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land of the weeble wobble
“Layla do the laundry if you want to go to the movies tonight!” Joe, her dad, yelled over Zoey’s screaming and crying.
“But dad...” Layla complained. She was commited to going to the movie “the labyrinth” and has been for months.
“No buts Layla. Oh yeah and Zoey’s coming up to help you because she is looking for her favorite sock… it’s missing,” Her dad replied.
“Fine!” Layla muttered grumpily as she walked into the laundry room with Zoey sobbing close behind. “Okay Zoey, why don’t you look in the dryer. Maybe it got stuck in there,” Layla said trying to hide the smirk on her face as little Zoey climbed in to the dryer searching for her red and yellow sock. As quick as a leopard Layla closed the dryer not wanting to miss a single chance to make her little sister even more miserable. Zoey kicked and screamed and… she stopped… silence.
“Zoey?!” Layla questioned, but suddenly dropped to her knees in horror for… Zoey wasn’t there! Layla for no reason at all jumped in the dryer and closed herself inside without thinking. She squeezed her eyes shut only for a moment and screamed when she opened her eyes, she realized that the dryer turned in to a shoot and she was reaching the end of it.
Boom! Layla hit the floor hard but didn’t mind at all because she was dumbstruck by the world around her. It was colorful but much smaller than she was used to. And then of course she noticed piles of socks every where and an occasional tank top or other item of clothing lying around.
“Excuse moi ma’m, but I need to record what shoot number you came from,” A small old man said.
Layla looked at a few shoots realizing they had numbers on them. “Um… I believe it was shoot number twelve,” Layla replied maturely. The small man lifted his head, slightly surprised and motioned her to follow him.
“Is this yours?” The man pointed to little Zoey crying in a corner as programmed the shoot number in to a record sheet.
“Yes! Thank you so much!” Layla crouched down beside Zoey letting go a sigh of relief. She gave Zoey a hug just as the poor little girl realized Layla found her.
“Excuse me sir but do you know how we can find our way back to our house?” Layla questioned politely.
The man looked very surprised and then sadly answered, “I’m terribly sorry ma’m but there is only one way out, and only the king, queen, and guards know it but they won’t say how!” This answer caught Layla and Zoey by surprise and Zoey started crying again.
“But there must be some other way!” Layla protested.
“Well… I can show you to the maze but most people never make it out,” The man replied uneasily.
“We’ll do it!” Layla and Zoey both agreed knowing it was their only choice. The man smiled and motioned for them to follow him once more.
“I’m Alex by the way,” the small man introduced himself to them, his accent more casual this time. “Try to keep up, my schedule is very inflexible and I don’t have much time.”
A little while later the man came to a stop, “All right here we are, best be careful now. Oh yeah, and here is a paper and pencil, it might come in handy later.” Layla held out her hand as she stared at the gigantic maze.
“It’s like the Labyrinth we read about in English,” Layla muttered while curiosity and questions filled her head. She blinked realizing she’d been staring it down for quite some time.
She glanced down at Alex, nodded her heads in thanks and walked into the maze, Zoey in one hand, pencil and paper in the other. She turned around to say goodbye, but Alex was already gone.
“I’m weady if you awr,” Zoey said trying to imitate Layla’s favorite saying which made both of them just laugh.
“I am too, Zoey,” Layla giggled. Layla remembered how much Zoey liked to help hold things for people. Layla put Zoey in charge of holding the paper and writing an L for left and an R for right and an S for straight each time they changed directions.
The maze was covered in vines and had a sweet floral like aroma covering the floor and walls. Zoey was having a joyful time. Layla though sensed misery, distrust, and danger nearby. She held Zoey’s hand tighter realizing that all of this sounded very familiar like it was from a story she read a long time ago. Right before they Layla almost became revocative and gave up, something happened.
Layla reached in her pocket like it was destiny telling her to. She pulled out a piece of paper folded into a small square. Layla slowly unfolded it, to find in big letter at the top of the page was written The Labyrinth. It wasn’t her English paper… she hadn’t seen this paper before, let alone put it in her pocket. Yes. This was destiny.
“Zoey,” Layla suddenly stopped in her tracks, “can I see your directions?”
“Mmhhmmm,” Zoey proudly smiled at her best work before handing it to her older sister for inspection. Layla gave her a thumb up and a smile before turning around. Zoey stopped, then turned around and skipped beside her to keep up with her pace.
“What are ya doin’?” Zoey said trying to keep up.
Layla put her finger to her lips to silence little Zoey as they reached the opening to the beginning of the maze.
“Hurray!” Zoey jumped up and down in delight, “We’re finally here!”
Layla frowned as she looked down at her little sister’s cheerful face. “No Zoey, we are back at the beginning. This time we are going to try a new way,” Layla forced herself to try to look convincing.
Zoey only nodded in response trying to hold back tears. Layla had little confidence in the mysterious paper, but she reached out just enough to put some faith in it.
She and Zoey had been following those directions for quite some time, about ready to give up when they saw a door. This was no ordinary door, it was a magical door. Of course no one really had to say it, it was easily sensed by almost anybody.
Zoey didn’t even have to think about it before she moved. She jumped high in the air once, ran to the door, tried to open it, but realizing how heavy it was, recreated her approach and hugged the door instead.
Layla knew she wasn’t anywhere she had to be civilized so she did the same thing Zoey did, only skipping the opening the door part and saving it for later.
Zoey and Layla held hands and spun around happily trying to savor such an exciting moment. They both lost grip of each others hands and fell to the ground. They giggled and laughed holding the moment as if it was going to last forever.
Finally, Zoey and Layla pulled themselves off the ground, still trying to spare the moment as they pulled and pried and finally swung the door open. They stared in awe at the old doorway, clearly not used for quite some time. To their dismay, they found that they weren’t anywhere near the end of the maze and as they stepped inside, the door slammed shut behind them. A voice boomed and echoed throughout the room, “Congratulations, you are the one and only group or person to make it to the halfway point. Either you were the chosen child by the Queen Goddess or all of your turns were very lucky.”
“Wh-who are you?” Layla stammered, holding Zoey closer to her as she stared wide-eyed at the dark hall.
“I am the Queen Goddess,” a new voice said as they watched an old lady with pale skin, blue eyes, a red dress, and a silver crown come out of the shadows, “but the echoing voice was just an old recording.”
By this time, Layla had Zoey clinging to her like a kitten with claws nice and sharp. “Was I the chosen child?” Layla cautioned herself to limit the questions popping into her head.
“Why of course child, what do you think, it was actually possible that all your guessed turns were all just really lucky?” The Queen Goddess motioned for them to follow her as she gracefully walked into the bitter darkness. Just as Layla thought she had lost the Queen for sure, a light was found in the distance and the Queen appeared walking steadily in front of her once more.
Layla and Zoey stood in a dim-lit room only moments later staring in awe at a long round table filled with food, from apples and fruits to chicken and all the food in the world you can think of. The appetizers preceded the main meal of course, but dessert was eaten in between each bite.
The Queen Goddess had three seats pulled out and sat in one at the very end. She held out a welcoming hand inviting them to take a seat and join her feast.
“Zoey!” Layla criticized looking at her disapprovingly, “Don’t be so rude!” Layla glanced apologetically at the Queen Goddess who in spite forced a smile for the sweet civilized child. Zoey gave in reply a satisfying sigh to interpret for her stuffed stomach which gurgled its thanks to itself.
After the delicious, fulfilling meal, Layla and Zoey thanked the Queen Goddess for the wonderful meal and headed on their way.
“Be careful. There are some nasty creatures in the last half,” the Queen warned as they headed off to their own miserable destiny.
Little Zoey had many ideas of terrible creatures…she had quite an imagination. Zoey could only hope that if the creatures bite they wouldn’t go through the epidermis. But even so, the littlest things made Zoey cry the most and of course that’s just what happened…Zoey lost her shoe in quicksand.
“But Zoey,” Layla explained, “There are plenty of shoes, look around.” Zoey looked around and to her surprise, for the first time, she noticed piles of shoes. She took repossession of her hope and looked around.
She saw one that looked like the perfect size and pulled it on. “Oh look!” Layla pointed to a new pair of Nike Platforms. “I’ve always wanted these…and they’re my size too!” Layla looked around but didn’t see Zoey anywhere, “Oh well,” Layla thought, “She probably is behind a pile of shoes.” Layla put on the shoes excitedly. She blinked for a moment and when she opened her eyes she was sliding right behind Zoey down a chute.
Plop! They both landed laughing at the soft landing made by…their clothes. They landed in their hamper in their house.
“Layla, your friend is here, are you done with the laundry?” Their dad called over their giggling.
Layla smiled when she looked in the dryer and saw that two loads were done! “Yeah. I’ll be down in a sec,” Layla yelled happily as she helped her sister out of the hamper and hugged her goodbye. “Don’t tell,” Layla whispered to Zoey as they did their secret handshake to seal the deal.
“Ok. Wait,” Zoey said, “Wait what’s this?” Zoey asked peeling off a note from the dryer.
Layla glanced at it and read: Dear Layla and Zoey, I would like to congratulate you for completing the maze. You two are one unbeatable pair and I invite you to come back anytime. To thank you I had a few people do your laundry. Thank you again, The Queen Goddess, Hera.
When Layla finished reading it aloud, she laughed. “This is your sock!” Layla handed it to Zoey and left. That day Zoey had went from dependent to independent very quickly and both of their lives were changed for good.