Keeper of the Labyrinth, Part 1

by Tarasandia

Copyright© 2020 by Tarasandia

Fantasy Story: Tara's story begins. Preparing for a cross-country move, I find myself on a very different adventure in a very different place than I expected. NOTE: Although this story is marked complete, parts 2, 3 and 4 will be posted between other stories in the series. This story begins in the present-day, and will begin to interweave with characters from the other four stories as it progresses.

Tags: Fantasy   Magic   Young Adult  

There is a forest by the river that flows from Freya’s City toward Yggdrasil, which you may know as the Tree of Life. On the banks of this river is a encampment of glowing egg-shaped tents, in which the Traveling Souls - those of are sojourning upon the Earth for a time - come to rest each night in complete protection, while their bodies remain here on the earth.

But l am getting ahead of myself, for my story does not start here. It starts in a favorite place in my last home: Mark’s leather chair. I am wearing my favorite things: fuzzy socks, my red heart pajamas, and Mark’s big green bathrobe. I hear the dogs start to stir: Brewer moves in a restless circle, and Bea growls as she stares at the door.

I recognize the brown truck delivery truck just outside my window: UPS. I jump up excitedly, because I know this is the delivery I have been waiting for.

“Package for Tara Browne?”

“Yes, that’s me!” I reply, my eyes riveted to the small cardboard box he holds under his left arm. “Ma’am if you could just sign here...” he says, extending a digital signature tablet for me to use. I blush and realize I am being rudely inattentive.

“I’m sorry,” I say, meeting his eyes as I reach for the device.

“No worries, ma’am - happens all the time.” he responded, and smiled as he handed me my little box and reached out to take back his device.

That’s when I noticed the lettering on the tablet: Universal Parcel Service?! This was no ordinary delivery, no common messenger. I felt a sense of recognition as I took the box, as if I had been waiting for it not just for days, but indeed for all my life.

I returned the box with a smile and a heartfelt, “Thank You!”

“My pleasure, ma’am.” he said, that same smile lighting his eyes, and was gone.

Not down the path and away in his truck, but vanished in that twinkle of his eye, truck and all.


I opened the package carefully, using a utility knife with a new blade to carefully cut the tape between the flaps of cardboard. Upon opening it, I peeled back several layers of shimmering white tissue that sent out a cloud of fragrance like my favorite Nag Champa incense with each movement. Underneath was another box itself set into a gilded paper sleeve of deep forest green with an embossed gold foil leaf pattern covering it surface. Even without removing the sleeve, I can see that it is well worn.

I set the precious box down in front of my television and took a moment to break down the shipping box and dispose of it in the recycling bin in my kitchen, then hurried back to retrieve my treasure. Holding it carefully, I made my way back to my chair.

I am removing the box from its protective sleeve, when a thought comes unbidden but very clearly to my mind: “I have carried this box through many lives.” The box is beautifully crafted, and I cannot judge its age except to recognize that it is very, very old. Another thought follows: “This box has carried the seeds of many dreams to many people,” as clear and unbidden as the first thought.

Though I do not remember seeing this box before, my hands know what to do with it and the latch response easily to my touch. The filigreed hinges open smoothly and silently. When I look inside, it is the inside of the lid that first catches my eye. At the center of the lid is a mirror, its frame in the shape of Massachusetts, and covered in small glowing orbs of light. Embossed in gold on the mirror at the center of map is the simple image of a house and a tree, such as a child might draw, and in front of the home figures for each member of my immediate family. On the frame surrounding the mirror-map, luminous orbs glow softly; within each orb the face of family member or friend smiling as if waiting to welcome me home.

Next I turned my attention to the box compartment itself. It is lined with soft green moss, and at its center rests a bag of the finest golden gossamer silk, containing a brilliant white moonstone and twelve other assorted gems. Also, a small ivory-colored card, slightly larger than an ordinary business card, and with a message embossed in gold:

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