“The Evenlanders” by Abigail Wetmore

“The Evenlanders”

Fiction

Abigail Wetmore

There is a place everyone has been and goes quite often. It is the place often thought of as the in-between. You’ve been there. You stop-by just before you fall completely asleep. There is a world you enter before sleep grabs hold, yet you are no longer awake. This is the land of Even. It still cannot be described by humans, for a human has never been to the real land. They have only been read what to dream by the creatures who dwell there. The Evenlanders. If you ever were to be lucky enough to see one, you might describe them as very small elves or possibly fairies without wings. But let me introduce you to what they actually are, these Evenlanders. They are you. They are the back of the mind that no one can reach. They are designed to be your friend if you accept them.

But I may be getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you more about the land of Even. The land itself is beautiful. It is flat with many windy roads. All roads are perfectly kept and every blade of grass in all the fields is healthy, strong and exactly the same size. There are no hills, no waterfalls, and no rivers. There are only wells and fountains for water. The land is perfectly level as far as the eye can see. Flowers line up in rows along the edge of every field. These flowers are homes to the Evenlanders. Each lives in a different flower. When a human is born into the world, a flower grows in theirs. It is the human’s favorite flower. As soon as an Evenlander comes into being, they are put to work with one very important job. They are given a book. One book, and only one book, will be their job to read for as long as their human dreams. Everyday, while their human are awake, the Evenlanders rest. When their human begins to fall asleep, the Evenlanders pull out the book and begin to read the humans dreams. Most of the dreams contained massive amounts of the humans actual life, so Evenlanders could claim to know more about the person they read to better than anyone else.

Now, there is something special about this book I haven’t mentioned yet. There is a certain amount of difficulty to an Evenlanders line of work, and that is keeping the book steady while they read it. If they turn a page too fast or move the book too suddenly, the letters will scatter and a new story will begin. Yes, even this job of just reading takes a great amount of skill. The very best Evenlanders know how to continue a story without interruption, sometimes several sleeping sessions in a row.

One Evenlander found this difficult as he had a rambunctious child to keep up with. Her name was Evie, and the little Evenlander had his hands full. Evie, at her very young age, had narcolepsy. She could be in the middle of recess during a day in kindergarten and quite literally fall down asleep. This presented a problem for both of them. It was dangerous for Evie and difficult for her Evenlander to ever rest.

Then, an evening came when her Evenlander had just finished reading her a lovely story of flying all about and around her house and town, when all the letters suddenly fell to the bottom of the pages. They lay in a big jumbled pile and no matter how much he shook the book itself, the letter just fell back into a pile. He put the book down and decided to wait until Evie was in the in-between again. He waited. After a day, he knew something must be terribly wrong. He asked other Evenlanders for answers, but they had none. No one else had seen this before. Evie’s poor Evenlander was stuck. He couldn’t rest and he couldn’t work. He decided to search for Evie. He looked for a way out of Evenland, but could find no door. No one had ever left Evenland before. Finally, he realized the only possible way out might be through one of the wells. Wells were the only thing in Evenland that were considered unknown, as the source of the wells had never before been discovered. Not being able to stand waiting any longer and growing weak himself, Evie’s Evenlander jumped down the well.

Down he fell. He kept falling for, what seemed like hours, through the subconscious to the conscious. Finally, he found himself crawling out into a big tub. He thought this must be the bathroom he had read about for so many years, but it looked different. Evie’s bathroom was pink and white with lots of hair bows hanging neatly by her mirror next to the sink. This bathroom was plain and generic. Maybe they were in a hotel. Evie’s book had read about a hotel when she and her family had gone on vacation before. But this did not seem right either.

He hopped around, being sure to always have a place in mind to hide if anyone were to come in. He searched for Evie. He slipped into the next room where he saw a lot of bright lights, a plain white wall and a bed in the middle of the room. At the end of the bed were balloons with words and pictures on them. ‘Get well soon’ one balloon read, ‘We miss you’ read another. Evie’s Evenlander climbed up the night stand and hid behind a large bouquet of sunflowers, the same kind of flower that was his home in Evenland. He looked at the bed and there he found his Evie. Her eyes were closed and breath was quiet. Evie’s Evenlander was terribly sad. He didn’t know what was wrong, but something surely was. He had known Evie since she was born. She was the reason he came to be. He knew her dreams, fears, and favorite kind of everything. He had been reading to her for years and knew her better than she knew herself. What was he to do? If only he knew what was wrong. He looked down at the book he had read so many times and wondered if he’d ever get to read to her again. Just then, two nurses came in to check on Evie. He hid and listened to them as they talked to each other. They spoke about her recovery from something called a coma. They were not too hopeful that she would get better. Evie’s Evenlander had to sit down at hearing these despairing words. He hugged Evie’s book of dreams as he gazed at his little girl,[BD5]  motionless on the bed. As the nurses continued to speak, he noticed the book felt different. He opened it up to find fear and frustration all over the pages. The book still worked! But how? He looked over at Evie and noticed her breathing was ever so slightly faster. Could she hear the awful words of the nurses?

The nurses left and Evie and her Evenlander were alone. He began to read the book. He couldn’t understand how it was working outside of Evenland boundaries. The words he read silently, worried him. Evie was scared. She knew more about what was going on with her condition than probably her family did.

Evie was the youngest of four. Her two brothers and one sister were at their aunt’s house. Her father worked long hours, but would soon be by Evie’s side. Her mother had passed away two years earlier in a car accident. Evie began having health problems ever since.

Her Evenlander now by her side, wishing he had some way of helping with the fears that she seemed to be so trapped in. He read her worries of leaving her family, if and when she’d ever wake up, and why this was happening to her at all. Finally, her Evenlander could not take anymore. He decided to break a rule all Evenlanders lived by, which was to never alter the book in anyway. He grabbed a pen lying on the table and began to write. He wrote and introduced himself to Evie and told her all about his land and how he knew her. He stopped writing for moment. He sat looking at the book as the pages absorbed the ink and his words disappeared. He sighed. He stared at the pages with his exhausted head in his hands as the pages remained blank.

Then, without warning, words appeared on the pages in front of him. They were words from Evie directly to him. She asked to know more about him and this land. He told her all she wished to know. He tried to tell in as many ways as he knew how that she would be fine and that everything was okay. She thanked him for being there and wished she could see him. He drew a picture of himself in his own words as best he could. His green hat with his blue feather in it, his long nose and round face, his large ears and cheerful eyes, but most of all his child-like, carefree smile. She answered with a smile and told him he looked funny, but that she was glad he was funny. He laughed. She asked if he knew she was turning six next week. He told her the date and time she was born. Evie liked having someone there that knew her so well.

When Evie told him that she wished they could meet, he had an idea. He told Evie he had to leave and go back to Evenland for a while, but that he would see her again soon. She pleaded with him to stay, but he convinced her he would not be away from her for long. She finally said good-bye and promised to try and rest while he was away.

He then hoped back down the drain and into Evenland. Once he was back home, he quickly began drawing in the book every word he could think of to describe his surroundings. The ink still vanished into the pages, but not before he could write about all of the roads and flat fields of Evenland. He then sat and waited while watching the pages of the book very closely. He almost decided that his idea hadn’t worked when Evie responded. She asked if that was Evenland. He replied that it was. She asked if she could visit. He gladly agreed. He then began writing about Evie in Evenland, walking down one of the many roads. He looked up, but did not see her. He kept writing. He wrote about her perfect health and endless energy skipping down the spotless pathways. Still he did not see her. He wrote about her in a blue dress he knew she had always wanted with a big white bow in her long, curly brown hair. Still she did not show.

He kept writing about Evenland. He kept writing about Evie. He wrote about the wells and fountains surrounding the fields next to the flowers they all lived in. He wrote as fast as he could. The ink began to disappear faster and faster now. He wasn’t sure if she was able to see it before it was gone.

Then a shadow appeared on the book as he wrote. He looked up to find Evie. She had made it. She smiled and picked him up and hugged him like a doll. He was so happy to see her. Though he barely stood as tall as her knees, he reached up and held her hand as walked her through Evenland. He showed her all the places in Evenland he liked to go best. He even took her to see the flowers they all called home. She could not see anyone else’s Evenlander, but she could see their flowers. Evie was without fear for the first time in a long time. She felt she never wanted to leave this place.

Evie then heard a familiar voice. The sound of the voice seemed to be coming from the sky. Her Evenlander heard it too. They looked at each other. They both knew at once it was her dad talking to her from beside the hospital bed. Evie realized then she could not stay. Her face began to drop. She did so love Evenland and wished that she could stay there and be safe with her Evenlander forever. He looked at her with understanding, but also knew she couldn’t stay. They walked a bit more hand in hand, not saying a word.

They came up to one of the wells and looked down. Just then, Evie’s Evenlander had a thought. Since they had broken any and every rule already, what could one more do? He asked Evie if she wanted to jump into the well with him so they could go back together. He knew it worked for him, so maybe it would work for Evie as well. Evie was a little scared, but also felt safe with her Evenlander by her side. The stood at edge and with hand in hand, they jumped. It seems like hours again as they passed through levels of consciousness into reality. Finally, Evie’s Evenlander was back in the bathtub. He shook his head and looked around for Evie. He couldn’t find her. He panicked and began to climb out of the bathtub.

He then heard a shout from the other room. He raced to the door of the bathroom and looked into the room where he first saw Evie. She was there. Her father was hugging her so tight she almost couldn’t catch her breath. She was awake! Evie was sitting up as her father let go and knelt down beside her. Evie’s Evenlander looked on, leaned his head against the doorframe, and smiled. Evie was safe again.

Since then, Evie and her Evenlander find ways to say hello to each other once in a while and he sends beautiful dreams her way whenever he can. Sometimes the book allowed it, sometimes it just let Evie work out dreams on her own. Either way, Evie never again suffered with sleep again. The land of Even was never the same as well. Once it had touched reality, Evie’s Evenlander noticed the roads were a little worn and the blades of grass grew as they pleased, hills began to form in the distance and flowers now grew up in the middle of the field or by the water. Even the wells and fountains had their cracks, leaks, and flaws. He didn’t mind these changes. They reminded him of his time outside Even. He wasn’t sure the perfect world of Even was so wonderful before anyway. Every beautiful, messy flaw reminded him of his little girl. He was glad to have these changes and Evie was more than thrilled to be free of her troubles. And from now on, a book, a girl, and an Evenlander lived happily ever uneven.


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