A Boy, A Woman, and a Book
(With some pie on the side)
Spring time had made its way into the forest. Her loving breath giving new life onto the plants and animals that had been sleeping all winter. The trees were thick with new foliage, ready for the spring time birds to make their nests. And the flowers, shaking off the last of the winter frost, were in full bloom.
Wandering within these woods were two mismatched individuals. They had met through events long since past and had formed a small close-knit family. The first person was a child of who appeared to be the age of seven. He had shaggy light blue hair, and eyes of deep azure. He wore clothes befitting a child his age, except for one odd item. On top of his head was a pink hood-like cap that depicted a smiling jelly creature. The boy kept to himself, but was lovingly attached to the woman beside him. He was quite and tame, unlike any child his age. And even as they walked slowly through the forest, not once did the child show any signs of unrest. The woman at his side stood tall and proud, her chest puffed out like that of a warrior. But even with her intimidating stance, she still held the air of a woman. She walked gracefully over the forest floor, and wore her purple hair down. The only part that was held up were her bangs by a silver hairband. Her clothing was an odd combination of a leather dress, and armor. She wore it well nonetheless, even though her metal gauntlets and steel tipped boots disturbed the otherwise tranquil serenity of the forest. And unlike the child who kept her company, this woman had a cold feel to her. Her eyes were sharp and narrow. Her posture demanded that of authority. And when she spoke her voice as crisp and clear. Although most of her stone-like structure was chipped away when the boy spoke up to her.
"How about here, Mother Anuka?" the child asked as he pointed to a small clearing with a single tree in the middle.
The purple haired warrior nodded and smiled down at the child. "I was thinking the same thing, Luca." she offered a gloved hand to the boy, who quickly accepted it and allowed himself to be lead to their picnic spot.
The day was still early, as the sun had not yet fully set in the sky. Still it made for comfortable weather in the spring time. Anuka set out a small blanket for them, and placed a wooden woven basket to the side. Luca quickly plopped down under the tree, and patted the spot next to him with a smile. Anuka returned the boys smile with an awkward one of her own. It was apparent that the woman was still getting use to the whole, 'loving family' thing. "What do you want to start out with?" she asked while sitting down next to her son and drawing the basket closer to them.
"Can we start with your apple pie?" He asked with great enthusiasm, "Luca loves Mother Anuka's apple pie the bestest!" He tried to inch closer to the basket, leaning over Anukas lap. The woman grinned mischievously, however and grabbed Luca by the sides. She started to tickle the boy to deter him away from the goodies.
"Oh it is, is it?" she asked as Luca writhed and laughed. "Don't you think we should start out with the real lunch instead of the sweets first?" her voice changed to a cooing sound, lips pulled together as she tried to keep her ticking attack from lessening.
"Hahaha!" Laughed Luca, as he attempted to answer and escape her. "Nooooo, hehehe, we need to have, hahaha, Mother Anuka's pie, hahahahaha, first!"
Anuka finally released Luca from her clutches with a smile. "Mmm, I don't know Luca. If I let you do this, I might spoil you a little too much."
"Nu-uh!" protested the child with a giggle. "Mother Anuka never spoils, Luca. Well, not all the time anyway, hehe."
Anuka lurched for Luca again, as if she were going to start tickling the boy, but stopped midway with a grin. They both started to laugh, and quickly began to dig into their small picnic.
With the last of the apple pie on their plates, the two began to relax and let their food digest while sitting underneath the shady oak tree. Luca crawled up next to his mother and nestled his head onto her shoulder. "Mother Anuka..." he said while looking at the picnic basket, "Can you read Luca a story?"
Anuka gave Luca a curious look with an eyebrow quirked. "How am I supposed to read you a story when I didn't bring a book, Luca?"
The boy pointed to the basket with a small smile. "But you did, looky in the basket."
Anuka turned to look, only to amuse the child. She knew what she packed in the basket, and a book wasn't part of the list. But to her surprise there it lay. It was a rather large tome, leather bound and fading with age. She knew for a fact she didn't pack this item and turned back to Luca with a smirk. "Did you sneak that in there while I wasn't looking?"
He gave her a blank expression and shook his head. "No, Mother Anuka Luca didn't pack the book."
She stared at her son for a while before realizing he was telling the truth. A creepy feeling crawled down her spine as she looked back over to the book and sighed. "So, you want me to read you a story?" The boy answered with a grin and a nod. He reached across Anuka and grabbed the book. He plopped the hefty thing on Anuka's lap and waited for the story to be read. She lifted it up and opened to the first page. The words were written in a fancy text, with gold letters.
Before time was recorded, there were the Twins.
One of structure and rule,
the other of fantasy and creativity.
They lived, for a time, as a single mind.
Their order gave the world's shape and color.
With the Twins was The Book.
The Book was with them for as long as they remembered,
and the book recorded all that was made.
The Twins watched over the Book, and kept its contents safe.
But, as time progressed, the Twins began to grow apart.
They still held the duty of caring for the book, but their differences began to get in
Ink, the female twin, kept order and structure. Rules where what guided her.
And her brother, Mud, was wistful and carefree. He enjoyed what made life worth living.
Yin and Yang, black and white. The two were different from each other.
And because of this, brought about the end of their relationship.
Ink, fed up with her brothers careless actions over the book, shunned him away and asked for him to leave.
With great pleasure, Mud made his way out of their home world, and into the others he had read about.
While Mud journeyed from world to world, Ink kept her hold over the book.
With her rule, the worlds and stories that were made began to become colorless and tasteless.
There was no creativity in the worlds she governed and began to become enraged.
Anuka stopped short of reading the story, her expression perplexed. "Why did you stop, Mother Anuka?" Luca asked with a small frown.
Anuka looked back down at her son and let out a small chuckle. "Well it seems some of the story here is missing. Smudged out almost." All Anuka could make out was the phrase, "Ever be written again."
___Ever be written again.
With those words placed in the book, Ink strapped the mystical tome shut with chains and placed it away.
What she did not know though, was that "_____"
Again the words were gone, as if something was trying to erase them. Nevertheless, Anuka continued the best she could.
The book began to undo itself.
In order to keep any world from being made, it started to force all worlds into one form.
It began changing people into one kind of person, forcing them to act as one.
It took away the freedom and form of every world, making them one parallel story.
Ink, scared and confused sought out the help of her brother.
Although they were still on ill terms, Mud saw how his sister acted. He knew she was desperate.
But tried as they could, the two Twins could not do anything to fix the book.
In fact, if they so even stepped foot into its pages, they would find themselves breaking down.
Ink would become rigid and fragile.
Mud would slowly begin to lose his form.
The Twins, knowing that they could do nothing to help, began looking for others.
Mud searched for the most creative creatures to help, while Ink looked for those who could get the job done.
As the Twins searched for those who could help, so did the Book.
Even with it undoing itself, the Book still realized that what was happening was wrong.
The Book had two separate minds now.
One that sought its own destruction, and the other that wanted everything fixed again.
With all the forces at work, will it be enough to save everything?
It is up to those who were chosen, to write the new chapter in this story.
Be the end good,
Anuka looked confused at the ending of the story. Luca too looked at the golden words with a raised eyebrow. "Is that it?" he said with some dismay. "But what about the book? And the worlds? The story can't just end like that."
"Your right." said a voice from across Anuka and Luca.
Surprised, Anuka let the book drop from her lap and pushed Luca beside her. She reached for her side, as if to pull something out but caught nothing but air. Anuka cursed her luck. Today she had sent her sword to be sharpened at the blacksmith. "Who are you?" she said with ice in her voice.
From the shadows of the forest, stepped a man. He wore some old coveralls, that looked like they needed a good wash. There was mud, dirt, dust, all sorts of debris caked on the clothing. His skin was dark, as were his eyes, but the man wore a warm smile that showed he was no trouble at all. And like his clothing, the hair he had was full of twigs and leafs, as if he had just woken up out of a large bird nest. "You already know my name by just reading that book." he said with a wink.
Anuka eased her way up off the ground, putting herself between the odd man and her child. "Come again?" She asked, trying to size up the man.
He chuckled some and pointed at the leather bound book. "You already know who I am, because you read all about me. The name is Mud, it's nice to meet you Anuka, Luca."
Luca gasped and picked up the book. He quickly made his way out from behind Anuka, who tried to snatch him back with little success. "You're Mr. Mud from the story?" he said in awe.
Mud again laughed and nodded, while ruffling the capped head of Luca. "That's right! I am Mud, Twin and guardian of that book. Although I find it odd that it's still around near me. Whenever I get near the thing it just runs away to another world." as if to prove his point, Mud reached out for the book, only to find it gone by the time his finger had reached it.
Luca gasped again, as the book vanished from sight. He laughed though afterwards and looked up to Mud with a smile. "Hehe~ Mr. Book doesn't like Mr. Mud does he?"
Mud gave Luca a lopsided smile and shook his head, sending several twigs falling to the ground. "Nope, I suppose not. But that really doesn't matter at the moment."
Anuka quickly closed the gap between her and Mud, placing Luca back to her side. "Are we supposed to believe you are some sort of being of higher power here to ask for our help? For all we know you could have planted that book in our basket while we weren't looking."
Mud gave Anuka a helpless shrug, still smiling. "When would I have found the time, Anuka? That basket was in your line of sight the entire time, was it not? Let's see... how was it that you phrased it, ah yes." Mud reached up in front of him, as if holding a piece of paper or a book. "Better keep an eye on the goods. Don't want Luca slipping his hands in there and grabbing the pie I baked. It's still hot."
Anuka gave Mud a blank look, she was stunned. "How did you know... are you some kind of psychic able to read minds or something?"
Mud laughed again, showering the forest floor with more twigs and leafs. "No, no, Anuka nothing of the sort. I have just read your story. I have read it a couple of times too, it's really sad how it ends." the man had a tone of remorse as he said this, his face also showing his emotion.
Luca, not one to be left out, quickly chimed in. "But our story won't be sad, Mr. Mud. Luca has Anuka, and Anuka has Luca. Everyone is happy." he declared this with a giant smile and a small proud pound to the chest.
Mud looked down at the child with a pained expression. "Y-yes... you have each other."
Not liking where this conversation was heading, Anuka quickly interjected. "Okay, so you might be who you say. Which means you have only one reason to be talking to us right now."
With a nod and a point to his nose he exclaimed, "Bingo! You have always been a smart mercenary. I am here to choose one of you to help in the cause of fixing the book." With his free hand, Mud pointed down at Luca. "And he is who I have chosen."
"I don't think so." Anuka said firmly, putting a protective arm across her son. "I am not letting you take my son away for anything. Go find yourself another hero."
Mud gave Anuka a pouting face while crossing his arms over his chest. "But it has to be him! He is creative, kind and resourceful. I mean come on; he lived with jelly monsters for the good first few months of his new life!"
Luca looked up at Anuka and nodded. "It's true, Mother Anuka! And Luca wants to help! The world is in danger."
"No." said the purple haired mercenary. "It's too dangerous, I won't let you go without me."
Mud sighed and shrugged. "Well I can't make you want to give Luca over. But... I don't think you have much of a choice, Anuka. Luca is going with or without your approval."
The two began to argue back and forth, Anuka spouting her views on protecting her child, and Mud pointing out that saving the world was much more important. And while the two grownups snapped at each other, Luca discovered something. The book that had disappeared from his hands was now floating a few inches beside him. The other two were so engrossed in their arguments that they had not noticed. Even though Luca held respect for his mother's wishes, he still wanted to help. So without a sound the boy turned to the book with a smile. "Mr. Book, can you take Luca? Mr. Mud is having some trouble..."
"Luca, who are you talking..." As Anuka turned to face her child, a bright flash of light erupted from the book. Caught off guard, Anuka staggered back and shielded her eyes. When the light faded away Anuka was able to see that Luca had vanished. "Luca!" she shouted, her body trembling with worry.
"Well how do you like that!" Mud said with a whistle. "Seems the Book had the same idea as me. Ha! That's two against one, looks like we win- OW!" Mud fell backwards as Anuka swung a metal fist at his head. The first blow connected, causing the man to fall back on his butt. "Hey now, that's not very ni- ack!" he narrowly avoided a swift kick from Anuka's steel toed boots and barrel rolled away. "I would like to say one thing before I go." he quickly said scrambling to his feet. "I didn't do it the Book did" As Anuka took aim for her next blow, Mud began to dissolve in the tree behind him. In a matter of seconds the man was completely gone.
Helpless and angry Anuka began to slam her fist several times into the tree, tears of frustration and regret damping the forest floor.