…or “It’s in How You Say It”
First posted 07/18/10
There’s an island where little girls go in their dream. Every girl has a pony, sized exactly to her. They look a bit like My Little Ponies, aside from being made of flesh and bone instead of plastic. Girl’s come here to learn lessons about life – friendship, responsibility, courage, independence. There are only three adults indigenous to the island. There’s a woman who was born there fully an adult. She is the only girl without a pony, because she was born there rather than brought there by her dreams. She acts as a motherly figure to the girls. The other two are men, neanderthals. They’re big, strong and scary, but they’re also slow and stupid. They are the opposition to the girls, stealing things, kidnapping ponies, but always thwarted by the girls. But another man has come and now the island is in danger…
I arrive in my dream, it’s the first time an adult has arrived during a dream. I also have a pony, but larger since it is meant for an adult to ride. When I arrive she is in a cage. This man who has brought trouble realizes that any time someone comes to the island for the first time that they arrive in the same spot. He has a large cage set up, it always catches either the girl or the pony and sometimes both. The cage missed me.
To make up for anyone who might not get caught by the cage, the neanderthals are there. The man has them in his employ, when a girl arrives alone with her pony in a cage, she’s usually too scared to escape. But I’m older and I realize how stupid these neanderthals are. (I also don’t realize the pony is mine, so even though I’m sad to see her caged I decide it’s more important to escape and figure out what’s happening than to try and free her.) I am able to outsmart the two guys and get away. They decide that in order to stay out of trouble they will lie to their employer and tell him that the pony arrived without a girl.
He takes my pony to a tower to study her, he knows of a legend known as The Pony Without a Girl but he doesn’t know exactly what will happen. He also has the motherly woman in custody, and because the pony is sized for an adult he has a theory that if the two are ever together that something will happen. He devotes his magic to keeping them in separate towers and continues to study them, unsure how to proceed.
One clue is the appearance of my pony. She’s a pale pink roan with dark rainbow hair. Most telling is the dark green ivy pattern across her rump and down one leg. A few weeks ago a plant like this started to grow on the highest mountain of the island, barring the man from that area. His magic cannot get him past the barrier of ivy. So he is doubly sure the pony is in some way special.
As I travel and stay hidden I find girls who have either escaped or were not captured. They tell me about the island and about the woman held captive. She is dieing because of the mistreatment of the island, her long black hair slowly turning white. They also explain the ponies to me and I realize that I have abandoned mine. The tower with the woman in it is closer so I go there first, but it is heavily warded. She is important enough that the girls have tried before to save her. I try the other tower across the island. It feels like it takes a long time to get there, many days in fact. I don’t seem to wake up though.
This tower is not as heavily guarded. Few of the girls know about it and those who know have no idea what to do about it. I am able to sneak in and find my pony, her name is Lidl. (Pronounced “Little” but with a d sound instead of t.) I get on her back and the magic of the tower responds. The man was waiting to see who would try to rescue her, he’s surprised to see me, an adult. “Run. Run,” I silently urge Lidl. Wait. She speaks in my mind. We’re standing still but wind rushes past us as though we’re running. Ivy breaks through the stone floor and wraps around her hooves, climbing over her and me. It covers us and we disappear.
We’re on a part of the island I haven’t seen before. Much of the island looks dead or dieing, but here everything is green. It’s a glen about the size of half a football field with short trees and flowers spread across it. A large hedge of ivy grows around it, it’s the top of the mountain. The place the man cannot come.
The ivy pulses as I approach it. There is a lot of magic trapped in the leaves, every time the man tried to use magic against the hedge it had simply absorbed his power. I find a particular leaf, it’s larger than the others. About the size of my palm. I pluck it and the hedge shimmers and crumbles. The magic floats away, some comes to me but most of it goes to the motherly woman to free her. Together we are able to set the island back to rights and banish the evil man.