Words on Wednesday

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 by Travis Cody in
13

I was a little busy after work yesterday, and I was fiddling with the new Blog Talk Radio formats. I got all registered and listened to Dr Blogstein, and then time kinda got away from me and I hadn't made rounds, and yada yada yada.

I finally got organized and made it out to a few blogs. I'll catch up with everyone as we move through the week. Isn't it funny? I've just been through about two months of long work days. Now that's finally over, and I get busy and distracted at home. Sheesh!

And then came the thought...about what will I blog tomorrow? Do I go wordless? Well, obviously not. I'm avoiding a certain sensational story about a certain notorious celebrity. My weekends are filled up with sports, so I don't want to alienate my non-sports fan readers.

Ah-hah! Post some more of A Quest for Special Friends. That's a very good idea.

If you'd like to read previous chapters of my childrens story, click here.

Get your woobies and hold them close now. There's a bit of a skeery part.

Chapter Five

Miles and miles away, almost in another world, stood a menacing structure, huge and ugly, hidden in a gnarled glen of dead willow trees. The willows stank of rot, bark peeled away and littered the ground. The trees would have fallen long ago, but for the sheer numbers that populated the forest. Dead roots entwined about each other, rotting trunks leaned against each other, cracked and broken limbs lodged against each other.

The foul smell of the forest kept most folk out of the wood, but the speculation of What Might Lay Beyond ensured that they would stay well away. Thus did this area of Yesumay Land receive its name, No No Corner. Once a valiant hero had proposed an expedition into the forest, many years ago when it had been less dead and forbidding. The hero searched and searched all of the land, but everyone he asked gasped and shouted in horror, “No, no! Please not me!” The hero, undaunted, ventured into the forest alone, and disappeared.

The place had been dubbed No No Corner, the forest had continued to die, and the reputation of What Might Lay Beyond had grown.

Many years later, something emerged from No No corner. It was old and wrinkled, nearly wasted away from lack of proper food and water. It needed a bath. Some youngsters found it and took it home. They were very careful with it, since it seemed that just the slightest jostling caused it great pain.

The youngsters took the thing to the elders of Yesumay Land at that time, and it was finally determined that this deformed, nearly dead thing was the valiant hero that had ventured into the gnarled forest of dead willows so many years before. Before the hero succumbed to total dehydration and starvation, he told of horrible beasts and monsters that lived deep within the wood. He said that in the very center of the gnarled forest there was an immense castle made entirely of black glass. The hero had never been able to get inside the castle, nor had anyone ever come out to help him with food or drink. The hero didn’t know if anyone even lived inside the castle. The glass was streaked with slime, and didn’t look like it had been cleaned since the beginning of time. The castle was surrounded by a fetid moat of sour bean juice.

Stories grew from this vague tale of the Black Glass Castle With Streaky Windows. The people of Yesumay Land could not let the sleeping forest lie. They traveled to the very edges of the forest, their curiosity getting the best of their good judgment. Most times, these adventurers ran screaming from the forest as they spotted strange creatures within the willow trunks. Finally, some nearby villages posted look-outs, and they reported still more odd sightings. The beasts they described were so terrifying, that a legend grew of a nasty Master of Beasts who lived inside the castle. No one had ever gotten a clear glimpse of such a person, but all the people of the land came to believe that only a person of evil intent could be responsible for creating such a catalog of gross and scary creatures.

Thus, the legend of the Evil Sourpuss, Mr. Blotchy, who lived in a Black Castle With Streaky Windows, deep within the bowels of the gnarled forest of dead willow trees, took root and began to grow.

Deep in the dark dungeons of that very Black Castle, did indeed reside the mysterious person of legend. Although none had actually met him to prove his existence, not even the poor valiant hero, his evil doings had plagued Yesumay Land. And now he had perpetrated his greatest, most evil act – he had kidnapped the Special Friends of Yesumay Land and disrupted the happy life of all the people.

As he sat in his darkness, surrounded by the captured Special Friends, the Evil Sourpuss brooded over his next move. The more he brooded, the less he accomplished. Something affected his nasty musings. He couldn’t quite point to the source of the disturbance, but his concentration was broken. He roared, and raged about the dungeon, startling and frightening the Special Friends.

He didn’t know it, but his most productive ugly mood had been touched by just a shade of Princess Tonya’s hug. The glow had been halted by the imposing dead forest, but some of its intensity filtered through the gnarled glen and soaked past the sour moat to splatter against the streaky glass.

The Hug had come to No No Corner. Though mostly thwarted, it marked a path through the gnarled glen of dead willow trees that stout hearted rescuers might follow.


Chapter Six

The rain had finally stopped. Princess Tonya had decided that crying accomplished nothing, except to give her a raw red nose and puffy itchy eyes. She gave up her sobbing for singing, encouraging Sir Michael and the Great Magician Himself to join her on the chorus. Her songs were light and full of happy melodies, and soon even the Great Cat Shelley pranced and danced her way across the valley.

After several hours, the sun grew tired and began to sink on the western horizon. It glowed orange and red as it drooped in the sky, until finally it dipped behind the far mountains. The pale blue sky was bathed in a pink glow, shading gradually to gray and then fading to black. Stars twinkled and sparkled.

The Great Cat Shelley yawned and stretched, nearly pitching the three rescuers from her back.

“I think we should probably stop for the night,” observed Sir Michael wisely.

“Good idea,” yawned the Great Magician Himself. “I’m so sleepy I can barely stand it.”

“No sleeping for you yet, Mr. Fixit,” Princess Tonya konked Erik the Wonderful on the top of his head, waking him smartly. “We must set up camp, start a nice bright fire to keep away the nasty nighttime creepy crawlers, and cook up some macaroni and cheese for supper.”

The Beautiful Princess clapped her hands in delight at the prospect of camping out. The Great Magician Himself groaned, for he knew how much work was involved in setting up a camp, and had a pretty good idea who would do most of it. Sir Michael laughed and jumped from Shelley’s back.

As he loosened the straps of the huge saddle, Sir Michael said, “If we all pitch in, we’ll be done in no time at all.”

The Gallant Knight was correct. Under Princess Tonya’s excellent direction, a merry camp was erected and supper prepared with a minimum of fuss and nonsense. The Beautiful Princess made sure she spread enough Smiles as her two heroes worked, and this seemed to speed up the preparations quite nicely. The Great Cat Shelley was bedded down comfortably, and soon began to purr softly.

Once the meal was completed, dishes and pots washed and re-packed, the three sat around the fire and traded stories, remembering various adventures with their Special Friends.

“One time,” told the Great Magician Himself. “We had a small child visit the Red Castle. His favorite thing was to take pieces of rope or twine, or any other dangly thing, and tie it completely full of knots. He did it most absently, half the time not realizing what he had done until he had done it. It was so frustrating. Well, he proceeded through the Red Castle, knotting curtains and bell pulls and carpets and throw rugs and even the shoelaces of the poor maids as they worked!”

Princess Tonya laughed so hard, picturing the poor maids boiling macaroni and mixing cheese sauces while tripping about the kitchen spilling pots of hot water and cheese.

“Whatever did you do?” wondered Sir Michael, understanding full well the destruction inflicted on a household by a wayward child with a bad habit.

“Well,” continued the Great Magician Himself. “I mostly ignored it, until one day I saw that the child had tied three big knots in Mr. Fuzzy Blanket! I was not happy about that, no sir no sir. I marched that child right into a corner, tied him into a sheet, and left him to sit until he understood that there are some things that simply were not meant to be knotted!”

“Oh my!” cried Princess Tonya. “Wasn’t that a drastic punishment for a small child?”

Erik the Wonderful pouted. “I didn’t mean to be harsh, but it was the only way to keep him under control long enough for me to find him a Special Friend that wouldn’t mind being tied in knots all the time.”

“And what did you come up with?” asked Sir Michael.

“A Slithery Purple Snake named Knothead.”

Princess Tonya giggled with such amusement that the moon became confused, wondering if the sun should rise and shine to start a new day.

“I remember when I first found Biff Bear,” said Sir Michael. “Shelley and I were on the trail of a fierce and nasty dragon. We followed it for days and days, until we finally cornered it. It was ferocious and didn’t care for being cornered at all, and it refused to listen when I told it to leave Yesumay Land. I had to teach it that there were better places for it to live than here in our land.

“We fought and fought. I hacked off two of its claws with my sword before the dragon snapped the blade in pieces. And then the dragon dented my mighty shield and knocked me silly!”

“Oh dear!” exclaimed the Beautiful Princess. The thought of her Gallant Knight dented and silly was too much to imagine.

“It was a close thing,” agreed Sir Michael gravely. “Just as the dragon was about to munch me, it howled a great scary howl and turned around, swishing its tail and thrashing about like it had been bitten by something. As it spun about, a little yellow fuzzy blur went flying through the air past me, and I saw that the dragon had a Great Spear stuck through its tail.”

“Is that the Great Spear you have now?” asked the Great Magician Himself.

“Indeed. The distraction gave me enough time to recover my wits. I grabbed the biggest rock I could handle and loaded it on Shelley’s tail. As soon as the dragon turned to face us, Shelley flung the rock. It sailed through the air and popped the dragon in the eye. The dragon screeched and flopped on the ground. It wasn’t dead, but while it was stunned, I yanked the Great Spear out of its tail, stabbed it a couple more times to let it know for sure it was defeated, and then I escaped with Shelley.

“We searched for the little yellow blurry thing, and finally found it about a mile from where we fought the dragon. It was Biff Bear, and he had struck the dragon with the Great Spear.”

“And he’s been your Special Friend ever since,” stated Princess Tonya, beaming at her Gallant Knight.

“Right,” smiled Sir Michael.

“How about you and Kesra the Gnome. How did you meet her?” asked the Great Magician Himself.

“I’ve always had her with me, since the day I was born,” replied the Beautiful Princess. “There hasn’t been a time I can remember when I haven’t had her near me, back to my earliest memories.”

Princess Tonya’s eyes misted, though she did not cry. Only a single tear trickled down her soft pink cheeks, and that tear was shed in memory of her friend who was lost, and of her vow to rescue not only Kesra the Gnome, but Biff Bear and Mr. Fuzzy Blanket and every other Special Friend that had been kidnapped.

“Until the last few days, I’ve always been able to give Kesra the Gnome a hug when I needed to, or just when I wanted to,” explained Princess Tonya, as though talking to herself. Perhaps she was in a way. She was finally realizing what the last few days had meant to all of them.

“Kesra the Gnome gave me confidence to do anything I could think to do, and I could find so many new and fun things to try because of her. I wasn’t afraid to try anything, because I knew Kesra the Gnome was close by to get me through the most difficult times.”

Princess Tonya paused. But for the single tear, she showed none of the sadness Sir Michael and the Great Magician Himself expected to see. Her voice was strong and her head was held high.

“When I discovered she was gone, I thought my life was over. I didn’t know how I could live without Kesra the Gnome. She’s as much a part of who I am as Smiling is. But, when you came to help and told me about your own losses, I got a strange feeling in my heart. Instead of sorrow and fear, I felt very angry and annoyed. I don’t like it when stronger people tease weaker people, and that is exactly what Mr. Blotchy has done. He needs someone to slap some sense into him, and teach him that it isn’t polite to torment folk by taking away such important parts of their lives.

“That is the greatest crime one person can commit against another. And I’m going to see that Mr. Blotchy doesn’t get away with it anymore!”

Sir Michael the Gallant and the Great Magician Himself could say nothing, for the Beautiful Princess Tonya had stated their purpose well.

13 comments:

  1. It's hard to judge, not having read the earlier chapters. I like the setting. I'm always a sucker for stories set in the woods.

  1. Mags says:

    You're so talented

  1. Bond says:

    This one needs illustrations and publishing my friend

  1. I was thinking about illustrations too! You write with a great deal of imagery...pulls me right into the story. Thanks Travis.

  1. Pauline says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, I agree you are very talented.

  1. Meribah says:

    I enjoyed reading this story (in its entirety, cuz you sent it to me) and I have to agree that it should be published. With a bit of editing and some illustrations, this would make a good children's book. :)

  1. Travis says:

    Charles: I like a good adventure.

    Mags: Thank you my dear.

    V: Working on it.

    Bee: Smooch my dear!

    TC: She rocks, doesn't she?

    Pauline: Many thanks.

    Meri: I realized when I was re-reading this section that it needs some work.

  1. Jamie says:

    If you are forming an army to take on Mr. Blotchy, I'm in ... such awfulness

  1. I'm still loving this story Travis!
    "No No Corner"... hee hee that's great!

  1. Travis says:

    Jamie: Isn't he just nasty?

    TJ: Thanks!

  1. wolfbaby says:

    i do so love your story you should really get it published. I like how you showed how each of them met there special friends;) way to go...

    i had gotten started reading on this a week or so ago then got interuppted i hate it when that happens;P