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Bird of Paradise
Kitty stared blankly at the wall. Her eyes crossed and the white wall turned purple. A large pair of lips appeared; they spoke to her. “Kitty, follow the birds…the birds…the birds” The voice trailed off but once more the lips spoke. “Wake up Kitty! We’re going to the fair!” Kitty felt herself being shaken and she gasped. She looked up at her sister and realized she had fallen asleep.
“Qimmi, how long was I asleep?” she asked groggily, wiping a drool puddle off of her desk.
“I dunno, like ten minutes,” Qimmi answered impatiently, “C’mon Kitty! We’re going to the State Fair!”
“Ok, ok! I’m coming!” Kitty grabbed her lime green backpack, and slipped her yellow flip-flops on. She followed her eight-year-old sister, watching her blonde curls bounce, as she skipped merrily towards the front door. Kitty wrapped her finger around her own brown curls, pondering her odd dream. But her daydreaming was abruptly interrupted when her dad said “Kitty Melissa Ballimore! Get in the car!” through his cross voice his eyes twinkled with excitement. The State Fair was Mr. Ballimore’s favorite activity of the summer. Kitty ran to the car; she liked the fair too but didn’t share the same love of it as her family did.
“Fair, fair, fair we’re goin' to the fair!!!” Qimmi sang as they backed out of the driveway.
“Dad what are you doing? Mom’s not even in the car yet!” Kitty yelled. Just then Mrs. Ballimore came rushing out of the house waving her arms wildly. She caught up to the car and hopped in. Her large, pink, floppy hat was askew and her face was covered in white goop.
“Don’t you think you went a little heavy on the sunscreen today?” asked her husband
Mrs. Ballimore shook her head, “Better to be safe than sorry! Here have some!” she squeezed some out of a blue tube and spread it all over Qimmi’s face. Qimmi smiled. She looked like she just came out of a snowball fight. “Now it’s your turn Kitty!” said her mother, turning around in her seat awkwardly as the car bumped along the road.
“NUH UH I’m not letting you get any where near me with that face icing!” Mrs. Ballimore shrugged her shoulders and turned around again in her seat.
“Can I have cotton candy at the fair?” asked Qimmi. Kitty rolled her eyes; she stuck her forehead to the window and stared at the cows grazing in the pastures.
She knew the first thing she would do when she got to the fair. She would run out behind the old deep-fried pickle stand, and out into the beautiful valley below. She had done this since she was in fourth grade, and it was her special place that only a few choice people knew about. Now Kitty was in seventh grade, her mother asked her the day before if she was getting too old for it. Kitty had just rolled her eyes and shook her head, parents would never understand. Now they were pulling into the grass “parking lot”. Qimmi hopped up and down in her car seat. Kitty got out of the car and grabbed her backpack and ran off toward the pickle shack, calling out “I’ll meet you at four o’clock down by the Ferris Wheel!” She came up to the shack and ordered a deep-fried pickle with cheese, (another fair tradition).
“Hello there, Ms. Kitty Ballimore! How has your year been?” asked Mr. Chuckney, the long time owner of the pickle shack.
“Pretty good Mr. C! I got 1st place at the Creative Writing Fair this year!”
“O ho! Good for you!” He leaned down over the counter after handing Kitty her pickle, “Are you heading out to your â€˜Secret Valley’?” he whispered. Kitty nodded and off she went, flying over the hill. She ran past knick-knack shops, beading stations, and rides, all the way to the very bottom of the hill. And spread out before her was a field of buttercups and clover. Encircling this peaceful space was dense woods. She skipped to her favorite rock by a large oak tree, and sat, enjoying the warm summer breeze. She took a bite out of her pickle and unzipped her backpack. She pulled out her favorite black notebook, and ran her finger along the sleek spine. She pondered what new and exciting adventure Cassidy McDreavy (the heroine of Kitty’s own book series) would have next! Cassidy was a high spirited, girl who was always ready for a challenge! She had slogged through ice and snow in the frozen Tundra to save an innocent Eskimo child, passionately endured the heat of an endless desert to capture an evil spirit with nothing but a bottle of water, and an open heart. In her latest endeavor she slashed her way through the disease filled jungles of Peru to help the lost tribe of the Machi Gyru! Kitty wished she could be this courageous girl herself, but was just as content with writing about her. She opened her note book and flipped through the pages filled with finished and unfinished stories, scribbles, drawings, and inspiring tidbits until she reached a blank page. She brimmed with happiness as she touched the tip of her pencil to the top of the page…but then…she looked at the horizon realizing she still hadn’t figured out what adventure Cassidy would embark on. As she stared into the distance she noticed something across the valley, something she had never seen before. It was just a blur, but a large thick blur. Kitty was sure her eyes were playing tricks on her, but she stood up. She squinted, but still couldn’t make it out. Looking at her watch she decided she had plenty of time to go check it out.
She grabbed her notebook, pencil, and back-pack and sprinted across the field. The wind whipped through her hair as tall grasses swayed. Always keeping her eyes on the blur she sprang through the valley like a jack-rabbit. Finally, she was in a place where the trees seemed to grow taller and the grass sprang up in wild bunches. Kitty noticed none of this; she stood mouth agape at the “blur”. It wasn’t a blur anymore, it was a huge trellis surrounded by the most magnificent flowers she had ever seen. Behind the trellis was a tunnel of plants and flowers like Kitty had never imagined. She ran up to the trellis and touched an exotic looking flower. Some of the flowers Kitty had never seen before, others were more familiar. Peonies and marigolds lined the bottom of the trellis, while roses and other treasures climbed skyward. Kitty breathed in the glorious scent. She thought about venturing into the tunnel and she wasn’t sure of herself at first, but…”I won’t go in far, just a little bit, to smell the flowers,” she thought to herself. So she started walking through the tunnel stopping every few seconds to smell or touch a flower. She became so intoxicated by the sights and smells she lost track of time, and how far she had gone in…
“Well I had better head back.” she said aloud to the sunlight peeking through the vines. Kitty turned to her left, and then to her right. A chill went up her spine, “Which way did I come from?” she asked herself. Her mind raced trying to remember which path she took, but it all looked the same! She ran down the path to her left, she figured that this was how Gretel felt when the animals ate her bread crumbs! “I think I remember that flower; I know I’ve seen that vine before,” she tried to assure herself, but it wasn’t helping. She was definitely lost!
Kitty kept running but she was getting tired, there were many paths. It was more like a maze than a tunnel. “Why didn’t I pay attention!?” she scolded herself, Kitty’s math teacher Mrs. Igglebot had lectured her on that many times.
“You need to pay more attention Katherine Ballimore!” she would say.
“My name is Kitty,” Kitty would reply.
“There you go again Ms. Katherine! Not paying attention to the lesson! You shouldn’t go…” Kitty couldn’t remember the rest of Mrs. Igglebot’s lecture; she hadn’t paid attention. Kitty sat down, “squoosh!” Went something in her backpack, Kitty moaned and unzipped her pack. She recoiled as she extracted a very inedible deep-fried pickle. “How could this get any worse? She grumbled as she peered in at her cheese coated backpack. Thankfully her notebook had been rationed only a small portion of the yellow goo.
“Need some help?” asked a voice behind her. Kitty jumped and spun around, her wide eyes stared at the lips from her dream!
“Ok, I’ve officially gone insane,” she said.
“You’re not insane,” said the lips “you’re lost, don’t you remember what I said?” they asked.
Kitty racked her brain trying to recall what they said; once again she hadn’t paid attention.
“Nope, I don’t have an inkling,” she replied.
“Stop fooling around Kitty! I go to all the trouble of sending you a dream and you don’t listen at all!” the lips said, they seemed agitated.
“Look, um Ms. Lips,” (they had a woman’s voice) “I’m pretty sure this is a dream, I’ll wake up soon. I probably fell asleep on my rock under the oak tree!” Kitty reasoned.
“NO!” yelled the lips, “it is NOT a dream! For Pete’s sake FOLLOW THE BIRDS!!! AND MY NAME IS TRISHA!!” “Trisha” had run out breath and was panting heavily.
“Ok, ok!” said Kitty “I’ll follow the stupid birds! …now, where are these birds?” She asked, looking up at the twisting vines overhead. Trisha moved from side to side as if shaking some invisible head.
“Not the animals, the flowers!” She corrected.
“Oh you mean like, Bird of Paradise!” Kitty realized.
“Yes, Yes! Now look about you! Follow them!” said Trisha. As she spoke the pair of lips began to fade.
“Wait!” called Kitty, “don’t leave! I need your help!” but it was of no use, Trisha was gone. Kitty sighed; she kicked a pebble on the ground. She watched it skid over to the wall of plants across from her. It happened to land in front of a beautiful flower growing out of the ground. The flower was shaped like the beak of an egret. Its “feathers” that sat atop its “head” were yellow, orange, and purple. It was a Bird of Paradise.
Kitty grinned; she ran to the plant and searched around it for more. Another flower just like it was only a few inches away. Kitty walked up to it and found more snaking their way along the ground. She followed them and soon they were showing her the way to where Kitty hoped was the way out. Running now, her back-pack thumping against her as she eagerly chased after the flowers. “Thump-thump” she saw a flower, “thump-thump” Kitty spotted some red and yellow, “thump-thump”. The Birds of Paradise seemed to fly across the ground as they led her through path after path. As she ran Kitty checked her watch. Oh no! It was 3:30! She promised her parents she would meet them at 4:00! Kitty ran faster, she could see a light up ahead! It was getting, closer! The light was getting bigger and brighter, Kitty ran faster. She could feel the warmth of the sun, she ran more swiftly. The light was blinding now, Kitty was huffing and puffing. Until…she was out!
Kitty blinked; she was out of breath and had to sit down. She lowered herself onto a nearby rock. Suddenly Trisha appeared out of nowhere. “Well done Kitty!” she chuckled, “I knew you could do it! This time you paid attention to what I said.”
“Thanks!” Kitty said gratefully, “but I would never have gotten out of there if it weren’t for you.” Kitty smiled, and Trisha smiled back.
“See you in your dreams Kitty.” Trisha called as she faded away.
“See ya,” Kitty replied. She stood up and with all the might she could muster, sprinted through the valley and up the hill. Past the crowds and cotton candy, she arrived at the Ferris wheel. She calmly walked up to her family and gave them all a hug.
“Well! How was your time?” asked her mother. Kitty giggled,
“Oh, nothing special, except I know what Cassidy’s next adventure is going to be.”
“Do you?” her father inquired, “Tell us about it.” Kitty grasped Qimmi’s hand and said,
“Well, it all starts when Cassidy has a dream…”