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From Creative Corner: The World's Meadow

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SHORT STORY HalfPastTwelve

"Come," the girl murmured. Her dreamy, honeyed voice floated to my ears almost hypnotically. "Come with me to my meadow."

Without a word, I placed my hand over hers, shivering a little at the contact, and let her lead me towards a dirt trail in the middle of the thick forest undergrowth.

Her hair cascaded softly about her shoulders and danced with the gentle breeze as we walked, and her blue eyes sparkled, a crystal clear lake in a summer afternoon. The steady thrumming of my heart gradually became as vivacious as a mockingbird on flight. She looked at my nervous countenance and smiled reassuringly.

I watched in fascination as the forest slowly came alive. The little forest dwellers went out of their holes and nests and looked curiously at us, while the birds chirped and sang their songs as they perched on trees we passed by. Sunlight seeped through the forest canopy and turned the place into a jade-colored paradise. I squinted when bright light shimmered around us. We've already made it to the end of the trail.

The sweet smell of a fresh growth of grass tickled my nostrils. We reached the meadow and slowed to a stop at the very center, the wildflowers that surrounded us sprinkling the carpet of grass like sequins on a green, velvet gown.

"How is it?" she whispered softly.

"It's beautiful," I breathed. An underestimation. It was unlike everything I’ve seen. "But why bring me here?"

The girl smiled at my question. "Why, to make you understand your world better, of course."

I frowned at that answer and looked at the girl doubtfully. She laughed. Her laugh was as enchanting as she was, like the sound pealing of bells.

Suddenly, as if the girl's laugh triggered something, different creatures slowly emerged from the trees. I took a step back in surprise. "W-why are they here?" I stammered.

The girl gestured to them with a graceful flourish. "These are the creatures that represent your world and its vices." She pointed to a creature, "See that white thing over there?"

"It's a dove," I answered.

"Yes. That beautiful bird is the untruth. It represents the world and all its lies."

"What?" I asked, frowning. "I thought they were supposed to symbolize peace."

She shook her head. "I am afraid that is only one of its lies. Look at it this way, you do know about the pigeon, right?"

My hands went to my chin as I paused to think. "Well, it represents the truth."

She clapped her hands in delight. "Very good! Yes, the pigeon is the truth. It's not afraid to accept its lackluster colour, even if it is hated for it. People who have courage enough to embrace truth and reality are always detested. No one likes the truth, the reality. The dove is nothing but a painted version of the pigeon, thus the lies."

"I see." I didn't. "What do you make of that creature? Why is it blindfolded?" I pointed to a large, black, dog-like creature with a ruby-colored ribbon wrapped securely around its eyes. Hampered by the ribbon, it prowled haplessly on the grass.

"That's a direwolf. It's called Death," she replied. "He's blindfolded so he would not cry at the poor souls he collects and cannot bestow mercy upon the old, wrinkled persons wrapped in their blankets. He becomes miserable reaping the lives of children and innocent people. The heart of Death is too big to be broken, see? His heart overflows with sympathy, and that's not very good for someone with a duty as he has."

By the time she's done explaining, my attention was already diverted. My gaze fixed on an ugly creature that was a shell of what might have been a beautiful bird in the past. Its wings looked distorted, and its feathers were yanked in a horrifying imitation of a chicken ready to be roasted.

"What is that?" I gasped.

The girl bent down and picked up the feeble creature. "This is Love, the broken bird."

I watched her deftly caress it. "Why is it so broken?" I demanded softly.

"She is abused." The girl crooned at the bird soothingly while stroking its sparse feathers. "We all have the ability to heal her back to what she was, though. Watch," she instructed.

I watched as she held the bird close to her and breathed gentle words at the top of its head. My eyes widened as the bird glowed and healed slowly. Sad eyes opened. Feathers grew and shone in the light. Wings became straight once more.

Carefully, as if handling prized porcelain, the girl helped the bird perch into a low tree branch. The other creatures drew together to watch. The bird spread one wing, hesitant at first, and then the other.

"Will it fly?" I asked like I was pleading for it to happen.

"We'll see."

My breath hitched when the wind caught in the bird’s wings and raised it to the orange-pink sky. I watched its flight, feeling light-hearted at its success.

"It's wonderful," I murmured as we gazed at it. Then I turned to the girl and smiled at her. "You made it better."

She avoided my gaze, but not before I saw tears gleam in the corner of her eyes. "It's no use. Every day I heal her, but every day, someone breaks her again."

"Then why do you still do it?" I inquired, baffled. Why do you still heal her if that's the case?"

"Because Love gives faith. Faith, the only thing stronger than lies or fear. When I heal her, the whole world smiles. The whole world begins to have faith and begins to believe again. Without Love, this meadow is worthless, as it is Love that makes the honest become liars, and the liars turn to the truth. It is Love that makes Death miserable to collect lives. The curse of living in a wretched world is bearable because of Love. And—"

Her words came to a sudden halt as Love dropped to our feet, broken once again.

The world never did make sense to me.

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