Prompt from Sixty Second Writer: You walk into a room that you don't recognize and there is an old man sitting there. He tells you that he is working on a rainbow maker. Now, it is your job to take the idea and use it in your journal writing for today.
I had to stoop to enter the doorway. The room was warm. No, hot. It seemed heat radiated from the walls. I held a hand close to the swirled wallpaper, only centimeters away. Then touched the wall itself. It was strangely cool but still emitted heat.
A scrape of a chair pulled my attention from the wall. In the exact center of the room was sat the oldest man I’d ever seen. Deep wrinkles cut through his cheeks and forehead. A wreath of white hair ringed his face, extending in all directions. He wore leather coveralls and a shirt of deep blue. The shirt accentuated his white mane and deep-set eyes. He sat in a rough-hewn log chair. In fact, the chair looked like a tree that had been grown into a chair shape, cut from the ground, and placed in this oven of a room.
The man sat at a table or workbench that matched his chair. Littering the table were various cogs, wheels, gears, tools, shards of glass, and jars of various colored liquids and solids.
I glanced around the rest of the room. Nothing. Just the four heat-producing walls, the man, his chair, and his workbench of detritus. An odd indention at the opposite end of the room may have been a closed door. But the fit in the wall was seamless, continuous.
The man did not appear to notice me. As I had surveyed him and his environs, he had continued intricate work at his bench, not turning or speaking or acknowledging my presence.
I glanced back through the doorway where I had entered. Beyond seemed fog and shadows. I could not see from where I had come.
I took a small step toward the man. He ignored me. He picked up what looked like a long thin needle and began twisting and poking in the mechanism in front of him.
I again looked back through the doorway to the foggy beyond. I really didn’t want to go there but I didn’t want to be here either. Before I could make a choice either way, the man spoke.
“I’ve been waiting for you.” His voice was a rustle, like the wind through treetops late at night.
“Waiting for me?” My voice boomed in the room and the man winced quickly. Then his face relaxed back into its original form. He still had not looked up from his work.
“Yes. The rainbow maker is almost complete. You will need it before you begin your journey.”
I opened, then closed my mouth. Rainbow maker? Journey? Obviously the man had me confused with someone else.
“No,” he rustled, “it’s you I’ve been waiting for.”
How did this man know me? I didn’t know him.
“It always happens this way,” the man said. “The cloud keepers never know me.”
Cloud keeper? This was getting….
“Wait,” I said, softer this time. “How did you know what I was thinking? I didn’t say anything.”
“No need for speaking here,” the man said. And that was when I realized his mouth was not moving. In fact, except for the small wince, his face had not moved or changed since I had entered the room.
His eyes flicked up from the rainbow maker and peered into my face. “Sit down. We’ve got a lot to cover before you leave.”
Suddenly, behind me, was a small stool, resembling a large mushroom. It lengthened until I could comfortably sit. “Let’s go,” I said…or thought. “I think I’m ready for this.”
I heard a deep rumble and realized the man was laughing. “They always say that,” he said, “but they never are. They never are.”
I shivered and braced myself for what the man had to say.