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Glass Menagerie

by Kelli Sheckler-Amsden 10 months ago in fantasy · updated 3 months ago

The guide to freeing your spirit animal

Glass Menagerie
Photo by Alexia Rodriquez on Unsplash

Cedric was awakened by the invasive rumbling and screeching sounds of the subway. This wouldn’t be such a big deal, except the apartment he shared with his roommate Tom, was just outside of Louisville Kentucky, nowhere near a subway!

“Welcome to my life” mumbled Cedric, as he rolled over as hard and loudly as he could, trying to escape Tom’s snoring. Cedric was a 19-year-old computer geek who was in Kentucky on a full ride scholarship in mathematics. He had only been living with his roommate for a few weeks and found it easier to suffer in silence than tell the 295# defensive back he had a problem with his sleeping habits.

Another 2:30 wakeup call!!

This time however, as he turned, his eye caught a glimpse of a half-filled glass of water in the windowsill, it was sitting directly in the light from the security pole outside and casting the most beautiful reflection on the wall. It was Mesmerizing. It danced and shimmered like the moon over the lake. The reflection waved and circled gently; He couldn’t take his eyes off it. Just as he was about to be hypnotized back to sleep, the familiar and annoying buzzing sound of a fly by his ear caused him to roll over onto his back to shew it away.

As he lay on his back, taking a deep breath to release the stress he was feeling, the fly returned. It landed perfectly on the center and very tip of his nose. Perched like an eagle stalking its dinner. He was about to swat it away again when he realized it seemed to be looking directly at him. All 4500 lenses!! It rubbed it legs together and placed them further up the bridge of Cedric’s nose, as if to get a better look. Cedric, now cross eyed, began to reach for the paper he had been reading before bed, to finish this once and for all. As he stretched his arm to get a better angle to deliver the fly’s demise, a voice said, “Ivan know stuff.”

Startled, and judging the fly on his poor grammar, Cedric dropped the paper and fell out of bed hitting his head on his laptop. “ouch, what the hell?!” He sat up, there was no sign of the fly, and Tom was sitting up now, looking at him. “what is your problem man? Keep it down, I’m trying to sleep over here!” As he was getting back into bed, he noticed the reflection of the water glass again, only now the silhouette of the fly was on the brim. Cedric decided now was not the time to pursue killing the fly, and he was too comfortable now to bother anyway. As he was drifting into a dream, Cedric felt a slight tickle on his cheek, and then back on his nose. He heard a faint whisper say “Ivan know stuff”, again…..

Paralyzed, mostly in fear of disturbing Tom, but also distressed about his current mental well-being, Cedric diverted his eyes to his nose. Surprised to see the fly now sitting with his legs crossed and his front leg tapping his own chin…”Ivan know stuff” the fly said again, his eyes were darting around the room as if he was looking for someone, but he never took a few of them off of Cedric. Cedric began to speak when the fly quickly landed on his lips. Spitting and spewing Cedric swatted at the fly which threw him into the open window. Without hesitation, Cedric ran to the sill to see the fly laying motionless. As he was about to use the Kleenex to remove the body of the fly, another voice came from under his bed.

Goosebumps covered every inch of his body, “what is going on with me tonight?” he whispered to himself. He turned and knelt to see where this voice was coming from, two tiny little eyes looked at him in horror….” DID you kill him? Bring him to me so I can see!!” Cedric in shear shock did exactly what he was told and lifted the tiny fly body to the little voice and eyes under his bed.

“THANK GOODNESS!” the voice said. “Ivan has only been rendered unconscious, he will be back with us soon, so listen up, we don’t have much time” As Cedric sat petrified on the floor, a tiny mouse proceeded to crawl onto his lap, Cedric didn’t move a muscle. The mouse cleared his throat and spoke with such authority. “I am Seemore, I see Ivan has already introduced himself, this is not at all how this was supposed to happen, I will now have to fill you in on what exactly we need from you, do you understand/” Cedric was motionless. Seemore spoke louder, “WELL?!!!” Cedric, now in a fetal position, shook his head yes. “Please sit up, “the mouse said, “I need you to be 100% when I tell you exactly what I need from you.” Cedric sat upright and said to the mouse, “just tell me, am I going insane?” Seemore said, “we have been waiting for the right opportunity and the right human to help, and here you are, we have finally found you. We were told one would come that could change the effects and reverse the curse from the magical black book”

Cedric was dumbfounded. He must be going crazy; he was having a conversation with a mouse after being set up by a fly! He was so frightened he couldn’t even call out to Tom for help, not that he would, Tom would kill him if he woke him again. “OK” Cedric said, “tell me what you want”. It was at this time that Ivan awoke, and he flew into Cedric’s face and said, “why would you do that?! I was keeping you from harm, and making sure THEY didn’t hear you” Cedric, embarrassed now, apologizes to the fly. “I am sorry, Ivan, is it? I didn’t know flies, mice, could well, you know, talk!” Ivan nodded his approval and acceptance of Cedric’s apology, knowing such enlightenment to such a small weak boy, could possibly be too much at one time to take in.

Seemore pulled Ivan back and said, “he is willing to listen, this could be our chance to recover what we lost” Cedric couldn’t be still any longer…” WHAT are you talking about?!” Seemore motioned for Cedric to follow them. They led Cedric down the hallway to the basement door, “in here”, he said. “I’m not going down there,” Cedric exclaimed. Ivan flew into Cedric’s face and gave him that look that only a creature with 4500 lenses could give. Cedric hesitantly placed his hand on the old enamel knob turning it to open the weathered door that led into total darkness. They had been told when they rented the apartment that they could use any space in the building except the basement, so Cedric was surprised when the door opened. It was just as his imagination led him to believe it was. The smell of musk greeted them even before the door was fully opened. It was dark and dusty and there were spiderwebs everywhere. As Cedric raised his hand to wipe the webs away Seemore said, “NO, don’t do that!” As Cedric turned back to face Seemore, a large black spider crawled up his arm. “heelloo, boy” he said.

Cedric gasped and choked on his own spit, and without thinking swatted the spider off his arm, the spider, not being new at this game, threw a new web and swung back around onto Cedric’s face and said, “I wouldn’t advise you to do that again!!” Tears welled up in Cedric’s eyes and he nodded in agreement with the spider, “no sir, never again…” “Good,” said the spider, I am Kira”, I will be leading you from here,” he said. Cedric stammered, “but what about Seemore and Ivan? “Oh, they will be along later, there are a few things they need to prepare.” Seemore pushed a small flare towards the stairs and Cedric picked it up and lit it with a match Kira had hanging around. They said their farewells and parted ways. Cedric was getting nervous about what he might be getting himself into, but soothed his fear, by pretending it was a dream and he was still in his bed, watching the light dancing on his wall.

Kira said, “ok, lets go, we have much to do and very little time before daylight, then it will be too late” Cedric had NO idea what this meant, and followed the spider into the shadowy space under the stairs.

Avoiding swiping at the webs above him Cedric knelt onto his knees and began to crawl, the space was gradually getting smaller and colder and even with the flare, darker. Kira paused for a moment, He told Cedric “everything will be ok, just do what I say when I say it, got it?” Cedric whispered, “yeah, ok” But he was very uneasy and could sense something else was in the room, that hadn’t been there before.

As they made there way through the tight space, there was a clearing ahead, and it was getting brighter, soon Cedric could stand up again. He commented to Kira that he was feeling a little more comfortable when out of no where he heard clicking, like glass on concrete. Kira became still and motioned for Cedric to stop and be quiet. He then told him to get on his knees again, Cedric argued that it was more comfortable to stand and Kira sprayed webs over his mouth and jumped at him forcefully until Cedric knelt. When Cedric looked up, he noticed a bright light and shimmering flashes like the one the glass in his window made, it was spectacular, and he couldn’t look away. Without warning he let out a gasp of wonder. “woooooow” he said. Kira didn’t try to stop him this time, he remained perfectly still, and the figure proceeded to move closer towards Cedric. Cedric squinted at the bright light, but never looked away, it was drawing his eyes, he was helpless. Cedric put his hands up to shield his eyes from the rays of light beaming off this creature.

Cedric heard a familiar voice, it was seemore, he was speaking: “Sir, this human is the one we have been waiting for, I believe he has the skills to aid us”, he was talking as if in a conversation, but Cedric couldn’t hear the responses, Seemore kept talking. “yes, he is small, and timid, and a little afraid, but he has the knowledge, here look, it’s in here.” Cedric saw that Seemore had somehow gotten his laptop down here and it was opened to his latest assignment. “HOW, did….” Cedric stopped. He could see the figure now, although he still couldn’t understand what it was saying. It was a large glass horse! It reminded him of the Trojan horse the Greeks used to take over and destroy the city of Troy. It was muscular and tall, yet in his eyes Cedric sensed that the horse was sad, and he knew without a doubt he wanted to help. Without thinking, Cedric was up on his feet running towards the horse, before he took a second step, he was stopped in his tracks by an army of glass animals.

There were monkeys and tigers, giraffes, and alligators. He saw hippos and antelopes and so many more animals, and they were all made of pure glass. Seemore approached Cedric and said,” this is what we need your help for”. He slid Cedric his laptop, on the keyboard was an old tattered notebook. The pages were faded and hard to read, but he noticed they matched the figures and numbers from his calculus assignment. “What is this”, he asked. Seemore motioned Cedric to the horse, who spoke now so that Cedric could understand. In a deep, but gentle voice the horse introduced himself.

“I am Ludovic, I was the king’s bravest and mightiest steed, no one could defeat him or dared to when he rode me into battle. His enemies were many and I became the target to end his reign. His best friend was a wizard and accompanied the king in his successes on many occasions, until one day he betrayed the King. He joined his enemy and conspired to defeat and take over all of the Kings possessions. The evil wizard concocted a spell to turn myself and all the Kings animals into glass. They captured the King and locked him away and created a menagerie, and we have been captive ever since. The King vowed his revenge. He promised riches untold to the one who would stand and fight for he and his kingdom. Even after many years passed, he remained convinced his heir would redeem his honor. He told of a brave scholar that would come to set us all free.

The pages of the book came to life when you arrived here, you are that scholar, you are the heir, the one sent to save the King and release us from this curse!!” Cedric looked at Ludovic with sadness in his heart said, "I am not who you think I am, maybe you meant to retrieve my roommate. I don’t have royal blood, I am not bold and strong…I’m a geek, who likes math.”

As he spoke the battery light on his computer began to flash, he hadn’t charged it. He was convinced they had made a huge mistake choosing him. Just then Ivan flew into his face and exclaimed, “Ivan know stuff” Cedric all at once returned in his mind to 5th grade when he was being bullied on the playground and he cried. His dad picked him up and said, “Cedric, no matter what people say, no matter what happens, remember WHO YOU ARE!!! You are my prince, you complete our family’s kingdom, we would be lost without you and your knowledge!! REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!!! You will ALWAYS be enough! You are and will always be the best part of me, my son. MY HERO PRINCE!!”

Cedric was filled with a power he had never experienced before. He grabbed his laptop and with only a glance said, I know what to do! I can reverse the curse!! He asked Seemore and Kira to get him some water and a match. He reached into the pocket on Ludovic’s saddle and retrieved a small leather pouch. He mixed the content with the water and lit the match. As he dropped the fire into the mixture, there was a blast and the room filled with smoke. Cedric was thrown across the room. Everything was dark again, but this time Cedric wasn’t afraid.

When Cedric opened his eyes, he could hear an alarm and sirens. There were a lot of footsteps and talking, but he couldn’t make out what was being said. He felt a spray of water from the buildings sprinkler system and then a hand on his shoulder. “Hey son, be still, there has been an explosion, you’re going to be ok. When we get to the hospital, you will need to answer some questions, lots of questions”

Cedric awoke at the hospital, his eyes still burning and blurry from the smoke. He could see the outline of what looked like a tree, he cocked his head and squinted. Above his bed on the ceiling was a picture of a pear tree, with the saying, "GET FIT: eat a pear, don't look like one". Confused, he mumbled, "Where am I? " The attending nurse assured him he was going to be ok, and had been treated for some minor burns and scratches. The Dr. asked all the nurses to leave and led a man in a leisure jacket into the room. The Dr. left them alone. The man seemed familiar with Cedric, although Cedric had never seen him before, he was comfortable answering any questions he might have. The man said in a quiet, smiling voice, “I knew you were the one” Without saying another word, he handed Cedric a velvet bag with exotic looking jewels on it. As the man left the room Cedric thought he noticed a tail hanging from the bottom of the coat. The man turned around and said “let me know if you need to Seemore, I will always be around” Cedric’s eyes about popped out of his head, could it be?

He was distracted as the Dr. returned to the room, “better keep that in a safe place.” the Dr. said. Cedric looked into the bag, there were handfuls of 100 dollar bills, 10 to $20000!” DR., what is this for?” The Dr. said. “There was a rich reward for the return of all of those stolen animals," he winked and called him a “hero prince” under his breath. Just as he was about to ask the Dr. WHO he was, his parents rushed into the room.

Smothered in kisses and hugs and feeling a little overwhelmed Cedric forgot about everything for a moment, and then realized the Dr. was gone. He asked the nurse if he could speak with the Dr. again, handing him a pear, she replied smiling. “oh honey, Dr. King is gone for the day, he is off again on another adventure!!”


Kelli Sheckler-Amsden

Telling stories my heart needs to tell <3

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