A Traveler’s Tales

Jack Thistlewood, Writer

Today, I’m simply here to tell a few stories. The included video has me reading them all aloud, but if you want the fine print, you can find it right here, too!


The Brook by the Wayside

I believe it was midday, way back when. It must’ve been fall; I remember that all of the leaves in the trees were hues of red and orange and yellow and everything in between. The sky was colored with a pale blue – another signature of the season, I believe. 

Apart from the trees and leaf-ridden ground, there seemed to be only one other landmark amongst that desolate forest. It was a small brook. Despite its span – one could easily step over it in a short bound – that small brook had carved its way deep into the undergrowth. By no means was the stream passing by at a rapid pace, though. The flow of water was instead quite slow; it meandered here and traipsed there as it slowly took its own path through the forest where none did tread. 

Other than the trees and the brook, there were no other signs of life in the forest. None at the time, to be certain. It was just me and the brook, existing in unacquainted harmony for those few brief moments before time decided to move on. I might’ve refused to follow along with time’s sentiments, though. It’s quite possible that I simply stood there, listening to the brook, for several hours before I so much as shifted the leaves under my foot. But when the time truly did pass, and the present reality of the rest of my life managed to claw its way into my state of being, I moved on. 

It may exist only in memory, but that brook by the wayside is every bit as real as the day I encountered it, all those years ago.


The Dreamer’s Chapel

My pilgrimage had taken months. It was all going to be worth it. I’d finally gotten to the most sacred of buildings: the Dreamer’s Chapel. Such a sacred place was known as the border between the worlds. A person’s greatest wishes could be granted in their own little world, and they’d come through to another reality via the Dreamer’s Chapel all the better for it. 

I myself had come to the Dreamer’s Chapel in order to find similar salvation. As the chapel’s treasures had already been highly sought after, there was hardly anybody present at the chapel itself when I arrived. Those who entered did not come out. Others who hadn’t seemed to enter at all emerged with years of wisdom embedded in memory and flesh alike. Looking up to the Dreamer’s Chapel, I could see its glistening white marble spire curl into the air with a sense of otherworldly magnificence.

Despite its glorious outer hull, the chapel’s innards were surprisingly modest. Soft oak wood composed the interior floors, along with a small tavern, inn, and other pleasantries to greet weary travelers. Instead of entertaining any of these facilities, I stepped forward, through an oaken door that led straight to the heart of the chapel.

Inside of the small room, there stood only one other figure. Along with the silk robe that descended about their person, a calm serenity could be felt emanating from them in powerful waves of mystifying dignity. This figure – I knew them as a facet of the Dreamer’s Chapel itself – beckoned simply to a spiralled distortion in the air. I stepped forward, entering into this distortion in my world that led to a million others inside of the brilliant Dream.


The Garden

The garden reveals itself in a world with no sky. There are unending walls on all sides of the garden, but it is too dark to see those sheer cliff faces. Up above, everything is given to the void that no light can reach. 

There is light, however. It comes from the plants of the garden, flickering throughout the ground level of the world in a blue-green glow that seems to plaster everything. The light is warmth, providing a dense climate of perfect humidity and rich earth. That warmth flickers into everything, cycling back into the plants that have overtaken the world. 

In and of itself, the world is a ruined place. Buildings from the Victorian Era lie in various states of distress, the fragmentary representations of the past that they are. Dark oak and cobblestone compose a majority of the building materials, simple in nature and elegant in creation. For the most part, nature has taken back the world. Plants of all sorts – trees, ferns, grass and even crops – they all flower beautifully in every moist crevice, giving off the light that allows one and all to see the world aflame. 

Then there are the animals. They are not natural denizens, not at all. Instead, there is an almost alien beauty about them. Tooth and claw may exist in predator and prey alike, but those are not what catches the eye. The eye is instead caught by fur and scale and form. Abnormal textures make up the fur, coloring it white and black in every mammal that exists in the garden. The scales are sharp and rough and all too smooth, all at once. These creatures, whatever they are, they look familiar. Some appear to be wolves, while others represent the wyrms of legend. But that is not all, not even close. Every creature in the garden is different, it seems.

The garden is a place of simplicity and absurdity. It is uncomfortably foreign, but there is something almost calming in a world flipped upside down by whatever has occurred in its history. The garden is a place of ruin, fragments of humanity giving rise to the alien nature that has overtaken and bestowed such beauty upon it.