Words are like animals. In order to speak a certain word you need to hunt it first. Most people have only a small vocabulary but one day you meet an old man who knows more words than you have ever heard of. [link to post]
“Sarah!” My mom yelled my name to get my attention. I had one foot out the door, anxious to go play. I looked at her she gestured for me to “be careful”. I nodded at her and ran off to play by the stream. Stream was my first word. My parents took me on a picnic by the side of the stream when I was five years old. My parent’s house was deep within the heart of our city, and wild words were never found around people. There were plenty for sale, but my parents could not afford any of the good ones. My mother refused to let me use any of the cheap curse words, even though my dad made a case about their flexibility in conversation.
That day I sat on the side of the stream with my feet dipped in the cool running water, and something shining and sparkling with silver light caught my eye. I grabbed it before it moved and the word just popped out of my mouth.
“Stream!” I yelled. My parents were so happy. We spent a lot of time outdoors after that, but the stream was still my favorite place even 10 years later.
I ran out of town in a hurry, but slowed my pace once I left the city walls. I enjoyed walking in nature. Nature had the best words. Trees and plants were easy. They did not move once they bloomed. I saw dozens of sparkling flowers in all colors. Red, white, purple. But I knew all those already.
“Roses, tulips, and irises,” I said aloud to myself, while pointing at each sparkling color. After a short time I reached my secret hideaway. Over the years my dad helped me build a fort of sorts in a dense cluster of trees near the edge of the stream. We painted it with greens and browns to keep it hidden. No one liked wandering in nature these days anyway. People did not hunt words like they used to. Poor people made do with small vocabularies and lots of gesturing, rich people loved showing off their vocabulary, thinking they sounded very smart. They sounded like fools. I learned tons of words in nature, even my parents did not know how many words I knew.
I sat in my chair and just stared at the stream, this was my favorite past time. Suddenly I noticed a black dot. It floated in the air above the stream, it looked like it was a black dot just hovering in reality. Then it grew. I moved closer to it, thinking it might be a new kind of word.
I reached the edge of the bank, but the blackness hovered over the center of the stream. The dot grew to a circle as big as my father, then a foot stepped out of it into the stream.
“FUCK!” I heard as the black leather boot sunk into the water. I giggled, and repeated it.
“Fuck,” I continued to giggle. Despite my mother’s best efforts to keep curse words from coming out of my mouth, she did give me a regular allowance. I told the vendor it was “for my aching mother”.
The full form of a man came out of the blackness. He stood tall. His salt and pepper hair was a mess, blood ran down the side of his face. On his shoulder he carried a girl’s corpse on his shoulder. I knew it was a corpse because the body stopped at the neck, and the old man held a girl’s head in his hand.
He held the head upside down, holding it by the neck bone. His hand glowed red. The eyes on the head were open and glowed with brilliant golden light. I screamed and ran. He noticed me.
“STOP!” he yelled. A wall of mud rose up in front of me. I stopped. I turned around to face him. He walked out of the stream toward me, carrying the body. He placed it down, gently, lovingly, then looked at me.
“Hello little girl. Please don’t be afraid, I don’t mean you any harm,” The man said. He nodded at me and sat down next to the body. I moved closer, his actions convinced me.
“Black?” I asked. The man tended to the body, he seemed to be trying to affix the head to the body. He was mumbling to himself and his lips glowed red to match his hands. He stopped when I asked and looked at me. His eyes softened, and he smiled.
“That was a portal. I’m from another world,” he said, with unbelievable casualness. “Portal” and “World” were new words to me. Not only could I not say them, I’d never heard them.
“Last word?” I asked. Something about this man told me I could trust him. His actions, his movements, his eyes appeared very sincere. I sat down next to him and watched him start to dress wounds on the body. The girl’s shirt was lifted up to reveal a large gash in her stomach. The man held a red glowing hand over the gash. He nodded as if he understood my question.
“This,” he said. He gestured all around us, and then he touched his hand to the ground. “ALL of this, everywhere is your world. I’m from a different one.”
“Fourth word?” I asked, now that I thought I understood “world”. He nodded at me.
“Portal. Think of it like a door. I walked through the door to get from one world to another.” I nodded.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
“Sarah!” I said, proudly.
“Sarah, my name is Regal. My friend here is really hurt,” he started to say.
“She’s dead.” I said. He chuckled.
“Yes, she is dead, but not permanently. I’ve been keeping her head alive, it was all I could do until I got here. Now that I’m in this world, I can bring her back to life.”
“How?” I asked. I’d never heard of such a thing.
“Magic,” Regal said. Another word I’d never heard.