Art by jun_ka
Hadrien had ignored the people around him when they said it was easy to get lost in Cuckoo Land and set off anyway. Whilst many understood why he was leaving, they were adamant that if he were to go anywhere it shouldn’t be there of all places. Regardless, that is where Hadrien went.
He had been gone for months and whilst there had been highs, there were also deep-dark lows. Eventually, the entertainment of the region was no longer able to distract him from the battering of his own mind, and it was time for the Psychic Leap.
Hadrien had read that shifts were possible via the Psychic Leap, and thought it was likely that this would be a way for him to reach the Peace of Mind he sought. His journey was a fresh start in many ways, but he still carried the burdens of his own voice, ringing between his ears. For months before deciding to travel to Cuckoo Land, Hadrien had been in a depression.
The depression had been blunt and unmoving, dulling his mind. Whilst he had grown accustomed to being active and introspective, the cloud that hung over him had made him uncurious. Any inward seeking he attempted brought forth no new insights, leaving him without hope or cause.
It was a librarian at The Rock that had first noticed the change in Hadrien. Her attempts to keep him excited had faltered and he was no longer visiting the Library of The Rock. Whenever their paths did cross, he had come across rude and uninterested. Thankfully for Hadrien, whilst his heart had hardened, hers had not. She did, of course, become frustrated with him for a time, but after weeks of not seeing him at all, she grew worried and visited his home.
She opened the door into his abode quietly and with caution after three knocks and a shout had brought no answer. Pushing through into the room she saw Hadrien curled up at the foot of his bed. The room was a mess, and his appearance dishevelled to say the least.
“Fuck off,” Hadrien started, without opening his eyes.
“It’s me,” she replied, gently. He looked up slowly and raised a hand to protect his eyes from the light now streaming into the room over her shoulder. Seeing who it was his face softened, and the glimmer of tears began to well in his eyes.
“You need to get out of here, Hadrien,” she said.
“What?”, Hadrien said.
She clarified, “You need to leave.”
Hadrien was confused. He brushed the tears out of his eyes and studied her face to try and understand what was happening.
This woman who had been so kind, a true friend and supporter of his studies in the Library, was now asking him to leave?
“You’re stuck. The Rock has no more answers for you. You’ve read every book in the Library and I know, because I have helped you. You need to explore,” she continued.
Hadrien paused for a second, looking back down and around at the state of his room.
She was right. He had been living as if he were dead for weeks, yet despite his trying, he had not made any progress into truly figuring out why.
“Where would I go?” Hadrien asked.
“Anywhere,” she had said.
After that Hadrien had set off from The Rock after a few short goodbyes and headed towards Cuckoo Land. He had been young then, and what he didn’t know was that it would be a long time until he ever returned to the Rock.
He travelled by hitch-hiking and thought many times that he would die. Although he had travelled these lands when he was even younger, when the trails over the mountains were no longer warmed by sunlight, he had twice feared he might freeze to death. Thankfully, first a 12-wheeler lorry, and then a horse and carriage had come to his rescue. Eventually he had reached the boundary between Cuckoo Land and the rest of the realm and had stepped through with only a moment’s hesitation.
To some degree, the step forward had worked. The time he spent in Cuckoo Land had crumbled some of the internal walls that had been keeping his development hostage, and he felt like he had gained some idea of why he had been depressed. Now, all that was left to do was to move on, and hence, he sought the Psychic Leap, a shift.
Now no longer merely wandering through the Cuckoo, he wandered with intention. The beings he had met (or imagined) had been clear that there were no set directions that would lead one to the Psychic Leap, but that if one followed their nose they might find it, if the conditions were right.
He wandered and wandered, and wandered and wandered, and he thought that he might go mad. The regular concepts of time fell away, and he met (or imagined) fewer and fewer beings. All that he did meet would point him in a new direction, which he would follow, until he met another, and so again he would change his course to their tune. Although he had no way of telling if it had been merely days or true months, the moments between these meetings seemed to get longer and longer.
Eventually a great silence fell upon Hadrien. Then, his feet seemed as if they appeared out of nowhere to place one foot in front of another. By all intents and purposes, he was going nowhere and directionless. There was no one else to guide him now; no books, no beings, no goal, nor intention. Even the idea of finding the Psychic Leap had left him.
The emptiness of his experience expanded far out and all around him was no sign of a horizon. All that was left to do was to put one foot in front of the other, and so he did. Hopeless, yet filled with resolve. This continued for some time, until he collapsed.
Blinking his eyes open, Hadrien saw that he was still lost. The blank of the expanse seemed to have no end, but there was a noticeable dot in his vision. Sitting up, squinting hard, and rubbing his eyes, he saw that the dot was moving, just a little; left and right.
Looking deeper, he saw that the dot also seemed to be moving up and down; just a little.
The dot got a little larger, and he saw that it had an aura. It was surrounded by a cloud or kind of shimmering that changed colours from red to orange to yellow to green to blue to indigo and to violet, before blending into red again.
“Curious!”, Hadrien exclaimed aloud, his first word in some time.
Getting to his feet, Hadrien started to walk in the direction of this dot that he had by now made sure was not just something caught in his eye.
They grew closer and closer to each other, the dot continuing to be surrounded by a cloud cycling through the hues of a rainbow, until the dot turned into - a Hare.
“Curious!”, Hadrien said, again.
He stopped where he was and was laughing to himself unselfconsciously when the Hare eventually reached his feet.
Crouching down, he half expected his hand to pass through what he was now calling in his head; ‘cute fluffy disco bunny’, but instead, he was able to gently pat this little being on the head.
'I’m not actually a Hare', the rabbit thought
“You’re cute!” Hadrien said.
The glowing rabbit pulled away from his pets and hopped through Hadrien’s legs.
By the time Hadrien had turned around, he saw that the bunny had made its way to the other side of a large crevasse in the previously flat whiteness of his surroundings.
There it was, still glowing, looking back at him as if nothing had happened, now sat, with a great crack separating them by what must have been at least 15 meters.
Hadrien walked up to the edge of the new feature in the landscape and looked down. There was no bottom in sight, just the slow fade of white into black. Looking left and right, he saw no way that he would be able to walk around it.
Blinking, Hadrien assumed he must be dreaming and jumped in the air to see if he could fly as he sometimes would when he was lucid enough. He tried again, but gravity showed no sign of getting weaker, let alone disappearing.
“Hmmph”, Hadrien grumbled.
Now the internal dialogue had started up again.
Well, what are you gonna do?
Nothing I can do, I’m stuck.
Why not jump?
Oh yeh, and then fall to my death, nice idea, brain…
Some would say more than a brain, but whatever, you might make it...
I am not jumping.
He took another peek over the edge and into the blackness.
Nope, definitely not.
When he looked up again he saw the Hare, but another feature had appeared - a door.
A pretty ordinary looking door was now unhelpfully placed just behind the hare.
Hadrien quickly spun round to check if any more doors had appeared, and they hadn’t.
Great so now there’s a door.
This doesn’t make sense.
Has this ever made sense?
Well, not really.
The door blew open and through it he saw a grass, flowers, and the blue sky.
Oh BLUE SKY, how I missed BLUE SKY!
*Looks pretty nice! *
I need to get back to my life.
Maybe you could jump…
It doesn’t seem possible.
And yet here we are, still wondering.
I’m not sure.
What else are you gonna do?
Hadrien looked around and saw nothing, more nothing, the hole in the ground, the fluffy disco bunny, and the door.
He started pacing up and down, right on the edge, eyes focused on the ground, darting into the crevasse and at the bunny and door, from time to time.
You’re not going to be able to think yourself out of this one, Hadrien.
Finally, Hadrien stopped.
He looked back at the door, smiled, and then started walking in the opposite direction.
What are you doing ?
After about twenty paces, he stopped and turned around, ran towards the crack, and leapt.
Entered by: 0x71c5…3a61