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Boot-Camp Prompt: Write this!
Objective: ‘when she told me she lived on a floating forest, I though she was crazy. But no, there it was, just like she said’ -write this story

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Imaginary Truths
by: Maura D

The dual heads of the giant ermine we rode dipped with the air current. Its sleek body soon followed, reminding me of the dragon themed rollercoaster I used to bargain with my family to ride one last time before the park closed for the night but the ermine, or ferret as I saw it, wasn’t mechanical. Its white fur blended perfectly with the clouds that we emerged from. A real dragon would have been cooler but we were flying, that counted as cool.

“Come on.” Winny smiled over her shoulder before she slid down along the ermine’s side.

I wasn’t so quick to follow. Flying was one thing, stepping foot on a logic defying floating forest that was filled with imaginary things was another. “Are you sure it’s okay I’m here?”

Hands on her hips, I saw why they called her in to get me. She was twelve, eleven maybe, with orange looking hair that barely made it past the edges of face and yet she could do a better ‘you better do it or else’ look than my mom.

“Look,” her hand left her hip so I could see her palm, “that is the mark that makes you able to see this place. Ermy wouldn’t let you on if you weren’t marked too.”

I looked at my palms. Sure enough, there was a solid line that ran diagonally down my left palm with two shorter branches that stretched to my thumb. “And this means I have to become some kid’s imaginary friend?”

“It’s a special opportunity.” Her ‘or else’ expression changed to a frustrated pout. “You get to make a kid happy. Didn’t you ever feel alone?”

“Yea but I got over it.”

Either she didn’t like my attitude or the ermine was tired of my stalling. It reared, sending me to the ground despite my frantic grabbing at its fur, and left me there with a smug Winny.

If I had known telling some angels a simple lie would land me with the gig of imaginary friend and caretaker, I would have told the truth. Dying was supposed to be the end of my road, the final finish line, the ultimate adventure but no, I got stuck as Nate the Friendly Ghost.

“You’re going to love it here!” Winny called back mid-skip. “There are unicorns and the pool of dreams and-”

“I’m sorry, did you say unicorns?” As if my post death life wasn’t insane enough.

“Yup. There are only thirty left and they all exist here. See?”

I nearly walked into her and her arm she stretched out to stop me. “Wha-…” But then I saw it. It was no unicorn I ever saw and I had two little sisters who were obsessed with them.

There was the horn that did glitter and the horse shape but there was also hair around the neck and upper portion of its body that resembled a lion’s mane. Did I mention it was black?

“Isn’t it pretty?” She cooed softly.

“I guess.” It was actually cool for a girly thing. Not that I’d admit that a out loud. “Are they all black?”

“White are common but there are grey, cream, black, and speckled ones. Some even have different colors near their hooves.” As she explained the very real unicorn existence, I watched the animal till it disappeared amongst the thick of the trees. “You’ll meet more soon.”

“I will?” I didn’t know to feel good about it or wary.

“Mhmm, after you meet the others.”

“There are more of you?” Duh, Nate, you’re not that special. She soon set me straight on that too. I had to meet the other Chosen, go through some handbook, and then it was on to my first kid.

I hoped for the kid’s sake that I wouldn’t mess up. Who knew what damage that could cause. Maybe that was why my sister hated sleeping alone.

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