Grenaldo was born with two rare diseases, one caused him to age too quickly, and the other caused him to grow too quickly. He was a ten-year old boy trapped in a man’s body of thirty, but his appearance reflected that of a fifty year old.
He had heard of this magical sword that would bring back your youth, and keep you there as long as you had the sword in your possession. Grenaldo was fearful that he might die within two years, if not sooner. He had nothing to lose. He had to try.
At 2 o’clock in the morning, he grabbed his red cloak, and flashlight, then tip-toed to the kitchen. He was not about to wake his mother. She would never give him permission to leave the house, especially at this hour. He may look like a man, but he’s still only ten years old, and her precious baby boy. She was extremely protective of her son, just as any mother would be. He didn’t fault her for that. He appreciated and was grateful for how much his mother loved and cared for him.
Instead of switching on the light in the kitchen, Grenaldo thought that it would be better to switch on his flashlight. Still tip-toeing, he made his way to the pantry. Worry swept over him, as he thought about opening the creaky pantry door. He grabbed hold of the door knob, twisted it, and lifted the entire door upwards, and pulled out at the same time to keep the creaking to a minimum. Excited that his idea had actually worked, it took everything he had not to scream his excitement. Instead, with an enormous smile on his face, he did a little silent dance. With his feet planted on the ground, and his fists clenched tightly, he repeatedly swung his arms from the front of his body to the back, while moving his hips from side to side.
His excitement began to fade, as he remembered that he needed to exit his house sooner than later. He stuffed a couple of water bottles in his cloak, along with some granola bars, fruit snacks, and prepackaged assortment of nuts. Then with an unsteady hand, he wrote his mother a letter.
I am sorry that I left in the middle of the night. I heard about this sword that will bring back my youth. I don’t want to leave this world so early. I want to be with you for many years. Please don’t be mad at me. I will return soon. I love you.
He kissed the letter, and taped it to the refrigerator. As he made his way to the front door, he noticed that the window was slightly open. “I’ll climb out the window,” he thought. With his hands firmly holding the bottom of the window, praying that it wouldn’t make a sound, he shoved the window upwards just enough so that he could slip out. He stretched his arms above his head, and then bent at the waist, and like superman he appeared as if he flew out of the window.
As he pushed himself off the ground and stood, he stared at his mother’s dark bedroom window. His heart ached for her. He whispered, “Please don’t be sad mom, I will return.” He blew her a kiss as he began his journey.
“Legend has it, the sword is located in the dungeon of the Williamson’s castle,” he softly muttered.
“Really? That castle is only a few miles away, and it’s been empty for years. But there are always police officers guarding it to keep intruders out,” he replied and then chuckled.
He thought the time would pass by quickly if he talked to himself. “It’s not strange to talk to yourself, especially if you are ten years old,” he giggled.
Even though, he had switched on his flashlight, the dark still frightened him a bit. He kept the light pointed at the ground to diminish the amount of visible light. He quickly became aware of his surroundings, noticing the gentle breeze shifting through the shrubbery. He picked up his pace, trying to keep his fears at bay.
When he reached the castle grounds, he hid behind a gigantic bush. He needed something gigantic to hide behind, since he wasn’t small by any means. He scanned the area looking for police cars. He didn’t see any. “Maybe that information was incorrect,” he murmured, shrugging his shoulders.
Grenaldo began to tip-toe through the castle grounds looking for an open window to crawl into. As he slunk around the back of the castle, he noticed that a window slightly above the ground was completely busted out. He crawled through, not knowing which room this window put him in.
Lifting his arm, he scanned the area with his flashlight. He saw stairs that lead down, instead of up. “That must lead to the dungeon,” he said. Repeatedly taking a step with this left, then his right, he felt the crunch of glass, leaves, and other debris beneath his feet.
The stairwell was pitch-black, a cold chill ran down his spine, offering an uneasy feeling. “You aren’t turning back now. Don’t be a chicken,” he muttered as he shook his head back and forth like he was trying to move his fears to the back of his mind.
The light from the flashlight helped to ease his fears a smidgen. At this point the unknown is what frightened him the most. Finally, he reached the last step. As he stepped on to the dungeon floor, he felt a rush of power, almost like a heavy wind had attempted to push him down. He decided to move towards the feeling of power. “It has to be the sword.” Excitement began to rise within him.
With each step, the power increased. It felt like a magnetic force, but it was repelling him, instead of pulling him in. Ducking his head, he pushed forward with all his might, using up a lot of his energy. The magnetic force dissipated as he stood before the sword in the anvil. With his flashlight, he took notice of how ancient the stone wall looked. The wall appeared sturdy, even though the bricks were broken in multiple spots. He grabbed hold of the sword’s handle, and tugged. It wouldn’t budge. “What is this, a replay of King Arthur?” he said as he rolled his eyes.
He climbed on top of the anvil, and pulled with all his might. The sword wiggled, then wiggled some more, until finally it broke free, knocking Grenaldo off the anvil, on to the floor, and flat on his back. “Ooph!” When he hit the floor, the air in his lungs escaped all at once.
It took him a minute or two before he was able to pull himself to his feet. When he succeeded, he grabbed the blade of the sword, it began to glow green. He held it in the air so that he could read the inscription on the blade. The longer he held it, the more it glowed. The entire room radiated in a bright green light. If he could have seen the back of his head, he would have noticed that his long, wavy, gray hair was changing its color to a medium brown. But under the green glow, it looked almost purplish.
He felt his cloak grow, “that’s not possible,” he thought. It worked. The legend was true. He was returning to a youthful state. He stood in front of the anvil, holding the sword in the air for what felt like hours, but had only been minutes. When he completely returned to a ten-year old boy, he raced home, holding the sword tightly in his hands. He burst through the door, made eye contact with his mother, and they both cried a river of tears, while holding one another for a long, long time.
– Anneberly Andrews –
Become imaginative with Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompts. This week Blade #writephoto, check out all the participants submissions. New comers are always welcome.