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The Wondrous Place of Anything
It was 12 noon and I had done nothing but sit in my room all day, boring myself to death. My light pink walls were soundless as I stared at them throughout the long hours of the day.
Everything was quiet around the house. No Xbox blaring from downstairs; no bratty little sister bugging me every second of the day; no dad busting in my room to ask me to go golfing with him. Nothing. Nada. Silence. So where is everyone? As if a light bulb went off in my head, I decided to go explore around my house.
I hopped off the bed, my feet hitting the white carpeted floor with a soft thud. I made my way to my bedroom door and opened it, expecting to walk into the mysterious land of Narnia. However, I didn't. I only caught myself staring at an empty hallway with a dull wall smack in front of me. Shrugging my shoulders, I took a left, the staircase meeting my eyesight.
I walked down the wooden steps and into my dad's study, which was dimly lit. Nothing but a lamp on my dad's invisible desktop. The papers on his desk swallowing whole the polished oak wood.
My dad was too busy with his work to even notice me standing in the doorway. His eyebrow was creased, intently focused on his writings. The pen in his hand moved swiftly from left to right, not breaking contact with the paper. His glasses, with black rims around the square-shaped lenses, were hanging loosely off his nose. And the sleeves of his blue long-sleeve Polo were rolled up, exposing the werewolf in him. (My dad's not really a werewolf. His arms are just hairy like one.)
"Dad?" I said in a clear voice, causing my dad to snap out of whatever trance he was in.
"Yeah, Caitlin?" he looked over at me, taking off his glasses in the process.
"Where is everyone?" he sighed taking a deep breathe and cleared his throat.
"Well, your mother is on a company business trip. Your sister, Haley is at a sleep over. And of course, you already know your brother, Jeff, is at college. How come you asked?"
"Because I'm bored out of my mind and this house is so quiet. I'm so used to noise." I explained to him.
"Yeah, me too." my dad took another long sigh and looked at me with a smile.
"Hey. How about after I finish this paper work, we go for a movie of your choice? Sounds good?" my dad asked me. Well I couldn't argue with that so I nodded my head and said OK. I told him to just wake me up when he was through with mission impossible. That paperwork was something else.
I then went upstairs back to my boring room and laid on my bed, fixing to go to sleep. After counting sheep for five and a half minutes, I finally drifted off into the wonderful escape of my dreams.
I awoken with a startled expression. Where the heck was I? Everything around me was white. Nothing but white. The only color near me was my pink bed spread that I was securely wrapped around in. I moved the covers from their tight grip around me so I could place my two sock less feet on the ground. I got out of the bed, my feet placed on nothing but the endless white path.
"Hello? Is anyone here? Hello?" As if answering my prayers, walking up towards me was this purple polka dotted dog with a monocle placed on its left eye with a small black hat to accessorize it. "Hello, Miss. How are you this fine evening?"
"You're a dog." I said, stating the obvious.
"Well, you're very bright, Miss. How can I help you?" he asked me in his British accent.
"Where am I?" I looked around inquisitively.
"You, my dear, are in the Wondrous Place of Anything."
"What? The Wondrous Place of Anything?" This sounded so ridiculous. "There is no such thing as the Wondrous Place of Anything."
"Well sure there is mate. This place is great! You can dream up anything you want and it'll appear. Just say "I dream of..." whatever you want and it'll appear. But be careful. What you dream up can sometimes lead to grave danger. Oh and I'm Skippy by the way. And you are...?"
"I'm Caitlin." I told him. "So all I have to do," I walked around as I spoke, trying to possibly check out my surroundings, "is think of whatever I want to dream and it'll appear right now?"
"Yup." Skippy said, his voice confident and sure.
In great disbelief, I thought of the most dangerous, imaginary thing I could possibly think of. "Well in that case, I dream of a huge fire breathing dragon with razor sharp teeth and an ax as its tail." I crossed by arms waiting for something to happen and sure enough it did.
There was a green forest with all types of trees and birds. The jungle smelt of plants and rain. The was also the wonderful aroma of coconut and pineapple trees in the atmosphere. The sky was cloudy. There was no hint of sun coming out of the clouds. There were weird looking beetles and other mysterious creepy crawlers crawling on the different leaves. In the distance, I spotted a gray mountain with black smoke pouring out the top of it. "See there. I told you." Skippy told me.
"Yeah but where's the-" as if on cue, there standing right before my eyes was the most gigantic dragon I've ever seen. It was a light burgundy color with yellow eyes. The dragon had a snare on it's face, as if ready to loose its cool.
"Wow. That's cool. And scary. And big" I was incomplete shock. I could feel my mouth wide open and my eyes as big as the coconuts I smelt as I took in the mythical creature. So the dog was right. This really did work.
"Um..Caitlin, I think we might want to run in about five seconds." Skippy said to me, his voice was wavering with fear. Skippy was backing up slowly as the dragon started to come forward. "Okay so, maybe we should go. Now." I said looking up at the hideous beast.
I turned around and sure enough Skippy and I ran as fast as we could to get away from the angered creature. The dragon then started blowing fire. It glowed above our heads as we continued to run forward. I could feel the heat on my whole backside. The dragon's ax was digging through the ground, hard, making us loose our balance and take a nice little tumble down a hill. "Ahhhh!" we both screamed, hitting the bare soil with a loud noise. Darkness then hovered over us. We both turned around to see dragzilla towering over us like dinner. Scrambling to our feet, we took off as fast as we could. Panting, I looked over at Skippy, his face saying nothing but "I told you so."
"How do we stop this thing?" The dragon continued to blow hot boiling fire, causing trees to turn to ash and hopelessly fall to the ground. "Just say, "Away" as loud as you can!" the frantic dog told me.
"Away!" I yelled to the top of my lungs and just like that it was all gone. Nothing but the white surrounding us once again as we panted heavily for our breath.
"I'm so glad that's over mate." Skippy exclaimed to me, his tone of voice quite relieved.
I shook my head in agreement. I was still trying to catch my breath. I nearly had a freaking heart attack running from that stupid dragon. "So what now?" I inquired in between large gasps of breathe.
"Well, you can dream of something that is 100% safe and not something that could risk getting us killed this time. That would be great." Skippy's voice was dripping with sarcasm.
"Ha ha. Very funny dog. It wasn't that bad and the last time I checked we are still alive." I replied back.
"Yeah thanks to me. I'm the one that told you what to say to get us out that near death experience you dreamed of."
"Whatever. So what do I want to dream up now?" I thought about this very carefully.
"Please, just this time let it be something where we're not being chased by anything." the dog begged.
"Okay. I've got it! I dream of me climbing Mount Everest!"
Once I said the magical words, my surroundings changed once again. I was in a totally new position. I was in a large fur coat and a nice snug hat. I also had on gloves and snow boots. I was in the climbing position and could feel the coldness of the mountain through my thick gloves. My breath was coming out in white little clouds. The Arctic air chilled me as I looked around at the beautiful scenery. Everything around me was white and blue. The sky was baby blue with clouds of white stretching across it.
Having enough of my surroundings, I decided to start climbing the mountain. I reached for the next icy rock as I kept pulling myself up further and further up the mountain. I kept climbing to what felt like hours, maybe even days. Mount Everest was a pretty huge mountain and I was determined to climb it to the very top. Nothing was going to stop me.
After climbing for a while up the gigantic mountain, I decided to take a break to relaxed my muscles and catch my breathe. While taking a break, I realized that I was completely and utterly alone. Where was Skippy? I wondered to myself. Out of nowhere I hear my name being called. "Hey, Caitlin!" I turned my head to see Skippy with a jet back pack on. What was he doing? "What are you doing?" I asked him. He was supposed to be climbing the mountain with me. Right?
"Well, when you said those magic words, you said you dreamed of you climbing Mount Everest. You never said anything about me. Therefore, in my head, I dreamed of myself in a jet back pack. Ain't it cool, mate?" he explained to me.
"Yeah, it's awesome," I told him, not really ecstatic about it.
"Well, I'll meet you at the top. And remember, don't look down," I watched Skippy as him and his jet book bag took off up the tall mountain. Well that's just great. The talking dog had a better way up the mountain than I did. Awesome.
Sucking it up, I continued to climb on. I climbed more miles further up the mountain before I decided to stop and take another break. Catching my breathe, I looked around. Out of curiosity I looked down just to see how far I had climbed. That was really bad idea. I was suddenly afraid to go any further and I then began to panic.
"Oh no. Why the heck did I look down?" I asked myself, feeling stupid and regretful. I then wanted to get down and have gravity undefined. I wanted my feet flat on the ground. Therefore I attempted to go the opposite way I came up this mountain, which meant I was climbing down. I couldn't take the height. It was just to frightening. As I thought about my feet touching planet earth, I suddenly slipped while climbing down.
"Oh my gosh!" I held on to the mountain and tried to slowly climb down again. I knew I was on the edge of death right now and I didn't want to risk falling completely down the mountain.
I continued to climb down carefully before losing my grip and slipping again. This time though, I was actually falling down the mountain. I felt weightless in the air and scared for my life. I felt as though my brain would go splat when I hit the frozen surface. At least that was what I was expecting anyway. I nearly peed in my pants when I saw how close I was to the white snow. I could tell gravity was against me. My heart was pounding so fast I didn't know what to do. I felt like Alice falling down the hole. Only, I had nothing to catch my fall but the icy ground that was inching closer as I continued to helplessly fall.
I wanted to get out of this place. I hated the feeling of falling with nothing there to catch me. Just then I remembered the words Skippy told me to say as loud as I could and with all my might. "Away!" I yelled and just like that Skippy and I were back at square one.
I was back in the beginning. Repeating what I had about a million times over. Nothing new whatsoever. It was an endless cycle that just repeats itself.
I loOKed down at Skippy. "What should I dream of next?"
"I don't know mate. What do you have in mind?"
"Well, I was thinking about being a super duper famous rock star," I told him. As corny and cliche as it sounds I've always wanted to sing onstage, but I've always been shy about it.
"Well you know the magic words," Skippy told me.
"OK, " I toOK a deep breathe, calming my nerves. even when I wasn't saying the magic words I was still nervous. I knew what I was up against-I was facing my biggest fear and it was pretty scary. I knew it was a dream, but even in a dream, performing in front of people felt real. I could feel myself shaking and shrinking in fear. I could also feel myself sweating. The little beads of sweat were slowly trickling down my forehead.
"You alright, mate?" I felt Skippy rub up against my legs and I petted his forehead, rubbing my fingers through his soft fur.
"No I'm not OK Skippy. I'm scared," I confided in him, feeling like I told him my deepest darkest secret in the world. Skippy loOKed at me with a huge question mark on his face, while I sat down beside him crossing my legs, Indian-style.
"You? Afraid? What are you afraid of? You're one of the bravest people I know mate. Who had the guts to attempt to climb Mount Everest in a dream? Or what about running away from a fire breathing dragon? You did Caitlin. You're the bravest dreamer I know, mate," Skippy had convinced me. I really appreciated his faith in me. He was a good bud. I would miss him when I wOKe up.
I chuckled at him and rubbed the top of his head once again. "Thanks, Skippy. I am brave aren't I?"
"Yes you are mate," Skippy, smiling at me said.
I got off the floor and toOK a deep breathe, calming my nerves. Here goes nothing. I thought to myself as I prepared to face my fears head on.
I said the repetitive words once again, this time dreaming I was on stage with my guitar, Lucky, by my right aid. My voice was shaking and the palm of my hands were sweaty as I said those familiar words. Skippy heard the sound of my voice and told me to relax, that I didn't have to be nervous in my very own dream.
When I was through saying the magic words, I found myself in front of thousands of screaming fans. I noticed that Skippy was in the front row waiting for me to start singing. I looked around on stage and saw my band. I had one guy drummer in the back and two girl guitarists on my left and right side. They were busy staring at the audience or fixing their instruments.
I looked out into the crowd again. I could see a little girl jumping up and down excited screaming, "I love you, Caitlin! You're my role model!". I also spotted a dude with a funky looking Mohawk throwing up the peace sign yelling, "Whoa! You rock!" I looked around at all my other fans and they were all cheering for me and eager to hear me sing.
"Hey Houston, Texas are y'all ready to rock tonight?" the girl guitarist on my left said. The crowd responded with a loud set of "Woo-hoos" and "Oh yeahs".
"Well alright, we're gonna get started and I hope you all have a rockin' time tonight!" the guitarist told the roaring crowd. The drummer started to count off and immediately began to play. "1,2,3,4!"
The music came to me slowly, even though the tempo had a good upbeat rhythm. Everything was moving pretty quick: the crazed crowd, the band playing my music, my uncontrollable breathing, my racing heart. Everything was spinning out of control and I was almost in full panic attack mode until I heard Skippy grab my attention.
"Hey mate! You have to sing! Sing the song mate! Don't be shy!" Skippy yelled at me. I nodded my head slowly and began to open my mouth hoping my voice would come out. It didn't. I took a deep breathe and closed my eyes and thought of nothing but silence. I pictured my self in my room. Just me sitting on my bed with my confident, Lucky. I pictured myself relaxing in the cool fall breeze. Then I began to play, hitting the first few strings on the guitar. The strings vibrated under my fingertips. I opened my eyes and continued to play the beginning of the song, still picturing myself in my room. I drowned the crowd out completely including Skippy and just focused on the music. My music.
I opened my mouth once again to actually sing and this time I was successful. My voice filled the speakers, coming out loud and clear. It was soft and unusual. Very strange. It didn't sound like me at all, even though I knew it was.
Once I began to sing more of my lyrics, it became natural, second nature. I began to respond to the crowd and interact with them, touching hands and pointing the microphone towards them to give them an even bigger voice than they already had.
I was a true rock star in that instant. I knew it, the crowd knew it, and Skippy knew it. And for the rest of the night, I rocked and moved with the crowd and my music.
When my concert was over Skippy and I decided to take a break from our adventures. Therefore, we decided to just chill out for a bit. I dreamed of Skippy and I at a park having a picnic under a big oak tree.
The picnic basket was stuffed with lots of food and fruit. We ate fresh bologna sandwiches with plain potatoes and homemade chocolate chip cookies. We ate fruit like peaches, strawberries, and kiwi that dripped sweet juice down our chins when we bit into them. We also had fresh lemonade to top it off.
The weather outside was gorgeous and so were our surroundings at the park. The sun smiled down on us and the warm breeze caressed our cheeks as it softly blew. There was a bridge with a brick path and white railing with a small lake under it about 100 feet away. There were big oak trees and different types of birds. There was also a swing set and a jungle gym with a kid friendly rock climbing wall.
While at the park Skippy and I talked about everything. We talked about our families and our interests and our dream jobs.
Skippy told me that he was a married dog with a wife named Lola and three puppies named Mike, Linda, and Wendy. Skippy lived in London with his family and told me that The Wondrous Place of Anything was his favorite job and that he was only doing it part time. He told me he wanted to do it full time-that it was his dream job- but couldn't because he had to get home to take care of his family. He knew his family needed him and he wanted to be there for his children and support them. I told them that it was good he put his family before work and spent time with them everyday.
Skippy also told me how he got started with this job. He got the job two years ago from an elephant who was retiring and was looking for someone to do his job. Skippy told him that he was interested and wanted to do it, but only part time since his wife was getting ready to have kids.
"This job is my passion," Skippy told me with a sincere voice. "With every kid I meet, I tell them that anyone can dream no matter how old, young, big, or small. I tell them that no dream is stupid. That every dream they have is important and will one day come true,"
I smiled at Skippy and petted him on the head. "That's good Skippy. It's really good," I said to him.
"So what about you mate? What's your life like?" he inquired.
"Well, my life is like any other kid's life. I'm in the sixth grade. I have two siblings-a younger sister and an older brother. My brother, Jeff, is in college and attends Ohio State University and my sister, Haley, is at a sleepover. I live with my mom and dad. My dad's a lawyer and my mom's works for a company selling makeup and is currently on a business trip in Japan. My family is from Ohio where we live now.
"Now about my dream job. I either want to be a lawyer like my dad or something in the entertainment industry like a singer or an actress or a comedian. I haven't decided yet. My parents want me to become a lawyer, but my true passion is music and entertaining people. And that's all about me and my life.
Skippy nodded his head and he had listened to everything I told him. "You really should get into music Caitlin. You're really good at singing,"
"Thanks but we'll see what happens on down the rode,"
Things then grew silent and Skippy and I just stared at the red and orange sun as it was setting on the park. I didn't want this whole entire dream to end, but I knew it had to. It was ending sooner than I thought.
"I'm glad I met you Caitlin. You're a good buddy. I'll miss you when you wake up. Promise to see me again?" Skippy asked in a hopeful voice.
"Oh course I will Skippy. I'll come back and visit every time. Promise."
There was another moment of silence as Skippy and I looked at the sun. I then stood up and dusted myself off.
"Well, I guess it's time for me to wake up. I can actually hear my dad coming up the stairs. Weird how this dream works," I said.
"Yeah I can hear him too,"
"See you next time, mate?" I asked Skippy, calling him his pet name for me.
"Yup. See you next time, mate. Oh and Caitlin?" he smiled up at me.
"You're never to old, young, big, or small to dream," I nodded my head at this and told him I knew and thanks for everything.
And for the last time, until next time of course, I closed my eyes and said the magic word that could get me out of any dream, this time for real.
I slowly awakened with the sound of a knock at the door and my dad softly calling my name.
"Caitlin, honey? Are you awake?"
I felt my dad coming closer and his hand gently shaking me awake. I woke up feeling groggy and out of place.
"How was your nap?" I thought about his question and smiled. How to begin?
And for the rest of the day, I told my dad all about my crazy adventures and the wonderful dog I met named Skippy.