It’s so hot! I am perspiring. Now my clothes seem to have found an attraction to my body. I am stinking. Oh God! Why am I wearing a veil? Where am I? I wondered.

I was walking along a valley accompanied by a Lady, a Lord and there valet. The scorching heat was agonizing. My throat was parched. How I desired a drop of cool lemonade down my dry throat. But even when I desperately wanted a drink I found myself not able to say so out aloud and just kept walking along.

The Lady was wearing a red kaftan, brightly colored and decorated with shiny ornaments. Her head was covered with a long gauzy veil that flew as she braved the hot winds. Her slippers were flat, adorned with trinkets and made a clinking sound as she walked along. Her countenance revealed customary upbringing. An air around her distinguished her from the rest.

The Lord was a sturdy man wearing djalleba which covered his entire body and a fez on his head. He was alert and kept an ear open for any unforeseen danger to his family on this unknown land. The valet at the same time was a lean fellow who seems to have long ago extinguished his strength and was now just dragging himself.

We were in a canyon walking along the valley on our way to the gravel mountain. It was just vast and vast stretches of land with no cattle, no vegetation or habitation in sight.

The wind slapped against our faces. Dust blowing into our eyes. My nostrils were tingled by smoke. It was smell of burning charcoal. We had reached the gravel mountain. Now ahead of us lay the one last obstacle crossing which the Lord could easily defeat the witch of Nincumbo and regain his kingdom.

The only way to cross the gravel mountain was on the wooden planks because the mountain was infested by crabs. But the planks were few thus it meant one would have to place one after the other and move slowly. But the one moving the planks would be prey to the crabs. They would be snapping their claws and thus tear the human flesh. The Lord decided to try and trick the hungry crabs. He was carrying water from the fountain of love in a bag made out of hide which was required to break the spell cast by the witch over his land. But he could not throw away the water in need of goatskin. He decided to feed the goat flesh to the crabs but he also needed a way of carrying the sacred water.

The Lady then quickly made a bun out of her thick tresses and thus collected a little within. The Lord now fed the meat to the hungry crabs who jumped hungrily snapping at the bait. Slowly and steadily the Lord threw pieces as he moved forward while he shifted the planks making a path for the others.

We reached the peak and saw there was a vast ocean beneath. The slope was steep. There was just one way to reach the kingdom, cross the ocean. Thus the Lord and the valet jumped in. The height was terrifying but without a second thought I put forward my foot n was up in the air. On my way down I suddenly regretted my dumb act and tried to grip the gravel lining but to no avail. I slipped down and we were in the ocean.

We swam across and the clear blue water to the sparkling land. The entrance was guarded by two lions. To get past we had to dodge them somehow. The Lord was ready for this too. He knew the sole way could be to feed hay to the bewitched lions. Only the opposite could break the spell just as water from fountain of love would defeat the witch. We had reached the sprawling dinning room and there on the table was kept the witch bowl. The Lord crawled to the cauldron. Just as he was about to eliminate the evil there was thunder and lightning. The place began to shake.

It did not psychologically strike me what was happening. Then I heard clearly as I strained my ears. Cherry! Cherry! Someone was screaming my name and then there was a loud thud. It was all reality to me. The present seemed fictional. I had come to some other world. Then I saw my mom trying to control her laughter. I had fallen off my bed. She had been trying hard to wake me up and it was that brought me from my dream world to the present. The castle, the Lord all seemed real to me but was all fiction. A caricature created by my mind. I was drenched with perspiration. The journey was from fiction to reality but then I noticed the Lady’s’ trinkets wrapped around my wrist. Was it real? I thus think it was from reality to fiction and not vice versa.

Cherry Aggarwal