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It all started that hot, stifling day a couple weeks after school ended. Everyone was so happy and energetic. We were all so excited and had millions of things to do, now that we had nothing to do.
If that made ANY sense at all.
Or, at least, most kids had a million things to do.
All I planned to do all summer is read and tan. I know, you’re probably thinking,
BO-RING! But, not really. I love to read! Reading takes me places where I can’t really go. It takes me to whole different universes! While I read I can battle pirates, or witness the Salem Witch Trials. I can even fall in LOVE! Well… I didn’t actually think I could fall in love. I thought… well… let me rewind.
While the seconds ticked by on the last day of school, I wistfully imagined running barefoot through the forests with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then I heard Ethan Ward make a dumb quip about our teacher’s pig face.
I turned around in my seat to face Ethan.
“Oh, come on, Ethan! It’s the last day of school! You can stop being jealous of Mr. Harrow’s face for 2 seconds, SURELY!”
Everyone around us turned away to hide their muffles of laughter.
Ethan acted like he didn’t hear me.
“Oh, hey baby. You up for a movie tonight?” Ethan asked me, mustering up his sexiest voice.
I gave him a contemptuous glare.
“Hey, that’s alright with me.” Ethan said, raising his hands, as if innocent. He leaned in close to my ear. “My parents are gone for the weekend. We’ll just skip the movies and go to my house.” He grinned.
“That’s the spirit!”
“Get lost, freak!” I told him.
“Only if you come.” He shot back.
The final bell rang. FINALLY! SCHOOL was OVER. For now.
I grabbed my backpack and strode out of the classroom as a rouse of cheers came from the class.
“Hey, Mal, the offers ALWAYS open!” Ethan drawled after me. I could hear him and his friends snickering behind me. I rolled my eyes.
Why did those losers have to live in Shiocton, Wisconsin? They hate small towns anyway, and Shiocton is about as small as it gets!
I walked down the hall and down the school steps, deep in thought. Halfway across the parking lot a loud blast of a horn interrupted my thoughts. I looked to the right, and a silver Volvo car was coming straight for me!
I jumped back just in time.
Well, Mallory. That’s what happens when you daze off thinking of Edward Cullen again! You’re going to get yourself killed! I thought to myself.
Oh, yeah. I should probably say I just got done reading the most AMAZING book in HISTORY! It’s called Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. For the past couple of weeks I have been dreaming of Edward Cullen, imagining what it would feel like to fall in love with a vampire. I’m so jealous of Bella Swan!
Anyways, now thinking of it, that car that almost ran me over looks exactly like Edward Cullen’s fancy car. And I’ve never seen it around here either.
Mallory! Stop letting your imagination run wild! Even if it really was Edward, he wouldn’t be trying to run you over he would be trying to SAVE you!
I rolled my eyes at my own foolishness and changed the subject in my own head.
As soon as I got home I would lay out my Twilight towel and change into my bikini and start reading ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Maybe the neighbor, Scott, will notice me, I thought. Oh, STOP being OBSESSIVE! It’s NEVER going to happen!
Then my mind wandered to what she heard people say about her. She was a silent girl so it wasn’t very hard to eavesdrop. Actually, it was moderately easy. Most of her mother’s friends said she was very unpretentious for a girl in a family of their wealth. Yes, it was true, my family was very wealthy, and most people expected me to be a snobby, spoiled, slut.
But to tell the truth, I wasn’t snobby and I was far from a slut. I do admit that I was pretty spoiled. At 13 years of age, I had a cell phone, and iPod, my own laptop and T.V. in my room, in a separate room I had a mini gym, and in the backyard I had a swimming pool. I even had a year round pass to the ski slopes, each year. Even though, half of the year we didn’t have snow but still…
I also heard most of the upperclassmen talk about me, too. They don’t know me personally, so they don’t actually know that I am quiet, and that I have none of my friends in my classes, so I usually don’t even talk in school that much. When guys are caught up in talking about a girl, I’ve noticed that they don’t notice much. So I can be walking right behind them and I can hear their whole conversation, about ME. Scary, huh?
Well mostly I hear, “shiny hair” or “gorgeous eyes”.
But once I was walking behind some really ignorant and stupid seniors and they were betting on who could most likely make out with me the longest.
They were pretty hot, but I was NOT just a toy guys could use whenever they wanted.
What I did was I walked really close behind them, almost on their heels, and said “Not even in your dreams!” then I turned around and walked away.
A car horn blasted behind me, and I twirled around. A red mustang pulled up beside me and the tinted window rolled down. It was Scott!
“Hey, you need a ride?”
“Well,” I answered, “I wouldn’t want to impose on you.” I laughed.
He laughed to and his chocolate eyes sparkled. “Well, considering that you live right next to me, I’m pretty sure you’re not imposing.” He flashed a smile at me. “Hop in!”
I ran around the car to the passenger seat and jumped in.
“So, I heard Ethan Ward asked you to his house tonight to be….alone.” Scott smiled.
I grimaced. “So, gossip really does go around fast in a city like this?”
“Don’t you mean a village like this?” he corrected me and laughed. “So what did you say to him?”
Oh my god. He was teasing me! How rude! “What do you think I said?” I laughed.
“Well…I believe you said ‘Get Lost!’” Scott laughed.
My mouth must’ve been hanging open, because when he looked over and saw my expression he laughed even harder.
“Jeesh! Gossip really does get around fast!” I muttered to myself.
Scott was still chuckling to himself when he pulled up in front of his house.
“Thanks so much, Scott, for the ride. I’ll see you later!” I walked off toward my house, still hearing Scott chuckling under his breath. Jeesh! It wasn’t even that funny!
I opened the front door and tossed my backpack in the corner, for good. My mom and dad were still at work, so I had the house to myself for a couple hours. Well, actually until 9:00 tonight. But right now it was three o’clock in the afternoon and it was very sunny outside, so I changed into my bikini and got my towel and my book.
As I started reading my book, I lost myself in it and lost track of real time.
In a little house in the big woods I was helping my ma with Christmas. Pa was hunting for Christmas dinner and I was sweeping the floors while Ma wrapped the Christmas presents.
Then all off a sudden my eyes started to burn, and I snapped back to reality. This sometimes happened when I read too much. And I did read from page 1 to page 200 so maybe I should take a break. It was only 4:30 so I decided to take a few laps in the pool. I planned to be a marine biologist in the future so I needed to perfect my swimming.
I was about to dip into the pool when I heard something rattling around the trees maybe 10 feet away. I froze and held my breath as whatever was in the bushes kept getting closer. And finally…..
I gasped as….the two twins I babysat jumped out of the trees. I sighed. “Hi, Tyler. Hi, Trevor. “
“Hey, whyja say hi to TYLER first? I’m MORE important!” Trevor complained.
“No you’re not!” Tyler cried.
I laughed and rolled my eyes. I got up to go meet the seven year-old boys. “Whacha boys doin’?”
They both shrugged. “Don’t know.”
“You look really hot, Mally!” Tyler cried.
“Yeah, you do!” Trevor agreed.
I rolled my eyes. Of course. It wouldn’t be a conversation if the Crownby Twins didn’t say something very inappropriate to me, especially at their age.
“Thanks, guys.” I told them, sarcastically.
Then they both just turned around at the same time, and ran back in the direction they came from.
I walked back to the house. Something to eat wouldn’t hurt. I stepped inside the cool house and went to the refrigerator. I found some banana yogurt. Yum!
I went back outside and laid on my stomach this time, and ate my yogurt slowly, savoring every bite. When I finally finished, I put it on the chair next to me.
A couple minutes later I heard a familiar giggle. I looked up into Scott’s backyard. It was Sarah and Scott!
Sarah wasn’t my best friend, but she was a pretty good one, and she knew I liked Scott!
Well, maybe they’re just studying or something. Psht! Yeah right! They’re studying for the science test, NEXT YEAR?
Right then my heart just sunk deep into my chest. No, it sank deeper than my chest; it sank into my stomach, fluttering there like a bunch of cowardly butterflies.
I froze. Should I quietly leave? I should. It would be the right thing to do. But I didn’t want to. Maybe their parents were friends, and they came outside to talk instead of listening to boring adult conversations. Aw, who was I kidding, she was sitting on his lap and he had his hand pretty much on her butt. I wanted to see how much more Sarah McPike would betray me. Or maybe I didn’t, but I stayed anyways.
Scott looked this way, and I acted like I was sleeping.
“Oh, there’s Mallory.” Scott pointed out.
“WHAT! WHERE?” Sarah shrieked.
“Don’t worry, Sare, she’s sleeping. She does that a lot, to tan herself”
So he does notice. But that didn’t matter to me anymore. I had a feeling both of them were looking at me. So, even Scott knew that I liked him! AHH! I thought that Scott and I were at least FRIENDS! Gosh, I felt stupid!
“She tans a lot, but it does pay off. She looks great. But not as great as you, Sarey! You’re so SEXY!” Scott said.
Ugh! Sarey! At least come up with a better nickname! And he thinks Sarah is SEXY? I know that I’m not even close to looking awesome but REALLY! SARAH Mcpike! I’m sorry, but she’s a pig! She doesn’t care how much she weighs, she just eats and eats! And she has NO manners!
Then there was silence. I took a chance to crack my eyelids open just a little. I had a feeling I was going to regret it but I peaked. Yep, I was right. Scott and Sarah were making out.
My heart just broke, for the first time. I thought when your heart ‘breaks’ your just sad over some boy, but NO it’s like a physical pain! It hurt so BAD!
I squeezed my eyes shut. After what seemed like forever, Scott and his…GIRLFRIEND went inside and I leaped up and ran inside leaving everything outside.
I ran up to my room and cried myself to sleep even though it was only 6:45.
“Mal!” Mally! MALLORY!”
Someone was shaking me. I slowly opened my eyes. It was my mother.
“Mally? What’s wrong? Why did you go to bed so early? Were you CRYING?”
“MOM! Quit it!” She was still shaking me.
“Oh, sorry.” She s said. “But what’s wrong?”
“I saw Sarah with Scott.” I mumbled. “Making out.”
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. But you know a lot of people come to Shiocton to check out our village. Maybe some guy will come and you guys will meet and keep in touch. You’ll find someone better than Scott. Now, I’m going to go downstairs and I’ll go make you some apple cider.” My mother told me. “Oh, and I got a new book magazine for you. In case you want to look for new books.” She pointed to the nightstand by my bed.
After she left I grabbed the book magazine. An ad fell out. I picked it up. It was for the public library here in Shiocton. I searched through it and found a children’s picture book. But it didn’t look like a children’s book. I looked at the number of pages. 400 pages. Huh? Why would a children’s book have 400 pages? Then I looked at the description to see what it was about. It was a fantasy book, but it was about romance and war. I really didn’t think children would like to read about that.
But this book interested me. It seemed like the perfect book to read that would take me a long ways away from stupid Scott and Sarah! I read the bottom of the description.
THIS BOOK WILL PULL YOU INTO IT AND TAKE YOU PLACES YOU’VE NEVER BEEN BEFORE!
Sounded good to me! Tomorrow it was off to the public library I went!
As the sun shone through my upstairs window, I slowly opened my eyes. I sat up and slipped on my pink, fuzzy slippers. But then the events of yesterday came rushing back to me, and I laid back down. But then I remembered Kanzano. The book I saw yesterday in the ad for the public library.
I jumped up and slipped on some pink calico shorts and a pink and brown tank top. I brushed out my shoulder-length golden-ish hair while I walked downstairs to grab a pop tart. I slipped on some brown old navy flip flops, and put on deodorant. Then I ran upstairs to brush my teeth.
My parents were already at work so I grabbed my purse, containing my cell phone, lip gloss, and my wallet. I quickly put on my make-up and walked outside. It was a nice day out. Very hot, though, but enough breeze to make up for it.
I walked the couple blocks to the public library on W7740 Pine Street. I saw a bunch of my classmates out, enjoying the 1st day of summer break. I talked to them some, but none of them were my best friends. Shannon and Shelbi were twins, my best friends in the whole world, and they were in Kansas, visiting some friends in Beloit. Yeah, did you know there is a Beloit in Kansas, too? I mean, I always knew about the Beloit, Wisconsin but in KANSAS? Wow.
But anyways, once I got to the library I stepped inside the small, quiet building.
“Hello, miss, can I help you with finding a particular book?” A small librarian asked me.
“Um… Yes…. Maybe.” I smiled at her. “Do have a book named Kanzano, here?”
She hesitated for a second, and gave me a curious look. “Yes, yes we do… I’ll lead you right to it.”
She didn’t reply.
After a couple walks through the adult aisles, we can to a whole aisle that was empty, and then she pulled a ladder to the middle and went to the very top step. She reached for something on the top of the shelf near the ceiling, and came back down with a thick, dusty, but still new-looking, book. She handed it to me.
“Thanks.” I told her, wondering why it was on the top of the shelves.
She grabbed my wrist and pulled me toward her. “NO, thank YOU. Just NEVER bring that book back here! You can KEEP it. But do NOT bring it back. Now go.” She whispered to me, then pushed me away, and went back to organizing books.
Startled at whatever caused her mood swing, I quickly walked out.
When I was out, I dusted of the cover of the book. It was a neat book, with a lot of creatures on the front of it, and fancy letters. I read the title:
The amazing book that promises to take you places you couldn’t even imagine existed!
I was amazed. This book was like nothing I’ve ever seen! It was really colorful, and it was hardcover like a children’s book would be, but it was thick and it had paper thin pages.
I started reading it on the way home. We didn’t have that much traffic in Shiocton, so I didn’t really have to worry about being run over.
When I got home, I was only on page 10. It took forever to read each page, but it was true. The book really sucked you in.
So far I’ve met this really gorgeous guy who lives in a land of centaurs and gorgons and fairies. It might seem good, but this guy lives in a village that is controlled by awful soldiers. These soldiers live ten miles away from the village but every Saturday they come and rob the village of 60% of all their food that they grow and make. In return the Villagers get to keep their lives. This really hot guy, named Dean, is sick of his family and friends suffering. He wants to do something about it but he doesn’t know how. He’s 14 years old, and the only people that agree that something needs to be done is the creatures, like the fairies, the gorgons, the centaurs, even the giants would help, because the soldiers kept killing them off. But Dean had no idea how to stop them.
For the next week all I did was read. By Monday morning of the next week, though, I was only on page 50, and that really irritated me. Usually I could read a long book like this non-stop for 1 week and be at page 350, at the least.
But it was an awesome book. I was actually kind of relieved I wasn’t going through the book fast because that means I could live in the world of Kanzano for a longer period of time. I didn’t know why I didn’t get any farther in the book, but it didn’t really bother me, because I’ve completely stopped thinking about that backstabber, Scott. And, I have a really good tan, but that’s beside the point. My parents left for work at six every morning and got back at seven every night.
Those were the hours I dedicated to reading outside. But from three to four I took a break, and swam laps in the pool, but I thought about Dean and his fairy friends the whole time. At seven, when my parents got home, we ate dinner together, played a board game, and then I called Shannon and Shelbi and we talked and gossiped for half an hour. That’s when I started reading again, until nine thirty.
Then one day, a week later, I looked at the clock. It read: 2:15. I was only on page 100, I was reading how Dean and his friends were planning on building a tree house. A great tree house. One that would blend in and serve as a hideout in ‘battle’.
That’s when it happened; the book flew from my hands and started glowing. It was lying on the floor, open to the tree house page and I started to hear soft music. Not music that really had a tune, but like a little kid was playing random notes on a piano.
Then it felt like the whole world was spinning, and I started to lose my balance and stumble around.
What was going on? Was I going crazy? Was none of this actually happening? Or did I have some fatal disease? Was I going to faint and then go into a coma and never wake up?
All these questions rushed through my head while the room was spinning. Then I heard a rushing of wind, and then short ‘pop’. Everything stopped. Everything stopped, but my head kept twirling. I still didn’t have my balance and I toppled over. But what I landed on didn’t feel like carpet. And that chirping I hear, was it coming from BIRDS? The last thing I heard before I lost consciousness was a faint rustling and tinkling sound. Like bells.
I woke up to those same bells ringing. But now, there were more. I also heard a bunch of heavy footsteps and a rustle of… leaves?
I was too weak to get up and see what was going on.
But then I heard a male’s voice. Deep and handsome.
It said “What’s going on? Who’s that girl? Is she OK?” his voice contained real concern. Whether it was for me, or for him, I had no way of knowing.
I did my best to force my eyes open, and sit up. The boy, whoever it was, noticed my struggle and rushed over to help me.
As a sat still waiting for my eyes to focus to the brightness, I heard the boy say “Hey.”
I waited for my eyes to adjust so I could actually see him. “Hey.”
The boy was gorgeous. Blond, shaggy, hair and blue eyes, he looked SO familiar but I just couldn’t put a name to him.
John. The name didn’t sound familiar. Hm? “I’m Mallory.”
“Nice to meet you, Mallory. But how did you get here. I haven’t seen you around.” He said.
“Um… where am I?” I asked him.
“Well, you’re in Kanzana, of course.”
“Where’s Kanzana? Don’t you mean Kansas, or something?”
His brow furrowed into confusion. “Where’s Kansas?”
I laughed. “Alright, I know Kansas is not that great, but I have some friends who live there so it’s not THAT unknown. But you know, Kansas, right by Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska?”
He just looked more confused? “What’s Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska?”
Ha. Was he kidding? Everyone knew where Colorado was! The state with brilliant skiing slopes? What about Wyoming, with Yellow Stone Park? Then something dawned on me.
“Are we even in the United States?”
“Um… What’s the UNITED STATES?” He said it like it was a toy.
“Europe, Africa, Canada, South AMERICA, even maybe Antarctica?” I questioned.
John looked like he was thinking really hard. Finally he said, “I don’t know what those places are.”
I sighed. “So where did you say we were again?”
“Kanzano” He answered.
I gasped finally it came to me. “You mean Kanzano like, the BOOK!”
“What’s a book?”
Oh, that’s right. In the time period they are in they probably don’t have books really.
I looked around and finally noticed the flying gold bugs around us and a bunch of creatures, and then I realized that the gold bugs were FAIRIES!
I was really, actually sucked into the book!
And this boy, John, didn’t look like John at all. “But… your name…. you’re not really John.”
His face showed surprise. But then agreement. “Your right,” he said, “My name is really-“
“Dean.” I interrupted him.
“Yeah, to people I may not be able to trust I tell them my name is John, if anything happens they won’t be able to rat me out.” He shrugged, apologetically.
He thought that I wasn’t able to keep secrets. Well, I already knew what they wanted to happen anyways.
“It’s OK, I understand.”
“Yeah,” I told him, “I’ll explain everything later, it’s a long story. But…um… maybe you can…introduce me?”
I looked around. Fairies were the bravest and they came right up to me. They flew around my head making that same tinkling noise, which sounded like bells. I put my hand out, palm down, and a PURPLE fairy stood on it. I guess there are more colors than yellow.
I looked closer. This fairy was beautiful! It had really big purple eyes, but I very small delicate noise. It had long, purple hair and a purple ballerina dress with sparkles everywhere. And she was SO friendly.
Dean laughed as a blue fairy landed on my head. I laughed to, but when I did all the fairies looked startled and flew away.
Dean looked at me and smiled. “They’ve never heard someone with such a clear, beautiful laugh like that before. Most people in my village don’t laugh.” He laughed again.
I gave him a curious look, but before I had anytime to ask questions, the fairies caught my attention as they came, slowly back to me.
THE EXPRESSION ON THEIR FACES! It was absolutely hilarious! I tried not to laugh, so they wouldn’t go away again, but I couldn’t help it. I laughed.
This time, their expression got better, but they didn’t back away.
Their faces were something like horror mixed in with awe. But on their tiny little faces, their mouth was almost as big as their whole face!
Their mouths were hanging open in awe, but their eyes were wide in fear. What was so funny was only one of their eyes was wide in fear; the other eye was squinted in curiosity. How they did it was past me, but it was sure hilarious to see.
Finally, one of the red fairies was afraid no longer, just curious, and she came straight up to me. She smiled, showing all her tiny, white teeth, and then flew over to Dean.
Dean laughed. “They like you. That’s the way the fairies tell you that they trust you. And for them to trust you this soon, is amazing. I guess I have no choice but to trust you, also.” He laughed again.
After that, all the other fairies came up to smile at me. One at a time.
Then Dean said “Oh, well I guess you should meet the Centaurs, they are really friendly, too.” He stood up, I followed his lead. Dean gave a big whistle with his fingers, and then everything went silent.
But then I heard a silent rumble. Kind of like an earthquake. I looked over to see Dean’s reaction, but it was totally calm.
I guess it’s nothing to worry about then.
I stood silently as the rumbling got louder, and the earth below our feet started shaking. They started to sound like hooves thudding on the ground. Yeah! That’s it! The Centaurs are coming. But they sounded really close, and I was a little scared they would stampede us. But Dean was still calm, so I just followed his lead. Then, all of a sudden, everything stops. The earth stops shaking, I don’t hear the rumble anymore.
I looked around and saw horse-like creatures with humans’ torsos and heads step out of the trees. Centaurs. Real, live Centaurs. And I was face to face with them. Wow!
I looked to Dean. He smiled at me. “Go ahead.”
I took a step toward the Centaurs. They weren’t afraid, they didn’t step back or anything. I took another couple steps.
“Hey, who’s your new friend Dean, she’s pretty!”
I gasped and took a step back. Oh, that’s right! Centaurs can talk! I totally forgot about that!
Jeesh, Mallory! Stupid!
I could feel myself blushing.
Dean laughed, but not at me, at what the Centaur said. “Higriff, this is Mallory, from….”
“Wisconsin.” I said.
Dean gave Higriff, the black Centaur with the black eyes and black hair, a confused look.
“Well, wherever you’re from, you’re welcome here, maybe you can help us.” Higriff said.
“You mean, with the soldiers, and making your tree house? I’d love to help!” I cried.
All the Centaurs, including Higriff, and Dean looked at each other. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t supposed to see that look, but I did. I don’t think they knew that there was a book about them, because they think I’m psychotic or something. But thank God they didn’t ask any more questions.
I was thinking about how cool this all was when it all hit me. I was ACTUALLY in Kanzano! A make-believe country full of make- believe creatures!
I was IN my book. Like, actually in it. Physically. AWESOME! But wait, how was I going to get back? Or would I just go back randomly? Would my parents worry, and call the police? Would they not be able to find me? Aw, come on Mallory, stop worrying! Just live in the moment.
“Well, I guess, because you know so much about what’s going on already, we’ll give you a tour of Kanzano.” Dean said. “Well, actually guys,” Dean said looking to the fairy-tale creatures, “How about I give Mallory a tour, you guys start gathering supplies for the tree house.”
The fairies slumped off, obviously wanting to hang with me some more. The centaurs were on the job before he could finish the sentence, and these hog looking animals, oinked at me and walked off.
Once Dean and I were out of the trees, I asked him what those hog looking things were.
“Widrig.” He said. “They are really snobby, and hard to get along with, but once you get to know them, they’ll be yours forever.”
I nodded and just kept walking with him. As we approached a small village, he started telling me the whole history of the town.
“Well, our small village is the only village in all of Kanzano. Well, that is, it was the only village, but then about 5 years ago, a bunch of people showed up. They showed up out of nowhere.” Dean looked really troubled about all this. “They started bullying our villagers, and taking food from us. Soon we barely had enough food to get us by. One week, when they came to collect ‘portion’ of the food, Sanoco, poor Sanoco, well he was tired of barely making a living, but still working hard. He walked right up to one of the soldiers on the horses, and demanded to know where their food was going so fast. Well, you see, the strange soldiers didn’t like being defied and they decided to kill him. He died a painful death.” Dean shuddered. “A long rope was tied to each of his legs and arms, and they tied the other end of the rope to the horse’s saddle, and-“
“Alright, I get it.” I shuddered. “You can skip that part.”
Dean looked at me as if I was crazy. “You are a girl, right?”
Now it was my turn to look at him like he was crazy. “Um…do I not look like one?”
“Yeah, you look like the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, but… do you actually mean you don’t want to hear the gruesome details of Sanoco being killed?”
I blushed a tiny bit. “Yeah… I’m pretty sure I don’t want to. You see, stuff like that grosses me out.”
“It does?” Dean looked very confused.
“Yeah, it does. Surprise, surprise.”
“Yeah, actually, that is a surprise. Girls around here love to hear gross and sick details about those things.”
I gave him a bewildered look. “Are you serious? Girls in America, well, most girls, hate that kind of stuff. It even makes us sick to the stomach sometimes.”
“Oh,” Dean muttered, looking honestly confused, “That’s odd, but sorry if I offended you. I didn’t think our worlds would be that different.”
“Oh, it’s alright. You just worried me for a second. I didn’t think I looked that bad.” I told him laughing.
Dean, again, looked at me like I was crazy. “You’re joking, right. You’re seriously like the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some pretty hot girls.” Dean laughed.
I could feel myself blushing. “Thanks…I guess. Hey shouldn’t you continue with your story?”
“Oh, yes. That’s right. Well…” he began “Skipping over the death of Sanoco, so my point is these people are really cruel. I mean, even if I hated someone, I wouldn’t, couldn’t, do that to them. And these people didn’t even know us! But after killing Sanoco, he decided that he would tell us where all the food is going. He said the food went to their queen, Lamia, and her two daughters, and the soldiers.” Dean paused looking kind of angry. “And I guess that’s pretty much it. The rest of the villagers are in a depression or something, especially because every night for the past 2 weeks, 1 little child is found dead in the morning.”
I stopped walking, looking at him, horrified. “What!” It didn’t say that in the book.
“Well, yeah. For the past two weeks little kids have been dying in their sleep. Every night we just wake up, and we find a child in his or her bed, sheet white, and not breathing.”
“That’s horrible!” I cried.
“Yeah, it is.” Dean said, solemnly. “But the worst part is the adults won’t do anything about it. About the soldiers I mean! They just…just…accept their fate, or something!” Dean looked really upset, so I took a big leap, and decided to comfort him. Plus he was really hot.
So, I grabbed Dean’s hand and leaned my head against his shoulder. “I’m always here to help.”
Dean smiled. “Thanks.” He slid his arm around my waist and kept walking.
I shivered. I didn’t realize it until now, but it was kind of chilly out. Back in Wisconsin at this time of night, right now, it would be around eighty degrees out, still. But I had a feeling I was a far ways away from Wisconsin. I think it was around sixty degrees out, right now. And I was wearing a low cut tank top, and short shorts. At least I was wearing my converse shoes, so my toes were warm.
Dean felt me shiver. He stopped for a second and pulled of his jacket, it was thin, but it was lined with fur on the inside. He put it around my shoulders and slid his arm around my waist again.
“Thanks.” I whispered.
As we walked into the tiny village, I could tell this wasn’t the year 2008. The houses were more like huts, and there was only one street running through the village and it was made of dirt. The huts were made of rough, wooden, planks, and the roofs were made of straw. The doors were only a thick, woven, blanket hung from the top of the frame.
Two little boys ran from one of the huts.
“Dean!” They both cried in unison. They ran up and hugged Dean’s legs.
Dean laughed. “Hey, Sean, Hey, Shane.”
“DEAN!” One of the little boys whined. “Why do you always say hi to Sean first?” I was guessing it was Shane.
The boys looked like twins. How cute. They had light brown hair, and cute baby faces. They were so small and delicate, I was afraid they would break if anyone touched them.
The other twin, Sean, said, “Dean, who’s your friend?”
I smiled. Their voices were so cute.
“Shane, Sean, this is my friend Mallory.” Dean said.
“She’s didn’t come from the soldiers, did she?” Shane asked.
“Of course not!”Dean answered. “Really, guys, does she look like she came from the soldiers’ lair?”
Both of the little boys tilted their heads and looked at me.
“Nope. She’s too pretty to be from the soldiers. She’s really pretty!” Sean said.
“Is she your girlfriend, Dean?” Shane asked.
I blushed. These twins were cute, but they definitely said what they were thinking.
Dean looked at me. “Yep, she’s my girlfriend.”
Wait! Did I hear him right? Did HE just call ME his girlfriend?
“If that’s ok with Mallory, of course.” Dean smiled at me.
“Yeah.” I smiled back.
I had a boyfriend! A boyfriend, that, not even 5 hours ago I would of thought was make-believe. But a really hot, boyfriend. One that had dirty, blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, and a dazzling smile.
“OOH! DEANY has a GIRLFRIEND!” the twins started shouting, and running back to the village, shouting that, the whole time.
I smiled. It didn’t matter that they were nosy. They were SO CUTE!
“Sorry about that.”Dean apologized. “Those are the twins I babysit when their parents go to the fields to gather corn and beans and all that. And I guess I haven’t officially asked but, Mallory, will you be my girlfriend?”
Again, my heart started to beat faster. “Yes.” I breathed.
“Good.” Dean said. “I didn’t want to let the twins down.” He smiled at me again and this time, instead of putting his hand around my waist, he slid it into my back pocket. I did the same thing to him. We walked shoulder to shoulder through the village.
“So, how old are the twins?” I asked Dean.
“6 years.” He answered.
Then, a woman ran out of the hut the closest to us and paused when she saw me.
“Dean, honey, who’s your friend. Sean and Shane came over here, out of breath, and told me you had a really pretty, new girlfriend.”
Sure, enough, there was Sean and Shane, trailing out, after her, with guilty expressions, but then they saw me smile at them and they smiled and ran up to me.
I bent down, and picked them up. They were really light for six year olds. It wasn’t even a strain to hold both of them. As I entertained the twins, Dean walked over to the woman, who I was guessing was his mother, and they talked for a while. I watched the woman’s expression. First, it became worried, but then it softened up. After a while, she walked over, with Dean, and smiled at me.
“Dean said you had a tiring trip over here, you should come in and eat dinner with us. Sean, Shane, you better go home, so your mother doesn’t get worried.” The woman had a pleasant voice. Very welcoming. She had pretty, blonde hair and she was very thin and fragile. But she looked nothing like Dean. I was starting to think that they weren’t really family.
Sean and Shane jumped out of my arms and ran into the hut next to Dean’s.
Dean put his arm around my shoulders and led me into the hut, right after the woman. She turned around. “I’m sorry. I haven’t properly introduced myself. I’m Cierra, Dean’s mother.” She gave me a hug. “It’s nice to meet you, Mallory. Do you have a last name?”
Do I HAVE one? I thought everyone had one. “Swane. And you guys? What’s your last name?”
“Heartfield.” Dean answered.
“But enough chit-chat, you must be starving, Mal. Let’s have dinner.” Cierra said, very motherly. “I hope you don’t mind if I call you Mal.”
“No, I don’t mind. Everyone used to call me that, in Wisconsin.” I answered.
Cierra answered, with a single nod of her head.
After a delicious meal of, well, I actually don’t know what it was, but it was really good. After dinner, Dean looked at me.
“Are you tired, Mallory?”
“Um… actually, to tell the truth, I’m wide awake.” I answered him.
“Well, then, do you mind if we go into the forest again, and talk with our friends?”
By ‘our friends’ I assumed he meant the fairy tale creatures. (Gosh, I was going to have to stop calling them that pretty soon. This wasn’t a fairy tale.)
“No, I don’t mind. I would actually like to see them again.” I answered truthfully.
“Well, then that settles that. Cierra, we are going to go-“
“I know, I heard.” Cierra already had an armful of blankets in her hands. “Here you go.” She put the blankets in a bag, and handed the bag to Dean.
“Thanks. See you in the morning.”
“Good-night, Mal.” Cierra said to me.
I told Cierra good-night, and followed Dean outside. It was weird. Since when did people call their mother by their first name? But I guess this place was a little weird, so I would have to get used to it.
Dean slid his hand around my waist and I put my head on his shoulder. Even though I’ve technically only known Dean for around 6 hours, I’ve felt like I’ve known him forever. I think I already trusted him with my own life.
We walked to the forest and all the fairies flew out to greet us. They pulled at my hair, and at Dean’s shirt. He laughed. “They want us to hurry; they need to show us something.”
I laughed, also, as the fairies pulled at my hair, desperately trying to make me move faster.
As we walked farther, fairies flew off, and we followed them into a clearing. In the clearing a huge tree with limbs, spreading out far away from the trunk, were thicker than I was! But it was everything around the tree which amazed me.
There were piles of smooth planks, hammers, nails, saws, tools of every kind! There was also piles of straw and leaves.
“Good-job, guys! I see you must’ve went to the soldiers camp.” Dean exclaimed. “now we have everything we need!”
I was beginning to see what was happening. The creatures stole a bunch of this stuff from the soldiers. That’s what they were doing when Dean was giving me a tour. We were going to use the soldiers own supplies to hide from them! Brilliant!
Dean just did the most AMAZING thing. He called all the creatures to him. But do you know how? Of course not, I’ll tell you!
He has this silver whistle. It’s very long and thin. It has one, single hole in the middle of the whistle. Then, when he gently blows, it makes a very soft, but shrill, sound. He presses down on the hole and lifts up again and stops. Everything went silent. And then the leaves in the trees started rustling, and little chipmunks, and birds of all kinds, and horses, and centaurs, and fairies, and even widrigs came to where we were. That little clearing where we were going to build the tree house.
Then from up above, we heard a flapping, sound. When we looked up, we saw big, white… UNICORNS! This place just kept getting better by the second.
After all the animals (I’m going to call the fairy tale creatures, animals, because calling them creatures makes them sound scary. And they still have the animals we have in the United States. Chipmunks, horses, dogs, stuff like that.) After all the animals got here, we got to work. It was amazing how they all worked together. The unicorns tied ropes to their bellies and raised planks to the little men that climbed the trees. I later found out these little men were dwarves. (Yeah! Dwarves! Like in the movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”!)
The dwarves would then hammer the nails into the wood and make walls. That went by really fast. While all this went on, I was helping the BEAVERS gather mud and put it in buckets. Not the most pleasant job, but it was interesting, especially the beavers. They seemed to know exactly what they were supposed to do. Jeesh! These animals made the ones in the U.S. look like hillbillies!
The beavers then took the mud, splattered it all over the outside of the walls, and then stuck hay and leaves to it. For CAMOUFLAGE.
The dwarves’ next job was to make stairs inside the tree house. All they did was saw the stairs to the right length, tie them to the unicorns, and then the unicorns, would bring them up to the dwarves working up high. All they would have to do is hammer the stairs in place.
After it was all built, all we had to do was camouflage it. That was probably the most fun part. Dean and I were running around throwing straw and hay at each other. I was laughing so hard I thought my stomach was going to burst! When we finally got to work, it was pretty much finished. Dean and I clasped hands and stepped back to work at the final product.
WOW! That’s all I had to say. WOW!
It was amazing! I could barely tell it was there if I looked at it from a side-view. Especially because all this was built, and the sun wasn’t even rising yet!
“Shall we?” Dean smiled, and put out his hand like a gentleman.
“We shall.” I smiled back, and put my hand into his, rough but gentle hand.
We walked up the steps and into the main part of the tree house. Whoa. They even built a bed. It had a wooden frame, and straw for bedding. Not quite like the one at home, but it would do.
“You must be exhausted, Mallory.”
Now that he mentioned it, I could barely keep my eyes open. I yawned as Dean led me to the bed. As I lay down, Dean pulled out a blanket and covered me. My head hit the straw and I immediately dozed off.
I felt Dean lie down next to me. I tried to force my eyes open, just because it felt weird to sleep right next to a boy that, technically, I only met that same day. But they just wouldn’t open.
“Don’t worry, Mal. I’ll be here to protect you, always.” Dean whispered in my ear as he put his arm around me.
And I fell asleep feeling safer than I have since I was born.
As the sunlight streaming into the room was beginning to hurt my eyes, I rolled over, forgetting about Dean.
“Hey, sleepy-head.” I heard Dean say, I tried to smile but I don’t know if it looked like I was even alive. My hair had to be a mess, and my make-up had to be really bad. I couldn’t help thinking that Dean might just leave me to die here in Kanzano.
Then I remembered I had my pocket mirror in my pocket still. I pulled it out and looked at myself.
“Ugh!” I groaned and pulled the blanket over my face.
Dean laughed. “If it makes you feel any better, I think you look sexy.”
I groaned again. “No you don’t.” I said from under my blanket.
Dean laughed again. “Let me prove it.” I felt him gently move the blanket from over my head and he gently kissed my lips. I pushed him off me and covered myself again, playing hard to get, and still not feeling great about myself.
“You’re just trying to make me feel better.” I mumbled.
“You wanna bet?” Dean leaned over me, and kissed me again, gently at first, then more passionate. I still was being stubborn, but I found myself kissing him back.
Psht! So much for that. I gave up trying to be stubborn and wrapped my arms around his neck to kiss him back.
These couple of gentle kisses turned to a very intense make-out session.
“Mallory, I will love you forever, no matter what you look like. Even though you look good always.”
I smiled and got out of bed. I forgot about my pocket mirror, and it fell of the bed and broke into a million pieces.
“Oh, shoot!” I should have known that once there were sharp mirror fragments everywhere I should have just got back into bed and waited until someone less clumsy (Dean) would help me around it. But no, I decided to quickly pick up the pieces of the mirror, myself. But, being my clumsy self, I stumbled over absolutely nothing, and stepped on the shards of glass.
Of course, then I fell on my hands trying not to put weight on my feet because they were cut, and, I’m sure bleeding over the floor. So now, my hands and foot had little pieces of glass in them and they were immensely bleeding.
“Don’t move!” Dean ordered. I obeyed.
Gently Dean wrapped his arms around me and picked me up as if I was a feather. Just as gently as he picked me up he put my down several feet away from the dangerous (only to me) shards of glass.
By this time, I already had a few tears flowing down my cheeks. It hurt really badly! I tried not to show it, to be strong, but I couldn’t help myself. I turned my head away, so maybe Dean wouldn’t notice my tears. But of course, he did, so he came over to me, crouched down and kissed my cheeks.
“Mal, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to get this glass out.”
I closed my eyes, imagining the pain. I simply nodded. Pretty soon, the pain was overwhelming, and my vision turned red and blurry. “Mal? Mallory? Can you hear me? We’re going to take you back to my village. Cierra was a nurse.”
All of a sudden it felt like I was flying, and the feeling almost overwhelmed the pain. I said almost. But as soon as the flying sensation begun, it stopped, and the pain was almost too much to handle. I blacked out. I HATE when I black out, because I can still feel and hear everything, I just can’t see. Everything’s black.
So when I felt myself being laid down on a bench or something I knew the pain was just going to get worse. I whimpered, without meaning to.
Unfortunately, Dean must’ve heard me.
“Mal? Mally?” He spoke my name aloud. At this point, I realized he really did love me, because right there, when he said my name, so much pain, so much worry was in his voice. It made me want to open my eyes (which I couldn’t) and tell him that I was OK (which I wasn’t) and tell him to stop worrying. But like I said, I was far from OK, actually I was horrible, and the only good thing about this was I could feel Dean’s warm hands gripping mine, his warm body right next to mine. I knew that Dean would be with me, through everything, at least while I was still in Kanzano.
Then I could feel Dean’s warm lips kiss mine, “Mallory, don’t worry, I’ll protect you. I hope this doesn’t hurt very badly, but we have to do it. You might have infections.” Then he bent down and kissed me again.
Then, while Dean was still by my side, I felt thin, cold, metal (kind of like tweezers) start picking at my feet. That’s when the blazing pain went up a thousand notches and I unconsciously bit my lip to keep from screaming. Dean must have been watching me the whole time because he noticed that I could feel the pain and I felt him put his arm around me and kiss my forehead.
Thankfully, after a while the pain faded away as I finally drifted into unconsciousness.
Ugh! I felt like my head was filled with cement! I tried to force my eyes open and sit up, but it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t remember where I was, or what happened. It didn’t feel like I was in my bed. I didn’t remember why I felt like this. Did someone get me drunk? But then again, I don’t know what it feels like to be drunk, but all the people on TV act kind of like how I feel. Then I remembered Dean.
Gosh, Mallory! Why are you thinking of a book, when someone may have gotten you drunk? Or worse.
But, for some reason, Kanzano felt like more than a book.
I finally forced my eyes opened, and a groan accidently escaped my lips.
I felt eyes on me. Was my mother in the room with me? Oh, if she was I was SO grounded, because she would think I was drunk.
Whoever was in the room with me came near me and put their hand and my arm.
Their hand was rough. It felt like someone’s hand that worked outside a lot. It couldn’t be my Dad. He worked in an office.
“Mallory?” It wasn’t someone in my family. It wasn’t even an adult’s voice. But it’s a voice I loved. That I would recognize on my deathbed. And then I remembered that Kanzano isn’t just a book. My past experiences came rushing back to me, and I groaned again, remembering how clumsy I was when I fell on the glass.
I groaned. I most likely looked worse than I did this morning. “Go ‘way!” I muttered.
Dean laughed; he must’ve known what I was talking about because he didn’t go away.
“Cierra used to be a nurse. She took all the glass out of your hands and feet and bandaged them up. You also had some cuts on your face. Don’t know how that happened, but it did. Cierra cleaned you up a bit too.”
I relaxed a little, knowing Cierra has good taste, and I probably looked a little better. But when I opened my eyes to look at myself I didn’t think I would be in a whole different outfit, including shoes. Surprisingly, there was a full sized mirror in front of the bed I was lying on, and I sat up to admire the shirt. That’s when I realized my bandaged hands.
I groaned. Oh, no! I wasn’t going to be able to do anything with these. I glanced at my foot. Agh! But then my focus turned back to my outfit in the mirror. It was cute. It was a flowing, pink blouse with flowers on it. I looked at my pants. Dark, blue shorts, with a flower stitched in pink thread on the side. I had pink converses on, too. Well, only one converse, because my other foot was wrapped in bandages. My hair was smoothly combed out and I even had fresh make-up on. I looked good actually.
But I looked over at Cierra, who was busy making something in the kitchen. She was dressed like an Indian would be. Animal skins made into a blouse and skirt, with moccasins. If they didn’t dress like this, how did they have these clothes I could use?
But then I looked at Dean, and became surprised again. He was wearing khaki cargo shorts, with a plain blue t-shirt, and NIKE tennis shoes.
I was so confused right now, but Dean was staring at me, so I didn’t have time to think.
“Hey Dean, update please?” He seemed to know what I meant because he started right into my condition.
“Well, you don’t have any infections, luckily, so your hands and your foot will only have to be wrapped for three days.”
“But—“ I tried to interrupt.
“We have some crutches you can use until you can walk on your own again.” He smiled, as he pulled out a pair of modern looking crutches. Again, I was very confused. “Or if you wish. I can carry you.” He grinned.
“That’s alright; I think I’ll manage with the crutches. But thank you anyways.”
Slowly, I swung my feet over the edge of the bed, very tenderly, but it didn’t help that I couldn’t use my hands either, as I slowly lowered my stub of bandage to the floor along with my healthy foot. Dean quickly rushed to help me, he handed me the crutches and helped me rise.
“Do you know how to use crutches?” Dean asked me.
I smiled, sheepishly. I didn’t really wish to tell Dean about the 3 times I broke my ankle in 3 years.
“Oh, yeah. I should know someone like you would be a pro with these.” He laughed.
He was referring to how CLUMSY I was. Jeesh! How rude!
I put on my best pouting face. But I couldn’t keep it on, Dean flashed my a dazzling smile, and I
couldn’t stay mad. I felt absurd, walking around this village with crutches.
Then, noticing all the villagers eyes on me, I realized they were all dressed like Cierra was. Dean and I were the only ones dressed modern. Or maybe the future, maybe I went back in time, but that didn’t make sense either, why would Dean be dressed like a modern day boy? I was getting very confused and my head was starting to hurt so I just didn’t think about it anymore and followed Dean on my crutches.
“Dean, where are we going?” I asked him, trying to keep the curiosity out of my voice and sound like I was just making conversation.
It must not have worked because he chuckled and said “somewhere I didn’t take you the first day. But I think you’ll like it.”
I sighed. “Why do you always do that?”
He looked surprised. “Do what?”
“You never actually answer my question.” I answered as I watched his incredulous face. “All you do is give me one phrase that leaves me even more puzzled than before!”
He chuckled and gave me a kiss. It’s a good thing I had the crutches to hold me up, because I think I would have fell over, injured or not, once he gave me that kiss.
“You’ll love it. Trust me.” Dean whispered.
And I don’t think I could not trust him, so I hobbled along, as fast as I could, in silence, still wondering where we are going.
As when came nearer wherever we were going, I started to hear… swooshing? I don’t know how to describe it. It was like…
And then I it hit me. I knew what it sounded like. Like waves, crashing against the bluffs. I’ve heard that once before in my life and I never forgot it. I love the ocean!
But it couldn’t be anything other than an ocean could it? I couldn’t think of anything else that made a soothing sound such as that.
And sure enough, it was an ocean! I could see the waves spraying up above the hill. I gasped.
A worried expression covered Dean’s handsome face. He must have thought that my gasp was in fear; because he quickly reassured me everything would be OK.
But I guess it was possible for me. I would be looking at the waves below me, and I would stumble, just a little, but enough to throw me over the bluff into the ocean. Especially on these stupid crutches, it seemed so real. I tried to suppress a shudder.
“No, it’s OK, Dean. I love the ocean.” I told him. His expression softened. But mine really did become worried as I wondered how I would look at the beautiful waves crashing against the rock without falling.
“Follow me, there’s a simple path down to the beach that I’m pretty sure you can make.”
I looked around and the only trail I saw was a steep, rocky path, covered with a lot a brush and weeds.
I looked at him, disbelieving.
He followed my gaze, and chuckled. “No way, silly, I would never take you down that way! You wouldn’t even have to be injured to hurt yourself on that trail!” He chuckled again, as he walked, apparently, toward the easier trail. “I’m going to start calling that path the ‘Mal-Proof Trail’ He laughed to himself, apparently imagining me trying to get down that way.
I grimaced and rolled my eyes. But I followed him, watching out for even a tiny pebble that might trip me, and send me sprawling.
When we got to the trail, I was deeply impressed. Not only was the path cleared of all weeds and even little pebbles, that could only make me go flying, but it was also completely flat. It declined, a very tiny bit, going to meet the ocean but besides that it looked completely, and utterly harmless. I was beginning to feel a little better about this trip. Besides, the sun was beginning to set and that meant Dean and I could sit on the soft sand, and watch the sunset together.
“This is the Kanzati Ocean. The only ocean in all of Kanzano, but it takes up more than half of it.” Dean explained as we got to the sand.
I took my chances and walked to the water. It was beautiful. So clear, and I swore it sparkled. I looked like a million diamonds were lying just beneath the surface, and they were sparkling brilliantly. I could even see the fish swimming around. I saw a starfish, too! Oh, and was that a crab? I pointed all this out to Dean, while secretly promising myself I would come back here after three days.
The ocean extended out as far as I could see, and at the very end, the sun was just about to set and all shades of orange, red and yellow were gathering around it.
Just as I predicted, Dean and I sat on the soft sand, his arms around me, watching the sunset.
I was the happiest girl in the whole universe. Dean was my Romeo and I had my very own Love Story.
Kind of groggy, I forced my eyes open.
“Dean?” I moaned.
“I’m here.” I heard Dean’s familiar voice say.
“W-what happ-end?” I tried to ask, but my voice wasn’t working right.
“You fell asleep on the beach.” Dean simply said. It didn’t sound like he was telling the truth. I sat up and looked at his face. Something in his expression told me he was telling the truth, but not the whole truth. It almost seemed to me like he was waiting for me to figure it out on my own. Or part of it anyways.
I gave him a questioning look. But then I yawned, and with it came a big stretch. I reached my arms over my head, giving another big yawn. Wait. Something didn’t feel right. My hands. They felt…exposed. I glanced at them, over my head, then slowly brought them down to rest on my lap. The bandages were gone and they were healed. I looked at my palms. All that was left of my horrible accident was some nasty scars, but I didn’t mind, I had those everywhere. I looked at my foot. It was covered with the other pink converse.
Now I really gave Dean a confused look. “Dean? I thought that it was going to take three days for my injuries to heal.” I spoke softly, as if the injuries would hear me, they would come flying back to me, and I would have to use those horrid crutches again.
I rolled my eyes slightly. He did it again. “And why didn’t it?”
“Well,” he bean. “It’s a long story. Here goes. So, I have this friend, you know, like a creature, but he lives in the water. He breathes water and air. So, my friends name is Stinga. Stinga is…interesting. I’m sure, being where you’re from, wherever that is, you’ve never seen anything like him.”
Very confused and anxious to know what he was I interrupted to ask what Stinga was.
Dean hesitated before continuing. “Stinga is like a… um… a sea dragon.” He paused, obviously seeing how I would take his new friend.
I didn’t mind. This world was getting weirder as it went, so I was telling my brain to accept anything. I stayed silent.
After detecting no paleness on my face, and making sure I didn’t look dizzy, he continued. “But that’s not what he’s actually called. He’s actually a Leviathon.” He paused to see what my reaction would be, then went on. “When you were sleeping in my arms, well, Stinga poked his head out of the water and we just really had a normal conversation. But then he noticed your bandaged hands and your foot and stuff. You see, Leviathons have… a certain healing power. He healed your hands and foot before they were ready to be healed.” Dean looked nervous for some reason.
“Cool, when do I meet him?” I asked.
Dean gave me a confused look then a relieved look.
“Wait, how did you meet Stinga?”
This looked like it would be a better story for him to tell, for some reason. “Well, one day, a couple years ago, I was sitting on the edge of the bluff, letting my feet dangle over and…I don’t quite remember how, but I fell over the edge. I didn’t fall very long though because, that’s when Stinga caught me on his head. I was terrified at first; I had no idea what he was. But then I realized, he saved me, so he couldn’t be that bad. He started talking to me. He said that his name was Stinga and he was a Leviathon. He said that he’s the only one of his kind because the only other Leviathon was his wife, Taninim, but she mysteriously died, before they had any kids. He said he was very lonely, and from then on, I frequently visited him, and we became friends. But the soldiers don’t know about him. Stinga fears, if they do know, they will kill him. They’ve already killed all but one of the Kraken in the ocean, and that’s really surprising.”
I nodded my head. “So, what are we going to do today?”
“Well, I had something special I thought we could do today.” Dean began, thoughtfully.
“What is it?”
“I’ll just have to show you, but can I ask you a question first?” Dean asked.
“Well… I was wondering if you were… um…afraid of heights?” Dean asked guiltily.
“Um…” I gave an ashamed look to the floor. “Not very much, but….”
“OK, that’s all I needed to know, follow me.” Dean strode out of the club house door, and started down the stairs.
I started after him, with my completely healed foot, and murmured softly “There he goes again. Keeps me wondering.”
I don’t think Dean should’ve been able to hear that, but he must have because he chuckled under his breath.
Once we were in the woods, and Dean was weaving through the trees very fast, I had to run to catch up with him.
“So, just a hint?” I begged Dean.
“No way!” Dean laughed. “Then it wouldn’t be a surprise!”
“If you hadn’t noticed, I don’t like surprises much.” I laughed, too, then just kept silent because Dean was enjoying the idea of where we were going. “Oh, fine!” I tried to put on my best pouting face. I thought I could keep it up the whole walk there, but after five minutes I caught up to Dean and grabbed his hand with mine, telling him I forgive him.
He laughed and flashed a smile at me. “I’m still not telling you what we’re doing today.”
“Oh darn.” I said, sarcastically.
For the next five or some minutes Dean and I walked in silence. When we stopped, we were in a huge clearing. In the middle of the clearing was a three foot high tree stump.
I gave Dean another questioning look, but he ignored me and pulled out another whistle. But this one was gold, with a tiny inscription of a….horse….on the side. He blew. I didn’t hear any sound protrude from the tiny gold instrument. I just gave him more of a questioning look, but before he could answer, I heard wings flapping, and then I felt the strong breeze of air pushing me back. Unicorns? No, unicorn. Not plural.
Once the sleek, white, unicorn landed Dean lead me toward it. I followed him silently, not asking any questions, observing the unicorn.
Its white fur was sleeked back and it looked like it was glittering. It was HUGE in size. If it stood up on its back hoofs I would maybe come up to its mid-stomach. It had a golden horn on its forehead that was probably around 1 foot long. Its eyes matched its horn. Overall the unicorn looked very friendly.
Before I realized it, Dean had his hands around my waist and he tossed me up and placed me on the unicorns back.
Before I could say anything, Dean used the tree stump to jump on behind me. He put his strong arms around me and held on to the unicorn’s mane.
“But Dean---“ I tried to protest.
He started to explain. “Well, I figured you should do something you can’t do back where you come from.”
Well, I definitely could not do THIS in Wisconsin. “Wait. How’d you know we don’t have unicorns or… any flying animals that we can ride back in the United States?”
Dean looked guilty for some reason. He didn’t answer. “Hey! Look over there!” Dean pointed.
Immediately distracted I followed his gaze.
Wow! It was---beautiful. So colorful, and dazzling. What was it?
I looked at Dean for an answer. “Look again. I’m pretty sure you have these in The United States.”
I did look again. It took a while for me to realize it was a rainbow! Wow!
A real rainbow! And I was ten feet from it.
“A rainbow?” I gasped.
Dean smiled, and kissed my cheek. The unicorn went closer to the rainbow.
The closer we got the more brilliant and beautiful the rainbow became. It dazzled me, especially in the sunlight.
Dean took my hand and stuck it out so that it was in the rainbow. Colorful light shone on my hand, making my hand look purple, pink and blue.
I smiled at Dean. “So, can we like slide down the rainbow, like in the fairytale books or something?”
Dean laughed, and I blushed. “No, but take a look at this.” The unicorn swept down, close to the ground, but instead of land, the endless Kanzati Ocean lay before my eyes.
It was amazing. The water underneath us sparkled like a million gems, and I could see one small island in the middle of the ocean. The water was clear all the way to the bottom and I could see the fish and creatures dwelling there. We flew around the ocean on the unicorn for who knows how long but the next thing I knew it was beginning to get dark.
The unicorn swept to the ground really fast and I got my first wave of height dizziness. It landed on the beach we were on last night. Dean jumped off, and then held his hand out for me. It took me a while to concentrate, so Dean just pulled me off him. It just occurred to me that Dean seems to