Short story

It is a dark and stormy night. The two lane road is occupied only by a black motorcycle. The rider is dressed all in white. He slows when he sees her, curious eyes behind a white helmet. She touches the cord around her neck and murmurs words for his safety. Red lights in the distance. The lightning flashes.

On the right, an abandoned courtyard. The old stone walls are crumbling around it. Grass grows green inside. Again she touches the cord around her neck and whispers something. The walls spring up, new and strong. The grass is full of children running, yelling, playing. It is a schoolyard. The empty classrooms are dark. Abandoned tablets rest on empty desks. Unwritten. She does not understand. Releasing the cord, the scene disappears. She trudges on. The lightning flashes.

On the left, an old house with a tiled roof. The wooden door is dark green under an archway. Touching her cord, she pushes the door open and suddenly feels like she has stepped into the past. There is a kitchen beside the entrance. Next to the kitchen is a front room. On the other side is the bedroom. In the front room, there are three boys and two girls. They are sitting on the floor, silent. There are books in their hands, unopened. Inquiring eyes turn to look at her. She does not understand. She drops her hands. She turns away. The lightning flashes.

Just before dawn a silver sedan moves slowly down the road. Inside there is a family of four. The father is driving. A voice floats out the window. The mother is speaking to the children, five- and seven-year-old girls. The mother is telling stories. Listen, she says. The most important thing you can do in life is learn. Let the whole world be your teacher. Look at everything. Ask questions. Don’t let anyone stop you. See the lightning. Do you know where it comes from? See the rain. Don’t you wonder where it goes? See the sky over there. Why is it changing color? Always look around you. Always listen. The lightning can be your teacher. The rain can be your teacher. The sky can be your teacher.

The car stops. The father has seen her. Where are you going, miss? Do you want a ride? She steps up to the car and sees the children. The youngest girl asks, Are you a teacher? She frowns and shakes her head. The car moves on. Red lights in the distance. She trudges on. The lightning flashes.

There. In front of her, there is a cabin. There is a hint of light inside. The air around her is full of the scent of early morning flowers. She breathes in and tastes the freshness of the mist. The rain has stopped. She climbs the steps and peers in the window. Here is another room. She touches the cord around her neck and the room fills with people. The walls fill with color and the whole cabin fills with sound. Books are opened, words read and written. People speak together, listening, learning, sharing. She thinks about the visions she saw on her way. She understands. She opens the door to step inside. And disappears.

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