In cubicle E-567 there is a little man who sits at his computer all day. Perhaps youve seen him, maybe in the elevator early one morning, right before you turned around to face the buttons. If youve seen him, it was briefly, out of the corner of your eye. Not because looking at him would turn you to stone as a wailing Gorgon would or melt you into a puddle as looking at a shirtless Seifer would. No, you looked at him out of the corner of your eye because Mr. Little was boring.
Even his kids thought he was boring and they were at an age when they even found snail goo fascinating. They knew their father filled out forms all day, typed very important things on a shiny screen and often sighed while leaning back in his tipsy three wheeled four legged, office chair.
If you dont want them to watch cartoons all day then find some other way of entertaining them, his wife would nag gently as she went about her cooking and cleaning. If she had a name other than Mrs. Little he did not remember it. Maybe it was Patience, she was always so miserably patient.
Entertain them? With what? With this? Mr. Little looked at the array of stress balls on his desk with logos such as Microsoft and AOL. He picked up an orange one and threw it at his youngest son Jiminy. The boy didnt even blink. His glaze remained fixated on the television where an emaciated coyote chasing a cartoon bird across the desert, his mouth slightly open.
Tell them a story. One they cant see on TV. A story that takes place in the summer, on a beach, far away and long ago.
Hmph, Mr. Little said. I am bad at spinning yarns.
Then remember one.
Mr. Littles attention was abruptly diverted as he noticed a letter in his inbox from his boss.
What? They are going with Michaels proposal? He cant calculate his way out of an unzipped ziplock bag. What does this mean Michaels work simply seems more heartfelt? Rubbish. Ridiculous! Hoi polloi!
Mr. Little was still mad that evening as he tucked Jiminy into bed. His mind was swimming with ideas on how to out Michaels sentimental and childish designs. He had gone to the best school in the county! Could that count for nothing? Twenty years of experience! Precision enough to split the hairs of a wilder beast.
Daddy, why does the big bad coyote chase the roadrunner?
Because he is hungry, Mr. Little replied gruffly. Daddy needs to work so you boys have food on the table. Thats the way the world is, everyone is hungry and there is only so much food to go around.
What will happen to the roadrunner when he gets eaten?
Thats the end of him.
No, the little boy gasped.
Thats the way life is kid, you either eat or you get eaten. There isnt room on this planet for all of us. Just be glad youre not the road runner.
Mr. Little was thinking about eating Michael as he laid down in bed that night. His fists were still tightly clenched on his pillow when the digital clock marked midnight. As the clock struck 12:01, he began to drift off and then strangely, very strangely, he swore he heard the chiming of a grandfather clock in the distance.
Whats your name?
Mr. Little blinked. He looked down and saw the waves of an iridescent ocean. Iridescent, that cant be right. Oceans are blue and dirty, filled with diseases, garbage and bits of jellyfish. If he took another look he would see a diaper floating around down there or a dead rat. Mr. Little took another look.
Beautiful. It was glowing with all sorts of colors, reflecting off the light of a perfect sunset.
Ah-hem, what is your name?
My name Mr. Little began and then saw recognition fill the hideously large eyes of a cartoon duck.
Oh its you! You came back!
Mr. Little was embraced in a full-bodied hug. He looked down at himself and saw a small body, skinny, knobby ankles and big feet.
This isnt my body. I am much bigger than this.
Youre the biggest thing since Ansem when he was ruler of the Universes. Youre the chosen one.
Mr. Little was feeling dizzy.
I have to go back . . . .my wife and kids will miss me.
No one will miss you, a voice said. Mr. Little looked around and saw nothing. Who said that?
I suppose they wont, Mr. Little muttered to himself. He had that terrific life insurance plan after all. He wondered if missing person cases were covered. Theyll probably assume him to be dead after twenty-four hours, if they even looked that long.
Who are you? Mr. Little asked the little creature who was leading him across the beach.
That sounds familiar. Did I know you once?
What a funny name, Mr. Little laughed despite himself.
On the shore he met a pretty young lass dressed in pink and a punk in black leather.
We thought you would never come back, the lass said as though she too knew him. Quick, lets go. Were in danger here.
Danger? Even as the words escaped his mouth, Mr. Little noticed the shadows around him begin to change. They welled up off the ground in concave masses and moved towards him. He saw a vision reflected in one of them, like oil spirals in gasoline. It was of himself holding up his model, victorious. He was rich, in a red Chevrolet with two girls in the back seat and a garbage bag full of one hundred dollar bills in front.
Come! We need to leave now!
He didnt hear her.
Come, please we need you.
He walked toward the vision. The one hundred dollar bills were flying away. He had to catch them. Then there was darkness.
When he woke up he was at the entrance to a train station, waiting. He had been here before. He recognized the sandy walls, the rolling cobblestone steps. He remembered careening down the rails as though he had wings. You did not need feet to climb when there were winds in which to soar. Today, he was climbing. Up, and up one step at a time, into the train station.
Why am I here? he asked himself. The train didnt come. He must have waited there for hours. He had been here before. He had said goodbye here once, to people he can no longer remember.
Here, was where, you said goodbye to yourself.
He looked around again. Who said that? There was nothing here but sunlight. No one was even there in the ticket office. On the blackboard with the train schedules the time had been wiped away and for arrival time, in barely legible letters, it said Some day, perhaps.
He said down on the ledge even though it was dangerous if a train came. But he knew that no train was coming. He looked down at his hands and tried to envision some money. He needed money to take the train, even if it was a ghost train.
This was a dream; it had to be a dream. Money. He imagined it heavy, soft and slightly moist, covering the palm of his hand. All that green, the layers of twenty-dollar bills that can buy a full stomach, a picture show or a train ticket back to reality.
The wind came. It blew an array of junk into his side. When it left there was a Popsicle stick stuck in the nook of his arm. Mr. Little pulled it out and studied it. It was stained blue on one half. Light blue, not at all the color of food coloring like the cheap kind you buy at the supermarket.
He looked at it and smiled. It must have been sweet once, cold, watery. Someone had loved it. Now it was gone, just a memory of a good time.
He placed the Popsicle stick in his hand and thought of holding it. It was easy to imagine it was still whole. It was easy to imagine, even without his eyes closed. And then, the strangest thing happened. The woody stem began to thicken, the tip turned sharp and glittery. It lengthened, grew solid and round in his grasp. A sword. No, a key.
He saw his reflection in the steel.
There is a man that exists in the outside world. He looks a lot like me.
Who is it? Sora spun around as he thought he heard a sound. It was that voice again. That voice that said, that man is you.
Come out, you . . .you cowards.
He is you.
You will forget who you are when you wake. Everyone forgets.
I wont, not this time.
The shadows appeared. Darkness surrounded him but he was not afraid. Twirling his key above his head, Sora cut through the ranks of the shadows. Their words did not hurt him, their temptations held no lure. One might say that the young defeat their shadows because they know not the burden of age, but that does not change the fact that they defeat them. The shadows that spoke of doubt and fear. The Heartless.
As the blobs of darkness pudding dissolved into puddles of black rain and then evaporated into nothing, the train station began to change. Laughter pierced the air, ladies with frilly umbrellas, men with mustaches populated the walkways. The hooting sounds of trains cheered the rowdy crowd on.
But Sora could not rest. He chased one last scampering heartless across the station. He leapt over the rails, ducked under luggage racks, and came to a screeching halt at amid the darkness of discarded boxes.
The Heartless turned around and gazed at Sora with his eerie yellow eyes.
You will forget, he said.
As Sora tried to pierce his black body, the Heartless kept wiggling out of the reach of his keyblade. It danced in arabesques and in grand jetés across the walls. The vision dissolved. His mind began to clear.
He began to wake up. The blaring of the alarm clock siren chased the world away. His hand held only a tangle of sheets. In that moment when he could still see the lingering warmth of the train station and feel the weight of his wifes body beside him he remembered her name.
This time, I will remember. I promise.
And then he woke up.
All That Glitters Is Cold 3 Fanfic Competition
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