Fiction Tuesday – Off the Path

“I’m a what?”

Ama knelt down by Jeremy, bringing her face to his seated level. “A pathfinder. Does that not seem familiar to you either?”

Jeremy shook his head, frustration growing once more. “No, it doesn’t.” He then cocked his head and thought for a moment. “That stone did seem… it’s hard to describe it. It felt like it was endless, but also really comfortable. Does that make sense?”

Ama patted Jeremy’s hand, “I suppose it does, Jeremy. There’s something in you which is deliberately keeping you from remembering who you are. I don’t know why this would be, but I do think I know why nothing is familiar to you.”

Jeremy straightened up a bit in his chair. “You do? What?”

“Because, Jeremy, you’re not from The Valleys. You must have found a path here, but I’m not sure how. The paths were all supposed to be closed after the Salvation War. Most people think they are nothing by legends now. You must have fallen through a forgotten pathway somehow and ended up here.”

Jeremy reached into his pocket and pulled out the small piece of paper he’d found near where Walter had found him. “I don’t think I got her by a mistake, Ama. At least, if I did I’m not sure why I’d know to write this to myself.” He handed the paper to Ama, who opened and read it.

“You say you wrote this to yourself. How do you know this?”

Jeremy shrugged. “I’m not really sure. It’s just, when I looked at it, I knew that was my handwriting.”

Ama looked down at the paper a second time. “You can read this, correct? You know what it says?”

“Yes, it says, ‘Welcome to The Valleys. Be inside before night falls.’ But I don’t even know what language it is.”

“Well, it’s Valley Speak, and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you can read it – given you speak it very well. I just find it, unexpected. If you’re from another realm I would have assumed the language would have differed more over the years.”

“So you all came from somewhere else?”

Ama stood and moved to the doorway she responded. “Yes, Jeremy, we are. The first pathfinders located paths to The Valleys during a great conflict which threatened to destroy our race. They spent years guiding pilgrims through the pathways. Those who came through became the people of The Valleys. The paths were then all closed, or so we assumed, and we lost contact from whence we had come. We’d assumed it must have been destroyed in the conflict – but if you are from there clearly we were mistaken.”

“But why were the paths closed?”

Ama shuddered. “The Salvation War forced their closure. They didn’t want us colonizing The Valleys, and began a war to bring about the very extinction our people had fled. It only ended with the discovery of the ever torches, or night torches as people along the coast call them, and a promise that the paths would be closed and always remain so.”

“But how am I here, then? And how would I even know about the Valleys?”

“Jeremy, I don’t know. But your presence here can only mean one thing.”

“What’s that?”


“Oh, I don’t like the sound of that at all.” Jeremy and Ama turned to see Walter framed in the doorway. “What did I miss?”


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