1 A Future From A Stranger (1)

A man from another country came by to a small town where he saw from his car seat, a lovely town that anyone would find anywhere. Children running, vendors selling, women cleaning, men working, and anything that can be called a lovely town.

He finally arrived at his destination, a normal house. He got out of the car and stood firmly in front of the gate as he pushed the gate bell. Suddenly, he heard a woman's inside the house,

"Asher! There's a man in the gate, open it!"

"Yes, auntie!" The boy responds as he goes out of the front door. When he opened the gate, the man asks him, "Are you by any chance, Asher that's what I heard inside."

"Yes sir, I'm Asher."

"Asher? As in Asher Westergard"

"That's me. Why am I the one you're looking for?"

"I think this might be the answer." Said the man while he gave the boy a letter.

After the man enters the house, Asher carefully reads the letter from his uncle Jesse,

"Dear Asher, unfortunately, I can't come back home to you, your auntie Clara and your cousins because of my unfinished work. I hope that you can understand that this is for your future as well as your cousins, and when I get back, can make one request. I hope you can write me another story like the last one but longer, I know it's hard but you wanted to be an author right? And if you need inspiration, just go out and look for it. Anyway, I'll make sure that I'll come back home next month. Lots of love, uncle Jesse." Asher felt a bit of disappointment from his uncle's letter.

The man commented, "Would you believe, he wrote that in a minute before he goes to work. It was impressive."

"He is a journalist and an editor," Asher replies.

"Well Asher, not to be rude but I read the story that you wrote to your uncle. And do you know what I noticed?"

"Messy handwriting?"

"Heh, no. Raw potential. Your story has personality, it was simply enjoyable to read. But yes, the handwriting is slightly messy."

"I appreciate the compliment but, why? Why come all this way just to give me a letter, and an opinion of my story?"

"Well, Asher. Every time I read your story, it always goes on an unexpected turn and I find that fascinating."

"My story? Fascinating?"

"I remembered every single word of your story, you want to hear it from me?"

"Sure."

"Well, what I remember is this..."

A knight was prepared for battle in the forest that was enemy territory, he had no fear, he did not turn around nor look back, and instead walked through the forest. The knight removed his armor and weapons one by one in each step and did not stop until every metal on his body was gone.

In the nearby enemy camping site, the knight looked like a simple villager. The guards weren't alarmed, the archers didn't shoot for he was just a mere villager, or so they thought he was. He enters the king's tent and saw the king resting on his bed, he killed the sleeping king, tore off his face, and sewn on to his own.

He puts on the king's robe and crown called the guards and told them to burn the faceless corpse along with the rest of the rotten bodies. And so the knight became the king of the kingdom that he fought against before with no evidence of him being an imposter.

"...and that's the end of your story."

Asher's head was full of thoughts when he heard the ending, "I think I should've made it longer."

"No doubt it ended in a cliffhanger. And your uncle was a bit frightened about that ending, that goes to show how good your story is." Before the man leaves, he pulls out a card from his bag.

"But that doesn't answer my question about you being here."

"Really? Okay, the purpose of me being here is to give you this." He gives a card to Asher.

"'Eric Henshaw'? Is that your name?"

"And my phone number below, if you think you're ready to be an author, a novelist to be precise. Then call me." The man leaves with his hopes that the boy that he talked to, will make the right decision.

"If I'm ready," Asher said to himself as those words were stuck inside his head for a while until he decided to sharpen his skills of writing.

In his desk, papers were wasted with only a few written words inside each one. Asher's mind struggles to create a story better than the last one and it took him the whole night but thought of nothing.

Then he remembered something from his uncle's letter, 'if you need inspiration, just go out and look for it'. Asher opens the window in his bedroom and yet, he said to himself,

"This isn't enough, I really need to go outside tomorrow and I know it's been a while but I'll go to that place. I wonder if she's still there."

He goes to sleep without noticing his aunt in his door. She knew that he would end up in the footsteps of the men similar to him. As she walks downstairs, her thoughts were,

"I guess it's natural that writing is part of your heredity, your uncle and your father were both amazing writers. But Asher, I only wish one thing for you... Please, don't be an airhead when it comes to love like those two, otherwise, I'll feel sorry for the girl who fell in love with you."

As for the man, he received a phone call from a certain person,

"Hello? Yes, he has it...

Yes, he has his father's looks, but he seems a little insecure...

About that, I would like to make a request... I would like to bring my niece here...

I know I know, but her potential is similar to his, and I'll be the one who will provide the needs for her...

Next month if not soon...

Yes, okay, I'll see you soon as well."

When sunrise appears, Asher had already prepared breakfast for his aunt and cousins. He left a note on the fridge to tell them that he'll be going out for a while.

He walks through town looking for inspiration in the market, school, bridge, and in the open field where he felt the wind passing through him,

"I can't enjoy the wind right now, I got to write a story. But where? Well, only one place to go." He said to himself.

He sets foot in a place he hasn't gone to in a long while, the library.

"How long has it been? A month or two? I kinda miss this place, I haven't read any books lately. And it's more fun if you're the reader than the writer, but the writer manipulates the story so..."

The doors were already open as he enters, he saw a boy begging for his life to a girl.

"Miss I'm sorry! I just misplaced it!"

"Huh? Do you mean to say that you misplaced this English book that I'm holding, to the Chemistry section? Is that what you're trying to say?"

"I was distracted earlier miss! I'm sorry!"

"Shut up! I saw you earlier, and you didn't look distracted, in fact, you look dumbfounded. You just raised your shoulders and put this book without even asking."

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The boy was terrified, he ran past Asher and goes out of the library as fast as he could.

"Tch! What a wuss!" The girl said, then she saw Asher near the library entrance, she asked, "Are you here to read?"

"Are you..."

"The new librarian? Acting librarian to be precise. But what about you? I'll ask one more time, are you here to read?"

"Well... Maybe?"

"Maybe?"

"I mean... I just wanted to look for some inspiration."

"'Inspiration'? Are you an artist?"

"No, I'm an aspiring author."

"Aspiring? So you haven't written any stories yet?"

"I already have."

"Really? How many?"

"A few."

"'A few'? Then where is it?"

"The first one was a project for my cousin."

"Then that one doesn't count, what about the second?"

"The second... Was a story that was sent to my uncle."

"So you have no evidence that you made another story and the first one was just a project. How many words contained in those 'stories' of yours?"

"I might be wrong, but it may have been about four to six hundred words."

"Unacceptable. Although it is a story, it's only a short story. If you want to create a story then you should come to me for starters."

"Do you know how to create a story?"

"The fact that I can see that you're not like those stupid guys who can't even put a book in its proper section."

"So, will you help me?"

"I guess I can teach you from the basics to the more advanced, but if you don't learn anything by the time I want you to create a story... Then it's the grave for you."

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