This is the fourth installment of five. Below are links to previous episodes for anyone who missed them.
“The Fern Flower Summons” (Part Four)
Convinced the source of the distant glow was multidimensional, Connor rushed off, determined to confide in Professor Dabrowski. Having misjudged the distance and his ability to navigate the darkness, he stopped to recover his bearings. His heart sunk, realizing the light had vanished. As Connor searched for it, the dazzling radiance rematerialized in the field before him. Staring in disbelief, he couldn’t shake the feeling it beckoned to him. Mesmerized, he stepped tentatively forward.
Startled, Connor halted. Rooted in place, he trembled, doubting his sanity.
(don’t stop now)
(follow the light all will be revealed)
An unbearable urge to enter the woods welled inside Connor. But, he found the light’s retreat into the dense undergrowth disconcerting. His courage failed at the forest’s edge.
“What do you want?”
(to help you connor)
“How do you know my name?”
(your mind is easy to read)
“Why couldn’t anyone else see the light?”
(you are the one chosen)
(you endure great unhappiness)
“Why should that matter?”
(is it wrong to remedy harm inflicted)
“No, but I don’t understand. Who are you? Why do you move deeper into the woods?”
(the gift resides there within)
(indulge your curiosity bravely follow the light)
“Why should I trust you?”
(risk abides in every action and refusal to act)
“What will I find?”
(what you already suspect)
“The fern flower?”
Connor wrestled with conflicting emotions. Endless possibilities ran through his mind. Although the offer tempted him, experience had taught Connor nothing in life was truly free. He supposed interacting with another dimension could have unforeseen consequences. Faltering, he tried to decide whether to play it safe and return to the bonfire or accept the risk, follow the light and take his fair share of wealth and privilege.
“Stay there. Don’t move. I’m coming.”
Connor tramped forward, pushing through the brush until he stepped into a hollow filled with radiant light emanating from a floating orb of energy. A large oak stood in the middle, its branches thickly overhanging to create a secluded grotto. Nestled between the tree’s gnarled roots, a beautiful woodland fern grew. Fine motes of light drifted down from underneath its fronds, coating the ground with glittering dust. A golden stem extended up in its center, bearing a magnificent flower.
Connor watched the luminous sphere descend and merge with the blossom to cast an array of iridescent light through its translucent petals. Connor felt an intense heat radiating from the bloom.
(rarely do mortal eyes gaze upon the ferns fiery blossom)
“I… I am honored.”
(do you know the magic it holds)
“Professor Dabrowski says it has the power to grant wishes.”
“If I wish for something, will it happen right away?”
(the magic works subtly until time brings your desire to fruition)
“How’s this possible? Magic isn’t real in this world.”
(what you call magic is simply energy capable of shifting reality bringing desired aspects from countless parallel universes into this one)
“I want to be like my classmates. I want to live on the surface. I want to be respected and admired. I want the life they have!”
(ask for limitless wealth the rest will follow)
Connor crept closer to the fern. Variegated light illuminated his body as he fell to his knees. Tentatively, he extended a hand to touch the flower.
“Do I pick the blossom?”
(fear not the bloom is imperishable utter a wish pluck it forever yours to keep)
The crack of snapping wood and crunching leaves startled Connor out of his reverie. He vainly searched the surrounding darkness, his eyes struggling to adjust. He suddenly suspected someone had followed him. The thought angered him.
“Hello? Who’s there?”
(a woodland creature ignore it make your wish)
Connor recalled his mother’s fear of wildlife.
“Animal? It sounds huge.”
(the hour grows late)
Detecting a trace of irritation in the voice’s tone, Conner again reconsidered accepting help from the multidimensional entity. But, his qualms fled as he turned back to behold the flower’s ethereal beauty. An intense desire for wealth and status reconquered him.
“Yes, of course. You’re right. I’m sorry.”
Energy pulsed up his hand as he grasped the flower, numbing his entire arm. The stem resisted his pull.
(state your desire to reap the bloom)
A dazzling flash accompanied by the crackle of arching electricity interrupted Connor’s wish.
“Wait! Stop! Say nothing! There’s something you need to know!”
This tale was inspired by a submissions call from Shoreline of Infinity Magazine for their upcoming September 2022 issue themed around science fiction fairytales. Hope you check it out. I’m eager to read what made it in!