The Tale of Kacela and Elpidios
When I was a girl, my mother told me stories. Well, I guess they were more like fairytales, but is there truly a difference between tale and story, fact and fiction? My mother told fairytales that none of the other kids, nor their moms, knew. They were lost among time, except for the few who had passed them down for centuries. I can still remember my mom sitting in her rocking chair by the fire, her pale lips unfolding the tales to me and my sister, us looking at her with wide eyes, our ears clinging to every word. She told us many stories, but my favorites were of the lanimthymia.
The lanimthymia are creatures of peculiarity, spirits of emotion, born from both humans and nature. Perhaps they would come into existence from a yell and clap of thunder, or a sigh and a wisp of fog. You never really knew when they’d appear; one second there’s nothing, and the next there’s something. But once they appear, they never leave. They usually stay where they were born, on the brink of the wild and civilization.
They look a lot like humans. And like humans they all looked different; some are pale with long, thick hair, and others are dark with short little tufts. But they all have a few similar qualities: they are tall and muscular, and quite stubborn. But above all, they were beautiful—enticing even. They always wore smiles, inviting clueless mortals to chat with them.
But unlike humans, they were never too young or too old. They are born as a child, and they ever so slowly grow into young adults. And then they just stop aging. As a child I could see my mother’s gray hairs that she tried to hide, and all I could think of was how nice it would be to be eternally young. But time catches all of us; well, except the lanimthymia.
But what sets them most apart from humans is their inability to feel. They don’t feel like you and I do. They have no concept of happiness or sadness, and they certainly have no sense of right and wrong. They have no moral compass, but if they did, what they liked would be right, and what they didn’t would be wrong. Because all they know for certain is what they like and what they don’t like. Feelings must be taught or gained over time, but that rarely happens. Most lanimthymia are content without them.
And yet, each one of them encompasses a human emotion: love, hate, surprise, rage. They cannot feel this emotion, but they understand it. When you take a feeling and strip it down to skin and bones, and you look at the cold science of it all, that is what the lanimthymia see. They understand why that emotion is important and why humans have it. But they themselves do not necessarily feel it.
But even if they cannot feel it, they can see it in others, and even inspire it in them. They can take one look at you and know your greatest joy or greatest regret. All it takes is one glance, and you suddenly feel reckless or daring, maybe hopeless or sad. And of course, since lanimthymia can’t feel anything, they can’t do this trick to each other.
The most important thing about them however, is that they take a certain liking to humans. Whether they use them as entertainment or playthings, or help them, or just watch from afar is up to them. But it cannot be denied that the lanimthymia are fascinated by humans.
Now, my mother told me tales Alair, Trista, and Dezso; of Balen, Melinda, and even of Asta, who found peoples’ loves and destroyed them for the pure joy of it. But the tale of Kacela and Elpidios was always, and still is, my favorite.
Long ago, there was a peninsula, and at the very tip of it was a town, surrounded by the cold and thrashing sea. This town was, without a doubt, horrible. It was famous for its filth and crime; grungy dogs running through the streets looking for scraps, and thugs behind every corner. The water was too dangerous to travel by, so the only direction they could go was south, through the Ferenc Forest to another town. But the Ferenc Forest was not an easy journey. However, it was one that many had to take. It was the only way to get to the southern town.
Now, the southern town was at the base of the peninsula, and was the complete opposite of the northern town: it was pristine and beautiful, buzzing with life and vivacity. Children ran through the streets, ladies laughed at the foolish men courting them, and marketmen tried to sell their goods. They could travel in any direction; except north. Nobody ever wanted to go north. All there was north was millions of acres of trees and brush, with thin paths weaving through, steadily growing worse as you went north. And then there was the northern town, which caused the southerners to shudder at the thought.
So the northerners would travel many, many days, to reach the haven in order to trade and buy goods. They would then return home. And then within a month they would return again, the cycle repeating over and over again.
One night, when the wind was howling and the sky was pitch black, a man was returning home to the north from a long journey. He had a large pack on his back, his body hunched forward, his feet dragging along, and his eyes darting back and forth as he crossed the dark paths. He could just see the lights coming from his town when he heard a twig snap behind him. He jumped and turned around, seeing nothing—but then he felt something crawl across his feet. He gave a scream as a cold winter wind pushed him to the ground. He saw a dark figure appear, and he screamed again, scurrying to his feet and running back to the town.
The figure stood up, a little girl smiling at the man as he hurried off. Her skin was dark and her eyes were violet, piercing the night and everything she looked at. She was tall for her age, with small muscles on her little arms. She looked around, examining her new home. She walked along the edge of the forest, and soon she too heard a crack. She turned around and saw a large rabbit, resting right across from her.
“You gave that man quite the scare,” she said with a smirk. The rabbit tilt its head at her, as if trying to understand. “You fear the hunters?” She asked it. “The wolves and the foxes? With their sharp claws and their vicious teeth? You have good reason to, any predator would love to get a taste of you.” The bunny started shaking, turning its head back and forth, as if wanting to move but it had forgotten how.
“I’d be worried about the men,” she continued. “They have guns and knives, and bows and arrows. You could be dead before you even see them. A bullet in your chest, or an arrow sticking out of your eye. You never know.”
The rabbit shook violently, until it suddenly stopped. It slumped forward, fear in its heart and death on its mind.
In the southern town, spring was a time of hope and renewal. Flowers and love flourished, farmers began cleaning their field, and boys became men. The smallest boy in town was trying to shoot the target his older brothers had set up for him with his new bow and arrow. They laughed as each and every arrow missed miserably.
“Stop it! I can do it!” Clarence shouted. But they just kept laughing.
“Come on, we should head inside. It’s going to rain. I don’t want to stand here in the rain, no matter how funny this is.”
“Shut up! Just one more time, I need to hit it!” And with that Clarence pulled the bow back and aimed. “I can do this,” he whispered to himself as a light rain drop fell on his nose. He let go, and when the arrow hit the center of the target all the boys erupted into hoots and hollers.
“Nice shot,” said Elpidios, the olive colored skinned child with thin black tufts of hair standing behind the little boy. He wore a large, sincere smile and had large brown eyes with thick lashes. “Very impressive.”
The little boy smiled, and said thanks. He and his brothers then ran into the house, but Elpidios stood in the trickling rain smiling. He heard a noise behind him, and he turned.
A large rabbit hopped along, but she was strange. She kept a large distance away from everyone and everything, her eyes wide and dark. The rabbit shook as she moved and you could see her breathing rapidly, her stomach puffing in and out.
“Hello,” said Elpidios. The bunny froze and stared at him. “I won’t hurt you. Don’t worry.” The bunny’s breathing started to return back to normal, and hesitantly moved closer to the boy.
“Be strong little guy. Have a little faith.” The bunny seemed to smile and started to scamper back to the woods. “And I hope you find home!” he shouted after it. “You’ll find your family, I know it!” And with that, the bunny was gone, with hope in his heart and family in his mind.
Elpidios stared at the place the rabbit once stood looking at the town, until he finally retreated into the forest.
Many years had passed and Kacela had found her place among the forest. She had found a tall beech tree by the path, in which she would sit in and wait for travelers. But not just any travelers—they had to be the right travelers, or else it wasn’t as fun. When she found her prey, she would watch for a minute, read them, and formulate a plan—then she would attack. She would speak to the person and watch the fear slowly grow on his face with every word. She enjoyed it.
Elpidios had found an abandoned cottage alongside the path, a few miles from the southern town. It had a little garden out back and a few extra rooms, which he used to provide food and shelter for passing travelers. He would cook and care for them, but most importantly he would talk to them. He’d look at their downtrodden faces, and he made them bright again. He enjoyed it.
The most interesting visitors to the cottage were those who arrived bruised and disheveled, as if they had been running through the forest a long time. They were usually covered in scratches, but whether they were from branches and thorns or from their nails, he never knew. They had sweaty palms and shaking limbs. They would never make eye contact with him, only stare from his nose, to the door, to the window, to his nose, to the window, and any other possible escape route. He couldn’t get them to calm down until he spoke to them. He heard that the northern town was bad, but not that bad.
These were the visitors to which he could not help but describe the southern town and how wonderful southern life was. He would fill them up with the marvels of this town and he would convince them to stay there. “There’s no reason to go back there. You would be so much happier in the south.” And they always listened to him.
The northern town soon began to realize that people were not returning from the forest. Merchants with food for the town stopped arriving, and fathers who went out to get wood never returned. The forest was dubbed haunted.
“No one knows what’s in there because everyone who knows is dead!” The little boys continued to torment Sylvia, despite her tears and pleas. “Your father is gone forever! Probably taken by a witch and turned into a rabbit! Probably been eaten up a long time ago!”
The southern town became upset that their trading partners had stopped sending men with supplies. They use to have a lot of people come by; some would leave, but most would stay. But now there was no one.
The towns were not the only ones who noticed the absences. Kacela observed that she had a lack of toys, and she didn’t like it. Elpidios remarked on the lack of travelers whose lives he could change for the better, and he didn’t like that. He noted that he had not seen the fearful travelers, and he wondered if they were lost in the forest.
“Only one way to find out,” he pronounced. He went off into the woods, looking for them and the reason why they had stopped coming.
“Hello, sir.” Kacela said with a smile. It was the first human she had seen in forever, and she was quite happy about it. He had curly red hair and large pack on his back, and he looked a little startled by her sudden appearance, but he soon got over it.
“Hello there. I’m Brutus. And you?”
“Kacela. What brings you to the forest today?
“The real question is what are you doing here by yourself? A young lady like you shouldn’t be out here alone! Very dangerous out here right now.”
“You’re here alone. What is so dangerous it could get me but not you?”
He paused for a moment. “I’m afraid I don’t know.”
“I know. I know what you’re afraid of”
The man chuckled. “Do ya now?” She nodded. “Well, go on. Tell me.”
“Have you seen your father lately? I heard he’s looking for you.”
The man held his breath. “My father is dead.”
“Oh, honey, you never really believed that, did you? You really trusted them to tell you the truth? Why on earth would they tell you and risk scaring you?”
“Shut up!” the man shouted, his body quivering.
“I mean, you knew deep down he was still here, still watching you. He promised he would get you, and he will. He promised he would finish the job and get the rest of your family and it’s only a matter of time. You’ll wake up one morning and he’ll be standing over you, still as crazy as the day he was born. And all you will be able to think was ‘I knew it, I knew it, why, oh why, can I never escape?’ And he will just laugh at you and—”
“Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up!” he wanted to go back, but he couldn’t. His father was there. He wanted to move forward but the witch was there. So he went right, deeper and deeper into the forest. Kacela just laughed.
When Kacela first saw him coming, she knew he would be a good one. He was a few miles away, probably wouldn’t make it to her until nightfall. But she could see him, and that was good enough for now.
When Elpidios saw the maiden sitting in a tree, he questioned why such a lovely lady was so high up. It would be a few hours until he met her, but it would be worth the wait.
Kacela sat on a fallen log, her legs crossed while her fingers picked at a flower. She could see the young man walking towards her, tall and handsome, but something was off. She could not see his fear.
“Hello!” He called. “How are you doing this evening?”
Kacela didn’t answer. She just kept picking at the flower until he was a few feet away. “Wonderful now. And how are you fairing on this lovely night?”
Kacela smiled. “Hm, then tell me good sir, have you no fear?”
The boy raised his eyebrows. “Have you no hope?”
Kacela ignored his question and instead asked, “Do you have a name at least?”
“Elpidios. And yours?”
“Kacela. I’m sorry, but everyone has a fear inside them, no matter how deeply hidden.”
Elpidios gave a grin. “Well, maybe I do have one. Why don’t you guess? You have a whole arsenal of fears, I’m sure I fear something.” Kacela paused in thought for a moment, and then stood up.
“Okay. Shouldn’t be too hard—you don’t look that special.”
“Looks are deceiving, aren’t they?”
Kacela rolled her eyes. “Do you fear heights? Looking down upon the world from above? They look a lot like ants, so far beneath you, but they’re only a short fall away. Gravity never seems to be on your side, and with one mistake, one tumble, you’re sprawled on the ground, twisted and broken.”
Elpidios shook his head.
“Then how about points? Knives and axes, pitchforks and swords; items with a wicked point and a sharp edge. Do you fear these objects piercing into you at a moment’s notice? I knew a young girl whose worst fear was a stick in her eye. Her younger brother was running in the woods one day, and he tripped and fell. He screamed and screamed until they found him, a sharp twig sticking out of his eye.
“But maybe you fear the doctor’s needle, watching in agony as it comes closer and closer until he plunges it into your skin. Or do you fear the doctor himself? How about humans? Do you fear what humans can do, what they are capable of when given the chance? Or are you a man that fears the human mind particularly, scared of what others think of you?
“Perhaps you only fear what they think while you speak. Maybe you hate going up on stage and having to speak with every eye staring expectantly at you. You stand there and stumble word after word, and you sound like a bumbling idiot. You know you do, and we know too. We aren’t laughing at you, but you know we are smiling, trying to hold in our laughter as you go on, and on, boring us to death.
“But it seems you don’t fear points or people or speaking.”
“Wonderful guesses, really, but I’m afraid not. I really must be going home, but perhaps I’ll come by tomorrow and you can try again.”
“Alright. Until tomorrow, Elpidios.”
“Until tomorrow, Kacela.” Elpidios walked back towards the direction he came, but once he was out of sight from Kacela’s tree, he sat down against a tree of his own and waited for the next day. Kacela climbed back into her tree, and from where she sat at the very top, she could see him sitting there.
“Hello again,” Elpidios called. “I hope you have some good guesses for today.”
“How about the creatures that crawl and slither on this earth? The ones that buzz and bolt around your ears?”
“Do you fear the snakes that slither and hiss, their scaly bodies winding their way up you, and sinking their fangs into your flesh? Maybe they don’t inject their poison in you, but instead constrict you, squeezing you until you pop. Perhaps, you fear something a little closer to home: the mice and rats that crawl at your feet, or maybe across your feet.
“Do you fear the bugs that crawl across your skin, their little legs slowly going up your arms? Or do you feel them crawling across your neck when you least expect it? The way they buzz around your face, trying to land who knows where? And then there are the bees; they always manage to land on you and sit there for a moment without you noticing. You see their yellow stripes and their stingers and you panic. Or do the cockroaches make you panic, large and ugly, hiding where you least expect them?
“And the spiders, oh tell me, do you fear spiders? Eight legs that quickly climb their webs, the walls, and even you. Some are small and thin, but others are big with thick legs and large bodies. Some are slick and black, but some have hair. Some have small mouths, but many have pinchers and fangs, many will not hesitate to bite. Tell, me do you fear the spiders that hide in every nook and cranny, waiting for you to appear?”
“I guess not. Now, tell me, what happens if you never guess correctly?” Elpidios asked
“I guess you’ll have to keep coming back.”
“It’d be easier if I just stayed.”
Kacela raised her eyebrows. “Maybe.”
“May I stay?” She thought for a moment.
“Afraid not. I simply don’t have enough room in my tree.”
“I see. Well, until tomorrow.” And he turned around and walked away.
Before he was too far, Kacela shouted, “Elpidios!”
“Maybe you should ask tomorrow” she called out. Elpidios smiled and returned to his tree.
“Alright,” Kacela said when he arrived. “Do you, like many, fear death? Everyone does in one way or another, whether they realize it or not. Do you fear going to sleep one night, and not waking up the next morning? Do you fear going to bed one night alone and hearing a noise in the house? Do you fear ignoring it, but then waking up with someone above you, a knife in their hand? Do you fear drowning? Maybe you just can’t swim to the top, but perhaps someone is holding you down, your lungs slowly filling with water, and you try to breathe but all you get is more water. Perhaps you fear the opposite: you fear burning. You fear the heat and the flames engulfing you, your skin charring. You fear the smell of your skin burning, fear the smoke that stings your nose. Maybe you don’t fear death, but torture. You fear someone taking a hammer to your knees, or picking off your fingernails. You fear someone taking a knife to your head and leisurely peeling the skin off, taking your scalp as a trophy. Tell me, do you fear death or torture?”
“No, but I admit that’s disgusting. You know, it would save me a journey if I stayed.”
“But then what would you have to look forward to?”
“True. Then until tomorrow, my dear.”
Elpidios walked away and Kacela watched him go. But then she heard a little footsteps behind her. She turned around and saw a little girl, with bright red hair and pale lips. She’d turn her head and look into the weeds and the trees, her eyes scanning the forest from the path.
Kacela turned around, a smile on her face. “Hello there. Are you looking for something?”
“My father. But he says I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”
“I’m not a stranger. You don’t have to worry about me. But I would be worried about the monsters in the cellar.” The little girl looked stricken. “They never believed you, but you and I both know they’re there. Hiding and waiting for the day you go down by yourself. They hide behind bottles and crates when you’re with your father, but they’ll come out now that he’s gone.”
“He’s not gone.”
“Sweetie, when was the last time you saw him? You know he’s gone, and yet you’re still here.”
“No! He always said the monsters weren’t real, and he promised he’d come back. He’ll be back.” The little girl sat on the ground and started crying, rocking back and forth. Kacela didn’t like that.
“Sweetie, stop that.” But the little girl kept on crying. “Come on, no reason to be scared. Stop it.” But she just kept crying. Kacela turned around and could see Elpidios watching from a far. “Come here,” she called. “Make her stop.”
Elpidios ran back, and then knelt in front of the little girl. He sat in silence for a moment, just sitting with her, and her breathing slowed down and her tears stopped running down her face. “What’s your name?” He asked her. “Mine’s Elpidios.”
“That’s a funny name.”
“I guess it is now that I think about it.”
“Mine is Sylvia.”
“That’s a really pretty name. Her name is Kacela. She didn’t mean to make you cry. Please forgive her.”
Kacela gave Sylvia a smile, it took Sylvia a minute to smile back. “I forgive you,” she finally said. “But that wasn’t nice.” Kacela didn’t respond.
“Now sweetie, why don’t you go back home. Your daddy’s still out there, he’ll just be awhile. But I promise he’ll be home soon. Just keep your chin up, okay?”
Sylvia smiled and stood up, and began to skip home. Elpidios gave Kacela a nod, and then returned to his tree.
“Do you fear nothing?
“At this point, I assume so.”
“No, not that kind of nothing. Do you fear the void? Do you fear that one day there will be nothing, that one day the universe will be empty, and you might of well had not existed? Do you fear the absence of life, of death, of everything? No one will be there to remember your name, and if you are not remembered, if you don’t make a difference in this world, then you might as well not lived at all. Do you fear that one day you will be forgotten, and your whole life means nothing to the world if no one can even remember it? That there will come a day in which everyone you know dies, and no one will be able to recall a wisp of your being.”
“I’m afraid you’re getting a little too deep for me.”
“Fair enough. What about the dark; do you fear the dark? All creatures naturally fear the dark. Do you fear it simply without reason? Because there is no light? Because of the void? Or because you can’t see? Do you fear what is lurking in the shadows, what you do not know? Do you fear what is hiding in the dark, ready to attack you at any moment? Do you fear it simply for its mystery, do you fear the unknown? Fear what is unexplainable and mysterious? Does it scare you that you don’t know some things and you never will?
“Still a little too deep, my dear.”
“I see. Do you fear small places? Fear the walls closing in on you, the space getting smaller and smaller. You cannot escape, you are trapped. You are pressed against the edges and you cannot move, you can barely breathe. But the walls keep pressing into you, pushing against you, and your heart is pounding and you can’t find any oxygen, and yet they still move closer.”
“I got a few chills from that one.”
“Are you giving up?”
“No, just stating a fact. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“We wouldn’t have to say goodbye if I didn’t leave.”
“But it is the sorrows in life that makes us appreciate the joys.”
“Still too deep, my dear, still too deep. Until tomorrow, Kacela.”
Just as the rest of the northern town had given up hope that Brutus, the missing father, would ever return, he stumbled in with wide and weary eyes and legs still shaking. The town was surprised, but glad. Little Sylvia sat on his lap while he told his story.
“I went to find the witch,” he told them, “And I had. She’s tall and menacing, with fangs and dark soulless eyes. She tied me down! She tried to cut me up into little pieces and serve me in her stew!” The crowd gasped and fell into uproar. Some told women to hide their children, while others demanded they go and find the beast.
And then Sylvia’s voice sounded over all of them, asking, “Did she have long black hair?”
The father looked shocked. “Yes. Yes she did. How did you know?”
“I met her.” The crowd gasped again. “She didn’t mean it daddy. She’s not very nice but she doesn’t mean to hurt you.”
“You know the witch?”
“I don’t think Kacela’s a witch, daddy.”
“You know her name? We can use this… We can definitely use this. Men, come. I have a plan to get rid of this witch once and for all.”
“Do you fear failure? Do you fear that you will not be good enough? That everything you do, every attempt, means nothing, because in the end you are always a failure? Do you fear letting people down? Do you fear that someone will put their trust in you and you will fail them miserably? And maybe they’ll stop trusting you after a while, and they will start rejecting you. Maybe they will realize that you weren’t good enough and then they will leave.
“Do you fear imperfection? Fear that you were never good enough, and never will be no matter how hard you try. You strive for perfection and yet you always miss, never quite there. You fear that people won’t understand you, that they will misunderstand you. They won’t understand how you feel, but they pretend and that’s almost worse. They take your words or actions the wrong way and you can never go back to before the mix-up.
“Maybe you will have regrets for the rest of your life. Do you fear having too many regrets? That maybe you should have done things differently, but you cannot change the past and you are stuck with these regrets hanging over your head. Maybe you fear failure and imperfection, regrets and rejection. Maybe you fear disappointment and you fear you will let people down and that they won’t understand you.”
“Maybe. But probably not. When are you going to run out of fears? Can’t I just win already?”
“If there’s one thing that this world has an abundance of, it’s fears.” Kacela said.
Elpidios nodded, and then added, “If there’s one thing this this world has a shortage of, it’s hope.” They stood in silence for a moment. “It’s getting pretty dark out. Maybe I should stay here for the night.”
“I think there’s enough light out. If you hurry you can make it.”
“If you say so. Until tomorrow.”
Elpidios walk down his path, but he didn’t head to his tree just yet; he had a few things to take care of before tomorrow.
That night Kacela laid on her tree branch looking at the stars. She had watched Elpidios for a while, until it grew too dark. She wasn’t sure what he was doing, but it was definitely new. Then she heard a call slicing into the silence of the night.
“Kacela! Kacela! Can you help me please?” Kacela recognized the voice as Sylvia, but something was off; her voice seemed a little higher and it was definitely a lot louder than it needed to be. “Kacela, please!”
Kacela slipped down her tree and came out of the darkness into the light of Sylvia’s lantern. She saw that Sylvia was crying. “I’m sorry,” she said.
Kacela felt something hit her head, and then she saw nothing.
As Elpidios walked back to his tree, with his prize in his hand, he noticed something off about the woods. The forest was always full of noise, whether it is from the crickets chirping or animals walking across sticks and leaves. And yet tonight the whole forest seemed to hold its breath.
And then when the forest exhaled, the noise returned but it was not simple forest sounds. He could hear people hooting and hollering, but why was the question. He looked towards the noise, and saw it was right by Kacela’s tree. And though it was dark, he knew that she wasn’t in it.
He dropped the small gemstone, and ran towards the tree, his heart beating faster than ever before. When he got to the base of the tree, he saw footprints littering the path. He also saw the outline of someone familiar in the shadows.
“Sylvia? What are you doing in there? Where’s Kacela?”
She peeked her head out, but her eyes only looked at the ground. “They took her. I led them right to her. They made me. I didn’t want to but they made me, Elpidios.”
“It’s okay, but where is she now?”
“In the northern town. They think she’s a witch. They’ve tied her hands and feet, and covered her mouth. They’re gonna burn her—It’s all my fault.”
“Sweetie, it’s okay, but you’ve got to lead me to her, okay? Take me to her, and I’m sure she’ll forgive you.” Sylvia agreed, grabbed Elpidios’ hand, and they ran towards the town.
They snuck around the edges of the impoverished town, careful to stick to the shadows. Sylvia explained that they would put her in the small jail while they prepared the fire. There would be one guard securing Kacela, and everyone else would help get ready for the fire. Their best chance was to grab her then.
Sylvia walked into the jail alone first. “Mark,” she told the guard, “my daddy says he needs some extra help. Sarah’s on her way to watch the witch, but he needs you right away.” The guard tried to argue, but in the end Sylvia won.
Sylvia motioned for Elpidios to come in. Kacela laid in the corner, bound and gagged, still knocked out from some’s club. Elpidios ran to her and started trying to wake her up and release her. “Sylvia, stand guard, make sure no one is coming.” Sylvia nodded, and took her post.
“Elpidios?” Kacela muttered.
“Shh, save you breath. We’re gonna get you out of here.”
“Heh. I can see-”
“Uh-oh,” Sylvia interrupted. Sylvia saw her father coming, along with the men ready to take Kacela away. Sylvia looked behind her and saw that Kacela was still barely awake and barely moving.
“Quickly!” She shouted at the advancing men. “Another appeared and they’ve escaped! They’re heading towards the docks! Quickly, before they’re gone for good!”
They ran towards the docks, a mad frenzy hoping to find what they were looking for. Sylvia looked at her friends. “You need to hurry up, before they come back.”
Elpidios picked Kacela up, but before he left he turned to Sylvia. “Thank you.” He said. Sylvia nodded.
And then he ran towards the woods. And when Kacela could, she ran too. They ran as fast and as far as they could go until they collapsed at the trunk of a tree, their backs against it. Kacela looked at him and smiled.
“You feared I was gone forever.”
“You hoped I would return for you.”
“You know,” Kacela said, “there’s
probably enough room for both of us somewhere. And we can still look forward to
tomorrow and enjoy the little things without having to say goodbye.”
“I like the sound of that. I have a cottage down south. It will be a good place to stay.”
Kacela leaned against his shoulder and Elpidios put his arm around her.
“Until tomorrow, my dear.”
And then they drifted off to sleep, soon to live happily ever after.
My mother would always say that final line with a nostalgic smile, her eyes sort of looking past us. She would then tell us it was time for bed, and after a bit of protesting, we would grudgingly go off. My mother would then go to out room to tuck us in. She’d give us a kiss on the forehead, and as she turned out the lights and shut the door she would whisper her final words to us.
“Until tomorrow, my dears.”