Below is a story by my friend Jena Roudebush for an upcoming Christmas anthology. She doesn't have a blog for her story, so I provided mine. I was supposed to write for this anthology as well, but I couldn't get my story to come together. I will have more details about the availability of the anthology by Jena and many other talented others (last count was 63) as soon as I can.
And now, the main event:
Author/Pen Name: Jena Roudebush
By Jena Roudebush
The horizon was bleak on the white capped open sea, no land in sight. The ship rocked gently side to side. Dark clouds threaten heavy rain. A cold bitter bit to the air brought on a shiver to Caption James Boone. He stood tall at the wooden wheel. He’s hands grasping two of the eight spokes of the worn, weathered wooden wheel. He whistled to himself as he guided the ship north towards Mystic Island. Fairies inhabited the beautiful tree covered, mountainous Island. He had little knowledge of Mystic Island. The Queen of the Island is a healer. He needed to find her and ask her or rather plead her help to use her powers to heal his very ill son. She was his last hope. They had tried every healing treatment, nothing had worked. James and his crew had been at sea for five days and time was running out.
James’s son was in the Captains courters covered in heavy blankets to ward off the bitter chill that ran through his body. He coughed for the millionth time; the action severally aggravated his throat so bad that his eyes began to water. Coughing up blood he spat into a hanker chief. Looking at the red crimson liquid he wondered if they could get to the Island in time. James Jr lay in bed trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his head. “Great”, he said out loud, “another headache”. Unable to sleep he stared up at the wooden plank ceiling of the ship praying that the Queen would heal him.
It was late in the afternoon when Caption James, saw the tall majestic mountains of Mystic Island. A sense of accomplishment washed over him. “We made it” he said in a whisper. The ship approached the Island and prepared to anchor the ship. He, James Jr, and the ten man crew loaded into life boats and headed for shore. The small beach was pure white and the sight of it made Caption Boone’s heart swell with happiness. They had made it, one step closer. James admired the Islands glorious beauty. He took in the fresh pine smell of the dark green trees that covered the Island. He peaked at his son and gave him a hopeful, loving smile.
Carrying his son on a handmade sled James with map in hand and a prayer started on what he knew was a day’s quest. It probably would take all night but he didn’t care, they would keep going. He was thankful that one of his good friends had explored the Island a few months ago and was able to provide him with a map. The friend had told him that on his explorations he and his crew had been walking for about a day before they had found the Queens Castle. James with his crew behind him led the way toward the castle. The sun was beginning to sink in the sky. Five hours of day light at the most, they needed to make the most of it.
Trudging through the thick forest cutting away branches with his long bladed sword. Capitan Boone and his crew walked into the night. Exhausted from traveling for almost eight hours, they stop to rest. James’s crew needed sleep. They would not be able to travel further without it. James knew that time was running out, he had to press on alone with James’s Jr. Boone could not waste time just going up alone and bringing the Queen back to camp. It would take too long and it was not a risk he was willing to take. James Jr was getting sicker. Capitan Boone was worried but hopeful that he could make it to the Queen that would surly help his son.
The sun was peaking just barley above the snow caped mountains when James and his son approached the Castle. The pure glowing white marble stone structure stood majestically in front of him. Glass carved Angel statues flanked the Iron Gate. He slowly pushed the gate open and stepped inside the court yard. Stone steps led to the Castle door. He lifted his son into his arms and climbed the white marble steps. He knocked firmly on the elaborately carved wooded door. The door opened into a huge open room. The queen stood from her thrown and glided towards them like she was floating on a cloud. She was exquisitely beautiful, skin like porcelain. Her chiseled jaw prominent, smooth long dark hair flowed down her slender back. Her gown formed to her body like a glove. The hooded white fur cloak kept her warm against the chilly Castle air.
She stood before James tall and regal with a presents that was almost intimidating. “What can I do for you James”? She asked softly. “How do you know my name”? James asked with curiosity. “I have my ways James”. James cleared his throat, took a deep breath and spoke. “My son is very sick, I and my dear wife have done everything we can do, and nothing has worked.” “Can you heal him”? “Please”? James said with desperation. The Queens bright blue eyes gazed into James’s hazel ones as if she was reading his thoughts. Smiling, she spoke “I have been keeping my eye on your family, as I can sense the sick”. She continued “You are a loving father and your son is a good boy”. “I will heal your son”. Tears sprung to James’s eyes. He said as he bowed before her, “Thank you my Queen”.
Check out the other stories of the anthology here.