CreastureScape preview: The Hideout

May 20, 2008
By Khaalid Cannon, Marietta, GA

White. As Jake Williams stared up at the ceiling of his room, the color of the ceiling was all he could think about. It was as if the color was trying to tell him something. “White” it seemed to whisper. He was lying down in his bed and had just awoken up because of something. What was it, he thought. He could not think of what it was that had awakened him. Jake moved the golden strands of hair out of his eyes and thought.

Jake had just turned 13 and wasn’t used to being responsible. If there was one thing he wasn’t known for, it was being responsible. Ever since the day that the school bully John Elmet challenged him to a battle and he forgot to show up, Jake had needed help to remember almost everything.

Suddenly he remembered. Jake jumped out of bed and hurriedly dressed into a white t-shirt under a red hooded sweatshirt with blue jeans. As he ran out of his bedroom door, Jake heard soft, padded footsteps. All in a blur, a black shape flew across the floor. Meow.
Jake received a black kitten when he turned 12 and immediately named it after its first word. Meow had a bad reputation in the Williams residence. As fast as Meow was, it couldn’t run away from trouble. In fact trouble seemed to follow him around like a plague. Meow was responsible for two broken DVDs, seven ripped shirts, one dead gerbil (who was named squeak), and a missing fish fillet.
What’s he up to now. Jake wheeled around to see his cat sitting proudly on a hall dresser. Perched in his mouth was a deck of playing cards with bright gold letters printed on the back that spelled out CREATURESCAPE. Jake looked quizzically at the clearly triumphant cat.
Just as Jake attempted to snatch the deck of cards from Meows mouth, the criminal cat leaped off of the dresser and bounded away. Jake watched Meow dart away when suddenly it gave a jerk and dropped the fifty cards, leaving them to scatter across the floor. Jake hurriedly picked them up and ran down the stairs.
Jake slid on the wood floor of the downstairs hallway and opened the door. Without a warning, a radiant light filled the doorway with a golden glow. Squinting in the sunlight, Jake sprinted through the doorway and into the streets of New York.
Jake ran through the streets past many sights he would have taken interest in if he wasn’t in a hurry. There were magic shows, card shops, street plays, and other things of the sort. As he ran, other people on the streets stopped to stare at him. They considered him an oddity as a kid running past many shops with such interesting content that, as he ran, Jake saw other kids inside. Another reason was because school had just ended but he was still rushing to somewhere as if he was late. Because he was late.
Jake flew through shortcuts and alleys of all sizes (one so thin he had to walk sideways to get through) until finally he came to a specific alleyway. This alley was a particularly wide one with dumpsters littered on the sides. Placed on one was a dark green door with three steps. Once he stepped up them, Jake turned the rusty doorknob and heard a rustling sound. He obliviously opened the door and froze in the doorway and stared, wide-eyed, at the sight before him.
One boy and one girl stared back at him both about his age. They sat in two wooden chairs with a circular table in the middle. A huge banner hung low above their heads, covered in red and blue gloss. The room was painted bright white and the corners were stacked with piles of books with many different titles. An irregularly placed window on the left wall bathed the whole room in a bright light. The girl stood up and strode over to Jake. Jake looked down, embarrassed, as she hugged him and said “happy late birthday”.
Jennifer was jakes 13 year old friend. He knew Jennifer for only a year but Jennifer is someone you would think you’ve known since birth but have really known for not that long. They were in the same class in sixth grade and have been friends ever since. Jennifer was wearing a bright green shirt with blue shorts. She had long black hair that ran down to her mid-back.
“How is it that you show up late for your own belated birthday?” questioned Brian, the 13 year old boy.
“Sorry” replied Jake still out of breath “Meow stole my cards”
“Well do you have them now?”

Brian is someone you’d call loyal. When Jake first met Brian, he had saved Jake from the school bully by standing up to him. Since the 3rd grade, Brian had been at jakes side when he needed it most. Brian was skinny but had huge strength and courage for his stature. He wasn’t that used to having a girl around and is often against her coming with them. Under his orange hat turned backwards, Brian had jet black hair. He also had a blue shirt on with shorts.
“I still don’t know why you two still play that stupid game” Jennifer said while walking back to sit down in one of the wooded chairs.
“I still don’t know why you don’t” Brian said while rolling a pencil back and forth on the table. “And it’s not stupid”
“Whatever” Jennifer said glancing at Brian.
Jake walked to one pile of books and squatted down to read the titles.

“You got some new books”

“Yup” said Jennifer proudly “I just brought them from the library”
Jake studied a few titles and began to read them aloud. “Undersea wonders, encyclopedia of ancient monsters, monster myths? Why are you getting all these books about myth?”

“Because I’ve always liked myths remember” explained Jennifer.

“Ya and it was ancient Egypt last week.” Scoffed Brian.
“Shut up” hissed Jennifer”
Jake got up and looked around to see what else Jennifer bought. Brian looked at Jake and stood up also. “I have your birthday present” brain said while taking something out of his pocket. A white corner appeared from his pocket as he pulled out a bright white card and Jake gasped and saw the bright gold letters flash from the top of the card. WORLDLY PORTAL. Brian laughed when he saw Jake turn ghostly white as he handed Jake one of the strongest cards in Creaturescape.
“It’s kind of old though because my dad used to play Creaturescape and he kept it in his attic. I don’t know why he never told me about it.”

Jake wasn’t really listening to Brian but nodded his head anyway. He slowly took the card with both hands and sat down to observe it. Under the title was a picture showing a mirror-like portal with small captions under it in an unknown language.

Jake turned the card over and observed the back of the bright white card. Printed diagonally on the tan colored back was the Creaturescape logo.

As Jake marveled at the card, Jennifer turned to look at the window. “Its getting late and I have to get back home for dinner” she said.

“Well see you later Jake” Brian said while walking towards the door.

“Lets meet back here tomorrow” Jake suggested while picking up his cards and walking to the door.

“Okay” replied Jennifer.

Jake opened the door for his two best friends and they split up in the alley to go to their separate homes. Jennifer’s house was in the same direction as Brian so they went the same way while Jake went alone.

As he was walking home, Jake took back out the worldly portal from his card holder and examined it again. He was in seventh grade and took an early Latin class, but still he couldn’t decipher the mysterious words on the bottom of the card. In his mind he guessed out many things that he thought the words could mean. “The strongest card”. “This is a portal through which evil comes”. “The portal between worlds”. As those suggestions ran through his mind, he saw a glint in the corner of eye. Stopping, he suspiciously glanced back at the road that he had just walked and saw a small dark figure scurry into an ally. Jake ignored it and resumed walking.

Nearing his house, Jake slipped the card back in the holder and looked up. With the sun behind it, his house seemed to be trying to bask in the light of day. Squinting in the light, Jake walked to the driveway and up the stairs.

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