Charity’s Ball
By Daisy Jones
Date: April 19, 2016
Ch. 7Apples & Oranges


The sun was about to set behind Josiah’s hill when he recovered his physical wits. Josiah made his way back down to earth while memorizing every moment in vivid detail. His eagerness to return home was as ferocious as his hunger. He quickly plucked a ripe apple from a newly-sprung tree at the base of the small mountain. The first bite infused his taste buds with a juicy explosion of perfection. He devoured the perfect fruit in less than a minute. Josiah instantly decided to turn back and fill his pockets with over two dozen shiny apples.

Returning to the cottage held new meaning for Josiah that day. Every step that brought him closer to home was grounded in new convictions. His reverence and enlightenment was apparent to all of nature, as creatures of land, air and water were drawn to his presence.

One bite of Josiah’s apples convinced Sarah that he was telling her the truth about his experience on the mount, as he spared no detail in its retelling. The sweet juicy taste of the apples was only preceded by the overwhelming sense of euphoria they also yielded. They took great care in secretly preserving every seed from the apples, confident that one day their harvest would yield magic edible rubies.

Life changed quickly for the new family. Josiah found little comfort in his newly-restricted activities, as the entire universe was now his science project. Sarah continued to offer her therapy services, but without Josiah’s input, her client base dwindled to a faithful few who made regular pilgrimages to benefit from her diagnosis and pleasant company. The hill’s magic moments were eternalized in Josiah’s memory, but began to diminish slowly after his out of body event. Josiah was both relieved and disappointed at the ceasing of mystical features and their side effects. The once-flourishing forest lost its magic spell, although forever remained a natural vision to behold. Josiah rationalized that his experience was induced by his garden shack creation, complete with incantations and a fresh batch of the light source elixir – something he vowed to never repeat.

The people of Proctor took notice of Josiah newfound traits. His rare visits to town always invited every stray dog, cat and chicken to follow behind, dubbing him the pied piper of Proctor. Josiah didn’t particularly appreciate the label as it tended to trivialize a side effect of his profound experience. He also didn’t see fit to share the details of that experience or the existence of his magnificent mountain with any citizens of Proctor. All of those factors contributed to Josiah’s descent into solitude. His hermit life was laced with mystical implications. Sarah was accustomed to Josiah spending as many as eight to ten hours a day up on his mountain top. She understood his motives and accepted his eccentricities without question, although privately longed for some normalcy and the same ordinary existence as the citizens of Proctor.

The last days of Sarah’s pregnancy and Charity’s subsequent birth on October 1st provided a legacy that would rival the material possessions of any royal heir. Sarah and Josiah celebrated Charity’s first birthday by planting an apple orchard with seedlings from the magic apple tree. They dedicated the orchard to all that was good in the universe, and claimed its future bounty as their daughter’s birthright. Sarah always wanted permanent roots and she finally found them. Josiah always pursued his desires to be a family man and a natural healer. They both surpassed those dreams and replaced them with life-altering events that had far-reaching implications. Josiah finally realized his original goal of bestowing Charity with a lasting gift created by his understanding of ageless knowledge. And yet, peace eluded him. Dreams were spun from real memories that should have appeared as fantasy backdrops for his imagination. Dismissing the past was a fruitless effort that yielded nightly visions, depriving his much-needed sleep.
Josiah was on the verge of realizing that nothing would ever be the same again.

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