The Quest for Landoll

The Quest for Landoll

A Story by Ian Reeve
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A short story telling of a man's hopeless quest for utopia

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“Tell me again about Landoll,” said the old man weakly. It takes all his strength just to turn his head to look at me. His watery eyes struggle to focus and his knobbly, arthritic hands tremble where they rest on his chest. His end is very close now, and all I can do is be with him in his final minutes, to offer what comfort I can.

“The weather is always warm and pleasant,” I tell him, repeating the words I've used to describe it every time I've spoken of it in all the years I've known him. He must have long since learned it off by heart, but hearing it directly from me seems to somehow make it more real to him, makes it a place that he might see for himself one day. Even now, here on what must surely be his deathbed. “The sky is such a deep blue that just looking up at it seems to lift you up into infinity. The people are all beautiful, young and healthy, and they live their whole lives in peace and happiness. There is no need for toil. Everything they need is provided for them by the immortal machinery of their ancestors. Clothes, musical instruments, sporting gear. They spend their whole lives making poetry and music, engaging in friendly sporting events or just making love with innocent lack of inhibition. There is no illness or disease, those injuries they occasional suffer heal quickly and without leaving any physical impairment. It is a perfect utopia. A happy retirement for the human race after untold centuries of hardship and misery. The only such place I've ever found in all my travels. A world of perfect, beautiful people, and the most perfect and beautiful of all is Sune...”

Sune. Just saying her name brings the memories back, still perfect in my mind despite the long decades that have passed since I last saw her. She had the body of an eighteen year old, but I now know that she might have lived for centuries. I can't imagine how many lovers she might have had before I met her, but there’s no doubt in my mind that she loves me as completely, as totally, as I love her. It was there in her dazzlingly bright green eyes whenever she looked at me, and it was never there when she looked at any other man, not even the ones that were better looking than me. There’s no jealousy on her world, none of the prudish insecurities that afflict all the other human cultures I've seen that demand that people stay loyal to their chosen spouses. She could have taken as many lovers as she wanted, but after she met me she never slept with any other man. What she sees in me I can't imagine, but she loves me. She loves me still, I know it. All I have to do is find her again.

“You should never have left her,” the old man says, putting his cold, knobbly hand on mine and squeezing gently. “You'd be with her now...”

“I thought it would only be for a couple of days,” I reply under my breath, probably too quietly for him to hear. “All their good health and physical perfection comes from the Ambrosia fruit, which grows everywhere there. Created by some master geneticist, back when they still had scientists and laboratories, before such things became redundant. You should have seen me when I first arrived there. Fat, pot bellied, hairy. I must have looked like some kind of deformed goblin to them, but they were kind and friendly, they took me in, gave me a place to live, and they gave me Ambrosia fruit to eat. Within weeks I had the body of an athlete. A strong, young athlete. It even cured my diabetes. I asked around, after I’d learned their language, and found out that the fruit cures everything. Cancer, dementia, even the common cold.

“After I’d been there a few years I found myself thinking about all the people back home, on my world, all the disease and suffering. I thought how wonderful it would be if they had the fruit. There’d be no more no need for doctors and hospitals. I decided to take some of the fruit back home, plant some of the seeds. I wouldn’t have told anyone what the fruits did, they wouldn’t have believed me. I would leave them to find out for themselves, long after I'd returned to Landoll. So I gathered up a basketful of fruit, all full of ripe seeds, started up the D-Jump and left.”

I looked across at the Dimension Jump machine. The wonderful machine that had taken me to Landoll, the terrible machine that had taken me from it. “Landoll was the very first world I visited. That must mean that the two worlds were right next to each other, I thought. I thought I could go back and forth between them at will. Imagine my consternation when I found myself on a world that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the one on which I’d been born. Imagine how that consternation turned to horror and despair as my every use of the machine led me to a new world, seemingly at random. I thought I'd known how it worked, how the multiverse was organised. Turns out I knew nothing, and so ever since I've been jumping from world to world, hoping against hope that I would eventually find myself on Landoll again.

“I would long since have lost track of the passage of time, my old friend, if it hadn't been for you. Seeing you growing old, while I stay young and healthy, tells me that decades have passed. The fruit must give long life, in addition to all its other benefits. Maybe it gives immortality. Maybe I'm doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a hopeless search. If only I still had the fruit. I could have given some to you and had an immortal companion for my quest. Too bad it rotted after only a few days. Still, I left seeds on dozens of worlds. It comforts me to think that I’ve done that much, at least.

“Do you remember that day we first met? You were little more than a child, the only survivor of a whole village wiped out by those reptile creatures. I couldn't leave you there, all alone, so I took you with me, and I've never regretted it. I think I might have gone crazy on my own, seeing all those worlds by myself, some terrible, some so wonderful and beautiful that I might have settled down there if Sune could have been with me, but she's still out there somewhere, on Landoll, and I can't rest until I find her...”

I look back at the old man, Berric, and realise with a pang of guilt that he's slipped peacefully away while I was talking. After all the decades we’ve spent exploring the multiverse, after all the wonders and horrors we've seen, he’s died without me even noticing. I hold his hand for a few moments, silently saying goodbye, then rise and leave the hut to tell the people of this world. They seem to be nice enough. Peaceful and pleasant. They'll do what is necessary.

A couple of hours later I re-enter the hut and strap on the D-Jump. I hold out my hand for Berric before remembering that I'm alone again now, just like I was when I started. That’s when it really hits me, that I no longer have anyone to share it all with. Loneliness hits me, a vast aching void deep within my soul. A void that will never be filled unless I can find Sune with her brilliant green eyes, her fragrant chestnut hair, her strangely accented voice that makes my name sound like music. I will find her, I vow. I will find Landoll again if it takes me a thousand years.

I try to ignore the strange sound the machine has been making lately. I know that it’s old, that I’ve been using it far, far longer than I ever expected, but I refuse to believe that it might suddenly stop working, leaving me stranded forever on a strange world, never to see my beloved again. The machine will keep on working for as long as I need it to. I built it well, it won't let me down. I take a moment to think of Berric one last time, then I touch the activator and vanish.


© 2017 Ian Reeve



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No good deed goes unpunished. I'm usually fonder of more medieval type fantasy stories but this was a pleasure to read.

Posted 1 Month Ago


I'm not much for futuristic stories but this was really good. Great work!

Posted 4 Months Ago



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Added on June 17, 2017
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Author

Ian Reeve
Ian Reeve

Leigh - on - Sea, United Kingdom



About
I'm a groundsman and greenkeeper for my local council, where I look after two bowling greens and three cricket squares. I also write a bit. more..

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