The Only One There

The Only One There

By Connie, Sancta Maria College, Mayo

One of the only things that actually made any semblance of sense was being carried away by the river, leaving him with nothing in such a strange and, though he loathed to admit it, beautiful place, in which no one could ever begin to imagine actually existing. Taking a look at his surroundings, he found that even though the sight of brightly coloured trees and the oddly-coloured purple river water was calming to a certain extent, it didn’t quite stop the panic he could feel as he found that he was the only one there. 

Looking up towards the sky, which was thankfully the same blue colour that it should be, he saw an odd-looking bird that was too big to be any type of species he’d ever seen on the television. Then, out of nowhere, the bird suddenly stopped flying mid-air and dove down toward the ground at such a startling speed. He wondered if he should get out of the way in case he got flattened by the thing. Quickly looking around to see if he could hide anywhere, a sudden splash caught his attention and, as he turned around, he saw the bird, if you could even call it that, had snatched up his bag from the river and flown off, effectively stopping any chance he had of contacting someone back home. Though, he thought wryly,  it may not have even made a difference, as he had no idea how he got there, and he doubted he’d be able to get a signal on his phone in the middle of what looked like a big forest. 

He decided to make a plan and do something, instead of just waiting around for some animal to come along and make him their next side dish. He decided to walk along the river, as it was his best chance of finding any kind of civilisation in such a place, and would prevent him from getting lost – well, more lost than he already was. 

 Only after about two hours of following the river did he finally see anything other than the weird silver trees, purple water, blue grass, and different coloured leaves that seemed to never stay the same colour for long. Walking up closer, he saw a silver house made from what looked like the same wood that the trees were made from. It seemed to stand at the edge of the cliff the river was flowing off of, making a waterfall. 

Looking down, he found that he couldn’t actually see where the water fell, as a thick mass of clouds was stopping him from seeing the ground. Deciding not to worry about it, and stepping away from the cliff, he walked over to the house, which, upon closer inspection, was actually quite bigger than he thought it’d be, and he knocked on the door. He waited a few minutes to see if anyone would answer and, when no one answered the door, he knocked again. This time someone actually did answer.

 The door cracked open, leaving a small gap. The door stayed like that for a few seconds, the silence sounding ominously among the sounds of insects and rushing water. Then, suddenly, a glowing blue eye appeared in the crack in the door. Startled, the man jumped back as the eye, or person – thing, even, continued to stare at him with something akin to curiosity. 

 “What are you doing here, foreigner? These parts are not safe for someone as unskilled in combat as yourself,” the eye asked. 

The voice sounded like that of an old woman to the man. He stared at the eye, getting over his initial surprise, as the voice speaking managed to calm his nerves.

  “Foreigner,” he said, “How do you know I’m a foreigner?” The door creaked open further, showing the man what the old woman looked like, and to say he was surprised would be a vast understatement. 

The old woman was around half his height, wearing glasses attached to a chain, probably to keep her from losing them. She was wearing a small necklace and had a small cut under her eye. What surprised him though was that the old woman was not, in fact, a woman. Instead, a cat with greying hair stood before him on two legs, her tail swishing side to side, showing her amusement of his baffled expression.

   “Y-you’re a cat….?” The man asked, while trying to keep the shakiness of his voice to a minimum. 

By the look the old cat gave him, he could guess that he was not successful. 

“Is that troubling to you, boy?” the cat demanded, the harshness of her voice startling him out of his thoughts.

Before he could answer, however, the cat continued.