The Train Ride
As the group of friends made their way northward, Jerry and Tommy wondered how long it would take to travel 77 miles riding on a moose. Quicker than walking themselves, for sure, but still… 77 miles…
“So what’s the deal with this magical land?” Roger the Raccoon asked keenly. She was already excited about being in the outside world and having new friends that actually moved and talked. She couldn’t imagine anything more magical than that.
“Well, we don’t know much about it,” Jerry answered.
“All we know is that it’s close to Lake Damariscotta, through some tunnels, and it’s like a tropical island and there’s a dragon there,” Tommy added.
“A dragon?!” Roger exclaimed excitedly, before whispering to herself, “I have no idea what that is…” Continue reading “Chapter Fifteen: The Train Ride”
Dear reader, magic is all around us. From the soft glow of a summer sunset through the leaves of a silhouetted maple tree to the fluttering of excitement in your chest when you feel truly known and understood by another person, magic is everywhere. Take a moment to look around you now – I’ll wait. Find some magic. It’s there.
The stories you are about to read are tales of magic. Magic not of wizards and wands, but the kind of magic that comes in moments of bravery, or silliness, or laughter. The kind of magic that comes in moments of adventure with true friends. Friends with their own stories and histories, friends that look and act very different from each other. Some large, some small. Some powerful, some not. Some joyful, some lonely. And all living in a world of magic and wonder. And I wonder, dear reader, as you meet the many characters that are to come, I wonder where you will see yourself in these stories? Who will remind you of yourself? I wonder if you were in these stories, what decisions would you make? And I wonder, if you were an adolescent male moose with enormous antlers, what would you do if your antlers got caught between some trees?
I ask this, because deep in the woods of Maine, Montgomery the Moose was stuck. Continue reading “Chapter One: Moose Meets Mouse”
“So this is taking us all the way to Lake Damariscotta?” Tommy whispered to Jerry, as the dug snuffled its way under the seats.
“Well, it’s taking us somewhere in Maine,” Jerry replied, “I’m not sure where, but this will get us somewhere closer than here.”
Jerry pushed a broken peanut butter cracker forward for the dug to eat. There was plenty of food under the seats with them, which was enough for the kids to think that’s what the animal was really after.
“Hmmm,” Tommy continued. “Well, OK, but how are we going to get from wherever we end up to where we need to go?” Continue reading “Chapter Twelve: Previously… Riding to Maine”
“No, wait, he’s Jerry…”
“And I’m Tommy.”
“No, that doesn’t make sense either. Look, one of us is Jerry, and one of us is Tommy, and you can figure out which one is which later.”
“Umm, okay,” Montgomery the Moose responded quietly, keen not to draw attention to himself. Off in the distance, the orange jackets were still running around, looking confused.
“We’re looking for help. Can you help us?” Tommy asked hopefully.
“Umm, not right now…” Montgomery was wondering how he could stop these two from making so much noise.
“Oh, well, yeah, I know you’re in a bit of a predicament right now,” Jerry added, aware that Montgomery’s focus was somewhere else.
“But maybe we can help you get out of here,” Tommy jumped in.
“And then maybe you can help us. Continue reading “Chapter Fourteen: Escape”
“Jerry, we should have told the truth,” Tommy protested, as the two brothers made their way through some tall grass which ran alongside the bike path by their home.
“We did,” Jerry replied. “I mean, we told her we’re going on an adventure.”
“Yeah, but we say that to mom all the time, and we usually just set up shelter for a few nights by a pond or a playground or something. That’s not the same as going to Maine to find a secret magical land with a dragon in it.”
Jerry nodded gently to show that he took Tommy’s point, but he wasn’t backing down.
“Look,” he continued, “our adventures often take several days. This one might take several days too. So what’s the difference? The only difference is that she’d worry about us, or stop us from going.”
“And maybe that’s for a good reason,” Tommy argued, as they stepped through a chain-link fence and under a large set of metal bleachers which sat next to the field where Jerry had ridden on a dug a few days earlier.
“Tommy, it’s OK. Look, I’m your big brother – I’m not gonna let anything happen to you.” Continue reading “Chapter Nine: Elsewhere… “HeygoogleheysiriINEEDHELP!””
Montgomery the Mouse scampered around the pond, and over some rocks. Something about the rocks didn’t seem right – the noise of his claws on them and the way they felt under his feet was strange. Maybe being under a roof changed how things work, he speculated.
He sniffed around a beaver that was standing still next to a tree trunk it had nibbled through. He’d seen beavers before, but never been able to get so close; they were always too skittish. But this one didn’t run away in panic – in fact, it didn’t seem to even know Montgomery was there.
What’s going on? he thought.
He made his way around the mountainside a little, and when he saw a wolf a few feet in front of him, his heart raced. He sprinted as fast as he could into a nearby pine tree, desperate for cover.
He closed his eyes, hoping that that would stop the wolf from seeing him. But after a few seconds, he opened them again. He looked out and saw that the wolf hadn’t moved at all. And even the pine tree didn’t feel right. Montgomery started to wonder if these weren’t animals playing a game after all. He would only be a small snack for a wolf, but he was sure the wolf would have seen him, and in the mouse community wolves aren’t known for their restraint.
These aren’t real, he decided. They’re pretend. Continue reading “Chapter Thirteen: Roger That!”
Fall was always Freddie’s favorite time of year in Central Park. As the weather cooled, so did the activity. Not so many boats out on the pond, not so many noisy people with loud dogs. And the leaves turned from bright green to amber, yellow, and a deep auburn that was his favorite, signaling that it was almost time to dig deep into the mud and rest for the winter.
But this fall had been very mild, and today was a beautiful day in Central Park. Every time Freddie poked his head out of the water, a boat came close. He was surprised to find, though, that he actually didn’t mind it – in fact, he enjoyed it.
“It’s like Summer missed being here and wanted to come back to say hi,” he told his friend Francesca.
“Yeah,” she replied, less sure of the situation as she dodged an oar that was swinging through the air close to them. “It’s like it wanted to come back and hit you in the head.” Continue reading “Chapter Two: Elsewhere… The Frogs of Central Park”
Overnight, Montgomery and Montgomery slept in the woods behind the chocolate shop. When they woke up, they made their way groggily through the trees to start the long trek home. Montgomery the Mouse was feeling sick from all the chocolate he’d eaten the day before, but as they made their way through thickets of birch, aspen, and maple trees, with the light increasing and illuminating the rich reds, yellows, and oranges of the New England fall, even he started to recover and look forward to whatever the day was to bring.
They walked a couple of miles over the course of the early morning – mostly through forest, but passing a pond, and the occasional office building with mostly-empty parking lots.
They came out of the woods, only to find themselves by a large road.
“Hmmm,” Montgomery the Moose said. “Did we go the wrong way?”
“I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention. What is this?” his mouse friend asked.
“Well, it appears to be one of those race tracks for metal boxes…” Continue reading “Chapter Eleven: The Indoor Mountain”
When Tommy awoke in his tiny bed in his tiny home in a hole in the ground in North Cambridge, he woke up to an unusual sound. Tommy liked to sleep in, so often he’d wake up to the sound of either Jerry or their mother clambering around making breakfast, or to the sound of birts chirping close by – spirrows or curdinels. But today, the birds were quiet, and he couldn’t hear his family at all. In fact, Tommy heard nothing – just peace and quiet.
He liked the quiet, and decided to sleep a little longer. But after a while, his curiosity got the best of him and he got up to find out where his brother and mother were.
He got out of bed and found a note on the dining table a foot away.
The note read, “Gone feshing! Back soon.”
Fesh, generally speaking, was the only meat Tommy, Jerry and their mother ate, but it wasn’t always an easy meal. There were many family tales of going feshing and being pulled into the water by a fesh much bigger than themselves. Sometimes – which was even scarier – they were pulled in by a tertle. Continue reading “Chapter Seven: Elsewhere… “Gone Feshing””
Joy woke up from her third nap of the day with a big yawn, and stretched her furry front legs out as far as they could reach. She rolled over onto a fresh part of the bed, and wondered whether she should stroll into the living room to ask for food or just go back to sleep, but before she reached a decision, her eyes closed and she was dreaming about chasing a mouse around the kitchen once more.
Cats like to nap a lot, and anyone who knows Joy would tell you that she is most definitely a cat. She walks like a cat, talks like a cat, and could win any cat-napping contest she was entered for. And when she sleeps, she only ever dreams about two things: she dreams about chasing mice around various parts of the house, and she dreams about the wonderful feeling of falling asleep on the bed (which usually leads to dreaming about chasing mice around various parts of the house…).
Something Joy loves as much as napping, though, is food. It wasn’t long before she heard a door open and close again, and she decided with a yawn and a stretch to go see who was going to feed her this time.
“Hi, Joy,” came a sweet little voice with a friendly smile and a wave. It was her big brother, Sam, whom she loved very much (she was pretty sure his name was Sam, because she heard the other big people say “Sam” in different ways about a hundred times a day – “Sam,” “SAM,” “Sam,” “Saaa-aaam…,” but it was possible his name was “Bud,” “Pumpkin,” or “Buggaboo”; she could never be completely sure).
“Miaow,” Joy replied. Continue reading “The Adventures of Joy: Joy’s Best Birthday Ever!”