This is part two of the short story, “Where the Wind Blows.”
Where the Wind Blows: Part II
The boy did not say a word. He merely smiled impishly, and vanished.
Isea did not know whether to take that as encouragement, or meanness. Isea ran to her thinking rock, and looked about herself, her dark tangled hair flying around her head. “Where did you go?” she called. She soon lost hope. “Silly, stupid,” she muttered at herself. “What are you doing?” Isea walked home at a slow pace, burdened with melancholy.
Isea closed her eyes. The rest of the day had been rather dull, and the more that she thought about it, the more dilapidated her memory seemed. She had left over a sad feeling behind her eyes. All of her thoughts seemed to jump about, pounding against the inside of her head until it ached. She had tried to capture the dream with her journal, but the dream eluded her as artfully as the boy had vanished. And tomorrow was a school day. Isea sighed a long sigh that turned into a moan at the end. Depression seemed to make all of her thoughts go away. Isea went along with this and surrendered to the thoughtless oblivion which surrounded her. The darkness ebbed after a while, curling away slowly to the edges of her vision. She realised that she was running very fast away from the dark, by glancing out of the corners of her eyes and seeing a fleeting shadow slide forth out from it. She longed to stop. She longed to turn around and confront it, however darkly threatening it seemed. Ahead was of course the jagged edge of a cliff. Beyond that was nothing at all—not even a horizon was there in the far distance, to meet the jagged edge. She neared running off of the edge and falling into nothingness. She desperately turned around. The boy was there, wickedly smiling for a moment, before he vanished and made all of the world disappear with him. It was as if her eyes were closed. Everything had been taken away. “No-o-o!” Isea screamed, snatching at nothing, flailing her arms and legs against nothing, falling down, down, down, into nothingness.
Isea’s eyelids parted, and blurry colours of blue and yellow flickered. She was very relieved that she was no longer falling. She looked wanderingly around the room, at the cracks in the ceiling, at the square of morning light on the wood floor. “Here I am,” said a silvery voice. She looked at the boy, perched on the edge of an ironing board at the foot of her bed. His dark strange eyes were fascinatedly sparkling. His toes were curled around the ironing board’s tip. His dirty face looked as if he had slept on it in the flowerbed.
“Lady on a hill by the sea, I must thank you for bestowing this thing on me,” he said eagerly in his silvery voice. “It is a very good, comfortable thing—good for sitting on and travelling across the waters of the sea. Thank you for bestowing this thing on me, er… What is your name really?”
Isea could not think and felt that her mind had disappeared. She muttered uncertainly and weakly, “My name is too strange to tell strangers.”
“I ask for forgiveness, lady on a hill by the sea,” pleaded the boy. Isea noticed his pupils weirdly dilating. This seemed to allow more stars to dance in them. “Please, I would rather we not be strangers.”
“I suppose I might allow it, if you tell me your name first,” she grumbled.
The boy seemed quite contented with this. “Ah yes… I am… Todd! Like toad—but not!”
“Todd,” Isea said slowly, and without expression. “My name is Isea.” She jumped out of bed and marched around to him. “Now what on Earth are you doing on my mother’s ironing board?” she demanded.
“On Earth,” Todd mused, “I was gliding peacefully over the sea on your mother’s ironing board so that I could arrive here. But it was not the right time yet, so I waited on the waves. I waited, waited… I sang a few little songs to myself about dancing socks and the like. I was giving you, dreamless one—lady on a hill by the sea…er…Isea…I was giving you dreams.”
Isea closed her eyes and lost herself in white anger.
Todd said abruptly, “Why are you angry, Isea?”
“How could you possibly know that I am angry?” she whispered scathingly. “This must be another dream.”
Isea rushed out to the stair landing, disregarding Todd’s pleading cry, and looked at the floor at the bottom. “I must wake up,” she muttered with conviction.
Todd rushed out to her and gasped, “No—wait! Isea, please stay. Please don’t go. Just listen for a moment!”
Isea turned to him. “Listen to what?” she screamed. “Can’t you see?” Isea suddenly realised that her eyes were warm and wet, and this made her angrier than ever. “I am becoming insane,” she whispered, covering her face with her cold hands. “It comes of being alone for all of this time… You are probably just a figment of my imagination,” she sniffed. And she had been alone every day at school with the other children. And alone every day when she came home, as her mother went to take care of the elderly at the nursing home. Sometimes she would not come back for days.
“Why don’t you believe me?” His voice was small, like a child’s, hopefully asking for something to be real, when the child knows that the adult will state that it is not.
Isea looked up into Todd’s face. The stars had burnt out. His mouth had turned into a grim hard line. She stopped looking because she could see that he knew what she was about to say, in her practical way: ‘Because real people cannot give other people dreams; they cannot be seen in other peoples’ dreams before they are seen in real life; they cannot float on the sea on ironing boards; and, they cannot disappear into thin air and reappear perched on ironing boards: You are not real.’ Instead, she asked quietly, “Why did you disappear when I saw you on my thinking rock yesterday?”
“You were so incredulous that it was difficult to believe that I was there myself. So I went,” Todd said solemnly.
“This isn’t a dream?” Isea said in astonishment.
Todd said with contempt, “Huh! You still don’t believe me!” and vanished.
“What have I done?” said Isea, breathing in short sobbing gasps. ‘Why should I care that he is not a real person?’ she thought bitterly. ‘What if real people don’t believe in me?’ And Isea knew in her heart that they did not. ‘What if there is no one left in the world that I can hold onto?’ She felt something in her change in the smallest possible way, and for the life of her, she would not make herself go to school that day. “Just believe,” she said, and closed her eyes. At once, she knew that Todd was waiting expectantly in the kitchen sink.