The following is the 4th episode of a fictional story called The Bridge. Each member of our blog group agreed to write an episode to create a fictitious piece of writing. The majority of our group members are non-fiction writers and we agreed that writing fiction would be a stretch and a way for us to grow as writers. Honestly, I delayed writing my section because writing fiction feels so foreign to me but I stepped outside of my comfort zone and gave it a shot. This is the 4th episode. To read the previous episode go The Bridge-Part 3.
“Ask the Oracle? Give me a break, Grandpa. Ask the Oracle!” Xella laughed at her Grandfather’s request. “Be serious,” she teased him. But when he didn’t respond she lightly touched his thin shoulders motioning him to turn around. At first it appeared as though he were ignoring her, but then slowly he rotated his fragile frame to face her. Xella stepped back. Eerie amythest eyes glared her way.
He coughed repeatedly as though he were choking before he could reply. “I’m serious, Xella,” he finally sputtered. “You must get the answer. Is man good or evil? The world relies on you to figure this out. The Oracle will guide you.” The purple light in his eyes flashed brighter both blinding and confusing her.
“What?” She could hardly call him Grandpa now. Who was this purple-eyed freak? “What have you done with my grandfather?”
“Xella, listen to me. LISTEN UP. I am running out of time.” He reached over to touch her hand but she recoiled and stepped back. A large turquoise lizard scampered between them. “Look, Xella, a sign from the Oracle. Lizards mean that you will find the answer in your dreams. The Oracle will communicate with you as you sleep.” Xella responded by slowly slumping to the ground, the lizard scurrying over her crumpled denim jeans before disappearing into the brush.
She looked up just as Grandfather transformed into a pegasus and flew towards the heavens. Then she fell into a deep slumber.
The bald man beckoning to her was unfamiliar, Xella hesitated and glanced over her shoulder to see whom he was motioning to. He continued and she moved toward him noticing a dark and twisted tattoo circling his neck as she got closer.
“This one’s on the house.” He placed the shot glass in front of her with a sly wink.
Xella eyed the drink suspiciously, its thick, vermillion contents wasn’t something she was likely to consume anytime soon. “Are you kidding? What is this stuff?”
Xella jumped spilling the liquid across the heavily varnished bar, and onto her hand. A calmness swept over her unlike anything she had experienced while her hand disappeared. She gasped and stepped back.
With her visible hand, Xella carefully picked up one of the small glasses and hurled it at the man’s neck where the raven perched. “Shut up. What have you done to me?” He ducked and the glass sailed over him, smashing into the mirror behind him. Silver shards crashed to the tile floor.
“Bad luck, bad luck, caw, caw,” the raven taunted her. The black bird loosened itself from the bartender’s neck and jumped to the bar. It cocked its head and glared at Xella with its shiny little eyes. “Ask the man, ask the man,” it repeated then hopped about finally poking its sharp beak into one of the shot glasses draining its contents.
“You mean him?” she asked pointing toward the man behind the bar. But the raven disappeared before she could finish her question. The bartender grinned, lit a cigar and did a back flip, changing into a lynx as he landed on his four new paws. The feline bolted out the front door just as the building vanished.
Xella found herself on a crowded beach, azure waves lapping at the shore as toned young bodies sprayed sun protection on their skin. She blinked adjusting to the sunlight.
“Buenas dias, senorita, pineapple un dollar.” Xella spun around and contemplated the fruit seller, his eyes deep and dark as burnt cocoa beans. He arranged his pineapple spears patiently.
Xella relaxed and smiled too at the misunderstanding. “No, I mean can I ask you a question?”
He chuckled and handed her a slice of the sweet yellow fruit. “Of course.”
Suddenly she wondered if his pineapples were heavy and didn’t want to delay him. “Is man good or evil?” There, she had asked it and immediately felt relief.
“I am just a simple man, why do you ask me such a big question?” he laughed again taking a bite of the fruit, juice dripping off his chin.
Xella sighed. “No, you aren’t the man.”
Noticing her disappointment he set down his wares and took her hand. “What do YOU believe? Is man good or evil?”
His question surprised her. It wasn’t something she was supposed to know, that was the oracle’s job. Xella shrugged but he wouldn’t give up easily.
“What do you believe?” he repeated. “The wisdom is within you. Don’t think about it, the answer you seek will come from your heart, not your head.
She chewed on the pineapple and felt a sudden burst of energy. “If I believe man is good, he is good, and if I believe man is evil, then he is so.” Xella had no idea where those words had come from, certainly not from her.
The pineapple man grinned and winked at her with his lavendar eyes.