Excerpt – The Lost Child

The Lost CHild IX sml

Fiction, Fantasy

Cover design by D.J. Meyers

WIP

 

Pitch:

A man lost in his unfulfilled relationships is destined to meet a woman banished from her planet.

August Augustus from Planet X, finds the love of his life with Monday, from Planet Y, after they meet on Eros.

Their simple life on the realm of eternal love is endowed with gifts of nature, and the birth of their daughter, Sunday, completes their happiness.

When they agree to teach Sunday about the life they experienced on other planets, they don’t expect her to venture beyond Eros, at the age of fifteen, leaving them behind.

They have to make a choice: to stay on Eros or to go after their child. Monday is not allowed to return to Planet Y. They know when they leave to go to their respective home planets, they will never be together again.

August and Monday decide to leave Eros, not knowing what fate has planned for them in their future relationships.

This story is a Work in Progress

Prologue and Chapter 1

Prologue

He was lost within himself; looking for a way out. A trace of light or a glimmer of hope that might release him from his anguish and despair. He had tried in vain. The chances of finding the answers to overcome his darkness seemed to fade with each passing day.

 
Although his search had almost come to an end, the yearning to find eternal love had yet to diminish. Sometimes, he sought consolation in the music he listened to and played, until he had to admit the answer to his quest wasn’t hiding in there. His thoughts, always touching upon it, became more intense during the night, when he pondered where it could be … somewhere, perhaps in the heavens.

 
On one of the nights when he was able to sleep, August slipped into a dream.

Planet Eros

August found himself in a peculiar place, unsure about the time of the day. The twilight suggested early evening or maybe dawn.

In front of him, a dirt road led to a forest. Behind him, it snaked and vanished in the distant hills. A thick layer of vegetation covered the foothills of tall, jagged mountainous terrain, encompassing the valley on both sides.

Where am I? This feels eerie. Unreal. What am I doing here? Is this a dream or for real?

Uncertain of which direction to take, he opted for the forest. He surveyed the hostile looking mountains as he set off, his gaze scanning the periphery. Smoke rising by the edge of forest came into his view. His heart began to race and he ran, the anticipation of seeing another living soul driving every step. As he neared the tree line, the smell of burning wood filled his nostrils, and his eyes picked out the silhouette of a man, feeding the fire with logs piled up beside him. August stopped and stared at the old man, not sure how to react.

The man motioned him forward. “Hello stranger, move closer to the fire. It gets chilly out here in the evening. Come, make yourself comfortable. Welcome to planet Eros, the planet of love. I’ve been expecting you.”

His heart pounded in his ears. This stranger knew I was coming … “What? I live on Planet X. How did I get here? I have no recollection. This doesn’t look like a planet of love. Why am I here?”
“My dear friend, August, exercise a little patience. I’m January, also from good old Planet X, but I live here now to guide the newcomers. I’m responsible for you, and I’ll lead you on your way. Come, sit by the fire and share my dinner. We’ll eat and talk, and I shall tell you all.”
Confused about the old man knowing his name, he obeyed and sat by the fire. While warming his hands in the glowing heat, he tried to reason.

“I’m … disorientated. I apologize for being rude, but I guess you can understand.”
“Yes, of course. I know the feeling. Just relax until I roast this bird and share my wine with you.”
The old man turned a large game bird on a spit over the fire, and used a rod to roll over what looked like potatoes in the ashes around it.

“Here,” he said, offering the rod to August, “you can help me with these while I cook the bird.”

August turned the potatoes over until they were done. January reached for a flask of wine from his sack and two tin cups. He filled one and offered it to August.

“Thank you, but I think I’ll pass. Any chance of water?”
“Boring.” January sighed, rolling his eyes. “It will help you calm down. I’ll give you water if you’re thirsty, but I insist you drink my homemade wine. The harvest of Eros to help you meet your future on this planet.”

He took the wine while January produced another tin cup from his sack and filled it with water from a jug. August put the wine cup on the ground and drank the water in a single gulp.

“All right, my child,” said January, “it’s all set now. We can eat.”
“Why do you call me child? I’m more than fifty years old. Do I look like a child?”
“Oh, I didn’t mean to offend you. I’m old enough to be your father. Besides, we are all children of the Great Creator, aren’t we?”
“Yes, I suppose. Forgive me. I don’t like people patronizing me.”
“Well, August, my child, I’m not patronizing you. Have some food, drink the wine, and I’ll tell you how you came to be here.”

August sipped the mellow wine, ate the tender game meat with the potatoes, and watched the old man enjoying his drink with his dinner.

After a while, he spoke. “Thank you. It’s very kind of you to share your meal with me. Now, would you tell me why I’m here?”
“You came here of your own free will.”
“How so? I don’t understand.”
“Your quest for eternal love. Remember?”
“Yes, maybe. But what’s that got to do with this?”
“Well, this is the planet of love, Eros. The universe heard you and took notice of your desire to find the love of your life.”
“Is this what a planet of love looks like?”
January smiled and pointed at him. “Just wait and see, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

August shifted uncomfortably on his seat and scoffed at the old man. “I find it hard to believe.”
“Have faith, have faith. You’ll find her tomorrow. You need to go through the forest first. You cannot manage that in the dark. The forest is very challenging. We’ll spend the night here by the fire, and I’ll guide you on your way as soon as daylight breaks. Meanwhile, we can enjoy our wine and spend the evening talking. I don’t get much company here. Not a lot of Planet X people are keen on finding eternal love.”
“Have you been here long?”
“Yes. For some time.”
“Did you come of your own free will to find eternal love?”
“Yes, but my purpose was not to find eternal love. I already had it. For a very long time, until she departed.”
“Did she leave you?”
“In a way. She died.”

August paused, seeing the sadness in the old man’s eyes. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Yes, so was I. I wanted to die as well, but I couldn’t do it. I prayed to leave the planet and disappear. My wishes were heard, and I found myself here.”
“Don’t you get lonely?”
“No. I talk to the birds and the bees, and guide the seekers. The love of my life lives inside my heart. She keeps me company.”
“You must have left a whole life behind you.”
“Yes. Lots of material things. And children. I was a wealthy man, but the riches could not save the life of my beloved. The children are all grown and married. They have their own lives. I left everything to them.”
“How strange, didn’t you want to see your children or your grandchildren?”
“I was heart-broken. I did not wish to make them sad as well. So, here I am.”
“Don’t you miss Planet X at all?”
“No. It’s very peaceful here. I’m content.”
“I couldn’t do this myself, not on my own. I’d go out of my mind.”
“I know, but you won’t have to. You’ll have a companion soon.”

The old man offered a blanket to August. Although he had been feeling weary from the journey, the turmoil inside him, and the strangeness of his surroundings, he found the sweet wine of Eros had calmed him. He lay by the fire, looked up at the night sky and wondered where Planet X was. His eyelids felt heavy and he fell asleep.

August opened his eyes with the first rays of the sun. The old man was already awake and heating a kettle on the fire. He turned to August and smiled. “You seem to have rested well. There’s no black tea or coffee here, but we have many herbs. I’m making some herb tea for you.”
“Good morning, January. Thank you.”

January put some herbs in the tin cup and poured hot water over them. “Let it brew a while. These herbs are very nutritious. I also have some homemade bread. Plenty of wild grain fields here. I dry the wheat, grind it, and make flour. There are many goats around. If you’re lucky enough to catch one, you can milk them and make cheese. Some occasionally come by my hut on the other side of the mountain.”

After their simple breakfast, January cleared the remaining food and said, “You’ll have a difficult journey through the forest today, August. You must eat to sustain your strength.”
“I’m in excellent physical condition, and fit for the challenges of nature. It takes a lot to tire me out.”
“I know that, but I wasn’t referring to the physical challenges. It’s the psychological complications that will be hardest to deal with. The trekking will be a piece of cake for you. You’ve conquered much harder paths and natural hurdles before. The complications will come from your past. The trees will talk and try to delay or detain you from your path like the Sirens. You must keep your mind focused to move forward on the road before letting them control you. In other words, listen to your heart rather than your mind.”

August sighed and looked towards the forest. “I know … I have studied spiritual teachings. All this knowledge is hard to implement. I guess the challenge is to disregard the questioning ego and follow the dream? A task very difficult to achieve, but something we struggle to do all our lives.”
“Precisely. Follow the will of the heart instead of dealing with ghosts from the past.”
“When do I start?”
“Are you absolutely sure you wish to do this? Do you believe this is the most important goal of your life? It won’t work if there is any doubt in your mind. You must be determined. I believe you’ll need to do some meditation and concentrate on your goal to gather some inner strength.”
August nodded and folded his hands. “I guess you’re right. I do tend to rush things. Then, I get frustrated. I’ll meditate.”
“I’ll leave you to it and come back when you’re ready.” And he disappeared.

August concentrated on his crown chakra and silently repeated his mantra.

A circle of pinkish light began to glow in front of him, growing wider and more buoyant as he let his heart focus on his dream.

Inside the rosy light, the silhouette of a woman appears. She’s holding a child’s hand. They’re on a beach, running and dancing. He hears the little girl’s giggles, interspersed with the sound of the waves. He doesn’t know them, yet yearns to join them, but he’s so far away …

Unaware of how long he had been meditating, August opened his eyes and found the old man standing before him.

“Do you think you’re ready now?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“One last bit of information: if you ever want to return to this point, you must understand you can never go back. This is a one-time offer of eternal love. Make the most of it.”
“I understand. I’ll try to hold onto it to the best of my ability.”
“Very well, let me lead you to the path.”

August followed him as far as the edge of the forest where January stopped by a narrow path between the trees. “This is where I leave you. Keep going and don’t look back. Enjoy the bliss that will come your way.”

Excited and frightened at the same time, he held January’s hand between his palms with a firm grip. “Thank you for guiding me. I’ll try to do my best. I promise to cherish the happiness that may brighten my life. Farewell, January.”