Empath’s personal journal, December 28.
It is only a few days left in the year that on some human calendars is the year 1006, and the village is preparing for another celebration, this time to ring in the new year once the clock strikes midnight on December 31. This smurf has been to at least several such celebrations during this smurf’s visits to the Smurf Village when this smurf was still living in Psychelia, and this smurf had the pleasure and privilege of celebrating this smurf’s first New Year’s Eve being a free Smurf at last. According to custom, the point of celebrating New Year’s Eve is to let go of the past and embrace the future, a fresh new year full of promise and hope. It is usually a joyful time of year, because for some it means yesterday’s burdens and failures have been done away with, and for others it is a time of thanks for the blessings of the year that has been given to them. Indeed the Smurf Village has gone through enough situations since this smurf’s birth, and probably even before that, that would make a Smurf really wish to celebrate the New Year with such honest emotion and vigor. We all have lost our families, and yet gained a new one in the process. Smurfette herself never had a family until she was refashioned into a real Smurf by Papa Smurf. The Smurflings left the security of their Smurfling Island, where they would have lived forever as children, to live in a village where Smurfs would grow up and even grow old. Baby Smurf also came from that island as well, a year or so before the Smurflings left it. Polaris Psyche, this smurf’s only friend in Psychelia, has recently been exiled and disconnected from the link of the Psyches, and has now made the Smurf Village his new home, with Papa Smurf as his mentor.
However, this year Papa Smurf has been noticeably absent during the evenings, and he even has missed celebrating Christmas Eve, which he usually is present to initiate. This smurf feels concerned for Papa Smurf, that there must be something on his mind that’s drawing him away from wanting to spend time with his little Smurfs, including this smurf. Since the Imaginarium has been up and running for several months without any further problems, it has on some occasions become a place for certain Smurfs to lose themselves in as an escape from being socially active in the Smurf community. Could Papa Smurf, despite his wisdom concerning the use of the Imaginarium, have fallen victim to this particular vice of losing himself with a particular fantasy inside the Imaginarium?
The Smurf Village was busy at a point between two holidays, when they were just getting over the excitement of giving and receiving presents on Christmas and they were now getting ready to say goodbye to the old year and greetings to the new. It was on this day that Polaris Psyche was making his usual rounds as the village’s security chief, examining every detail of his fellow Smurfs’ daily routines to make sure things were running smoothly without any problems. He was wearing in addition to his Psychelian bodysuit a pair of boots, a pair of gloves, a woolen scarf, some earmuffs, and a thick floppy white winter cap, all of which were Christmas gifts given to him by Empath himself. Despite how embarrassed Polaris felt about wearing them, he noticed that hardly any Smurf made a negative comment about these particular items.
Polaris was passing by the outskirts of the village where the Smurflings’ treestump playhouse was located when he was hit in the side of the face with a snowball. He turned and noticed that he walked right in the middle of a friendly snowball fight the Smurflings were having with each other. He realized that it was Snappy who was the one that threw the snowball that hit his face. He gave Snappy a look of consternation, as if demanding an explanation.
“Sorry, Polaris,” Snappy responded, sounding guilty. “Guess I should have watched where I have smurfed that one.”
“Please make certain that you do, fellow Snappy,” Polaris warned firmly before he moved on and the snowball fight resumed.
Polaris met Empath outside Tapper’s tavern at the end of his round, handing him a clipboard that contained his report. Empath was also similarly dressed, though he wore his normal star-patterned hat instead of a thick woolen winter cap. “So far the only incident that this one has witnessed was a snowball fight in the vicinity of the Smurflings’ playhouse,” he commented.
Empath looked over the report and noted Polaris’ comment. “Well, at least the Smurflings are busy having fun with each other, staying out of harm’s way,” he remarked, smiling.
“Empath, why would the Smurflings engage in an activity that has the possibility of inflicting serious harm on each other?” Polaris asked, curious about the snowball fight.
“Polaris, snowball fights aren’t supposed to be harmful,” Empath replied. “They’re supposed to be fun. These are young Smurfs with a lot of energy that needs to be directed somewhere, and things like snowball fights are a good way for these youngsters to blow off steam. It’s a whole lot better than them using their fists on each other.”
“Couldn’t these Smurflings use the Imaginarium for ‘blowing off steam’ with their snowball fights instead of having them in a public place where someone is likely to get hurt?” Polaris suggested.
“What good is a snowball fight in an Imaginarium at this time of year when we already have the snow?” Empath answered. “Granted, Imaginarium-created snow won’t get wet, cold, or even hard enough to give some Smurf a black eye or something. But it just isn’t as fun as having a real snowball fight even with those kinds of risks.”
“You must have enjoyed yourself during your visits to the Smurf Village engaging in those kinds of winter activities, Empath,” Polaris surmised.
“This smurf certainly did, Polaris,” Empath answered, sighing as he remembered those times. “It was certainly worth having to be laid up in bed afterward for days, sick to this smurf’s stomach, running a fever, doing nothing but eating soup and drinking Tapper’s hot cinnamon cider tea. This smurf and Hefty were basically waging war with each other with his army on one side and this smurf’s army on the other side, ready to let each other have it, all for the sake of victory and having fun at the same time. Then again, we were very careful to have our snowball fights in places where even Papa Smurf wouldn’t get socked in the face by a snowball.” He stopped when he realized something. “Did Snappy just get you in the face when you were passing by their playhouse?”
“You are very perceptive and correct, Empath,” Polaris responded, still feeling the sting on his face.
Empath groaned. “This smurf thought that this smurf told them to use the open field on the north end of the village for their snowball fights. Don’t worry about it, Polaris; this smurf will take care of this situation.”
“This one appreciates the gesture, Empath,” Polaris stated.
“You’re this smurf’s Psychelian brother and this smurf’s friend, Polaris,” Empath grinned, giving Polaris a brief light shoulder slap. “By the way, the winter gear looks good on you.”
Polaris rolled his eyes, trying to keep his emotions in control as Empath headed off in another direction.
It was at the end of another day – a day mostly spent preparing and eating food, taking down some Christmas ornaments and decorations, and keeping walkways clear of snow – when most of the adult Smurfs were gathered in Tapper’s tavern, keeping themselves entertained and social while enjoying hot cups of cinnamon treebark brew. It was there that Actor Smurf, who once demonstrated his ability to act by portraying various Smurfs in the village with uncanny accuracy, presented Empath with a very unusual proposal for a project of his own.
“Let me get this straight,” Empath said, unsure if he fully understood what he read from the written proposal Actor had given him. “You want to film an entire movie…using the Imaginarium?”
“It’s entirely smurfect, Empath,” Actor explained. “The Imaginarium can smurf up whatever we need in order to create a movie – actors, actresses, set designs, lighting, costumes, props, special effects, you name it, it can smurf it.”
“This smurf just doesn’t see the point, Actor,” Empath objected. “I mean, why bother creating an entire fantasy environment full of characters and all if it’s just going to be put into a two-dimensional format with a rather limited narrative? Wouldn’t it be more entertaining if it was just an Imaginarium scenario that any Smurf could take part in rather than making it into a movie?”
“Smurfonally, I think that an Imaginarium-created movie would be a lot of fun for an audience to smurf,” Actor countered passionately. “It would smurftainly make better use of the outdoor theatre on those hot summer nights when there isn’t anything better to smurf. Besides, there isn’t anything better to smurf up the old imagination than having something with a limited narrative smurfing it.”
“Okay, then, are you sure that you’re able to film anything that happens to be inside an Imaginarium fantasy environment, Actor?” Empath asked.
“Vanity’s been smurfing pictures with his photo-smurfer whenever he smurfs into the Imaginarium, Empath,” Actor replied. “So far, they smurf out just the same as those that he smurfs anywhere else. I’m sure that it can handle a movie camera smurfing what the Imaginarium smurfs.”
Empath pondered for a bit over what he had read and heard. As crazy as the idea sounded to him, Actor was very certain that he could make this idea a reality. It would indeed be interesting to see the final result.
“This smurf will make sure Papa Smurf knows about your proposal, Actor,” Empath promised. “And if he says that it’s okay for you to do it, then the Imaginarium is all yours. You have this smurf’s word on it.”
“Oh, thank you, Empath,” Actor gushed, shaking Empath’s hand very vigorously. “You don’t know how long I’ve waited to smurf something like this.”
“Just out of curiosity, Actor,” Empath added, “what kind of story idea have you got in mind for this movie project?”
Actor thought about this for a moment. “Smurfthing that begins with, ‘long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…’”
“Hmmm…an outer-space adventure,” Empath deduced. “That would be something the whole village might enjoy on a hot summer night.”
Just then, Brainy joined Empath at the table where he was enjoying his treebark brew, causing Actor to get up from the table, taking his written proposal with him. “Was Actor trying to smurf you on this crazy idea of using the Imaginarium for smurfing up a movie, Empath?” Brainy asked, trying to speak low enough for Actor not to hear.
Empath nodded, though not agreeing entirely with Brainy. “This smurf has the feeling that Actor may be able to accomplish this particular goal. Of course, this smurf is intrigued to hear that his first attempt at such a movie would be an outer-space adventure.”
“An outer-space movie?” Brainy exclaimed, a little too loud. “That’s just plain silly! Why couldn’t he smurf up something more down to smurf like ‘Robin Smurf’ or ‘The Three Smurfketeers’ or ‘Romeo And Smurfette’?”
Empath looked at his half-brother rather strangely. “You just don’t seem to have an interest in anything but the classics, do you? I mean, those could be really good ideas for future movies if Actor’s successful in bringing forth his first effort, but who’s going to watch them besides you?”
“Well, if my Papa Smurf was still smurfing, Empath, I think he would one of those Smurfs who would watch them with me,” Brainy answered vehemently.
“’Your Papa Smurf’?” Empath questioned, feeling a little off-guard that his half-brother would speak of his own father Aristotle and not Empath’s Papa Smurf, whom every Smurf now regarded as just simply Papa Smurf.
“Well, you know what I mean, Empath,” Brainy said, not sure why Empath would question the use of that term that way. “He’s the one who smurfed me into the world, before Papa Smurf became my Papa Smurf.”
“This smurf apologizes, Brainy,” Empath responded. “It’s just that there was a time when this smurf could remember that every one of this smurf’s fellow Smurfs simply called my father Papa Smurf, without ever feeling like somehow they were not a part of him or he was not a part of them. You had already become a family, and then this smurf comes along and breaks it up by being ‘the only begotten son of Papa Smurf’. This smurf made all of you Smurfs remember something terrible that took years for you to forget.”
“Empath, that wasn’t your fault,” Brainy tried to reason. “The truth of who you actually are had to smurf out sooner or later, even if none of us wanted to hear it. I for one was smurftainly surprised to find out that you and I were brothers, and even if you alone were the son of Papa Smurf, it still wouldn't change how I feel towards you with this revelation.”
“This smurf understands that feeling, Brainy,” Empath said consolingly. “Anyway, speaking about Papa Smurf, have you seen him lately?”
“Truth to tell, Empath, I haven’t smurfed him much at all,” Brainy answered, sounding frustrated. “I just smurfed up with some brilliant solutions for the problems he’s been smurfing with some of his experiments that I wanted to smurf with him, and it’s like he keeps smurfing me on hold. It’s like he’s been smurfing a vacation away from us and didn’t even bother smurfing us where he’s smurfed off to. Maybe it’s the excitement of the holidays that’s finally smurfed to him.”
Empath sighed. “Let’s hope that Papa Smurf returns from this ‘vacation’ from us very soon.”
Late at night, Empath was in the middle of a dream, seeing himself as a young Smurfling in the Smurf Village, having trouble sleeping in his bedroom as he heard the sounds of thunder outside his parents' house. "Mama!" he cried out, suddenly awakening.
Lillithina came into his bedroom, looking like she did from Papa Smurf's memories of her -- beautiful and very concerned for her son's well-being. "Empathy, are you all right? What's the matter?" she asked.
"I'm scared of the thunder, Mama," Empath said, clutching his bed sheets. "I don't want to be left alone."
"There, there, my little Empathy," Lillithina consoled as she held her son close to her. "You have nothing to worry about. Papa and I are here to protect you."
"But where...where's Papa?" Empath asked.
"He's sound asleep, dear, as you should be," Lillithina said.
"I don't want you to go away, Mama," Empath said. "I'm so afraid that I may lose you."
"I promise that you won't ever smurf without me, my child," Lillithina said with some motherly assurance in her voice.
"Mama, why can't I have a brother as part of my family?" Empath asked.
"Empathy, the whole village is your family, and your fellow Smurfs are your brothers," Lillithina said. "You won't be without anyone who is a Smurf in this world."
"But why is it that I can't have a brother?" Empath asked. "Why won't you and Papa smurf me one?"
"Honey, I wish that it were entirely up to me and Papa," Lillithina said. "But there are times when Mother Nature doesn't smurf us everything that we want. It doesn't mean that we won't stop trying to smurf you a brother."
"I wonder if he would be as smart as Uncle Aris," Empath said.
Lillithina laughed. "I can't dishonor your Papa Smurf and smurf a child from him, Empathy. I feel sorry that he doesn't smurf a wife of his own, though."
"I feel sorry for him as well, Mama," Empath said.
"Just smurf back to sleep now, and don't let things like not having a brother worry you, Empathy," Lillithina said as she tucked her son back into bed. "Just remember that your Mama Smurf loves you and cares for you no matter what happens."
"I will, Mama," Empath said, as his mother gave him a kiss. "Goodnight."
Empath watched as Lillithina got up and quietly left the room, still looking upon her son with eyes of motherly love. And then he closed his eyes and snuggled back to sleep.
Suddenly Empath was awakened by the sound of knocking on his door. “Empath, wake up!” Smurfette’s voice called out from behind the door.
Empath sensed that her appearing at his door at this time of night was urgent. He dressed himself up in his Psychelian bodysuit and his hat, climbed down the ladder from his upstairs bedroom, and crossed past Polaris, who was still sleeping soundly on his bed, to answer the door.
Smurfette was there with Baby Smurf, who was crying. “Thank smurfness you’re awake,” she exhaled. “Where’s Papa Smurf when I need him the most? I smurfed on his door, hoping that he would be there, but there was no answer.”
“What seems to be the problem, Smurfette?” Empath asked, concerned.
“Baby Smurf’s having trouble smurfing to sleep again,” Smurfette answered. “I tried the usual lullabies and all, but he keeps insmurfing that he wants Papa Smurf to smurf him back to sleep. The only Smurf I can smurf to at this time of night is you.”
Empath briefly scanned Baby Smurf with his minds-eye. “Well, at least he isn’t sick or has suffered any nightmares, Smurfette. Maybe this smurf can use a gentle soothing pulse on Baby Smurf so that he can go back to sleep.”
“He wants Papa Smurf, Empath,” Smurfette insisted, still trying to keep Baby Smurf calm and quiet. “I don’t think that he would settle for anything less than him and his voice and touch.”
“Want Papa Smurf,” Baby Smurf muttered in a cranky voice as Smurfette tried to soothe him.
Empath could sense that feeling from Baby Smurf. “This smurf will see where Papa Smurf is, and will bring him to you and Baby Smurf as soon as this smurf can find him,” he promised.
“You think that he’s in the Imaginarium at this time of night, Empath?” Smurfette asked.
“If he is, Smurfette, then something must be going on with him that requires this smurf’s attention,” Empath answered as he put his boots on and headed toward the meeting house.