Some people gave gifts that go beyond the standard level of understanding reality.
The man was one of them.
The man had the gift of knowledge. The girl had once asked him–
“How do you know so much?”
“I just know.”
This was the answer the man always gave whenever he’d been asked this. Even as a small child watching the ways of the world, he could baffle adults nearly ten tines his age with what he knew to be true. And he was right. Long before people started relying on him for direction, he knew the answers.
But ever gift also came with a cost. The problem that the man gradually began to understand was what he took on from others in sensing the periphery of the answer. After years of experiencing these negative effects, he retreated to the little home within the woods where he would be safe from the ill affects of interacting with others.
Today, in the rundown shack of the little man. He had a headache. It was not from the villagers or the little man, sitting quizzically across him. No, he knew. It was from interacting with the girl. Like being hit with a thin, sharp needle to the temple, he knew in that moment that she was having a nightmare.
Over the years, he had learned to ignore most things like these. Tonight, for some reason, he couldn’t shake the feeling. The little man noticed something was off as they sat together in the dim light. He watched the man pinch the bridge of his nose and exhale deeply. A drop of sweat cascaded from his brow.
The girl’s dream was about being hurt. Being cut deeply on the arm until blood flowed like a river she floated on top off. In her dream, a scream had no power or sound. There was no use in speaking.
He knew it wasn’t real. In the dream world, however, the girl struggle to find something she could grasp onto. He could tell it was a fever dream, like a kind of sickness that was battling its way out.
The girl in the dream, however, didn’t know where she was. And he wished in a deep way that she would wake up. Sit up. And then he could be free from this pain piercing through his skull like a vice on either side.
“Are you alright?”
“What? Oh… yeah, I’m fine. What was it you want to show me.”
The man hesitated then turned slightly to behind him, where he brought forward something wrapped in old, musty fabric. He held it out in between them and slowly unwrapped a wooden figurine.
The man was puzzled looking at it. Years ago he had recieved a message that something like this would happen at some point in his life. This is what drew him into the old shack. But the wooden figurine was unexpected. He didn’t know what it meant. Instantly in that moment, however, he realized his headache had left him. He knew instinctively that the girl slept soundly. He stared at the figurine and at the man.
“What is this?”
The little man smiled.
“I’ll tell you!”