Hello! Andy here! Been a while since I last submitted little stories on our blog! Let’s see if I can rekindle some interest and keep up the momentum!
All the best! Andy
Following a long and happy retirement, Everest drew his last breath. He was greeted by a fairy as he felt himself exiting from his physical body, who asked him if there was anything else he wished to do before he moved on.
“Well, I have done plenty,” Everest reminisced, “I have to wonder, though, what they are saying about me on my headstone!”
Before he even finished his sentence, he found himself standing next to his own tombstone in the cemetery. “This astral travel is really handy!” exclaimed Everest.
Slowly and deliberately, he cast his eyes onto the gray slab in front of and slightly below him. He immediately noticed that it looked cleaner and less damaged than how one would typically imagine a gravestone. He figured that made sense, considering it’s freshly installed! His gaze gradually rested on the main inscription, and he snapped his head back in fits of laughter.
May he Ever Rest
“What is funny?”
Startled by the unexpected voice, Everest stopped laughing, turned around abruptly and saw his fairy friend. “Oh, it’s you!” he resumed chuckling. “It’s a good one! Wish I had thought of it myself!”
“Is that all you got from that?” said the fairy, quizzically.
Responding to the earnestness in the fairy’s voice, he read those four simple words again with new appreciation.
“It’s true,” said Everest, somewhat more solemnly, “I was always busy doing something, even in retirement. I would feel all irritated and restless at the end of the day, if I didn’t feel I had done enough for the day. I guess it was more apparent to others than I thought!”
“So, what do you want to do next?” said the fairy, prompting Everest, who had appeared lost in his own thoughts.
Looking up at the fairy and with a sly smile, Everest proclaimed, “I want to become a mountain, ‘cos then I’ll be doing nothing for a change and I’ll last a long time!”
The fairy was not smiling.
A massive volcano erupted somewhere on the ocean floor on Earth, the seismic activities could be felt for miles around, the water in the immediate vicinity started to boil as it was doing its best to cool the tons of magma spewing from the Earth’s core. Before long, the landscape in the area was changed forever as Mother Nature facilitated the birthing of a mountain, towering above the waterline. It’s not the largest or tallest by any means, but nevertheless impressive, commanding and for some time to come, still hot to the touch as the migrating lava gradually found its rightful place to settle down and take in its new environment.
Along with the physical structure, a new consciousness was also born.
“Hey hi, you’re the new guy,” said the Ocean, flatly.
“Yes,” the Mountain replied, with comparable enthusiasm.
“So, what is it that you do?” the Ocean’s tone piqued a little.
“I am just a Mountain, I don’t do anything.”
It would have been quite easy for the Ocean to take offence at the off-handedness, but she had seen enough over the eons to be bothered by such immature antics.
“Sure, no problem,” the Ocean maintained her friendly approach, “and is it okay if I bring some friends who might need a home or some rest?”
Before long, life was teeming along the waterline at the foot of the mountain as algae and moss began colouring the bare rocks, different species of crustaceans started anchoring themselves on the surface or roaming nearby, adding dynamism to the otherwise static display.
The Mountain felt something on his face, it was irritating at first, but he soon got used to it.
“Hello, sorry I haven’t introduced myself properly, you didn’t seem very approachable before,” said the Wind.
“Oh? And what made you think I am approachable now?” the Mountain retorted.
“I didn’t,” asserted the Wind, “but since we’ve met so many times, it’s only good manners that one of us reaches out!”
“Okay, so who are you and what do you do?”
“I am the Wind, I go everywhere, it’s great!”
“Well congratulations, I am the Mountain and I don’t do anything.”
The Wind was somewhat disappointed that his friendly efforts weren’t reciprocated, but he pressed on nevertheless, “If you are going to be so grumpy, why are you here?”
“I made a joke about being a mountain, I didn’t know I was going to end up as one!”
The Wind did his best to hold back sniggering, “We’ll meet again for sure, and just to let you know, sometimes my friends like to ride along with me and they might need your help too, is that okay with you?”
“Yeah, heard that before,” grunted the Mountain.
As time passed, the Wind brought with him thousands of species of seeds, insects and other more exotic companions such as seagulls, migrating birds and majestic eagles, all began thriving on the richness of the Mountain. The Wind also brought gallons of water vapour, some settled to nourish the plants and animals, others climbed to higher altitude with help from the Mountain and became clouds.
With no one celebrating his birthdays and losing count of the mundane perpetuality of the Sun rising and setting, the Mountain had no idea just how much time had passed, so he didn’t know whether to be excited or angry at this particular visitor. He chose the latter.
“Took you long enough! Get me the hell out of here!”
“Hell? Is that where you think you are?” said the same fairy who granted his wish.
“I haven’t done anything here, I am still not doing anything, and I am not about to get up and do something, am I?” said the Mountain, freely letting rip.
“You want to do something?” the fairy teased, “let’s go! Let me show you something.”
Before the Mountain could say another word, he found himself hanging next to the fairy, starring at a huge mountain in front of him. He was immediately reminded of the astral travel experience when he went visiting his own tombstone.
“Whoa, is that me?” the Mountain exclaimed. “Actually, looks quite majestic from this vantage point!”
The sound of ocean waves drew his attention to the foot of the mountain, as he re-focused, his field of vision was filled with the scene from just below the waterline. Schools of exotic looking fish were swarming around, darting in and out of the equally attractive coral reefs; nearby colonies of crustaceans supported the scene with a more static background display, some with their flailing flagella floundering against the gentle current.
“That’s beautiful! I never knew…” muttered the Mountain, quietly to himself.
The focus of the scene in front began shifting in an upward direction, as if they were following the contour made by the barnacles and the surface on which they were attached.
The imagery panned further upwards, until the sky was visible from the top of the Mountain. Then it zoomed into a pair of seagulls, one older and the other much younger, standing atop the Mountain at the brink of dusk, evidently pining at the flock of their migrating companions further ahead towards the horizon, in an elegant formation against the progressively crimson canvas painted by the sunset. The Mountain could see that although the pair were both bidding their companions farewell, one was filled with pride and nostalgia, the other was with hopes and aspirations.
“That’s me there! I am part of all this!” said the Mountain, turning excitedly towards the impassionate fairy.
Taking his own initiative now, he looked a little beyond the physical confines of the mountain and saw a nearby village; as he focused on it, he immediately found himself hovering above one of their simple dwellings, overhearing the conversations.
“We didn’t use to go to school in our generation, you know… when the mountain came, it started to bring us rain regularly, so we could plant our crops, it also brought us much better fishing…”
“You young people are inheriting a much richer village than we ever had, the miraculous mountain changed everything for us!”
The Mountain felt a pang of humility and gratitude that he had never felt before, not even when he was a busy and successful corporate executive, not even when he was a busy and contented retiree.
“So, Mr Mountain,” said the fairy, “what is it you do again?”
“Nothing,” the Mountain replied, “I don’t do anything.” This time, though, he was beaming a big smile.
“What Mr Mountain? My name is Everest!” said the Mountain, bantering with the fairy.
”Sorry…” reciprocated the fairy, “that name’s been taken already!”