Episode 8
“Are You Sure?”
By Morgan Givens

Reading Guide:

Speakers on the left: Their voice is heard more in the left ear.

Speakers on the right: Their voice is heard more in the right ear.

Speakers that are centered: Are heard equally in both ears.

[Brackets holding bold and underlined words are sounds effects. EX: Clanging of pots. City Traffic. Students Talking]

Speakers: With italicized words are signing

Host Intro: Welcome back Flyest Fables. I’m Morgan Givens, and I’m the creator of Flyest Fables a critically acclaimed show that brings you new fables for the 21st century. And this...is the season finale for the show. I know, I know but don’t worry, the show will be back later this year! Okay, alright, we’ll catch up after the story.

Today’s story is called, “Are You Sure?”

[Fade up the sound of a hospital room. The beeping of a heart monitor. Ventilator. Sounds of doctors and nurses moving about outside the room. Jada is inside.}

Nurse: “Have you begun to make preparations, for when he…”

Jada’s Narrator: The nurse asked, as she replaced her father’s chart. Jada blinked, looked back and forth between her mom, Tonya, and the evening nurse who always showed up right as her father began to stir uncomfortably in his bed. Tonya cast a glance at her daughter, then motioned towards the door.

Tonya: “Maybe it’s best if we speak outside?”

Jada’s Narrator: Briefly squeezing her daughter’s shoulder for comfort, her mom left the room, pulling the door shut behind her. Jada knew what they were thinking, had heard them whispering when they thought she couldn’t hear. Nobody believed her when she’d said her father had woken up. Had looked her right in her eyes and promised he’d never leave. But Jada knew the truth.

Jada: “Nobody cares what they think anyway.”

Jada’s Narrator: She huffed, as she crossed her arms.

Jada: “I know you spoke to me. I know you did.”

Jada’s Narrator: But he hadn’t spoken to her since. In fact, he had grown sicker. So sick that the doctors and nurses who used to speak to her as though she were nothing but a baby, trying to shield her from the truth, much to her increasing frustration, not rarely spoke in front of her at all. Saving all their updates for just her mother. And the words she most wanted to say to him, “I love you” sat jammed in the back of her throat. Trapped by the thought that he might not really hear her if she said them out loud.

Jada: “The Book! You spoke to me after I read you that book!”

Jada’s Narrator: Jada’s pulse quickened as she remembered and pulled the book from her bag. She crawled onto the bed, rested her head against her father’s chest, ignoring the weak inhale and exhale of his breath, opened the book and began to read...

[Fade up soft sound of wind chimes. Fade down and out all sounds of Jada’s world. Fade up the sound of the sea crashing against a shore. The whistling of the wind over sand dunes. You have entered the world of The Book.]

Tyra’s Narrator: Tyra was tired. And it was the type of exhaustion that crept into a person’s bones, making it hard to think clearly. Making it easier to give up. And she wanted to, wanted to lay down her sword beneath the scorching sun, and before the choppy waves of the sea. The appraisers had appeared at the borders of Orleans much sooner than anyone in the kingdom expected them to, and they were caught off guard, by the marching conquerors who squeezed the Kingdom of Orleans from the sea -- with glittering ships that floated upon the waves.

And from the land, the Appraisers troops swarming across the desert like a plague of starving locusts. Ready to lay siege. Everything was at stake. Orleans would fall if they couldn’t figure out how to stop the onslaught. How to save their stories. Save themselves. Tyra wiped the stinging sweat from her brow, and squinted up towards the sun, her arms burning as her sword hung limply at her sides. She wanted to rest. She was so tired, but could see that the momentary lull in the battle was close to ending,

[Sound of war drums. The Appraisers move forward, and clash with the soldiers of Orleans. Swords can be heard clanging against one another, shouting as the battle progresses.]

and she could hear the drumbeat of the Appraisers as they pressed forward once more, clashing with the Queen’s Guard, with the soldiers and protectors of Orleans. Tyra cast a quick glance over her shoulder, towards the sea, and her heart sank.

Tyra: “Oh no, no please not this.”

Tyra’s Narrator: Pouring forth from the ships, were row boats, packed with Appraisers. Their howls of glee floating to her ears. A melodic curse carried by the wind.

Tyra: "If they land...we’ll never make it. We’ll never win…”

Tyra’s Narrator: The realization fell on her shoulders, weighing them down, and she could see only Latesha. Could hear only the words she should have spoken, the things she should have said, clanging around in her heart, spiraling down like a stone thrown into a well. Words she desperately wanted to say, but feared that now, she never would.

Tyra: “Woah,”

Tyra’s Narrator: Tyra snapped back into the present just in time, as she ducked under a blow that surely would have sent her crashing to the ground. There was no time for thinking, for action, she had to move. To save herself, to help save the entire Kingdom of Orleans. And she danced, light as the air she breathed, buoyed by the almost comforting pounding of her heart in her chest, enlivened by the breeze as it caught her sweat soaked skin, and goosebumps raced up her arms as she parried attack, after attack, trying desperately to ignore the fact that they were losing ground. The Appraisers on the land driving them further towards the sea, towards those who would drive swords in their backs. Those whom would make them choose how they might die. By land, or by sea. She spared a glance towards the Kingdom,

Tyra:“Latesha...please. Please run. I can’t save you.”

Tyra’s Narrator: For a moment, she considered blowing the War Horn around her neck, signaling the danger to the people of the Kingdom of Orleans, letting them know it was time to flee. The Orlean’s soldiers faltered under the relentless attack. They were trained to maintain their borders. To protect themselves and those who sought their aid, but this would require fighting of another kind. Skills they did not yet possess, and they were unprepared as they gave up ground inch by painstaking inch. Until the sound of the sea they loved so much, became one of mounting horror, filling their counterattacks with a new and ferocious spirit driven as much by fear, as their desire to save their home. And still, it would not be enough.

Tyra fought on. Arms burning as she gritted her teeth, ignoring the fiery burning of her muscles as she blocked, swung, leapt over attacks meant to sweep her feet from beneath her, grateful for the Quartermaster’s training. Grateful he had pushed her beyond what she believed possible, heard him in her mind now as clearly as she’d heard him then.

Quartermaster: “Tyra, I know you’re tired. I know, you want to break. To bend, but your deepest strength is your ability to do the impossible.”

Tyra’s Narrator: She never knew what he meant. Never figured it out. The waves were louder now, and she felt the first sprays of the water on her skin, saw the boats carrying the Appraisers. They were now so close she could see the color of their eyes, hard as the emeralds they coveted, stony like the diamonds that shaped their homes, and she shivered as she lifted the War Horn to her lips. It was time, she had no choice. When a dark shadow fell over them all, causing the blades of Orlean and Appraiser soldiers to fall silent. Tyra cast her eyes to the sky, and they widened at the sight.

[The sound of battle fades away and the roar of a dragon is heard as it spits fire, creating a wall of flame.]

Princess Keisha, atop the back of a Dragon with a coat that shimmered so brightly the creature seemed to hold the sun within itself. And in the sky alongside them, were The Winged People. Thousands of them, their numbers countless. And Tyra felt a tiny spring of hope blossom within her as the Dragon opened its mouth, spewing out a stream of crackling fire and sending the Appraisers who approached by sea into a panic as the sails of their ships caught the flame. The dragon circled, letting loose another torrent of fire as the Winged People landed softly behind the Orleans soldiers as they faced the Appraiser who attacked from the land. Appraisers who had regained their courage and mounted the attack once again.

[Sounds of battle resumes. The sound of the ocean grows louder and the dragon roars once again.]

Tyra: “Hold the line!”

Tyra’s Narrator: Tyra shouted. There was a chance. There was hope now.

Tyra: “Hold. This. Line. For your family, for our Kingdom! For the future of Orleans you must hold this line until we are able to--”

Tyra’s Narrator: Her words caught in her throat, and she swallowed, afraid to look down. Afraid of what she might see. Foolish, she had been foolish, had let down her guard for just a second, but a second was all it took. Her deep brown eyes caught those of the Appraiser who stood before her, his hand still wrapped around the spear. The spear whose sharp end was lodged inches below Tyra’s heart, and she felt the world tremble with all the things she would never experience. Of how she would never get to tell Latesha the simple truth.

Tyra: “No. No, no…”

Tyra’s Narrator: Her breath grew shaky, and she tried to slow her breathing, to slow her racing heart.

Tyra: “No, not now. Not. Now.”

Tyra’s Narrator: She whispered through clenched teeth, summoning the strength to kick Appraiser away, and knowing she shouldn’t but seeing no other way, pulled the spear end from her chest, growing angry from the pain and the future she saw slipping away from her.

Quartermaster: “Your deepest strength is your ability to do the impossible.”

Tyra’s Narrator: She shook her head clear, trying to shake the Quartermaster from her mind.

Quartermaster: “Do the impossible.”

Tyra: “No! What…is happening?”

[All battle sounds cease. There is only the sound of the sea, the crackling of the wall of fire and the desert winds.]

Tyra’s Narrator: Tyra swayed on her feet, drawing in deep and ragged breaths. She was the only one moving. Everyone else, was frozen in place. Stuck in the moment between action and inaction, faces contorted in the midst of battle. Unmoving in the still silence around her. She looked to the sky, but the dragon, too was frozen, unmoving in the sky like a great new moon sent to bless the Kingdom of Orleans. Tyra stumbled from the throng of soldiers, and sank to her knees before the wall of flame, comforted by the heat that spilled from it. This, at least, was expected. She shook her head, trying to clear the fogginess that began filling her mind, making her thoughts slow. Making her see things that couldn’t truly be there. But the longer she stared, the closer the figure appeared. Moving silently towards her, until it stopped,  and knelt so she could see it clearly. Tyra gasped at the swirling grains of sands that moved together like a constellation, making the body of a woman. The sands hissed as they met one another in the dust storm of her body. And the woman’s eyes were hazy as dust, firm as stone.

Tyra: “Who are you?”

The Woman: “Do you think we have time for such questions?”

Tyra: “Who are you? Did you do this?”

Tyra’s Narrator: She gestured weakly around at the still frozen battle scene around them. The woman reached out a hand, caressed the side of Tyra’s face, and it felt like a kiss from the wind.

The Woman: “I am the Air. And yes, I did, but you do not have time to question me. You have nearly no time left at all.”

Tyra: “I have time…”

Tyra’s Narrator: Tyra said, though she could feel it to be a lie. She was so tired.

The Air: “No, you do not, but there might be a way…”

Tyra’s Narrator: The Air said, closing her eyes, and the wind picked up around them both as she did, and the sand around them spun faster, and faster until she could see nothing but the Air as her lips moved, whispering words Tyra couldn’t hear.

The Air: “It is done.”

Tyra’s Narrator: The Air breathed out, and the cyclone of sand fell.

Tyra: “Latesha?”

Latesha: “Tyra?”

Tyra’s Narrator: Latesha’s eyes were wide with shock, and she looked quickly around before rushing to Tyra’s side, dropping down next to her.

Tyra: “How did you get here? What’s going —”

Tyra’s Narrator: She bit her lower lip, and help back a sharp cry of pain.

The Air: “You have no time.”

Tyra’s Narrator: The Air said, before turning her attention to Latesha.

The Air: “And neither do you. Work quickly.”

Latesha: “What?”

Tyra’s Narrator: But then Latesha looked down, and sucked in a breath as she finally saw the wound on Tyra’s chest, and the life that ran from it.

Latesha: “Oh no, Tyra no. Not yet you can’t go yet. You can’t we haven’t even had a chance to --”

Tyra: “I love you. I have loved you since the first day I saw you, in the palace library, and I have loved you for being so clumsy and dropping one of your books so I had a reason to talk to you. And I love your dedication to your studies, you will be an excellent healer. And our people will need you.”

Tyra’s Narrator: Latesha wiped angrily at the hot tears that coursed down her face. It wasn’t fair.

Latesha: “I won’t allow it.”

The Air: “You are running out of time…”

Latesha: “I am not running out of time.”

Tyra’s Narrator: Latesha leaned forward,

Latesha: “can I?”

Tyra’s Narrator: She asked, hovering before Tyra’s face, asking the question, though she felt she knew the answer.

Tyra: “Woman, I am dying. Yes…”

Tyra’s Narrator: Latesha cradled Tyra’s face between her hands, running her eyes over every inch of the other woman’s face, and then...she kissed her, and the world ceased to exist, until it was just the two of them and the fear melted away. The pain, every inch of it, melted away too, until she felt as though she’d never been injured at all. And all the questions Tyra ever had about the meaning of life came a little closer to being answered, because if this was part of life. This love and feeling, then she had some of the answers.

Tyra: “I love you, Latesha.”

Tyra’s Narrator: She said once more, as they broke apart,

Tyra’s: “I’m sorry I must leave you.”

The Air:“You have time, now.”

Tyra’s Narrator: The Air said, her head cocked to the side, as she waited for them to realize, and her eyes hinted at a contented smile she did not show.

The Air: “You are the healer we have been waiting for…”

Tyra’s Narrator: Tyra scrambled quickly to her feet,

Tyra: “What do you mean she’s the healer you’ve been…oh! OH!”

Tyra’s Narrator: And now the Air did allow herself to smile as she clapped her hands before her in joy, turning her eyes to Latesha.

The Air: “You have done it. We have been waiting for you.”

Tyra’s Narrator: Latesha stood there, stunned, before turning to face a Tyra. Tyra whose wound had healed, had stopped allowing her life to flow from her and spill on the sands around them. And seeming to read the question that hovered around their joy, Tyra spoke,

Tyra: “I love you, and I meant it. I should have said it before. I don’t want you to think I only said it because I was afraid of dying. I said it because I was afraid I would never get the chance to say it again.”

Latesha: Are you sure?

Tyra: I’m sure of you.

Latesha: Are you sure? Can we see this through?

Tyra: There’s nothing that our love can’t mend. I’ll love you til the very end.

Latesha: You are sure…

Latesha and Tyra: We are sure…

The Air: “Shall we finish this?”

Tyra’s Narrator: The Air asked, handing Tyra her forgotten sword.

The Air: “I cannot hold the world still for much longer. And you”

Tyra’s Narrator: she said, looking once again at Latesha,

The Air: “do you hear it? The call coming to you? You are the greatest healer of your generation, and you must answer it.”

Tyra’s Narrator: Catching the worried glance that flashed between the two women, she continued,

The Air “you will return, and soon. But the one in need doesn’t have much time. I will care for Tyra, for all who would call the Kingdom of Orleans home, but the Appraisers will march again, and next time, you must be prepared.”

Tyra: “We are outnumbered! Trapped between the sea and our home! Even with the help of the Winged ones we can’t possibly hope to--”

The Air:“I am one of the guardians of your world. We will help you.. I shall summon the Ocean…”

[Fade up soft wind chimes. Fade down and out all sounds of Tyra’s world. Fade up the sounds of the hospital room. Heart monitor. The movement of doctors and nurses outside the room. You have left the world of The Book.]

Jada’s Narrator: Jada jumped from her chair, and The Book fell to the ground near her feet.

Jada: “Who are you?”

Jada’s Narrator: She cast a glance over her shoulder, hoping her mom would burst back into the room  from her meeting with the doctor. But the door remained closed, and it was just Jada, her father, and the woman who shimmered and glowed like a hazy mirage. The woman hovered near the edge of her father’s bed, the air around her pulsing with energy and life.

The Woman: “Little one, I know you have questions and I wish I knew how to--”

Jada: “Get away from my dad!”

Jada’s Narrator: Jada took a protective step towards her father.

Jada: “I asked you who you WERE.”

The Woman: “I am the Healer Latesha, from the Kingdom of Orleans,”

Jada’s Narrator: Latesha held out her hands, her eyes imploring the little girl to trust her. To step out on faith.

Latesha: “And we are running out of time. You father is running out of time. Give me your hands. Please.”

Jada’s Narrator: Jada peered at her father, and her eyes jumped back and forth between this strange woman and the man who lay upon the bed.

Latesha: The path before could be so clear

Latesha: Jada, trust me.

Latesha: And your father he’s supposed to be here

Jada’s Narrator: She had heard the nurses, and the doctors, had seen the resolute expression of grief that lived on her mother’s face. Her father was going to die. What did she really have left to lose? And so, Jada crossed the distance between the two of them, and took the woman’s hands. They were as light as the kiss of the wind against her face on a summer’s day, as warm as the rays of the sun. And as they grasped hands, the room began to glow, white hot. And bright. So bright that Jada had to shut her eyes against its glory.

Latesha: And your father he’s supposed to be here

Jada’s Narrator: When she opened them, the woman was gone. But her father, oh, her father bounded from the bed, and wrapped her in his arms, as alive as he had been in the days before he fell ill. His face warm, the skin shiny and rich as the soil of fertile ground. His deep brown eyes lined with kindness and surprised. And he breathed. He breathed as though his lungs had never known a day of trouble.

Jada’s Father: “Baby girl what did you do? How did you...I feel like...like I been made new and --”

Jada: “Dad! Mom is going to be so happy and...”

Jada’s Narrator: Jada felt as though her heart would leap from her chest, as though her eyes were playing tricks upon her. Could it really be?

Jada: “I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry I never told you how much I love you. Is that why you got so sick?! Was it my fault? I promise I’ll tell you more! I promise that I’ll make sure--”

Jada’s Dad: “Hey, hey, now I’m still trying to get used to this whole waking and moving thing but kid...I am your father. I know you love me. I know you have always loved me. Just like I love you,  baby girl that ain’t been what’s hurting you. But that guilt you’ve got around the words you didn’t say...well...but what I don’t understand is how did I...how am I alive?”

Jada’s Narrator: A question that Jada may have been able to answer had her mother, Tonya, not chosen that exact moment to walk into the hospital room and see her husband holding their daughter. Jubilantly. Joyfully. Healthy.

And the book, still lay forgotten on the floor. Ignored by the surprised nurses, doctors and medical students poured into the room. Some of the brightest medical minds pondering the mystery of her father’s survival -- none of them thinking to pause for just a moment and open the pages...of The Book.

Host Outro: This wraps up the finale episode of season one or Flyest Fables. If you liked this episode, and you’ve been enjoying the show, pause this right now and  share it with a friend. Send them a text, an email or call them on their cell phone. And please take a moment to leave a review for the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks so much for listening!I’ll be back later this year with brand new episodes of Flyest Fables for you, as well as a new podcast I’ll be launching this year called Heartseeker: Origins. And guess what? Both of these podcasts...happen in the same universe. Whaaaaaaat?

If you’d like to get in touch with me, send me an email at FlyestFables at Gmail dot com.

Flyest Fables was created, written produced and narrated by me, Morgan Givens.

You can follow me on twitter @optimus_mo and @flyest fables and on instagram at Flyest Fables. You can also learn more about me at morgan givens dot  com.

The Flyest Fables cover art was created by Gracie Canaan.

Until next time. I’m Morgan Givens.