavy gulp, almost choking on more biscuits. “You wouldn’t.”

This made Bran smile. Even if it was just a fleeting half-smirk.

“What’s your name, boy?” Corvus asked.

“Branson. People close, call me Bran.”

“Well, Bran. You up for an adventure?”

“I guess. If it helps me stop feeling so much.”

“Oh, there will be plenty of that. But you see, that’s the beauty of it. It’s not just about how much you feel. It’s what you sort from it.”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Melanie didn’t bother stepping outside for a cigarette. She sat at the kitchen table with an empty stare at the sink that was full of dishes. The most lively thing about her in the moment was the passionate inhales she took with each drag; as if the coffin nail between her fingers was going to rescue her. Smoke filled the room, then disappeared but the smell lingered. It was the first thing Bran brought up when he opened the back door.

“Ma, you know I don’t like that smell.”

“I know, I’m sorry I’m sorry.” Melanie smashed the cigarette on her thigh. Ash fell to the floor. “You must be freezing. Come here let me warm you up.”

Eyes that were once empty filled with genuine concern and love. “How we feeling?” She asked as she nuzzled Bran tight into her bosom.

“When do we leave?” Bran asked.

Melanie hugged Bran tighter. Maybe she felt it would hide the bowling ball she’d just swallowed. She felt guilty that a part of her wished Bran wouldn’t want to go. She also felt enormous guilt that she wasn’t sure she wanted to see her father on his deathbed.

However, if there was one important thing she taught Bran, it's that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. So, the adventure begins.

FictionFantasyAdventure
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About the Creator

Hyde Wunderli

Enthusiast of dark romanticism or, gothic romance.

Inspired by the works of edger Allen Poe, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King

Here for the dopamine, the passion, and the challenge to push my comfort zone.

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