The mother’s attention wavered, distracted by the other adults nearby. In that second of inattention, the baby crawled off quickly into the nearby bushes, before it could be stopped. It held in an excited gurgle as if it knew that any outburst would lead to discovery. Deeper into the undergrowth it headed. It couldn’t yet understand the meaning of the words in its head, but they were like a beacon leading it and enticing it onwards.
After some time, it broke out of the denser grasses, onto the edge of a clearing. Gripping a nearby tree trunk, it shakily pulled itself onto its feet and toddled arms outstretched towards a tall, beautiful, young man, stood by a throne.
“There you are, little one!” he greeted, his voice rich with promise. He picked the unsteady child up and held it close. “You’re a spirited creature…and always come when I call,” he added proudly. “Hmm – I think you have my eyes!”
He smiled a smile that was both welcoming and devious. “I have plans for you my child. Soon there will be much for you to do, much for you to learn,” he tapped the child’s nose teasingly, making it chuckle. “Remember – you are mine! No matter where you go, I will be with you,” he promised reassuringly.
“Just fear me and love me…” he added softly, his fingers trapped in chubby palms, “…and do as I say!”
In the distance he heard a shrill call of “Where is the child?” Gently, he lowered the babe back onto its unsteady feet and, with a hand in its chin, stared deep into its silvery eyes. “I will give you your dreams.”
Straightening up, he loomed over the small child and ordered “Go back to your mother! For now!”
The child, with slightly tearful eyes, gave a tiny wave of a hand and wobbled back to the edge of the clearing, before tipping forward into a crawl and disappearing.
The beautiful man sat back into a lounge on his throne, a mysterious smile playing on his lips.