Duende sat on rocks that jutted out over the sea into the rising early morning mist. She waited for her furry friend to show himself as the sudden wind wrapping its arms around her, tapping her with its long, wiry fingers on her back.
Instead, hundreds of birds trilled their chorus of songs into the much louder waves that broke against the rocks, and Duende, wanting to make her presence known to her friend, joined her own whistle with nature’s song. Within seconds, the sea roared a fierce fountain of water toward the sky, releasing a haunting sound that made Duende jump back. A deep, wide, eternal longing, pulling its anchor into her heart and down toward the seafloor, enveloped her, then echoed against the rocks.
“Duende.” She heard her name coming from the depths of the sound. “Duende.” She turned her head in either direction, trying to see or place this voice that resonated from another world. Her friend was nowhere to be seen. Instead she heard, “Come inside.” Where? Duende thought. Inside where? By now the birds had stopped their chanting, or at least Duende could no longer hear them. She stood frozen, her hands clenched, her eyes wide with wonder and fright, inside the warm morning.
“Here,” the voice responded, lifting itself into a high-pitched sound as a large hand rose from the sea’s fountain. Duende shook in shock. “Come on,” she heard again. She continued to look around, smelling the air and sensing for that presence she had become used to. But there was nothing. Just this voice repeating the same request.
As the hand descended into the sea again, Duende closed her eyes, finally letting go of expecting the same as before, and summoned her knowing. She cleared any fear or doubt she may have had about this voice and hand, and let herself fall deep into the vast body of water. She knew how to let her spirit travel in ways most children or adults never understood. When she arrived, he was there. Her friend was waiting.
“Duende, I like your name,” he said slowly, through a gurgle of water and wind, as if he were the sea, but not the kind the girl was accustomed to. His voice came from a deep, dark place, like the longing of a whale’s cry that Duende had heard echo against the rocks and reverberate inside her. “Come with me,” her earth spirit friend said as he faced away from her while turning his long weblike feet toward her, moving the opposite direction she expected him to go.
… An eternal hole opened below them, clearing the soil and sand around them, as the center of the earth sucked them closer and closer, accelerating their journey…“You are going home,” her friend suddenly whispered as they accelerated through the earth’s layers. “Home.”
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