Short Story: Home

Far away from here there exists a place where countrymen roamed in the days of old. People lived off the land at peace with nature and with one another. There was naught but one way of life, one religion, and one people. Everyone was honest, courageous, and honorable. These people were free from unfamiliar influences, and because of this they were so safe that small children could wander the streets alone and never be in any danger. Since they had always lived there in this way, the people named the place Home. Home stayed peacefully unchanged for a very long time, but it was not to continue forever.

The enemies of the people grew jealous and sought to use the naive and innocent citizens of the land for their own poisonous treachery – all to gain false wealth. The enemies disguised themselves and walked amongst the people of Home. They lied, cheated, and stole. No one suspected that anyone could do such things because it was not in their nature to be bad. Because of this, the enemies were able to continue leeching off the people.

Over time, a few of Home’s children became corrupted by the poison of the intruding enemies. The poison warped their minds and bodies, making them stupid and weak. They lost the inner spark which had kept them and their ancestors good. These lost children became tools of the enemies. The lost children spread falsehoods (usually unknowingly) to their friends and corrupted others.

The poison spread like a deadly contagion. It blinded and deafened its victims until most of Home’s people could no longer find the truth. When the majority of the people were infected, the enemies decided to take further action. They told lies about the past and they burned historical records so no one could see if they were telling the truth. The enemies burned the culture, and, as the real people of Home were inherently good, they felt ashamed at what they thought their ancestors had done.

But the enemies of the people had not won yet. A very small minority had escaped the poison and still had enough pieces of the past hidden away for them to see that their enemies were clearly lying. No disguise fooled these people for they carried with them the spirits of the ancients. They were entirely aware of the damage that was being done to Home and to the people. The tactics of the enemies were familiar to them (they’d seen uncivilized animals such as this before), and so seemed clumsy, stupid, and uninspired. The untarnished people of Home were accustomed to fighting honorably, but they knew how to play the enemy’s war games as well. They joined together in an old wolf’s lair and planned how to defeat the intruding liars. They didn’t have to wait long for the game to begin.

Home had been crumbling under the weight of the slow-acting poison for a long time. Finally, people began to notice that they were being fed lies. A child called Youth was the first to complain aloud and in the company of the enemy. No one stifled his cries. In fact, they all sided with him and his ideas. The enemy accused him of having a wild imagination and of being a liar. They threw their words at him, but words hurt no one.

It was at this point people realized that the enemy, apart from having present for much longer than they had recently thought, was very weak and had no real way of winning the war if they all fought together again. Even though the people of Home had been taught to fear the pathetic intruders, they had nothing to be afraid of and almost nothing left to lose.

Some more of Home’s people found the wolf’s lair and the few people who could help them. They were led by the wolf himself in the proper method of revolt against the enemies. The war for Home had begun. What followed were glorious victories and numerous unveilings of the true history of Home and the surrounding area.

Every time these things happened, Youth was there watching. Earlier, under the reign of the enemy, he had been starving for the knowledge of these things. Now was his chance to drink what his spirit thirsted for. The more he watched, the better he learned the important lessons that had been second nature to his ancestors. This helped him to survive as the weak ones – the ones who had succumbed to the poison of the enemy – died a slow and painful death.

Youth watched as the majority of his parent generation was drugged, weakened, and bribed into horrible things. He warned them about the danger they were in, but most people ignored him and ended up dead or disfigured after being ravaged by the enemy’s tricks. The child could see that the city was lost. He left forever and went back to the wolf’s lair in the countryside. There, Youth continued learning the things necessary to survive.

The war waged on and there were many casualties. There were times when it seemed hopeless, but the wolf and his tribe were always there to encourage the other warriors as well as each other. The war dragged on and on. In time, Youth became a young man and joined the fight. He had become strong after learning from the untarnished elders with the spirits of the ancients and the few remaining pieces of the past. With Youth’s strength added to the rest, the people of Home soon achieved an overwhelming victory over the enemy.

The people who belonged in Home were the only ones allowed to stay after the war. Home’s people were left to deal with the devastation that the enemy had wrought upon them and their homeland. Being good at heart, they were able to forgive each other for the wrongs of the past. In this way, they slowly began healing both inside and out as they strived to be like their ancestors once again during their recovery from the poison and battle wounds. Home needed to be repaired as well.

People dug through the rubble and looked for old knowledge and the truth so they could fix Home and make it like it was before the enemy invaded. They tried their best to regain their old way of life, but this was exceedingly difficult since the enemy had burned most of their history and culture. Still, they wanted to repair the ancient perfection they once knew.

Naturally, Youth helped the others dig through the ruins. Suddenly, he heard a beautiful sound from under the rubble. Youth lifted the boulders and bricks out of the way as if they were as light as air. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever heard and he desperately needed to find the source. He dug quickly, but it took him quite some time to find what he was looking for.

In the heart of the ruins he saw what it was… A fair maiden was trapped under the rubble! Despite this she was singing calmly, even happily, and appeared to be almost completely unharmed. Youth couldn’t understand the words to the song, but they seemed very familiar to him. People in the surrounding area could hear her more clearly now, and they all listened to the song. They could tell it was very old. Somehow this hidden treasure had escaped from the danger untouched. It was still pure and good. It kindled the surrounding flames and even reduced some people to tears with its ancient perfection.

When she finished the song, the maiden simply stood up out of the ruins and Youth effortlessly brushed the destruction out of her way. She thanked him for helping to save her. He escorted the maiden to get medical attention, but it was soon confirmed that she was completely well. No one knew how this was possible.

Youth was skeptical enough to still be worried about the maiden. Every day when he finished doing his part to help clean the rubble, he would check on her. Every day she would be wearing the finest clothes and would be surrounded by the freshest, most beautiful flowers. Youth would usually find her teaching children or tending a garden. Every day that he checked on her, she seemed more healthy and beautiful than the last.

Seeing how much he cared about her, she began to fall in love with him. She watched Youth help the others and eventually started giving him information and helping him make decisions. When he came to visit her after finishing work, she would help him recover by singing to him to help him rest and heal. Things went on like this until a great amount of progress had been made in rebuilding Home as it had been before. At this time, Youth and the maiden were wedded.

It is said they have remained as they were then to this day – young, beautiful, and intelligent. One need only find them for proof of this. Supposedly, they will remain this way until the enemy regroups and attacks again. Then they will grow old and return to the wolf’s lair to guide the new people of Home until the next way is over and they rise together, young once again and healthy as always, from the ruins of their homeland. No one will understand it when it happens, but they will be there to help all over again. As long as they live, Home will always return to its former glory. As long as the people of Home fight the enemy, they will never die.