“We should have stuck with the dragon,” Jerry complained to his mom and to Fred, the Chocolate Lab, as the three walked along a mountain path with tall grass on either side of them.
“The Scary Stanley?” Dorothy replied. “That would have been hard to do, remember? He flew away to find the other dragons.”
“I know, but I mean, we should have waited for him. He said when magic was fixed that he could take us to Dad.”
“No need,” Fred chimed in confidently. “I know he’s this way.”
“How can you be so sure?” Jerry challenged. Dorothy, meanwhile, seemed content with trusting her old friend.
“Well…” Fred began, before pausing as if to question it himself. “Uh, instinct, I guess.”
A shadow passed quickly overhead, causing Jerry and Dorothy to tense up. Back home, this meant a bird of prey, so their instincts kicked in and they ducked under Fred’s body. Continue reading “Chapter Thirty-One: The Family”
“What does that mean?” Montgomery the Moose confronted the orange dragon in front of him. “The chocolate invasion will take over the world? What does that mean?”
“Well, okay, I was being a bit dramatic…” the dragon replied, backing down a little.
“Whew,” Montgomery the Mouse replied.
“…I just mean that everything on this planet will turn to chocolate…”
“Uh,” Montgomery the Mouse revised his judgment.
“Creatures too,” the dragon continued. He looked at the dumbstruck faces of the moose and mouse in front of him, and then turned to see Bobby and the frogs, who shared in the shock. After a pause he said, mainly to himself, “okay, maybe I wasn’t being a bit dramatic after all. I mean, that is all gonna happen.” Continue reading “Chapter Thirty: The Chocolate Invasion Starts Here”
As the larger creatures discussed how to proceed, Jerry was distracted. He was pretty sure that whatever their friends decided, he and his mom would leave them to find his brother and his father (it seemed so strange to even think that). But he also realized he knew next to nothing about about this magical land.
“We’ve been here for ages,” he said to Dorothy eventually. “Doesn’t it ever get dark here?”
“Ha,” she replied. “You’ve noticed. Yeah, time moves differently here. That’s why you’re not tired. But the light also has to do with the two suns. It does get dark once in a while, but most of the time at least one of the suns is out.”
“That’s so weird,” Jerry replied, and then thought about it for a bit. “So wait, what’s once in a while? Like, how often does it get dark?”
“Well…” Dorothy calculated as she looked into the sky. “It’s a little difficult to compare it to time that we know, because, like, I said, time moves differently here. That’s part of the magic of this place. And I think it doesn’t always stay the same – like a leaf blowing in the wind, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. But when we were here looking for your dad, that sun” – she pointed to the smaller one – “seemed to set around every 27 hours…”
“Oh, well, that’s not much longer than a regular day,” Jerry replied.
“…but that one” – she pointed across the sky to the larger sun – “seemed to set every seventeen days.” Continue reading “Chapter Twenty-Six: Toucan”
“We’re close,” Tommy told the group, as they made their way through a clearing.
“You’ve been saying that for ages,” Roger replied, speaking for her friends. She had been going in and out of naps for hours, and after waking up seemingly just to make her comment, she snuggled back in to her cozy spot between Montgomery the Moose’s shoulders. The frogs, who had joined the group also, slept close by.
“It’s true, you’ve said it at least five times,” Montgomery the Mouse responded. In fact, he had been keeping track, and this was the twelfth time, but he wanted to be kind to his friend.
“I know, but this time, I’m sure,” Tommy said with excitement. In his mind, this was a quest a long time in the making; a quest of heroes, even. But he also wondered, don’t heroes usually also mean that there are villains? Was the dragon the map mentioned something they would need to fight? That sounded kind of exciting, but terrifying at the same time. He started to shake a little just thinking about all the possibilities ahead of them. Continue reading “Chapter Nineteen: The Clump of Grass”
At 3 AM, Tommy was still awake on his pile of leaves in the lean-to he and Jerry had built. His mind kept imagining what they would find the next morning. Every time his tired body took over and sent him into sleep, his imagination ran wild. In his dreams, he flew with his brother through a world that looked completely different than their own – made up of colorful circles, squares, and triangles of different sizes. In his next dream, he was chasing a large dinosaur-like creature around a large human city. And in his next, he and his mom were helping a girl his own size track down a super villain.
Every time he woke up, he was sore and uncomfortable, and with all the craziness of the last few days it was hard to keep track of what was a dream and what was real.
He looked over and saw that Jerry was asleep. But it was starting to get light, so he decided to get up. As tired as he knew he’d be, his mind was racing too much now to get back to sleep.
As he walked out of the lean-to, he saw Roger a few feet away, munching on a slice of pizza. A real slice of pizza. Continue reading “Chapter Eighteen: The Island”
As the friends made their way through the woods, Montgomery and Montgomery both took deep breaths, and enjoyed the familiar scents of pine needles, fir cones, and the faint, distant smell of s’mores. They were close to home.
But there was also another aroma drifting through the woods. This one became stronger with every step of Montgomery the Moose’s large body. But unlike some of the other smells the smaller creatures would sometimes pick up on, this one wasn’t coming from their large friend, and this one smelled great.
“Pizza!” Jerry exclaimed, and licked his lips. Tommy took a deep breath in, soaking up the smell of cheese, tomato, and his favorite – pepperoni.
“Pizza?” Roger the Raccoon asked. That name seemed familiar, and she had a vague memory of it from her childhood.
Montgomery and Montgomery weren’t so familiar with the smell, and were keen to find out more about this “Pete’sa.” Pete’s a what? And who is Pete anyway, wondered Montgomery the Moose silently. Continue reading “Chapter Sixteen: Pizza”
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”
Joy lay on the bed – half-awake, half-asleep – with her ears perked up, listening to Sam building a train track in the living room.
She recognized all the clanking noises as pieces went together, and enjoyed hearing her big brother saying “Chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga, CHOO! CHOO!” and other sounds. She always wondered why he made those sounds, since the trains didn’t make any noise. Sometimes at night, after Sam and the big people went to bed, Joy would push the trains around a little just to check if they made any noises, but they never did. Once, after hours of thinking about it, she felt brave enough to push the red train along the track with her nose, and she was so excited when she got it to the top of a ramp and onto a bridge that she thought she would do this every night instead of sleeping, but when the train rolled down the other side and fell off a curve in the track onto the hardwood floor, the loud clunk made her desperately leap up into the air for safety; she hid under a folded-up blanket, her heart racing, and didn’t come out until Sam gave her food the next morning.
She loved hearing him play, though, and it sounded like he’d found what he called a “helicopter” to play with now – “Bedabedabedabedabedabeda,” came the sound from the living room.
Continue reading “The Adventures of Joy: Joy and the Aa-tick”