The Secret of Life
by Andrew Stone
Little Rosie was lying on her twin-sized mattress that Sunday evening. She believed everything to be perfectly normal, but she couldn’t have been more wrong. After the lights had been out for some time, Rosie heard a whisper coming from the shadows.
“Oh little Rosie, come out, come out wherever you are. Follow me dear child, we won’t go far. Through a forest and a desert, shall we travel, if you follow me, the world’s wisest mammal. To the lake of ‘The Spirit’ we shall go, if you trail me my little bimbo,” said the mouse.
Rosie was quite offended at being called a bimbo, yet she thought about the journey. Truth be told she could never avoid an adventure.
“Ok,” Rosie said to the mouse, “lead the way.”
With a devious smile the mouse led the girl out of the house, towards the mystical lake. First, they went through the haunted forest, where there was never any light. When they stumbled upon a bridge, there was a mischievous goblin blocking the way. The goblin said to the girl and the mouse, “In order to pass my bridge, you must answer my riddle. If you fail to answer it correctly, you will join the others in the ‘Swamp of the Dreamless’.”
“Give us the riddle,” the mouse boldly proclaimed.
“The riddle is,” said the goblin, “What is never seen but always heard? What is easy to catch but hard to release? What is very common but also rare? What is in the winter air but in the summertime bare?”
The mouse gave Rosie an encouraging look as he said, “It is all you kiddo. You must get yourself to the end, I can only guide you.”
“Thanks a million,” Rosie sarcastically said to the mouse.
The girl repeated the riddle to herself over and over again. After what felt like five hours, but was actually five minutes, Rosie proudly proclaimed “A cold!”
The goblin immediately stood aside, letting the two travelers pass. The rest of the journey through the haunted forest passed without any problems, and before they knew it, they were entering the deceitful desert.
The desert possessed cruel winds that blew into their raw faces. The sand would sting their tender skin. They still continued on. After walking for at least a day, they came to the desert’s doors. On each door was written, “THIS DOOR LEADS TO THE LAKE OF ‘THE SPIRIT’ WHERE YOU WILL LEARN THE SECRET OF LIFE.”
The mouse said to Rosie, “Choose wisely my dear. Only one of the three doors will lead you to where you want to go. The other two will trap you under the desert’s sand for eternity. Oh! And one last thing, you can ask each of the doors one question. Good luck.”
As the mouse spoke the last two words, he evaporated into a puff of smoke, leaving Rosie alone to decide her fate.
Rosie approached the first door and asked him, “Why do I really want to walk through you?”
“Because you want to know the secret of life dear child.”
“You are a trap door,” Rosie told him.
“Right you are you bratty girl.” The first door then evaporated into smoke, just like the mouse.
Rosie walked to the third door and asked him, “Do I desire the truth or does the truth desire me?”
Without hesitation the third door said, “You desire the truth.”
Rosie then proposed this same question to the second door, except his response was “The truth desires you Rosie.”
Rosie began to think. She wondered what she actually did want. She thought that the doors could make the answer clear for her; instead, she now had to decide with her life on the line. Rosie’s mind wandered in deep silence. She thought she knew what she wanted. She approached the second door and said, “OPEN.”
Rosie timidly walked through the second door, hoping it was the right decision. Inside the door was a long narrow hallway. Once she got to the end, she came to another door; this time there was only one. She tried the knob. It was unlocked. She entered.
The light of the new room was so white that it took Rosie’s eyes several minutes to adjust. When her eyes finally came into focus, she saw a few seat sized rocks on the ground. She sat on the biggest one she could find, and quickly realized that she was now looking at the lake of ‘The Spirit’. The cloudy white water was so enticing that Rosie had to force herself more than once to remember why she had come. Gathering her loose thoughts she asked the lake, “What is the secret of life?”
“The secret of life is one hell of a twisted joke Rosie. But you already knew that, didn’t you? You know that no one can ever be good. You know that every little girl who has wandered this Earth has looked just like you, thought just like you. You know that you will never amount to anything, and if by some fluke you do, time will erase it faster than it happened. And best of all Rosie you know that you are not immortal. Time will have its way with you. It will break your delicate heart over and over again, it will grow you old, and then it will kill you. After time destroys you Rosie, it will erase your existence. You’ll be nothing but dust upon dust on this planet. You’ll be nothing at all.”
Rosie violently shook in her bed. That Monday morning, she wondered why there was sand in between her toes while she got ready for school. In her first period class, she couldn’t help but notice that the time was moving unusually fast. Rosie couldn’t tell you why that made her uneasy; all she could say was that she hated time.
I have been writing for a couple of years now-short stories and poetry. One day I plan on writing a book, I just don’t know when that day will come. When I am not writing I enjoy reading dark fantasy novels, playing on a soccer team, and skateboarding. I am a California resident.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Do Not Walk This Way'