'Theo's Wish' - Third Instalment

'Theo's Wish' - Cover
'Theo's Wish' - Cover

‘Theo’s Wish’ – Third Instalment

By Tony DeLorger © 2011 CHAPTER THREE

‘Nester’s Magic’

They hardly spoke a word during the return journey. Joh spent the time trying to convince himself there was a way to complete his quest, and Nester tried to think of a way to restore his powers enough to help his friend. But alas, there seemed no real affirmative answers to their problems.

When the two travellers finally reached Nester’s shack, Nester went to speak but Joh interrupted.

‘Don’t say anything. It is all up to me, Nester…I know that now.’

Nester put his hand supportively on Joh’s shoulder. ‘If there were anything, anything at all that I could do…you know I would.’

‘You are a good friend, Nester,’ said Joh with a forced smile. He then slowly turned toward home.

That evening was cold and Nester sat comfortably on his favourite chair, staring wistfully into the flames of his fire and sifting through his mind, still looking for answers. Joh on the other hand had made a pact with himself- to try to at least do what Mungo had suggested. He was to value what he had in the Half World and live just like a human boy, then perhaps the rest of his dream would follow.

The sound of chatter wafted up to Joh’s room on a gentle breeze and for the first time in a long while he felt exhilarated and happy to rise. He scrambled from his bed and went quickly to the window to see his friend Errol role by.

‘Morning Joh!’ he shouted, merrily.

‘Morning to you Errol!’ Joh replied, with a more than accepting manner.

Errol immediately stopped rolling and awkwardly turned his blue snorkel up toward Joh’s window to try to see through his mass of rolls.

‘You’re not smiling are you?’ he enquired.

‘And more than that,’ replied Joh. ‘I have a purpose!’

‘A purpose?’ Errol whispered.

‘I’ll come around later!’ shouted Joh, dashing back inside.

Errol hesitated for a moment and then he shook his head, his rolls rippling outward from the movement. Then, letting it go for now, he rolled on down the street amid the morning hustle and bustle.

Joh changed his clothing to suit the morning temperature and dashed down the marble staircase and into the street. The morning circus was alive and well in the Half World, with all manner of beast and creature crowding the walkways. But for the first time Joh saw this collection of abominations through different eyes. For once he didn’t see them as creatures deformed or lacking in some way, but instead saw them as whole beings, accepting of themselves and going about their lives with a smile. Because they were different did not mean that any of them had any less of a reason for existence. This revelation was a most profound one, and one that Joh had overlooked until that moment.

For a long-time Joh watched the inhabitants walk the streets, chatting and laughing and getting on with daily living. Just watching them inspired him, and after a while he smiled and joined the stream of traffic on his way to Errol’s. Some distance ahead a unruly laugh suddenly took Joh’s attention. The crowd in front of him were separating either side of something on the street, and Joh soon discovered what it was.

A unique creature stood before him. It was transparent and shaped like a teardrop. It had a small head and two ineffectual arms at its slender top, with two stout legs at its base and was wearing a pair of rather homely looking mohair shorts. The poor creature had kicked off one of its shoes and each time that it bent down to try to pick it up, was tickled by those woven shorts. Its arms were hardly long enough to reach the ground but each time it tried, those shorts sent the creature into fits of laughter.

Joh quickly picked up the shoe and helped put it on the creature’s foot, wondering why no-one else had done so.

‘Oh, thank you my friend,’ said the grateful creature. ‘I could have been here for hours.’

Joh couldn’t help but stare at those fluffy, unsightly pants, but quickly raised his eyes, trying to hide the fact.

‘I know,’ said the creature. ‘Why the pants?’

‘Well…yes,’ replied Joh, unable to resist.

The creature fumbled for a moment, and then answered.

‘It’s not easy being transparent. People ignore you, treat you as if you’re not there at all. I suppose one has to have some privacy, a sense of decorum.’

‘Oh,’ said Joh, still looking at the pants.

‘My mother knitted them for me,’ added the creature, a little embarrassed.

‘You have a mother?’ asked Joh with surprise.

‘Why yes,’ said the creature proudly. ‘She’s just over there, getting polished. This dry weather does nothing for her shiny chrome finish.’

Joh craned his neck trying to see over the passing crowd. Then, sure enough, as a break in the crowd appeared, Joh saw the creature’s mother sitting on a stool on the other side of the street. She was a large shiny water tap, sitting there being polished by two able workers.

‘She’s…very shiny,’ said Joh awkwardly.

The creature smiled. ‘Well, I must be off then. I have three little droplets to take to school,’ he said. ‘I do thank you for your kindness.’

Joh nodded with a grin and the creature disappeared into the crowd.

‘A Mother,’ Joh thought. ‘To have a real Mother.’

Joh made his way to Errol’s home and knocked on the door.

‘Come in Joh!’ said a familiar voice.

Joh opened the door and walked in to find Errol with a new friend.

‘This is Cheryl. I’d like you to meet Joh, a good friend of mine.’

Joh stepped forward. ‘I’m pleased to meet you Cheryl. Have you just arrived?’

‘Last night, actually,’ she replied pleasantly.

Joh sat down and listened to Cheryl’s story, which was interesting. Being of human form, she was about the same age as Joh, until she turned front-on. Joh lurched back, seeing her entire body for the first time. Her left side was that of an old woman, her skin blemished, dry and shrivelled.

‘Oh, I’m sorry Cheryl. I simply wasn’t expecting…’

‘It’s all right. I’m used to it now,’ she said sadly, wiping some wispy grey hairs from the side of her face.

‘I didn’t mean to be rude,’ Joh added. ‘…At least I’m not two-faced.’

Cheryl looked at Joh’s featureless face in shock, as did Errol, looking down the side of his snorkel. Suddenly, after a long pause, they all burst into laughter, the comment somehow putting to rest any discontent or ill feeling. Cheryl then went on to tell her story, at least as much as she could remember. Being created by a dream is difficult enough, but remembering it all even more difficult. But memory by memory she painstakingly accounted her beginnings, and as her story unfolded, Joh became more and more involved until she spoke the words that would ultimately change his life.

‘And as the dream ended and I found myself like this, I saw the face of my dreamer,’ she said.

‘What?’ asked Joh, rising to his feet.

‘She was a little girl named Sam. Her grandmother had just died and she had this nightmare… I guess I’m the result,’ relayed Cheryl.

‘You mean to tell me that you saw your dreamer?’ asked Joh, his mind racing.

‘Yes, I guess you do when you’re first created.’

Joh turned to Errol. ‘That’s it, Errol. I just need to remember. That’s how I can find my dreamer.’

Cheryl felt confused. ‘What was this boy talking about?’ she thought.

‘I’m afraid my friend has a dream to become real,’ said Errol, making light of it.

‘A dream having a dream,’ he added.

Cheryl looked at Errol, taken aback. ‘That’s sad, really,’ she said, unwittingly.

‘It’s not sad at all, Cheryl. It’s possible,’ replied Joh indignantly.

Cheryl’s expression changed. ‘Possible? You mean, to become normal and live as a human?’

‘Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is Joh’s dream…no one said that it could really happen,’ said Errol, trying to arrest Cheryl’s excitement.

Joh stood up. ‘It’s not only possible, but it’s going to happen. You’ll see,’ said Joh angrily, as he stormed out into the street.

Errol looked at Cheryl sadly. ‘I’m sorry about that. Poor Joh’s fixated on this quest of his. He’s a great friend, and I hate for him to do this to himself.’

Cheryl scrutinised Errol and frowned. ‘But what if he’s right, Errol?’ she replied, as she dashed out the door, to catch up with Joh.

‘Joh, wait!’ she bellowed, scanning the busy street, looking for him.

There, a hundred feet away she saw Joh stomping down the street in a huff, slowly being swallowed up by the crowd. Cheryl joined the traffic and wove in and out of the steady stream of pedestrians until she was in earshot.

‘Joh! Please wait!’

Joh turned to see Cheryl dashing towards him.

‘Please, I want to talk to you,’ she said, screeching to a halt, out of breath.

‘You want to tell me how stupid I am too?’ he spat.

‘No, of course not. I want to know more. If you’ve found a way to get out of this place, then I want to go…I’m with you.’

Joh felt suddenly calm and thought how wonderful it would be to have another ally.

‘You’re serious?’

Cheryl smiled. ‘Look at me. If there were a way to look normal and have a normal life, don’t you think that I would jump at the chance?’ she chuckled. ‘I’ve only just arrived here, and I can’t wait to get out of the place.’

Joh grabbed her by the hand. ‘Come with me and I’ll tell you what I know.’

So Joh and Cheryl headed towards Joh’s place, both feeling a little more positive, having found each other. They had to stop halfway to rest, with Cheryl’s older half fast feeling tired from the walk.

‘Ridiculous body,’ she muttered, hardly used to the limitations of her form.

After helping Cheryl up the long marble staircase of Joh’s home, he sat her down on a sofa by the window and began his story. She listened intently to what Nester had discovered and to what Mungo had suggested, then leaned back into the sofa, thoughtfully.

‘If we can get you to remember when you were created, and know who dreamed you first, then when you learn to dream you’ll know exactly where to go,’ she supposed.

‘But how can I remember?’ asked Joh, baffled.

‘Didn’t you say that Nester was a wizard?’

‘Yes, but here his powers just don’t work,’ replied Joh.

‘Hmm,’ said Cheryl. ‘Until now. Come on, take me to meet Nester- I have a suspicion that this isn’t, as it seems.’

Joh happily obliged and no more than ten minutes later, Joh and Cheryl sat comfortably in Nester’s messy little shack.

‘What have you been doing?’ asked Joh, studying the mounds of books and papers on the floor.

‘Research, my boy. Looking for a few answers.’

Joh quickly pulled his attention away from the mess and looked back at Cheryl. ‘Go on then.’

Cheryl looked thoughtfully into Nester’s eyes. ‘I know we don’t know each other, but is that your wand there by the chair?’

Nester looked down and picked up the wand. ‘Used to be,’ he said. ‘Now it’s just a stick…good for nothing.’

‘Nester, can you do something for me?’ asked Cheryl, confidently.

‘Well, that depends,’ replied Nester, suspiciously.

‘I think that your powers are still with you, even in this place,’ she followed.

Nester frowned intently, not understanding her intent.

‘I think that it is you who have stopped the power, by not believing in yourself.’

Nester reddened. ‘That’s ridiculous. I have never had my powers here. It is but a lost memory.’

Cheryl sat forward in her chair. ‘Nester, we believe in you…Joh and I. We think you still have your powers. We know you can do anything…if you can believe in yourself.’

‘This is absurd!’ spat Nester, indignantly. ‘Why would I intentionally cut off my powers…being a wizard is what I am.’

‘I didn’t say intentionally, Nester. You just lost the belief in yourself, that’s all,’ added Cheryl. ‘So, will you do something for me?’

Nester felt a bit confused, but nodded in response. Cheryl then picked up a piece of paper from the floor and held it in her hand.

‘I want you to turn this into a flower. This is nothing for a wizard, and you are a wizard, Nester. Concentrate on it, and know that you can do this. Joh and I will help too.’

Nester looked up at Joh and looked back down at his wand, and then the piece of paper. He wanted for Cheryl to be right, but couldn’t believe the possibility. With only a flicker of faith, he decided to give it a try. Closing his eyes, Nester sat erect and with his wand pointed toward the paper, he hesitantly spoke.

‘Weave thy magic, lost wand power, and turn this paper into a flower.’

Hesitantly Nester opened his eyes and saw the piece of paper remained unchanged.

‘See! It’s no use… I have no powers!’ spat Nester with frustration.

‘You’re trying too hard,’ replied Cheryl. ‘You must believe you can do it. Believe.’

Nester sighed, then closed his eyes again and took a deep breath. Then, with his wand pointing to the paper he spoke again, with a stronger voice.

‘Restore this wand to its former power and turn this page into a flower.’

For a brief moment, a light appeared at the end of the wand, but nothing more. Quickly thinking, Cheryl removed a vibrant red rose from her pocket and replaced the piece of paper with it. Joh looked on worriedly, but Cheryl shook her head to silence him. Nester just sat there with his eyes clenched tightly shut, unwilling to discover the result of their little experiment.

‘Go on Nester, open your eyes,’ said Joh, praying that Cheryl had done the right thing.

‘Go on, look into my hand,’ added Cheryl.

With a nervous flutter of his eyelids, Nester slowly opened his eyes and peered into Cheryl’s hand. There before him was a magnificent red rose, in all its glory. Nester’s mouth opened and he rose to his feet, his eyes transfixed.

‘I’ve done it?’ he mumbled in shock, looking to both Joh and Cheryl. ‘I’ve actually done it!’

With a wave of self-confidence, Nester excitedly turned toward his bookshelf and lifted his wand again. ‘To my hand, the book of ages- Come! Come to me, my old friend!’ he demanded.

The bookshelf began to shake and a large leather-bound book slowly edged out of the shelf, inch by inch. All eyes were wide with expectation, but with an unexpected thud, the book fell heavily to the floor. For a moment there was an awkward silence, no-one knowing how to deal with the disappointment. But suddenly Nester turned to the others and a smile crept across his face.

‘It’s not bad,’ he said. ‘That’s a heavy book. The important thing is my magic is back. The spell is broken.'

Both Joh and Cheryl breathed a sigh of relief and leapt to their feet and collided with Nester, excitedly hugging the old man.

‘I did it!’ cried Nester exuberantly

‘We did it!’ shouted Cheryl.

‘I can’t believe it!’ added Joh, delighted and looking at Cheryl admiringly.

The three remained huddled tightly together.

‘We are on a real adventure now,’ said Cheryl

‘And its all because of you,’ replied Joh.

Nester not understanding, screwed up his face.

‘All of us, together I mean.’

Nester grinned, slowly dealing with what had just happened.

Long after Joh and Cheryl had gone home, Nester sat on his chair amazed that his powers were returning, bit by bit. The smile on his face was simply unstoppable as he practiced over and over, each basic ritual of his almost forgotten past. As each incantation and want was fulfilled and his powers increased, old Nester felt his life being restored and his heart soared with happiness.

Nester looked down on his withered bony hands and turned them over, studying them and feeling the power that had once been, returning to him.

‘I am once more,’ his whispered, the magic surging through his veins.

Sitting down at a small table in the corner, Nester picked up the large leather-bound book and smiled as he gently opened the book and thumbed through the pages.

‘I’ve missed you,’ he said warmly, as he read his ancient book of magic, long into the hours of darkness.

Joh had risen early and woken Cheryl who had stayed over and slept on the couch. They were both excited and hurriedly got ready, unable to wait a moment longer to begin their journey of discovery.

Soon they were dashing down the crowded street on their way to Nesters’. The sun had risen a second time and the streetlights remained on, creating a warm glow in the street. As the sun once again began its ascent, golden rays teased the rooftops and searched for the dim walkways below.

When they arrived at Nester’s shack they found the door open and Nester impatiently waiting for them.

‘What took you so long?’ he said excitedly. ‘I’ve been up for ages.’

Joh smiled broadly, seeing how this transformation had affected Nester.

‘What do we do now?’

‘You must remember Joh,’ suggested Cheryl.

‘You’re right, my dear,’ replied Nester. ‘We must first find your destination, your dreamer.’

‘So, what should I do?’

‘Lie down here on the sofa,’ said Nester. ‘You must first relax, clear your mind.’

Joh lay down and closed his eyes, taking several deep breaths.

‘Good, that will be just fine,’ said Nester, holding up his wand over Joh’s head.

‘I want you to think back, all the way back. Search for your first memory…let your mind guide you. Gently, softly let your mind free, to wander your memories, to remember.’

Nester then closed his eyes and held up his wand. ‘With all the power in my grasp, let this boy remember back. To when at first his life created, let him remember his own creator.’

Joh’s mind was floating on a cloud, sifting back through all of his life, remembering snippets, the souls that he had met, the feelings that he had experienced. But no faces were clear…they were nothing but blurred images, passing in and out of his consciousness.

‘I can’t see anyone,’ said Joh with disappointment.

‘Don’t push, Joh,’ suggested Cheryl. ‘Try again Nester. Nester repeated his incantation and Joh drifted- memories and experiences floating around him like balloons waiting to be popped. Then, as if his mind suddenly focused, a young boy’s face appeared before him. The boy was kneeling by his bed in prayer. Above his bed was a name plaque, which read ‘Theo’. Joh concentrated and listened intently to his words.

‘Please God, give me a brother, someone to play with and to take care of. Don’t worry about Christmas. I don’t need any presents- just give me a baby brother- that’s all I ask. Amen’ said Theo, rising to his feet and hopping into bed.

Suddenly Joh sat bolt upright. ‘I saw him, I saw my dreamer! His name is Theo…he’s a little boy and he wants a brother for Christmas, and…That’s right! I heard that voice. Theo it said, it’s a school-day.’

‘Wooh! Slow down Joh. One thing at a time,’ said Nester, with a big smile.

‘I did it, Nester. I’ve seen my dreamer,’ he said, surprised that it had happened.

‘Thank you, and you Cheryl. We could never have done it without you.’

Nester turned to Cheryl and smiled. ‘You have brought much joy into our lives. How will we ever repay you?’

‘You did this yourselves. I’m just happy to help,’ Cheryl replied.

Nester frowned thoughtfully. ‘But how did you know about my powers? You’ve been here all of a few days, yet you knew of something that for years and years, I did not.’

Cheryl shrugged, unable to offer any logical explanation. ‘Perhaps it was my old, wise side,’ she said, cheekily.

‘Perhaps,’ added Nester with a knowing grin. ‘Anyway we are both glad to have met you.’

‘Me too,’ replied Cheryl, wearing a warm smile.

Over the next few days Nester, Joh and Cheryl spent every waking hour together, planning to dream Joh to the real world to find his dreamer, Theo. It was no mean feat, and Nester tried all sorts of spells and magic but for the life of him, he couldn’t apply his magic to dreams- it was an unfamiliar territory. In the end, he applied himself two hundred per cent to the task and finally came up with the words that he hoped would launch Joh into the human world, to find his creator.

On a balmy afternoon, and as the sun was setting on the Half World, Nester stood above Joh and recited his incantation…

‘From this, the world of broken dreams, please take this soul on a journey,

to find his human dreamer, dream, and complete his real identity.

Give him form to be, and eyes to see, the human world and folly,

the sense to learn, somehow discern and find peace and the underlying reality.

With all my power, past and present- send him now, release him.’

With a loud crackling sound and a huge puff of smoke that emanated from Joh himself, the magic began to work. The room began to shake with a low resonate hum that was more than disconcerting. Joh kept his eyes shut, but felt every cell in his body vibrate. Cheryl looked at Nester worriedly, but Nester remained with his arms outstretched, waiting for Joh’s departure. After a minute the shaking slowly subsided and the smoke cleared. Joh remained where he lay, his eyes tightly shut. Nester looked down and abandoned his stance, realising he had failed. Joh sat up and hung his head.

‘It didn’t work. I can’t believe it,’ muttered Joh, shattered.

Nester was just as distraught. ‘I was sure that this would work,’ he followed.

Cheryl stood up and looked at Joh determinedly. ‘This is not over yet,’ she said, sharply. ‘You must believe too, Joh…just like Nester.’

‘But I did, I mean I do,’ he replied, suddenly a little unsure.

‘Let’s do it again, and this time I’ll be next to you. I believe enough for both of us,’ said Cheryl, brimming with commitment.

‘OK,’ replied Joh. ‘Let’s do it again.’

Joh lay on the sofa again and this time, Cheryl lay next to him, holding tightly on to his arm. ‘I believe in you Joh. You can do this,’ she whispered.

Nester lifted his arms upward and closed his eyes and repeated his incantation…

‘From this, the world of broken dreams, please take this soul on a journey,

to find his human dreamer, dream, and complete his real identity.

Give him form to be, and eyes to see, the human world and folly,

the sense to learn, somehow discern and find peace and the underlying reality.

With all my power, past and present- send him now, release him- NOW!’

The crackling sound seemed much louder this time, and the smoke far more dense. A bright light appeared and slowly engulfed Joh’s body, and then with a sudden snap, he was gone. But what none of them could have expected, was that Cheryl was gone too, inadvertantly caught up in Nester’s spell. Did it work? Had they both gone to the real world? Or had Nester sent them to some Godforsaken place. Nester stood there in confusion, suddenly doubting his actions.

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