JONAH – FINAL SEGMENT

When we left Jonah last week, his father, Drake, had given him a key that allowed passage through the portal to a paradise on the other side of the island. The enormity of the sacrifice Tidus had made to try and help him overwhelmed Jonah. He’s taking in this new world but still doesn’t know what his assignment will be. Let’s join Jonah, Tidus, Drake, and Jade for the conclusion of this story.

Jonah turned in a full circle taking in the beauty surrounding him. Palm trees swayed, turquoise water lapped at the shore, birds chirped, and brilliant flowers filled the air with their sweet fragrance.

island

The beauty made his head spin. A large house with stone dragons guarding the entrance sat approximately one hundred yards away.

Drake stood beside Jonah. “You’re home, my son. I have dreamed and hoped for this day when I could claim you. You are strong and brave. You’re everything my son should be.”

Jonah mumbled. “Thank you, sir.”

“I will teach you our ways, and your magic will grow, just as it did with your mother. But, you will have to work hard.”

“You mean like chores?” Jonah asked.

A deep rumbling laugh erupted from Drake’s chest. “I guess you could put it that way.”

Jade reached for Tidus’ hand. “Come, my love. We have some catching up to do.”

Tidus wrapped an arm around his mother’s waist and they walked toward the house, heads together, speaking in low voices. The obvious love between them brought a lump to Jonah’s throat. How he wished for the love of a mother, but his mother was dead and not coming back. He was happy for Tidus, though. The kid deserved to have his family again. He faced Drake.

“I’m ready. What do you have to show me?”

Drake pulled a spyglass from his coat and passed it to Jonah. “Turn around and look through this glass in the direction we came.”

Spyglass2

Jonah put the spyglass up to his eye and let out a shocked gasp. It was as if none of the rocks or brush existed and he had a clear view of the place he’d just left less than half an hour ago.

A smaller boat than the one he had refused to leave on, pulled up to the dock and dropped off a passenger. The memory of himself in that exact situation flooded Jonah. But, wait! It wasn’t a male. It was a female with long flaming red hair!

female red hair

He turned in confusion. “I don’t understand.”

“She, like you, has been banished to the island for her crimes. You will be allowed to help her, but only when she is seeking and ready. You can observe her from time-to-time but, cannot go to her until she does her part of the work.”

Jonah asked. “So, I will be for her like Tidus was for me? Is she my sister? Is she one of us?”

Drake chuckled. “No, my son. She is a mere mortal trying to find her way. And, yes, you will help her. As a half-mortal, you are more able to understand and communicate. She is your first assignment.”

Jonah turned back toward the girl. That moment of helplessness, fear and vulnerability he’d first felt, when he’d been in her shoes, washed over him. It was almost as if he could read her thoughts and emotions.

Drake laid a hand on his shoulder. “Remember what you’ve learned. She must seek inside herself for redemption and answers. In the meantime, you will become my student. And, when you are ready, you will meet the others.”

“Others?” Jonah found words jumbled with thoughts and hard to form.

“Yes, Jonah. Others. We are not alone. But, all in good time. For now, let’s go to the house and get you a proper bath, and clothes.

Jonah nodded and fell into step beside Drake, the powerful Wizard ― his father.

In losing everything, Jonah had found all that he sought. And so it is for us mere mortals from time to time.

THE END

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed Jonah’s story. It’s been a pleasure to share it with you. My intent was that maybe you’d find bits and pieces of inspiration along the way. To those of you who followed it from the beginning, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

Jonah – Part 13

When we left Tidus and Jonah last week, Jonah had missed the boat. He couldn’t find it in himself to leave Tidus behind, so chose not to go. Now, he’s having serious doubts about whether he did the right thing. And, they have company. Let’s see who it is.

Tidus looked up and let out a cry.

A man dressed in black leather boots, a long black brocade vest adorned with shining gold trim, a red and black silk cape slung across his shoulders and golden sword stood over them.

Drake

Weilderwolves stood like docile pets, on either side of the man. Gone were the blood red fangs and they looked up at him with adoring eyes.

“Father!” Tidus ran to him. “I thought you’d forgotten me.”

Drake embraced his son, then turned his gaze on Jonah.

“You did a righteous thing here today, Jonah. You cared more for Tidus than you did your freedom.”

Jonah swallowed hard unable to find his tongue.

Tidus knelt at his father’s feet and kissed his boots.

Jonah wondered. Was he expected to do the same? He certainly didn’t want to be skinned alive. He joined Tidus.

“Up, the both of you,” Drake ordered.

In an instant, a woman appeared beside Drake. With her long flowing blonde hair, purple, gold and green regality, she resembled a mythical goddess.

Jade

Tidus flew into her arms. “Mother!” Tears streaked down his face and he choked on his words. “I thought you died.”

Jade crooned, “Oh, my son. It was necessary for you to believe you were all alone so that you and Jonah could complete your lessons.” She stroked the boy’s hair. “I didn’t want to leave you but I knew you were ready for the task. You did well, Tidus, son of Drake and Jade.”

Jonah stared with an open mouth. If his life depended on him finding words to say, he’d surely die this minute.

His gaze returned to Drake. An electrifying aura floated around the warlock; something that resembled pictures he’d seen in books of the Aurora Borealis. Jonah sensed the strength of Drake’s magic. It ignited a flame inside him. Oh, how he wanted this gift. But, he was a mere mortal. Mere mortals could never possess magic this strong.

His eyes locked with Drake’s. Light shot out of them into Jonah’s and he blinked hard and struggled to stay on his feet.

Tidus touched Drake’s arm. “Father, Jonah is trapped here. The boat just left.”

“I know, son. It was the final test.”

Jonah found his voice. “Test for what, sir?”

“Come. Sit.” Red velvet chairs appeared out of nowhere.

red velvet

Jonah stumbled forward and found a seat. His head swam with confused thoughts. Was it possible that he was asleep and dreaming? Had the stress of missing the boat cost him what was left of his sanity?

But, he sat and listened.

The Warlock, Drake, spoke with a deep rumble, “You see, Jonah, I knew your mother many years ago. She was a student, learning our ways when the leaders discovered what we were doing and killed her.” He cleared his throat. “But, she was more than just a student. She was my lover.”

Jonah scooted to the edge of his chair. “You knew my mother?”

Drake nodded. “I have watched and waited to see if you would have the same gift. You’ve kept it well hidden but, nevertheless the spark is there.”

Jonah waited for him to continue, his gaze darting from Drake to Jade and Tidus. This had to be a dream. Nothing about it could be real. And yet the plush red velvet chair beneath him felt real.

“The gift?” Jonah asked.

“Like I said, your mother, Elizabeth, was my student,” Drake said. “She was learning how to use the magic, and her powers were growing daily. It broke my heart into a million pieces when they killed her.” His voice hardened. “I wasn’t there to protect her, but let me assure you, young Jonah, that the man responsible for her death paid dearly.”

“Wait,” Jonah interrupted. “Let’s go back. You said my mother was your lover. Does that mean…?” His words trailed off, and he glanced at Jade too embarrassed to continue.

Drake nodded. “Yes, Jonah. You are my son.” Drake reached for Jade’s hand. “It was before I found Jade. I loved Elizabeth and you were born out of that love.”

Again, his head swam. The son of a powerful Warlock? How could that be? And yet it all made sense except for one part.

He faced Drake. “If you are my father, why did you let them put me in the orphanage after they killed my mother?”

Drake sighed. “It was a hard choice, but at that time, we were fighting to survive. The leaders were determined to extinguish all of us and our kind. Many times, I counseled with the elders. I begged them to let me go for you. But, they refused. After all, you were half mortal.”

Jonah ran a hand through his dark hair. “And what happens now? Am I destined to exist in this godforsaken place forever?”

“No. But if you want to learn and grow your magic, you have work to do.”

 

Jonah – Part 12

When we left Jonah and Tidus last week, Jonah had asked Tidus if he would start teaching him magic. Tidus was unsure. Let’s see what happened.

“I’m afraid,” Tidus paced.

“Afraid of what? I’m not going to let anyone hurt you, Tidus.”

“You don’t understand. It’s not up to me, and even though you think you can, you cannot protect me. I don’t think I’m allowed to teach you.”

Jonah stood and laid a hand on Tidus’ shoulder. “Okay. Don’t get all worked up. I’m just trying to understand more.”

Tidus faced him. “It’s not that I don’t want to. I think you need to learn more about yourself first. If you try to go too fast, you’ll burn.”

“Burn?” Jonah stepped back. “That’s a funny word to use. You don’t mean that your father would skin me alive, do you?”

“I don’t know.” Tidus dropped his hands to his side. “I can’t tell you everything you want to know. You have to find it on your own.”

“In the books?”

Tidus nodded. “In the books, in your heart, and in your head. When your thoughts become more honest, and your heart more open, you’ll find what you seek.”

“I suppose that makes sense. You hungry, kid?” Jonah changed the subject.

“Sure. I loved the soup you made yesterday. Can you make it again?”

Jonah laughed and ruffled Tidus’ hair. “For you, kid, I’ll do it. Go gather some firewood.”

The boy traipsed into the thicket. Jonah never stopped being amazed at how the stinging nettles and venomous flowers parted to let him through. That was the kind of magic he craved.

He grabbed the pot and filled it with water and the vegetables Tidus had brought from his side of the island. He dug the package of jerky from the ground. Funny that he hadn’t realized it before now, but this jerky should have been long gone, and yet every time he opened it, he found several pieces. He wondered if that was more of the mysterious magic that surrounded him.

Tidus returned with an arm full of dried wood and Jonah set about building a fire.

soup

A thick silence settled between them while they ate. Jonah mulled over the words Tidus had spoken. He knew beyond any doubt that his thoughts were different than they’d ever been. He spent hours reading, reflecting on and journaling about deep dark secrets that he’d never imagined would see the light of day.

He wanted to purge himself of the darkness he’d embraced for so much of his young life. Shadowed memories of his mother’s loving touch came unbidden. He wished he could remember more, but he’d been too young when it all happened. He only knew what he had been told in the orphanage. Someone had killed her. He’d often dreamed of finding that someone and exacting revenge. Now, those thoughts seemed foreign to him, like they had belonged to another person.

He gathered their cups and strolled toward the water to wash them. He froze in his tracks.

There it was! A boat that looked as if it sailed straight out of Medieval times, approached the island.

Midieval Ship

 

How had he not heard it? His heart thumped. He glanced back at Tidus in time to see him disappear into a thick tangle of brush.

Jonah walked slowly toward the dock as the boat pulled alongside, churning the murky water with its propeller. A rope ladder appeared over the side of the boat, and a voice boomed. “Jonah, you have proven yourself. You are now allowed to return to the mainland. Are you ready?”

He swallowed hard. “I don’t know. Can my friend come with me?”

“What friend? We don’t see anyone?”

Jonah turned and yelled. “Tidus. Tidus come back.”

He was met with silence.

“Come on, Jonah. Let’s go,” an impatient voice continued.

“Can I have a little more time to go find my friend?” Jonah asked.

“No. It’s now or never. Either go with us now or stay here forever. We won’t come back.” The engine hummed and the blades churned.

Jonah put one foot on the bottom rung of the rope ladder and climbed.

“Hurry,” the voice ordered.

Jonah climbed halfway up the ladder and scoured the island as far as he could see, for any sign of the boy.

He yelled again, “Tidus!”

The only response was the hum of the engine.

He started back down the ladder, and the boat began to move. He jumped the last few feet and landed with a thud on the dock.

Without a backward glance, he ran in the direction he’d seen Tidus disappear.

“Tidus! Please come back,” he yelled at the top of his lungs.

He trampled through the tangled brush mindless of the sting.

Tidus emerged from a stand of trees. “You didn’t go.”

Breathing hard, Jonah leaned over and put his hands on his knees. Tears streamed down his face. What had he done? He’d given up his only chance to return. When he looked up, he met Tidus’ steady gaze.

“I couldn’t leave you here, kid,” he choked. “I wanted to go…I did. But, I simply couldn’t go off and leave you here alone.”

“I’m sorry, Jonah. Truly I am, but as I told you, I could not survive on the mainland.”

Jonah’s chest heaved. Emotion thickened his throat, and he turned back toward the hut. “You coming?” he asked.

Tidus fell into step beside Jonah. “I know you think you made a mistake.”

“I don’t know what I think. I wanted to go home, but another part of me is not sure I can survive on the mainland either. At least not the way I did before.”

When they reached the clearing, Jonah stared at the disappearing boat growing smaller. He sank down on the sand and let his chin fall to his chest.

Tidus dropped down beside him.

A shadow fell across them, and Jonah jumped to his feet.

JONAH – PART 11

This has been a pretty incredible journey so far for Jonah and Tidus. There is something shifting inside Jonah. When we left them last week, Tidus had gone back to his side of the island to get gardening tools. Let’s see how they’ve progressed.

***

Days passed by and Jonah spent hours working alongside Tidus.  His skin was covered in welts from the stinging nettles, and a large angry wound covered the back of his right hand where he’d accidentally brushed against one of the venomous flowers. But, they managed to clear a decent sized area for planting.

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Tidus had suggested a poultice of mud and herbs for healing. Again, Jonah was amazed at the boy’s knowledge. Tidus brought vegetable seeds from his side of the island along with a variety of flower seeds.

It made Jonah happy that Tidus spent days on his side of the island. Bit-by-bit, the boy brought more of his things, and Jonah had even constructed another smaller hut for him.

Shock rippled through him when Jonah realized that he hadn’t cast a glance toward the mainland or scanned the horizon for the boat in days.

Slowly but surely, he worked on clearing the land and himself.

After hours of digging, hoeing, planting and watering the rows of seeds in the makeshift garden, Jonah stretched out and opened “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.”

Tidus dropped down beside him. “Will you read out loud?”

“Okay. Sure,” Jonah replied. “Chapter 6. ‘We can now begin to take responsibility for all of who we are, the parts we like and the parts we dislike. At this point, you don’t have to like all of your aspects; you just have to be willing to acknowledge them to yourself and others. There are three helpful questions you can ask yourself. Have I ever demonstrated that behavior in the past? Am I demonstrating that behavior now? Under different circumstances am I capable of demonstrating that behavior? Once you answer yes to any of these questions, you have started the process of owning a trait.’”

Tidus interrupted. “If you ever want to talk about anything, Jonah, I am a good listener.”

Jonah stared at him. “Yes, you are. But, I don’t think I could ever tell you all the things I’ve done. I don’t think you could handle it.”

“I am a kid, but in some ways, I’m really not. It’s all very strange, I am sure, but I’ve just kinda’ stopped aging. I experienced a lot with my mom and dad. Stuff that would make your stomach turn. Before we were banished from the mainland, people came in large groups determined to kill us and all of our kind. But our magic was stronger than their hatred and they never succeeded. I’ve seen my father remove a man’s skin without ever touching him. I’ll never forget the screams. I bet you’ve never seen anything like that.”

man skinned

“You’re right, Tidus. I’ve never seen magic like that. I’ve only seen what magic I could create with my hands and it was all based on fear. I had to make people fear me so they would respect me. I was the king of my turf.”

Tidus poked at the ground with a stick. “What’s the worst thing you ever did?”

“I really don’t want to talk about it.” Jonah cleared his throat. “I’m beginning to wonder if I really want off this island anymore. Now that you’re here, and we’re making it better, maybe I don’t want to go back to the mainland.”

“One thing I know, Jonah. We are both being tested. I can feel my father watching me from somewhere. I know he’s alive, but I don’t know why he doesn’t come and get me. Maybe I’m supposed to be here with you and these poor forgotten creatures that roam this island. You know they weren’t always this way, the Weilderwolves. They mutated into what they had to to survive here.”

“Are you talking about the fanged beasts?”

Tidus nodded.

“Maybe that is what I will do. Mutate.” Jonah spat on the ground. “If your father is alive and watching, then we need to show him the best of both of us. I’ve never cared about being the best at anything before except stealing, bullying and even killing. But, now I have a strong urge to be something better.”

Tidus spread his long webbed fingers out in front of him. “I can’t ever go back to the mainland. I would be tortured and probably killed.”

Jonah growled. “Not as long as I’m alive.”

A long minute of silence passed between them.

“Do you think you could start teaching me your magic, Tidus?” Jonah asked.

“I…I don’t know,” Tidus stuttered and his eyes glowed. “I’m not sure it is allowed.”

“There’s only one way to find out.”

magic sorcerer

Jonah – Part 10

Last week, when we left Jonah, he’d just faced a memory that both frightened and horrified him – his first kill. We left him exhausted on the sand and Tidus had dropped a leather pouch at his feet and ran after Jonah yelled at him. Let’s check back in and see what’s inside the pouch

leather-pouch-leather-bags

He pulled the strip of leather that held the pouch closed and peered inside. A lump filled his throat.

Wasting no time, he grabbed his clothes, shoved his legs into his pants and ran after Tidus. “Hey, Tidus. Come back. I’m sorry, kid. I didn’t mean to yell at you.”

He caught up to the boy when Tidus stopped and turned around. Tears streaked down Tidus’ face. “I’m sorry, Jonah. I only wanted to help.”

“I know. And you don’t have anything to apologize for. It’s me that’s being an ass. I just have so much going on in my head, and I all I want to do is go home. It’s obvious that ain’t gonna happen, but this?” Jonah dumped the contents of the pouch into his palm. “What am I supposed to do with these?”

Tidus shrugged and swiped his nose. “Plant ‘em.”

Jonah gestured at the tangled twisted landscape. “Where? Look at this.”

“We can clear a spot. It just takes a little work.”

“What are they?”

“Sunflower seeds.”

sunflowerseeds-406

“And this?” Jonah held up a triangular piece of black onyx outlined in bright red.

“It keeps away bad thoughts.”

“Hmm,” Jonah studied the shiny black triangle. “Guess I could sure use that.” He clapped Tidus on the shoulder. “Come back to camp with me and help me figure out a place to plant these seeds.” He funneled them back into the pouch and pulled the string.

Tidus grinned and fell into step beside Jonah. “Okay. I have lots of them growing on my side of the island. I wish I could take you there.”

“Me too, kid. Me too.”

His mind raced. Was this all part of his lesson? Instead of fighting the place he’d landed, maybe he needed to help turn it into something more pleasant. Would the simple act of planting Sunflowers help?

He glanced at Tidus. This kid was a mystery. As soon as he thought he had him figured out, he presented something new. What he wouldn’t give to see the other side of the island. Tidus made it sound like the Land of Milk and Honey.

Once they reached the clearing where Jonah’s hut sat, he stopped and scanned the area. “What about over there, Tidus?” He pointed to his right. “Would that be a good place to plant?”

Tidus studied the spot. “Too many rocks.” He turned in a semi-circle. “Maybe up there.” He indicated an area up a hill behind the hut.

“Whatever you say, kid. Do you have any tools we can use?”

“Yes. I can go get them and come back.” He hesitated. “That is, if they let me.”

Jonah ran his fingers through tangled hair. “I wish we knew who “they” were. I’d sure like to talk to them.”

Tidus shook his head. “That isn’t possible, Jonah.  They are everywhere.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. Are you telling me “they” aren’t human?”

“Well, sort of. It’s hard to explain.” Tidus turned. “I’m going to get tools and I’ll be back.”

“Okay, kid. I’ll be here.”

As soon as Tidus left, Jonah ducked inside the hut. His gaze landed on the open book and journal. Maybe he’d skip the exercises for now and just read the book. He flipped it shut and stacked the journal on top of it.

He stretched out and stared up at the grass roof. The memory that had sent him plunging into the water lingered. He reached into the pouch and pulled out the cool black stone. He noticed something about it he’d missed at first glance. A tiny hole at the top of the triangle streamed sunshine. He looked closer at the leather string holding the pouch closed. After he unthreaded it, he was not surprised to find that it fit perfectly around his neck.

He slid the black onyx onto the leather strip and tied it. Now, that ought to keep bad thoughts away. Could it be as simple as that?

The books he’d been reading talked about shifting old habits and perspectives, clearing out negative thinking to make room for positive. The next time he’d give it a try. Cancel, clear, delete, echoed in his head.

Jonah – Part 9

Last week when we left Jonah, he was settling into his new hut. Let’s check in and see if he’s making progress toward getting off the island.

JONAH – PART 9

Tidus came and went. Jonah never knew when the kid would show up, but he always came bearing some sort of gift each time. Jonah now had a more comfortable abode that made daily survival less stressful. And, it had been days since he’d seen the fanged beasts. Jonah was sure that was due to the frequent visits from Tidus.

He’d scoffed when Tidus mentioned that the bigger hut and more comfortable surroundings allowed him the time he needed to focus on himself and do the work the Wise Ones had demanded of him.

Jonah finished “The Four Agreements,” and started on “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.”

He now understood the purpose of the journal.

At the end of Chapter Two, he tackled the exercises.

Question #1: What are you most afraid of?

Jonah thought long and hard. He chewed on the end of the pencil. He didn’t have many fears. He’d spent years making sure others feared him. Okay. Skip that one. Next.

Question #2: What aspects of my life need transforming?

That answer required no thought. He needed to get off this godforsaken island and back to his turf.

Question #3: What do I want to accomplish by reading this book?

Same answer – to get off this godforsaken island.

Question #4: What am I most afraid of that someone else will find out about me?

He sat back on his haunches. He didn’t much care what others thought of him. That hadn’t been important. Okay. Skip that one too. Next.

Question #5: What am I most afraid of in finding out about myself?

He reached for a small mirror Tidus had brought on his last visit. He stared at his reflection. He’d always been told he was handsome with his dark eyes and hair. But the man looking back at him in the mirror had aged. While he’d worked daily to stay in good physical condition, had he let his mind get soft? Was that what he was afraid to discover? That beneath the hard exterior beat a soft heart? That bit of information would tarnish his reputation for sure.

 

Jonah4

He laid the mirror aside and read the next question.

Question #6: What is the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself?

He knew the answer but, refused to write it down. He hated this kind of stuff.

Question #7: What is the biggest lie I’ve ever told someone else?

The answer to both questions were the same.

He closed his eyes and went back to that dark alley where he first killed. The scene unfolded in his mind. The look on the boy’s face. The begging and pleading. The jeers from others who stood by. A tear squeezed its way out of the corner of his eye and ran down his cheek. He hadn’t wanted to do it, but if he’d backed down then, he would’ve lost their respect. No one had seen him retching behind a trash can a few minutes later after they’d all moved on down the street. No one had seen him curled up in the fetal position crying, regretting. If he could take it all back.

dark alley

 

He jumped to his feet and stripped off as he ran straight to the murky water. It didn’t matter that the gray mud sucked his toes down or that the stench attacked his nostrils. A strong urge to wash away the memory was all that mattered. He put his head under and swam back and forth until exhausted, he pulled himself up on land.

Tidus ran to meet him. “Are you okay, Jonah?”

Jonah growled. “Go home, kid.”

“Let me help.” Tidus placed a hand on Jonah’s shoulder.

Jonah shoved his hand away and yelled. “I said go home. I don’t need any help. I just need to get off this shit hole of an island!”

Tidus stumbled backward. He turned to leave, then stopped. “At this rate, you’ll never get to leave.” He dropped something at Jonah’s feet. “Here. I brought you this.”

Then he turned and ran.

Jonah stared at the object hating himself with every ounce of energy he had. The Wise Ones had been wrong. There was nothing about him that was worth saving.

He picked up the soft leather pouch.

Jonah – Part 7

Last week, we left Jonah and Tidus in the midst of a horrific and sudden rain storm that erupted when Jonah questioned Tidus about his father. Let’s join them and see how they fared the storm.

*****

Jonah snatched up his meager possessions as the deluge beat down unrelenting, on the crudely made hut.

Water ran in streams, washing everything in its path down toward the murky waters. He had no time to waste. He dug the jerky out of the ground and tossed it along with the books and his other belongings into the burlap bag.

“Can you make it stop?” He yelled at Tidus.

Tidus sat dazed, his eyes rolled back in his head. He chanted words Jonah could not understand. The fragile walls of the hut began to collapse around them.

Jonah reached for Tidus, slung the burlap bag over his shoulder and ran. The rain blinded him. He stumbled over tree roots and briars.

Where to go?

Jonah pulled Tidus along. His need to protect the kid was strong. Tidus remained lost in some sort of trance.

Finally, Tidus pulled back. He reached into his pocket and withdrew a large Amethyst Crystal.

Healing_Amethyst_2_grande

He raised it to his forehead and chanted in a rumbling voice unlike any Jonah had ever heard. “Bay of old and sun so bright. Clear the mist of clouds at night. I, son of Drake, beseech you. Dispel the darkness, bring the light.”

Almost as quickly as it started, the pounding rain stopped. Black clouds parted, and bright sunshine reflected off remaining droplets on branches and leaves.

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“What in the hell just happened?” Jonah exclaimed.

Tidus placed the gemstone back in his pocket and shrugged.

Jonah turned in a full circle. “That’s all you’ve got? A shrug? My hut is destroyed. What am I going to do now?”

“Sorry,” said Tidus. “Perhaps you shouldn’t mention my dad again.”

Jonah mumbled. “You can bet on that one.” He stomped off in the direction they’d come. When he cleared the trees, he gasped.

His hut was intact. Only it was larger and sturdier than the original. And, it even had a door.

Hut2

 

Jonah’s head swam. How could that be? He’d watched it collapse around him. Surely he was having a wild dream.

Nothing made sense.

And, a newly delivered burlap bag sat nearby.

Jonah – Part 6

When we left Jonah last week one of the fanged beasts that inhabit this tangled and briar ridden island threatened to end his life. In a moment of carelessness, he’d left his dagger laying inside the hut. Let’s see how he gets out of this one.

Jonah managed to sidestep the lumbering beast, but it quickly turned and charged again. He cast an eye toward the hut, calculating. Could he make a dash for it? The blade of his dagger glinted in the sunlight as if taunting him.

A piercing whistle cut through the air.

The beast stopped in his tracks, tucked his tail and slinked off into the tangled brush growling.

Jonah whirled in the direction of the whistle and blew out a long breath. Tidus stood a good ten yards away.

“Hey,” Jonah yelled. He scrambled toward the boy. “Please don’t run. I need to talk to you.”

Tidus held a crudely woven basket in his hands and approached Jonah.  “Here.” He shoved the basket at Jonah. “I thought you could use these.”

 

Jonah lifted the lid and glanced inside to find an array of vegetables and fruit. All his original questions fled. “Where did you get these?” His mouth watered at the sight.

veggies

“I grow them.” Tidus fell into step beside Jonah. “Where I live looks nothing like this.” He gestured at the tangled terrain.

Jonah pulled a Mangosteen from the basket and bit into it, ignoring the juice that trickled down his chin. “I want to go with you, Tidus.” He said between bites.

“I thought I was taking you, but they wouldn’t let me.”

They reached Jonah’s hut and ducked inside.

“Who are they? And thank you for this gift.” He set the basket on the ground and grabbed another piece of fruit.

“You are welcome. I don’t exactly know who “they” are. My father was teaching me when he disappeared and never returned. Then my mother died and that left me.”

Jonah let out a soft whistled. “Sorry kid. And, sorry I was such a bully the other day. I wanted to get off this godforsaken island more than anything. I was only thinking of myself.”

“Why are you here? Did your mom die too?”

Jonah leaned back. How he wished that were the reason. “I’m here because I was given a choice. I could either go to prison or come here. I chose here. At least I’m not locked in a box, although now I wonder if wouldn’t have been easier.”

“You must have done something really bad.” Tidus reached for Jonah’s book, The Four Agreements. “My mom used to read me bedtime stories out of this book.”

“Bedtime stories?” Jonah shoved a hand through his hair. He couldn’t bring himself to tell this boy about all his bad deeds. “Tell me more about your mom.”

Tidus’ eyes glowed an iridescent green. “She was beautiful and kind. She had long silky violet hair and her hands could do such amazing magic. Both my mom and dad were teaching me, but now, I’m alone and only half-taught.” His voice trailed off. “I wish my dad would come back.”

Jonah’s mind scrambled for logic but found none. This kid was obviously born to a witch and warlock. He recalled stories he’d heard about these people being banished from the mainland hundreds of years ago. Even though Tidus appeared to be a young boy of twelve, in truth he could be over one hundred.

He prodded. “Tell me about your dad.”

The clear blue skies disappeared in an instant. Thunder boomed, and angry dark clouds swirled, turning day into night. Lightning crackled in the brush nearby and a deluge of hard driving rain pounded the hut.

stormy sky

Tidus cowered. “I don’t think I can.”

Jonah Part 5

When we last left Jonah, he’d been driven into the water by a multitude of hissing green snakes. His body was covered with wounds from the stinging nettles and thorns and he’d lost Tidus. He’d simply disappeared into a crevice in the earth and the snakes had blocked Jonah from following.

Jonah spent the next two days nursing his wounds and scouring the area where he’d seen Tidus disappear. It appeared the earth had simply swallowed him up and left no traces.

He kept a wary eye out for the snakes that had blocked his path. Had he imagined the entire event? He’d heard stories about men going mad. Maybe he was now one of those men.

After another day of searching. to no avail, he hid from the brutal mid-day sun inside his makeshift hut. He hoped that Tidus would make another appearance. He wouldn’t let him slip away this time.

His gaze landed on the discarded books in the corner. He reached for “The Four Agreements” and opened it. What the hell? He didn’t have anything better to do with his time.

The opening page read, “To the Circle of Fire; those who have gone before, those who are present and those who have yet to come.”

women-with-wreath-on-the-head-dance-in-the-circle-around-the-fire-holding-hands-beautiful-slavic-tradition-on-kupala-holiday_nlz0bbxae__S0000

Jonah puzzled over the reference to the Circle of Fire. He remembered a time back on the mainland when he’d hidden in the woods and observed a group of scantily clad women dancing around a fire, uttering chants and incantations. He grinned at the memory. All he’d thought about at the time was undressing the one with the golden hair.

Chapter 1: “What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake…”

A dream? Well, I don’t like this dream so I’m going to change it, Jonah thought.

He read farther. Before he knew it, the sun sank and the sky turned a bright red and orange. How had he lost hours in this book? And, what was the big deal about reading it? Most of it was common sense about keeping your word and not taking anything personally. These were things living on the streets had taught him.

But, one thing the book didn’t cover was fear. It was fear that had kept him alive. He’d earned a reputation over the past few years. Everyone within his path learned to respect and fear the “Wrath of Jonah.”

He closed the book, stepped outside his hut and stretched his muscles, enjoying the rippling strength beneath his skin.

Tomorrow he would search more closely for the caves Tidus referred to. Tomorrow he would find them. Another world existed on this island of terrors and somehow Jonah knew it was nothing like the world he was trapped in.

The low growl of a fanged beast drew his attention. He reached for his dagger only to realize he’d carelessly left it inside the hut.

dagger

The beast lunged forward.