The Demons of Mundanity
If I could draw, I would draw you a picture of a woman seated on a magic carpet. Above her a starlit sky. On the horizon, a magical land of meadows and lakes and flowers. This is her destination, but in order to reach it, she must pass over a swamp.
The swamp is not the sort that features mysterious, half submerged trees, alligators disguised as logs, or even snakes. It's just a mucky, dreary, trudging mess.
This swamp is also home to the Demons of Mundanity.
The Demons are not frightening to look at. They are ordinary. In fact, they are so ordinary that the woman's eyes slide right over them three times before she even sees that they are there, even though there are thousands of them down there in the muck, looking up at her.
The Demons of Mundanity have names like Monday and Day Job and Taxes and Vacuuming. Their numbers are legion, and they bear a special grudge against anything that is magical and dares to soar toward the stars.
They also have a dark magic of their own, an ability that dims the light, shades the stars, and pulls at the carpet, so that it sinks lower and lower until it is within reach of a hundred tiny hands that grasp the edges and cling.
I forgot to mention that if I could draw, I would also add a cat. Or two. Are the cats helping? Are they biting and scratching at those clinging hands, helping our adventurer return to the sky?
Of course not. Even though they are cats, and have a magic of their own, they do not interfere. One meows at a half full bowl of food. The other stares at a bird flying not far off. The cats aren't worried about the carpet sinking into the muck because they know they can ride on the woman's shoulders. They know that she will find them fish.
The woman also knows that she will do these things, if she must, but she looks up longingly toward the stars, remembering the glory of flight.
As the Demons pull her carpet down into the muck, she tells herself this is not the end of everything. She can walk to the land of magic, if she must. And yes, she will carry the cats. But, it's just so—mucky. And drudgy. And messy. And hard.
Flying is free and glorious and surely she can't have been gifted with a magic carpet just so she can slog through the mud.
A raven circles around her head. The littlest cat makes hunting noises, filled with delusions of grandeur, and the raven laughs.
"Trust your journey," he croaks at the woman. "Flight is not everything. There is magic in the mud."
"That's easy for you to say," she retorts. She has sunk so low now that the beautiful vista is no longer visible, blocked by a rugged mountain. Cold muck creeps over the edges of the carpet. A dead fish lies nearby, belly up and surrounded by flies.
"Saying anything is easy," the raven replies. He flaps away, up into the sky. One sleek black feather drifts downward into her lap. Just a feather, but when she runs it through her fingers golden sparks leap and dance. Iridescent colors play across its surface. Magenta and cobalt. Emerald. Viridian.
The woman gazes at the feather in wonder, even though she is now sitting in mud.
(To be continued next week)
Just in case you're stuck in a swamp today, with or without cats for company, please know that yours is not the only magic carpet the Demons of Mundanity have pulled from the sky. It is in their nature to do so. But there is always magic to be found.