Project ZEAL

Scene 19 - The Key to an Unlockable Door (Claado Shou)

Year: 990 A.D.
Place: Crono's house

Gryph didn't understand. It wasn't a matter of not having all the information...he witnessed this boy's life, this woman's marriage, and still had no clue as to how he fit into either. And it wasn't a matter of being out-of-tune with those things around him...he could see and smell and feel and touch, and he could almost taste the wondrous food that was being cooked for a table with only two chairs, a table he obviously had never sat down at.

They didn't even see me...they passed right through me...I don't even exist in this place... It was a nightmare that had suddenly turned into a reality. Nowhere to go. Nobody to speak to. Was he even really thinking these thoughts, or was he simply a figment of his own imagination, a perpetually-fulfilling mania?

He walked inside the house, his muddy shoes leaving nothing on the wooden floor. He tried to wipe them on the rug there, and though the dirt and crud came off, the rug was not any dirtier for it. The mud...disappeared. Gone. Like his sanity.

Walking inside the main living area, the red-haired boy ran upstairs, and his mother yelled out something about being downstairs in three minutes for supper. Gryph couldn't understand why he could hear them, but they couldn't hear him. Why did his ears work, but his vocal chords - his body itself - did not? What mass of tissue remained in the place he found himself? Was he simply a jumble of thoughts able to interpret those things coming towards him, but unable to answer? And what grand scheme had put him there?

Gryph walked forward towards the woman, who was standing over a frying pan filled with some sort of chopped onion, though it was much cleaner and better-smelling than anything Gryph had ever seen before. She didn't notice him, even as he placed his hand on her shoulder and it passed straight through her body.

He moved his arm back and forth through her form, through her head, attempting to brush back her hair or rub her arm. Still, she turned onions for optimum frying and added a bit of cabbage to the mix, an interesting smell when combined. Gryph took in a deep breath of it, savoring the smell of home-cooked food, something that prison had not afforded him.

As he let out the air, he looked at the woman and saw his breath blow her hair over her shoulder. He looked again, trying to reconcile what he had seen, and upon second glance he was sure.

I'm real. I exhaled, and her hair moved. I touched her!

Gryph passed his hand through her again, trying to see if he could do something new now. However, as before, his hand went unnoticed. He then blew her hair again, and it twirled around in the air, as she brushed it aside to get it out of her way.

He blew even harder now, and her hair whipped outward, flowing in the surprisingly strong breeze. She held it down and turned to the window nearby.

"Where did that breeze come from?" she asked aloud, walking to the window and closing it. She returned to the stove, and Gryph blew at her again. This time, however, it did nothing. He spoke, but still nothing. He was imagined once again.

Gryph looked to the window for a moment, and a strange thought passed through his head. It was an idea he knew he would have never had normally, but now it came to him suddenly and strongly. So he walked to the window, put his hands on the frame, and pushed upwards...the window responding to his movements and coming open.

The woman turned to see the window open itself, and started to go towards it. However, Gryph turned back towards the approaching woman and blew strongly in her direction...as an intense burst of wind blew her hair back over her shoulders.

It was at that moment that Gryph realized that the wind was not coming from his mouth...but from the window. In fact, no wind at all could be felt, except when Gryph blew. He seemed to have taken control of the breeze.

As the woman closed the window and called her son to the table, she set the food out and the boy came rushing down, ready to eat. The adolescent couldn't quite seem to get his chair pulled out, but neither Gryph nor the woman had the chance to help him before the chair seemed to slide itself away from the table and then push itself back in once the child was seated.

Gryph was stunned. He had only had the opportunity to think about pulling out the chair when it suddenly happened. And he had only been given enough time to think about pushing it in before some strange miracle did just that.

What was going on here?

Gryph walked to the window again and looked outside. The window opened without him even having to touch it...it just worked, mysteriously, on its own. He examined the frame for some sort of device, but nothing was there...some act of God had done it instead.

Well, this is certainly interesting... Gryph thought, leaning on the windowsill. Whatever I think about seems to happen...whatever I do seems to be amplified by some act of nature...and still, nobody can see me. What could all of this mean?

As he wondered, Gryph suddenly had a great idea. He turned and walked towards the boy.

Concentrating on the boy's mind, trying to pinpoint his thoughts, Gryph said, "This is really great, Mom."

"This is really great, Mom," the boy said, smiling. The woman smiled back.

"I spent a lot of time making it, honey," Gryph said, trying to control the woman.

"I spent a lot of time making it, honey," the woman repeated, with the same inflection and tone in her voice. And then she added an unscripted, "So it should taste pretty good."

Alright, so this makes things a bit more interesting, Gryph thought, aimed at nobody. But what does it all mean? How far does this power extend? And is this world even real?

Gryph didn't have time to ponder the possibilities any further. He felt a magnificent calling outside, a pull that wouldn't let him go until he put one foot in front of the other, all the way to the front of the house, noticeably out of the view of those inside, or anybody nearby.

"What...is this?" he asked aloud. But his question was soon answered with an even greater one.

As he looked before him, Gryph saw a deep blue chasm of light, a circular pool in mid-air, rotating with a kaleidoscopic array of shimmering rays that dazzled across his face. He could feel an unnatural warmth radiating from it as he was drawn inexorably towards it.

And as he let go of the things that he still wanted to do, instead settling on those things that had yet to be determined, his body turned horizontal and floated softly into the void, a gate into a world he would surely have no home in.

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