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The Hidden Haven

A Rest, Amidst the Spinning of Worlds

By Ellen StedfeldPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 3 min read
The old textures were comforting, rough and weathered

[SFS 1] Sudden as a crack of lighting on a sunny day, Nidemph appeared before the entrance to the old barn, floating momentarily in the air.

As their feet made contact with the ground, they wobbled, and nearly collapsed against the door.

But with another snap of their fingers, was now instantly transported inside the refuge of its walls, completing the motion of that fall against a bed of dry prickly hay. Whoomp.

Still dizzy from the spinning of so many worlds, it was best to simply wallow in the wide black fabric of their attire, nestling in like a comforting blanket while the chaos of memories converged. Curling into a ball during a particularly bad buzzing of the brain, as the overload of senses from too many days left unprocessed both refused to make sense nor be ignored. Not there, not anymore. Then as it subsided, splaying out arms and legs, with limbs stretched at their fullest extent, finally able to breathe in gulps of the warm fresh air at last. Right here. Even the musty smells of mold and weathered wood were a cherished blessing. The insistent strands of hay prying at the back of their neck were no true discomfort, even serving a welcome reminder of what it felt like to be in one place... and just be.

Everyday life meant keeping constantly on the move, a messenger between all times and places and entities. Missions to deliver the right items at a crucial moment, or relay the words that most needed to be heard. Continually shuffling from one world to the next, not unlike an elaborate game of cards. In some cases, as the pressure mounted, it could become a literal race against time. When you got used to that way of living, it was almost impossible to recollect that most people followed a straightforward chronology of past, present, and future, and even more miraculously, the majority seemed to have staked out a corner of it all to call their home. More often than not, Nidemph could barely keep hold of their own identity amidst these overwhelming forces, an endless stream of sights and sounds. Sometimes it was simpler not to even try. When you received your orders, it was because you were the one uniquely positioned to fulfill them, and once you had engaged the process, it was imperative to see them through until the end. There wasn't time to stop, when you were weaving fates.

But then, every rare once in awhile, there was. A small pocket of space in which to take a breath. In that breath, in that need for a sacred haven, the shape of the barn appeared in their consciousness. Like an old melody, long forgotten but hummed when your mind is allowed to drift, a dream that is also real. Nidemph had known it was more than imagined, could feel it was solid, the way they sensed all the other places... as something palatable that could be grasped in the palm of a hand and turned from one to the other. From here to there.

When they went, while it certainly wasn't a home, it provided a measure of peace. A balm for sore aches. Dozing in the dimness of its big four walls, catching glimpses of the blue sky and clouds, of birds chirping, watching the dust dance. Stroking fingertips along the grains and weathered grooves of its planks, flaking off bits of old paint, finding the curves of rusted nails, tracing along the seams and gaps where the wood had become uneven. The crush of the hay beneath, the scent of green grass outside. Breathe.

In all the glorious sights of all the worlds that Nidemph could go, that they had seen along the road (the thread) of their many travels, and perhaps because they had been already and could be sent again at any moment, when given the choice - this quiet barn was always their place to return to.

Short Story

About the Creator

Ellen Stedfeld

Visual artist & writer immersed in drawing, illustration, and creative experiments

Community arts in NYC/LIC Queens and online, NaNoWriMo "The Ellesaur"

Love participating in challenges to motivate new work!

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