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“Fantasy is hardly an escape of reality. It’s a way of understanding it” - Llyod Alexander
(25 years ago) With the sun shining through the window, a 4-month-old baby boy laid flat on his stomach as played with the baby toys that were placed in front of him in the living room. And by play, he was basically just tossing the plastic toys around while also putting some into his mouth.
“Jesse...” a woman suddenly sighed while taking the toy out of the baby’s mouth and picking him up into her arms “You just love to put things in your mouth don’t you?”
“Well, he’s a baby.” an older man appeared behind her “You should expect him to do that. Now let me hold my grandson.”
“Alright,” the woman smiled as she handed her baby to the man “Thank you again for doing this dad on such short notice.”
“Don’t mention it.” the man assured with a smile “I’m just glad that I get to spend more time with this little bugger.”
“Well, Will and I should be gone for about an hour and a haft. I’ve written down everything that needs to be done on the fridge-”
“Margo,” he suddenly cut in “You don’t have to explain, I know how to take care of a baby, I used to take care of you remember?”
“Right.” she giggled, “Well, alright then. It looks like we’re all set. I’ll see you later.”
As soon as the mother left the house, Richard let out a sigh as he turned to his grandson with a smile.
“Well, Jesse” he spoke, “Looks like it’s just you and me for the next hour and a haft. I think it’s time for a little story. You may not know what I’m saying, but you will someday.”
He walked into the nursery where he took a seat on the loveseat as he gently placed the baby on his lap and held him there.
“I see you still have that dragon toy I gave you on the day you were born,” he pointed to the shelf near the crib where there was a green dragon plush toy.
“I’ve always loved dragons you know? I’ve always found them so fascinating. Ever since I was a kid I always believed that they were real. But it wasn’t until I went to Fantastopia where I discovered that they were real but in that world. I mean, I know that dragons can appear dangerous, but not all of them are bad. You might meet a dragon too someday when you’re older. When you go to Fantastopia for the first time, it will be hard and scary at first, but once you get the hang of everything, it’ll feel like you never want to leave.
I can’t wait for you to see Fantastopia for yourself. But first, I need to let the ring find you so it can make you the new hero. And I know that you will be a great hero, it will be pretty terrifying at first, but all great heroes start off small. I don’t know when the ring will choose you, but I know that you will be the hero Fantastopia will need, and you wanna know why? Because I believe in you. I knew that from the moment I saw you in the hospital the day you were born that you have something special. I don’t know what it is yet, but it’s in there.”
Because he couldn’t say anything, the baby just glared up at his grandfather with his light green eyes that always made the man melt just by looking into them.
“But know this,” Richard added, “Being the new hero is gonna be a scary job. Most of the challenges you will face will be life or death situations. I know I’ve faced many of those and some I barely made it out alive. You may start off vulnerable, but I know that you will become a strong person. You just wait and see. But until then, how about I read you a little story?”
As he pulled out a book from the shelf next to him and began to read to his grandson, the baby obviously had no idea what his grandfather had told him. But when he’s older, he will understand everything that is going to change his life forever.