14. Chapter 14
My dreams were of giant trees and fields of green, lush forests, wildflowers and tidied gardens. I could smell the freshness of a new spring air; feel the warm breeze of what summer might have in store for the season. The sun was bright and its energy recharged me. I was in a sense reborn, free of my duties, free of my worries. Life could not and would not be any better than it was at that moment.
I woke up with a smile on my face but it slowly dwindled away as I realized it was all just a dream. I was in my room, in my parent's house. There was no sun this morning. Clouds made it darker than normal. A chill wind blew in from the north. Another cold front was on its way, threatening to spit flurries. Winter was on its way as the leaves had already peaked and were falling quickly due to the wind. I got up went to my closet. Time to dig out my fuzzy slippers and flannel p.j.'s. I got dressed and looked in the mirror. My hair was a mess so I halfway brushed it so as not to scare my couch guest.
I thought about him for a moment and of our conversation. It seemed like a dream, all of it. Could I really play in to his story so easily? When I was alone like I was now, it seemed so far fetched and unbelievable. But as soon as my eyes came upon him, I believed every word that left his lips. It was all very confusing.
I looked at the clock. The doctor would be here in an hour. That gave me just enough time to fix breakfast for the two of us. Sleepily, I walked down the hall and reached for the light switch. "Alright sleepy head, the doc is gonna be here soon. Do you just want juice or do you want some real food?" I called to him as I came around the corner. I looked to the couch and was shocked by what I found. It was empty. For three days, my friend hadn't left that spot and now he was gone. I could feel panic rise from the pit of my stomach. Had I just been swindled? Was he gone along with my laptop, jewelry and whatever else he could carry? Or was he lurking around a dark corner ready to pounce on me and turn me into his sex slave or something? (Actually, I may not have resisted that one) I didn't know whether to look for him or run back to my room, lock the door and call the cops. Just as my fears were about to get the best of me I noticed something on the coffee table. It was a daisy. I was confused as to where it came from. No daisies were in bloom at this time of year. Then I remembered the bouquet of mixed flowers I picked up at the store a week ago, before my unfortunate outing in the forest. I had forgotten about them with everything that happened. I went to the kitchen table where the rest of the flowers sat in a vase. They were withered and ready to be thrown away, past their prime as far as cut flowers go. Then something sparked in my head and I went back to the living room. Slowly, I walked to the couch and observed the daisy. It was fresh and new, as if it had just been picked. How? The rest were almost brown. I looked to the couch. The blankets were folded and neatly placed in a stack at one end. The pillow left at the other end looked as if it had been fluffed. His clothes and boots were gone, replaced with the bandages he was wearing. They were clean, no sign of blood or anything else you would find from wounds like his. Then it dawned on me, the reason he insisted on changing his own bandages. Had he indeed healed faster than humans had? Was he well enough to go home? I was glad to know he was better and able to leave. Then my joy turned to sadness. Couldn't he at least have said goodbye? Not even a thank you for letting him stay in my house. I couldn't help myself and looked around the room at my personal belongings. Everything seemed to still be where I left it. Nothing was missing.
I went to the chair and sat down, afraid to sit on the couch as if I would catch something from him. He was a mystery, something I could not explain or make sense of. Now he had disappeared just as quickly as he came into my life, with nothing but a flower to show for it. The flower, now that sparked my interest. How was it still alive? I picked it up and carefully examined it. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. It was real and it was alive. 'It was healed', my brain interrupted. I looked at my wrist. The bruises were completely gone and there was no pain. This was odd indeed.
A knock at the door brought me rather abruptly out of my daydreaming. I jumped up and looked at the clock. It had been an hour. Where did the time go? I was still in my p.j.'s, holding the flower between my fingers. That was weird. I went to the door. It was the doctor, just as he said he'd be here. "Good morning Doc."
"Good morning my dear. So how is my newest patient today? Feeling better I hope." he said as I stepped aside so he could come in.
"Well, he's a… he's…"
The doctor came into the living room and noticed the empty couch. "Where is he?"
"That's what I was trying to tell ya Doc. He's gone. I don't know where he is. I woke up this morning and he was just… gone. All that's left of him are his bandages and this flow…e…r." My words trailed off as I looked at the daisy still in my hand. It was dead, withered just like the rest of the bunch.
The doctor looked at me over his bifocals. He didn't say anything and went to where the bandages lay. "He was pretty badly injured. He couldn't have healed this fast. Maybe I should have a look around outside. He could be lying about somewhere. Why would he just up and leave like that?"
"Maybe he is a quick healer." I said as an inside joke to myself.
Again, the doc looked at me as if I had half lost my mind and went out the door. My mind went back to the flower in question and I remembered something from my past, the daisy on the floor of my tree house. Was that his doing also? Did he visit me in my sleep that night when I was so distraught over the loss of my mother and leaving home for college? Had he always watched over me in those woods? He was gone now and maybe I would never know the answer.
* * *
'…try to understand… try to understand… try… try… try to understand… he's a magic man.*'
*Magic Man by Heart 1976
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.