Chapter 1 - Roots

by Kasi Hollowell - Voice | Behind the Eyes of Zylo Moon

Rewinding time to when he was eight years old, Zylo always felt vulnerable to love. Love was his light in the dark world.

The neighborhood that he lived in was filled with peace. Simplicity seemed to build the city of Deadwood. Every weekend Zylo walked over a stone bridge and a body of water called Volva Creek.

Beyond the creek was a gray house that belonged to an elderly lady named Saloma. She was an artist who loved to paint. While painting at home, Saloma heard a gentle knock on the door.

Wondering who it could be, she walked on the tiled floor. Saloma opened the door to see that it was her favorite little person. Reaching his hand out to his grandmother, Zylo smiled and said, “Morning grandma! I brought you a flower!”

Admiring the unique plant, Saloma said, “Oh, my Zylo… where did you get this Blue Lotus? I’ve never seen one in person before. In Egypt, they call this flower the Egyptian Dream Flower.”

Looking at the flower again with wide eyes, Zylo said, “Woah! Egyptian Dream Flower! But Egypt is so far away! It’s like a dream that I found it here. It’s special like you, Grandma.”

Saloma walked her grandson to the kitchen and put the royal blue flower inside her favorite vase. Smoothly, she went to the pantry and grabbed something to give to her grandson. It was a fortune cookie! Zylo loved fortune cookies because of the unique messages written on each paper.

Cracking the cookie open with his thumbs, Zylo got to the best part. The fortune. Quickly he read the fine print on the piece of paper that said, “MAKE YOUR DREAMS YOUR REALITY.”

Admiring the interesting fortune, Zylo knew he wanted to put it somewhere special. Lightbulbs in his mind started flashing as he raced to the bedroom and grabbed his favorite wooden toy sailboat.

Like an architect, Zylo wanted to create his own design. The boat was brown and bland, so he decided to add some black and orange paint to give it life. Finally, he glued the fortune to the mast for the finishing touches. 

Grandmother loved her grandson’s sailboat with the glued fortune. Saloma smiled and said, “Make your dreams your reality. Nothing is impossible to achieve in this reality if you believe. Love is the key. Bring your sailboat. Let’s go for a walk along the creek!”

Grabbing her pea coat jacket and keys, Saloma opened the door for her grandson. The weather was cold yet beautiful as they walked along the dirt path near the shimmering creek. Turtles stuck their heads out of the water and ducks floated gracefully with their families.

Zylo appreciated the lives of animals. Animals seemed to live in a simple world within a complex human world. He hoped to achieve a life of peace like them.

While walking farther down the dirt path, Zylo noticed something shiny. It was a golden pocket watch. Immediately after picking it up from the ground, something unusual began to happen.

Suddenly, the scenery around him began to change. Feeling far away from reality, Zylo felt déjà vu for the first time. Feelings of familiarity rushed through his body like a jolt of electricity. Simultaneously disoriented voices whispered inside his ear and said, “Welcome back, Zylo Moon.”

Zylo zapped back to reality as his grandmother said, “Wow. That watch you are holding looks like an antique. It must be over one hundred years old at least. Maybe it’s here for you to keep. Don’t get lost telling the time though. Time is nonexistent when you are truly happy.”

Brushing off the trippy experience, Zylo concluded he was only daydreaming. He put the golden pocket watch into his jeans pocket. Looking down at the toy sailboat in his other hand, he realized the part of the creek was a perfect spot to set sail. Zylo read the fortune attached one last time. “MAKE YOUR DREAMS YOUR REALITY.”

The boy set the toy sailboat in the water and watched it sail away. Eventually the boat disappeared in the distance. Although he had that toy boat for a while, something felt good about letting it be free.

With the sun setting and moon settling in, Zylo’s grandmother was getting sleepy. Saloma said, “We should get you back to your house Zylo. It’s getting late. You shouldn’t just disappear on your parents like that all the time. You’re only eight-years-old.”

Zylo stared at his self-reflection in the water and said, “Grandma, is this me in the water? Or is it just who the water wants me to be? When I grow up, I just want to live in peace and simplicity like the animals.”

Smiling widely at her grandson, Saloma said, “This world is your stage, Zylo. You can perform in it however you want. Don’t grow up fast thinking about the future. Enjoy these times as a kid.”

Navigating their way to the stone bridge, Zylo and his grandmother walked over Volva Creek. The night sky was clear and a beautiful sight to see. Suddenly, something amazing began to happen in the above galaxy. Zylo pointed to the sky and shouted, “Shooting stars! Look up, Grandma!”

Taking a deep breath of the fresh air and looking up at the rare event, Saloma soaked in the scenery. Several shooting stars shot rapidly yet gracefully through the night sky. Admiring the special stars, the grandmother said, “I’ve always wanted to see shooting stars up close since I was a little girl. I’m so grateful to see them now with my grandson.”

When the shooting stars finally stopped, the two continued on the stone path to Zylo’s house. As Zylo approached the front door, he could hear familiar voices inside. He remembered how the voices used to sound, it was a difference of night and day. Tones of happiness had transitioned to tones of sadness.

Saloma said, “You know what Zylo, how about we have a sleep over party at my house! I have mint chocolate ice cream, and we can paint! I’ll just text your parents to let them know you are staying with me.”

On the walk over the stone bridge, Zylo was quiet and to himself. Saloma could tell that her grandson was down in the dumps, so she did her best to cheer him up. Coming up with an idea to put a smile on his face, Saloma said, “If you turn that frown upside down, I have a surprise gift for you at home.”

Zylo smiled wide with eyes of curiosity. Wondering what the surprise could be, he was anxious to get to his grandmother’s house. Finally on her front porch, Saloma opened the door to the house and let her grandson in.

Rushing over to the cabinets, Saloma grabbed two bowls. After that, she got green mint chocolate ice cream out of the freezer. Finally, Saloma grabbed blank canvases and paint out of the closet. She multitasked like she had eight arms instead of two.

Saloma put the mouth-watering bowls of mint chocolate ice cream on the table along with the art supplies. Zylo observed everything that his grandmother was doing to make him smile. He realized how thankful he was for her. The young boy said, “You can relax, Grandma. I’m just happy because I’m here with you.”

His grandmother exclaimed, “Okay I will… but first I have to give you the surprise I promised you!” Saloma quickly rushed over to her room like a grandma on a mission. Opening the drawer to the antique dresser, she picked up the gift with excitement.

Saloma said, “Life can be lonely at times, Zylo. When we are sad, we can create our own happiness within. Anytime I’m sad, I count backwards from three and focus on what makes me happy. Close your eyes and count backwards from three. When you are done counting, the surprise will be there in front of you.”

3… 2… 1…

Zylo counted down from three and opened his eyes. On the table in front of him was a surprise he was not expecting. Looking at his grandmother with a puzzled expression, Zylo said, “Thank you for the wooden box, Grandma.”

Three engraved drawings were on the exterior of the box. Beneath the box was a knob that appeared to wind up by hand. Curious to see what would happen, Zylo wound up the knob all the way to the left. Music began playing as the knob slowly moved to the right by itself.

“The song that is playing is my favorite song, Zylo. The name of the song is called Yesterday. Whenever I hear this song, I close my eyes. When I let go of the problems around me, this song takes me back to every moment I’ve listened to it. Music can be magical in that way.”

Curious to see what was inside, the young boy opened the lid of the wooden box. Zylo noticed another carving.  that said, “MEMORIES ARE FOREVER.” Saloma said, “Anytime you get a small souvenir that reminds you of happy moments in life, you store it in here. I love you, Zylo. Now let’s eat some ice cream and paint!”

The grandmother and grandson stuffed their faces with mint chocolate ice cream and painted away on fresh canvases. They stayed up for hours creating their masterpieces. Happy as could be, they were like two souls swimming in a fishbowl of serenity.

Eventually excited eyes became sleepy eyes, so Saloma walked her grandson to his bed. Grabbing a book and speaking aloud, the grandmother read Zylo a bedtime story until the boy was asleep. Saloma turned off the lights and said, “Sweet dreams, Zylo.”

Launching into a deep dream, Zylo teleported from his comfy bed into outer space. The boy floated in complete darkness with nothing in sight. Swimming through the galaxy with his arms, Zylo began to see a beaming light.

Hovering like a kite through the galactic night, Zylo followed the light. As he got closer, the beaming light began to get brighter until he could see nothing but white. Eventually the lightning transitioning from darkness to light guided him back to reality.

Waking up with a big yawn and half open eyelids, Zylo slowly awoke. Looking down at his left hand, the young boy noticed something uncanny. He was holding the golden pocket watch that he found underneath the dead tree.

Puzzled and confused, Zylo couldn’t remember taking the watch out of his pocket. After pulling himself out of bed, the boy walked down the long hallway. Knocking on his grandmother’s bedroom door, Zylo said, “Good morning, Grandma… Are you awake yet?”

After no response, Zylo opened the door and let himself in. Anxiously walking over to his grandmother to wake her up, he was excited for the day to start. Face to face with his grandmother, Zylo noticed something that sent his body into shockwaves.

Unfortunately, her eyes did not blink anymore like they did the day before. Shock moved persistently through his body, destroying his inner core. Zylo wished he could see his grandmother happily awake when he opened the door. Bursting into tears, Zylo wailed and shouted, “Please, Grandma, wake up! You can’t leave! I’m just a kid, and I need you!”

Crying uncontrollably, Zylo grabbed the phone and dialed 9-1-1 frantically. Trying to speak as clearly as he could, Zylo shouted, “My grandmother won’t wake up! You save lives, right? Please save her! Please!”

As her body was carried out on a stretcher into an ambulance, Saloma’s facial expression was lifeless. Doors quickly closed to the soon-to-be moving vehicle as Zylo shouted, “Grandma, wake up, please! I love you!”

Unfortunately, days of happiness became a distant memory. Monday would eventually become a yesterday, a day that Zylo would eventually want to forget. The meaning of death settled inside Zylo’s mind. This was a dark understanding, and it meant people leaving reality and never returning. Saloma’s death hit her grandson like an atomic bomb. It absolutely destroyed Zylo’s ability to love the same.

“Yesterday” by the Beatles played faintly in the background of his life. Sadness and fear consumed him. Remembering what grandmother said, Zylo closed his eyes and counted down from three. 3… 2… 1. Unfortunately, all Zylo could imagine was his lifeless grandmother.

Vulnerability settled in, tears crashed like ocean waves, and his world flipped upside down. Very fitting considering the situation, the weather outside was stormy. With lightning and thunder, it was raining cats and dogs.

Thoughts scattered, and memories shattered. The walls of Zylo’s mind began to build in auto pilot as a form of protection from the outside world. Tears and fears shaped his identity when nobody could see. Sad thoughts about the possibilities of family fading from this existence the same as grandmother… left Zylo buried in fear.

Who would be there to help him get through that type of devastation? Himself. Love was beautiful until taken away. A perspective of hatred towards reality formed like a cancer in his mind. Slowly beginning to distance himself from his loved ones, Zylo knew he had to protect himself from hurting like this ever again.

Hyper-sensitivity made Zylo feel extreme levels of pain. Slowly separating from his body was his soul as the numbness began to fill the void. Knowing loved ones would eventually leave his existence triggered him.

Wishing that he could leave this life before family made the young boy hope for a shorter life span. These dark thoughts created a fear that this was the reality he was inevitably trapped in. Reality was no longer Zylo’s happy place.

Trauma effects people in different ways, sometimes giving people disabilities. Trauma gave Zylo a unique ability to count down from three and teleport into a created fantasy away from reality with a child-like imagination. Along with his heart and soul, Zylo tucked away his unique ability and stored it in a special place of consciousness.