“You are a bastard, Anwon. One of the very few left in the world.” Anwon Price sighed and closed his eyes. He did not like how Kent was so dramatic it made his head spin and his eyes water. Sometimes, he felt like melting into a puddle on the floor, which was wet and slick and hard as anything. The days felt like they were going by, slower than the winds that rose from the North and echoed Across the Ages-Across the Ages was a term coined by King Wandron the Ninth, in 45 A.D. It was a miracle they survived the Ice Age. It was a miracle, with what all the wars and all, they survived anything. He started to quiver. To shiver. He didn’t think anything could be done about him. He wanted to sit down. He wanted to rest his eyes. His mind wandered, and he saw his Uncle’s magic mirror. The man had taken him in after his parents died in the mysterious fire, and he had had nowhere else to go. It was logical to go to the next of kin, but his Uncle Kent was not all there. He was a wizard, one of the few left in the world, and his head was not on right. Anwon had seen it happen many times. Magic destroyed people. Destroyed lives. He only hoped he would not go to Hell, the place Beyond the Gates. It was another saying. They had a lot of sayings these days. War was growing more and more prominent in the East. They had to be careful, watchful. Considerations were to be had, and his Uncle was not paying attention.
“Uncle Kent,” he said. “May I go outside and play?”
He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. “You can go outside and play, or you can work, but in the end, you must work. Give regards to your mother.” He threw back his head and laughed harsh laughter, the bray of a donkey. Uncle Kent was very bitter after his wife, Tatina, left him. He said it was the boy’s fault, even though Tatina loved children and baby-sat him often. He was used to the neglect, the patronizing attitude from his Uncle. He sneered in his direction most days. He ignored the sarcasm on others. He was bitter about the way he was being treated, bitter and misguided, and nothing could do to sustain the reason for the pain and suffering his Uncle caused. It was day after day after day.
“Go outside, boy!” he scowled. He threw a dish towel at him. Anwon ducked and headed outside, into the bright sunshine, and the light fell in through the trees and he walked a ways and came to a very old tree in the middle of the woods, it was a strange tree and it bore of a different color from the other trees. It was so dark it was almost black. The other trees were mostly brown. He shook his head and rested his hand against the tree, and a burning sensation entered his body, and he jumped back, nearly stumbling on a tree trunk. He sat down, hard, and fell onto a rock. It was sharp in his back. He picked it up and was about to thrust it into a bush. He looked at it and saw it was not a rock, but a strange pendant dangled from a necklace. He put it around his neck and he couldn’t remember anything for the next few hours, except the sharp sound the wind made as he ran through the trees, he laughter echoed in the twilight forest. The trees were like sentinels in the growing dark, and at long last, he stumbled, and collapsed, and his breath was knocked out of him, and he crawled to the barn and slept in the hay.
He had a dream.
He had a dream they said he was the boy With the Thousand Wishes, but it was more like, the boy With a Thousand Dreams, all stacked up, one after the other. The dreams were slow, and moved through his mind, slower than syrup. He loved making pancakes in the winter. He had been cooking since he was five. His Uncle left him alone in the big, wide house that was full of dark places and cold corners, and the open windows made it even colder even though it was nice outside. He looked at himself in the tall mirror in the bathroom, sometimes, and saw his pointed ears, his glowing face. His eyes were blue. Sometimes, they turned brown. It was not noticeable, and anyway, they did not have very many neighbors. Most of his neighbors were crows, and he found himself drawn to the animals.
School was different. He was the biggest nerd at school, and the kids poked and prodded him and jeered at him and called him names, and he did not know how to fight back, and tore his shirts and his eyes were bloodshot, most nights. His Uncle barely noticed, but the maid was kind and gave him cookies and soothed his hurt feelings and sent him out to play. He ran through the woods faster than lightning and did not know it was the pendant, making him soar like dragons.