A Story Well-Travelled

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Chapter 12: A Journal Entry by Grayson Prescott

Earlier today, I was thinking about the time we were all nine years old and Aspen told me that the sky was actually gold, not blue. She told me that there must be something wrong with my eyes if they saw blue when I looked to the heavens. In front of Aspen, Wesley, and Adelyn, I pretended this observation didn’t disturb me. But every time I was left alone for the next week, I cried my eyes out.

Adelyn caught me bawling in my room on the eighth day and forced Aspen to apologize to me and admit that she was lying about the golden sky. It stung me more than it should’ve. Aspen wasn’t exactly my friend—she hated me—so I should’ve suspected that she was up to no good, but I was incredibly gullible in my younger days.

Ever since then, I’ve tried to be more skeptical of everything I hear. Sometimes I forget this philosophy and slip back into the role of a gullible little boy, but other times I’m more clever.

Flash forward to the age of fourteen. I was working for the Council by that point and Wesley had made significant progress in his attempt to rejoin our governing body. He was living in the Council house, joining their extravagant steak dinners, and then he just disappeared.

Sullivan told me that Wesley had decided that he didn’t want to be on the Council anymore and had left, and in my earlier days, I might’ve believed it. But at fourteen, I fought through my adolescent terror and went digging around.

I found out that there were twelve different sets of dinner plates in the storage room. I found out that Hayes had a giant aquarium in his room that had more fish than a lake did. And I found out that Wesley was being kept in the underground prisons.

Wesley meant too much to me to leave him there, broken and hungry. I took the cell keys off of a sleeping guard and let Wesley go. He begged me to come with him—someone in the prisons had told him about a lake that was actually a portal to another dimension. There was only one lake in Resdon that we knew of, so we ran there together, getting lost only once or twice.

But when we stood on the shore of that lake and Wesley took the first monumental step into the water, I chickened out. I told him that this dimension was my home and that I couldn’t just leave. And at that age, I still had hope that Adelyn would eventually forgive me for taking a job with the Council and we could be friends again.

So Wesley and I decided to be pen-pals, and then he jumped into the water. I watched his head go under and I waited for minutes on end for him to resurface, but he never did. I was positive that he had actually drowned in that lake until I received my first pen-pal letter three days later.

Aspen may have taught me to be skeptical with her golden sky story, but she didn’t teach me to be brave. Every day, I thought about going back to that lake and jumping into the portal, but I could never manage.

Bravery is a fluid thing. I might find enough of it to get me to the lake, but it always floats away before I can actually act on it. One day, I’ll learn to harness it better. I’ll learn to jump in the water, accept the consequences, and maybe even learn to breathe again instead of sitting on land, breathing in the air and yet feeling like I’m drowning.

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