Eternal Spirit: Part Four
Druba and I were roused early the next morning by the
sound of a large branch snapping off of a tree under the penalty of the harsh
wind. The sun was just beginning to rise, just starting its morning routine
of climbing over the hills and spreading out radiant colors and lights.
I groaned and stretched, and dared to cast a
look at Druba. He was groaning and shaking out his stiff legs, his eyes filled
with dark pain. I felt sorry for him. My thoughts of sorrow were interrupted,
however, by a moan in my stomach.
I sighed. "I'm starving," I said, immediately
trying not to think of the hot porridge my family was probably eating. Thick
and creamy with a pat of butter on the top, fragrant steam painting pictures
in the air.
"Druba," I said. "C'mon, let's go. As soon as
we get through this wood we'll be…" the word home stuck to the roof of my mouth
like a peanut butter sandwich.
Druba sighed. "Keena, I honestly don't know how
much farther I'll be able to go."
I was shocked; Druba never admitted to defeat.
"Druba," I said. "Don't dwell on that! Concentrate
on getting home!"
But, truth be told, now I was doubting Druba
getting home more than ever.
"Druba," I said, my teeth chattering. "Its-s-s-so-c-c-cold!"
"I know, I know Keena," Druba said. The winds
had picked up, and they were blowing with a fury that left me in a state of
shock. They seemed to the screaming in their ghastly, dead voices, "Go baaaaaaaaack
Keena!" I ignored the winds' voices'…they couldn't challenge me.
"Keena," Druba said to me." "Keena, do you remember
when we first meant? When I told I thought you would be different than all the
I nodded and closed my eyes, imagining back to
that very day…
I looked at the Eyrie. His face was cold. "You
are lying," he said. I was stunned. "I-I no! You really don't under-"
The Eyrie tossed me an exasperated look. "I
thought you'd be different." He said. Then I realized why he had acted so odd;
he had been testing me! He had tried to see if I would do anything that he said.
But the Eyrie ignored me. With a sigh, he
looked up at the sky and closed his large, amber eyes. Suddenly, sunlight streamed
through the gray bedding. "Better. Much better." He said.
"Druba!" I shrieked in the utmost excitement.
"Druba, you changed the weather that day!
Druba chuckled softly. "Yes, I did Keena!" he
"Druba…could you do it again?"
"No Keena…I am too weak to perform such a task,"
I sighed. I had been so ready for the cold to end.
"But Keena…you can." I spun around and faced
"You're insane…I'm not special like you are.
I'm simple and plain and…"
"Keena," Druba said. "Have I ever lied to you?"
I shook my head. "No Druba…but…"
"Keena," Druba looked at me sternly. "Trust yourself.
Trust within your body. Imagine good things Keena…you shall see the power that
you hold within yourself."
I nodded again. I closed my eyes and tried to
bring good feels up from my red furry chest. I imagined home with Mama, Katia,
and Father. I imagined peace and unity within our house. I imagined the sun's
warm rays beating down on my back as I laid on the grass, throwing sticks into
the pond. I imagined magnificent sunsets on warm summer night, where the sky
turned brilliant shades of pink and orange and red.
I imagined Druba living with me, staying at my
home. I imagined him fighting in the simple playtime Wars that we held. I imagined
riding on his back again, once he got well.
I imagined sinking into the big bed in my little
room with Keena at my side. I imagined watching the moon out my putty glass
Suddenly, I felt something beat upon my back.
I opened my eyes and gasped. The sun shone above me, dancing merrily, it's crystal-like
rays bouncing on my back and singing a song.
"Druba!" I called excitedly. "Druba, this is
it! We can make it home Druba! We're going to make it home!"
I turned around to look at Druba in this new
light. He was smiling at me with his laughing gaze. "Yes, Keena." He said. "It's
time that we get home."
"Oh, Druba…" I whispered, as I peered out from beneath a bush. We were at the
end of the forest, and I could see my home. "Druba, Druba look over there, two
houses yonder. The white one with a straw roof? Druba, that's my house! I'm
home" I cried, my voice quivering with excitement. Here I was, after miles and
miles…and over that shining blue lake. Finally I was home! Even though I had
thought of home so much, finally saying "I'm home!" had a strange eeriness surrounding
it, and felt odd in my mouth.
I looked back to Druba, and I saw him pacing.
"Druba, whatever is the matter? We're home! And you can come live with me and-"
"Keena," Druba said, and I felt my heart plummet
to the depths of my soul. "Keena, don't take this the wrong way. I'm so glad
that I met you and had the chance to get to know you but Keena…" a grave look
came over his long blue face. "I've never lived with anyone before, Keena, and
quickly frankly I don't intend to. You know how you felt free when you left
Skarl's palace?" I nodded. "Well, that's how I feel whenever I am in the wild,
Keena. This is where I grew up." He gestured to the forest encircling him. "The
trees, they speak to me in their wooden tongues. The water dances for me, sparking
and twisting and weaving in and our of rocks. The wind sings me to sleep with
its ghostly song. The caves shelter me from the cold like a protecting mother.
The moon is my nightlight and shines on me in the utmost protection every night."
He looked at me with such passion, I knew this was really where he wanted to
be, and what he wanted to do.
"Keena, we all have desires, but only so many
have enough strength and will to achieve them." He touched my shoulders. "Keena,
always remember you are a very, very special person. Don't ever change." I blinked,
and suddenly Druba was no longer there.
I sighed, tears clouding my eyes. My soul mate
was gone, disappeared into the ground.
I looked at the spot where he had been standing
minutes before, and saw something golden shine from underneath the cold, brown
dirt. I reached for it and picked it up. I brushed the dust of and discovered
it was a thin, golden medallion hung on a bright red ribbon. Engraved on the
front were the words, "Eternal Spirit"
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I hugged the medallion
to my chest. Gracefully, I slipped it over my head and around my neck and started
for the place I loved most.
"Come on, Keena. Get up out of bed!" I opened my eyes only to see Katia atop
my chest. "Come on, Keena. It's the first day of summer vacation and you aren't
up early getting ready for battle?"
I smiled and pushed the covers off. I quickly
ran a brush through my red fur. "Last one to the basin's a rotten egg!" I cried,
knowing how childish it sounded.
Mother and Father were in the kitchen. Mama was
beating eggs. Father rose abruptly. "It's best I go down and get started." He
said. I smiled.
"Have a nice day at work, father." I said as
brightly as I could, and scuttled out. I hadn't made full amends with him yet,
but I was working on it. Slowly.
"Have fun girls!" Mama called from the open window.
I turned back and waved to her. Mama looked cheerier than ever. She rocked vigorously
in her rocking chair at night, working on that striped sweater which apparently
was for me. I got a warm feeling every time I looked at her knitting that sweater,
know that some day I would be wearing that sweater, and it would keep me cozy
and warm. But right now, it was sweltering hot as Katia and I raced for the
basin. The sun shone above brightly, like the way it had the month before when
I had been in the forest with Druba. I tossed the forest a wistful glance as
I jogged by, the golden medallion beating against my furry red chest as Druba's
heartbeat had beat against me in the cave that night. Both seemed to protect
me from harm. The words engraved on the medallion-Eternal Spirit-seemed to guide
me as I walked.
I knew that Druba was still there, in his homely
forest, lurking, even though he had disappeared before my eyes that day. But
I often thought I saw him, snaking through the trees, a smile on his long face,
a merry jig in his long legs.
Or maybe it was only a vision.