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Another Place, Another Time
Everyone knows what it is like to go to a new place. There are different things, customs, and people. Well, that is what it is like for four siblings, Jason, Alexis, Lucy, and Carrie, the baby. When their mother died, they had to move from Buffalo, New York to Salt Lake City, Utah into their grandma’s old rickety house on the lake. No one had ever told them that they had a grandma because she was on their dad’s side of the family. No one even really knew what happened to their dad. All they knew is that they would never meet him. He was gone for good.
The first day they were there, they wanted to be as far away from the house as possible. The only place they knew to go was the lake. They did not think that the lake would be that exciting, but it was.
“Hey! Look what I found!” said Lucy, pointing by her feet. “It looks like the railroad tracks by the beach house on Lake Erie, but these are underwater!”
All of them surrounded Lucy looking at the tracks underwater. Alexis, who was a deep dive swimmer, dove down deep to see if there were any tracks out in the deeper water.
“I don’t see any more tracks,” yelled Alexis.
“They stopped,” Jason whispered to himself.
He went and sat down on a rock. Jason had always pondered the weirdest things. But this time he was interrupted. Their grandma called them in for lunch.
That night Carrie woke up. She had to go to the bathroom, but she had fallen asleep before the tour of the house. So she did not know where it was. After her mother’s death, Carrie had not spoken a word. So forget asking someone where the bathroom was. She was afraid of the dark, so as she walked down the hallway, she turned on every light switch. After she had found the bathroom, she found her way back to her room. She turned off every light switch. Then she flipped one of the light switches. Nothing happened. She tried to flip it, but it would not budge. She ran to her brother and sisters’ rooms.
Only when all of them groggily reached the window, Carrie pointed to the switch. Lucy, who stayed up all night reading, sat down and looked out the window. Carrie came and sat down, too. While Jason tried to flip the switch and Alexis looked at the paintings. Then Lucy looked up at the window and gasped.
“Guys, look at what happened,” said Lucy.
They all walked over and looked out the window. There on the shore of the lake were the railroad tracks, but they were above water! The tracks spread far across the lake as far as they could see. There was also something that looked like a car with a huge sail. When Alexis first saw the car, she yelled,
“Let’s go and ride it!” She ran straight to her room, and five minutes later she came out dressed. They all got dressed and walked slowly outside. They got there and saw four seats, each with a coat, mittens, a scarf, and a hat. There was also a book with a letter and package attached. Jason just stood there with his mouth wide open. Alexis and Carrie jumped in putting on the stuff. Lucy eventually gave in and put on the stuff, too.
Jason went straight to the book and package. The book title said,
A Manual To and From the Place Where You Are Going
Jason did not understand the book, so he went on to the letter and package. He started to read the letter out loud as he gave the package to Alexis.
“Dear fellow riders,” Jason said. “As you can see, you have found the switch. You are now going to ride this car/boat thingy. All you will need to know is in the manual. We have been expecting you for a while. Please wear the items we have given you, because it gets cold at night. Leave soon. This is a day and a half trip. We thank you for finally coming, and we hope you have a safe trip. Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. Serene.”
They all stared at Jason like he was supposed to know what it meant. Jason opened the manual and looked for the name of the place that they were supposed to go. The first few pages only said how to work the car/boat. Then, all the other pages were blank. Jason was baffled.
“How could they just stop the book?” he thought. He looked at his sisters. He could see in their eyes that they wanted to go so badly. He dropped the book and put on the coat.
“Let’s go,” he said. The girls cheered, and Alexis opened the book and followed the directions. If there was an answer, they’d find it there.
Alexis was a good driver until everyone became hungry. They all started looking for some food. Then Jason found a trap door. There was another letter. Under the letter was food-lots and lots of food. They didn’t even bother with the letter. They just ate all the food they saw. The first layer was fruit. The second was sandwiches while the third was desert. Jason read the letter to himself. All it really said was that they could eat all the food they wanted. “Well, that was all gone,” Jason thought.
Alexis got tired of driving and let Jason drive for the night. All the girls fell asleep. Jason kept driving till Alexis woke up and took over. Alexis took the wheel and woke every one up to see the most beautiful sunrise. They all looked in front of them and saw two large hills. Both of them had large castles. But they were different. One was bright and colorful while the other was dark and stormy. They looked behind them, and the moon was just above their grandma’s house. And around them the lake were all the colors of the rainbow. They journeyed on until they came to the port.
As they arrived at the little town, people were cheering. The kids got off the little boat, and everyone surrounded them. All the women, men, and children were dressed in very vibrant and old-fashioned clothes. Then a little stout man and a tall skinny woman walked through the crowd toward them.
“Welcome! You have finally arrived. I hope your trip was comfortable. I am Mr. Serene and this is my wife,” said the little stout man.
“I never knew that there were castles, towns, and people like this on the other side of the lake. I thought it was just downtown Salt Lake City,” Jason mumbled to himself.
“Where are we, Mr. Serene? I never have seen such a place,” asked Alexis.
“In fact, what is this place called?” asked Jason.
Everyone was silent for a few moments. Every one looked like they did not know something, and they were waiting to be answered. Mr. and Mrs. Serene looked like they knew nothing.
“Well, you all must be so tired,” Mrs. Serene said quickly. “Let me show you to your rooms.”
They walked into this large building. There were so many hallways and passages. None of them knew where they were going.
They finally reached the top level. There was one hallway with four doors on one wall and four on the other. Mrs. Serene left not saying a word.
“Excuse my wife. She is tired, too,” Mr. Serene said. “About the name of this country well, we do not have a name. You see, our country used to live peacefully. At that time we were called and ruled by the Gatations. They had twin daughters who rule this country. Their names are Esmerelda and Matilda. Matilda hated her last name and they fought over what should be their new last name and the country’s name. Now they hate each other which is why we have no name. They live in the two castles on the hills,” He paused just to look out the large window.
“Esmerelda loved her people. She never wanted to hurt them. She was so kind to the poor. Her castle is the one that is bright and sunny. Unfortunately, Matilda was entirely the opposite. Matilda learned witchery. She used it on Esmerelda. That is why we put them in separate castles, so that Matilda will not kill her sister. She lives in the castle that is always dark and stormy. It’s terrible. Not a single person knows the name of our country. We are a disgrace,” he sighed. “Well, have a good sleep. Good night.”
They went into their rooms and slept to their heart’s content.
Around noon, Carrie woke up. She was very hungry. She made her way to the stairs. Then, she bumped into a man. The man was tall, handsome, and kind.
“I am so sorry, sweetie,” he said as he helped her up. She looked into his face and her jaw fell wide open. Carrie dragged him to the window seat. She motioned for him to stay there. She ran in Jason’s room and jumped on his bed. He immediately woke up and got dressed. He thought that he was being woken up by his mother because he was late to school. Carrie ran into her sisters’ rooms and woke them up. They all came out into the hallway where the man was sitting. Carrie ran into her room and came out with a picture.
It was of their mother and father. They all looked at it and saw that the man was their father. They were all silent until their father stood up and took the picture from Jason’s hand. He looked at the picture of him and his wife and had tears in his eyes.
“Where did you get this? How did you? Tell me. Honestly,” he asked.
“That’s our mother. And that means…that…you are our…father,” Lucy said in the quietest voice.
The room went dead silent. No one spoke. Their dad just stared at all of them. It wasn’t like he had not known they were born; it’s just that he couldn’t believe that they were there. Then Carrie looked up at him and smiled. She walked up to him and hugged him.
“I love you, daddy,” she said. “Those were my first words since mama died.”
Alexis asked, “Father, how and why did you get here? I mean, did you know about this place before?”
“I will tell you at brunch, sweetheart,” said her father.
They came down to the dining area, and Mr. and Mrs. Serene were eating brunch. They all sat down and talked with Mr. Serene.
“Mr. Serene, what are we supposed to do here?” asked Lucy, “Are we going to just stay and enjoy?”
“Oh no,” said Mr. Serene, “You will be helping Esmerelda and Matilda pick a name for our country and settle this for good.”
“What!” Alexis screamed. “You mean that you just brought four random kids to do your dirty work! How could you!” Alexis stomped her way out of the room.
“Well then,” Mr. Serene continued, “there will be a meeting in two days. This has happened every year. It started when we first put them in separate castles, which was about fourteen years ago.”
Jason suddenly spit his soup, which he was eating, across the table. Lucy shrieked as the warm soup hit her face. Lucy was taken with a maid to go wash up, as Jason explained himself.
“I am so sorry for that,” apologized Jason. “It’s just that our mom’s dad died fourteen years ago in two days; the same day of the meeting and the day that the king died. It’s all very stra…”
“I will go to check on Lucy and Alexis,” Mrs. Serene interrupted. She quickly ran out of the room.
“Strange,” finished Jason.
They finished brunch and left. They wandered all over the little town all day and the day after that. They found out about the customs, the people and the general facts of the town. They were going to use these things to give suggestions to the princesses for a name for the country. They saw the sunrise every morning and a beautiful sunset at night.
They all became very nervous when the meeting came. As Matilda rode by in her black chariot, the people closed their doors and windows for everyone was scared of her. A dark storm cloud sat above her where ever she went. Carrie wanted to cry when she saw her walk into the meeting room, but her sister stopped her.
“I am here,” she wailed as she walked into the room. “Now why do you punish me to come down here every year? I would much rather be in my castle making potions. But I shall not. For today was the anniversary of my dear father’s death,” she said, as she glared at Mr. Serene. He showed no fear.
“Now where is my sister, Esmerelda? Hmm?” and as she said this, the doors burst open and in walked the most beautiful woman. She was surrounded by birds and animals. She whistled a little tune and shooed the animals away. Jason and Alexis opened their mouths wide. She was surely the one and only, Esmerelda.
“Now then,” she said with a grin. “where is my awful sister?”
She looked around the room until she came to look upon her horrible sister. “Oh my,” was all she could say.
“Well, let us get this over with,” said Matilda. “I say I just take the throne, and I name it by myself.”
“No. We will name it after our father,” huffed Esmerelda.
“Stop it! Both of you!” yelled Lucy.
“Esmerelda, will you look at me, please?”
Esmerelda turned and the entire family opened their mouth. The woman they were looking at, they had not seen in two whole years. It was their mother!
“You are our mother” said Alexis.
“But that’s not possible. She died two years ago,” Jason added.
“She must have been born here, and she came back here when she died,” said Lucy.
All Carrie did was walk up and look into Esmerelda’s eyes. She was convinced. She hugged her mother whom she had not ever remembered.
“I love you, mama,” Carrie said. “I always have.”
“Since the king died fourteen years ago our country has had no name” Matilda spoke to the crowd.
“But we have now chosen the name……Tingreia!” said Esmerelda.
Cheers and whistles rand out through the crowd. Flowers were thrown. A new age had begun.
After a long discussion, they came up with the name of Tingreia. They thought of it from the wild tigers that live in the jungles of Tingreia. They announced it the next day in front of the entire town.
Jason, Alexis, Lucy, and Carrie stayed there for good. Their grandmother understood- she was put in a retirement home anyway. They all lived in their mother’s castle. Matilda and Esmerelda do not hate each other anymore. It looks like Jason found what he wanted; he actually found more of what he wanted.