“A house. Cows. Sheep. Another house.”
James, a well-dressed six-year old boy sat with his parents in the third-class passenger carriage of a train. To pass the time, he named what he could see out of the window. With the train slowing as it reached the next station, his parents continued to ignore him, but he found it easier to see things in more detail. He enjoyed seeing the stone walls separating the farmers’ fields, and the thatched cottages off in the distance, barely visible over low rolling hills.
The train slowed further, and as James looked at a field just to the south, he saw something he had never seen before.
“Father?” he asked, not looking away from the window, but reaching with his left hand in the hope he could pull his father to see this also. “There’s something glowing in that field. Like a light, but many colours. That wasn’t there a moment ago.” His father shook his newspaper as a reminder to James that he was too busy to look at glowing things in fields. “Father?” James continued. “That horse in that field… that horse wasn’t there before.”
That horse took a moment to breathe. The air was calm and peaceful. He listened, and heard bird sounds he had never heard before. He looked up and saw small birds diving and swooping through the clear blue skies above. Swifts. He didn’t even know how he knew they were swifts, but he did. And he knew their full migratory patterns, how they flew from South Africa to this area in Southern England – oh yes, he was in England now – every year in late Spring, and rarely ever landed, preferring to spend all their time performing aerial tricks and eating insects in the skies.
He sniffed. From the air particles, he could tell he was in an earlier time. June 7, 1874, to be precise. That should throw the dragons off his back for a little while. Continue reading “Chapter Thirty-Two: The Origin of Unpredictable Horse, pt. III”
When cats fall, they instinctively twist their bodies to land on their feet. Francesca wasn’t a cat; she was a frog. Francesca landed on the ground back-first with a thud.
Freddie followed a moment later, landing on his feet, but in a prickly bush – the kind where landing on your feet doesn’t help anything.
“Ughhh,” Francesca moaned.
“Owww!” she heard Freddie call from inside the prickly bush.
“Are you kidding me?!” she heard Roger the Raccoon say quietly from the branch of a maple tree a short distance away.
Montgomery the Moose had just attempted to follow Tommy, Jerry, and Montgomery the Mouse into a tall clump of grass by running headlong at it with his eyes closed. It was obviously ridiculous – he was a moose, after all, so Francesca was sure she would look over and see him in a heap on the ground, making his own moaning noises. But when she got up and hopped closer where she could get a better view, he was nowhere to be seen, and it was eerily quiet. Continue reading “Chapter Twenty-Nine: Whatever Happened to the Frogs?”
The problem with an Unpredictable Horse was that, well, he was unpredictable. He always had been.
Of course, his name was not really Unpredictable Horse. His name was Ringo.
He grew up on a farm in Colorado in the late 1990s, along with two dozen other horses. While others would follow the humans around, and respond to calls and training, Ringo would look off into the vast skies to stare at the rock formations and mountains in the distance, and use his hooves to draw pictures of what he saw in the dirt.
When no humans were around, he would sometimes climb trees. It was hard to do at first – he was a horse after all. But even as a foal he was the most goat-like horse you could imagine, and just like a goat, he could climb. Continue reading “Prelude: The Origin of Ringo, the Unpredictable Horse, pt. I”
Roger the Raccoon was hungry and thirsty. Since arriving in this land, all she could think about was finding her friends, but now her tummy was rumbling. She needed food.
The bushes weren’t a kind she recognized, and they were empty of fruit. She couldn’t find any insects either. But up ahead she saw some trees. Surely she’d find something there.
She climbed up one particularly odd tree – it had a tall bare trunk which suddenly bulged out at the top like it had exploded. There were giant leaf-like branches with dozens of long, thin leaves coming off each one. And below the leaves, tucked into the tree’s bulge like a nest of some kind, were enormous green seeds of some kind – bigger than any seeds she’d ever seen. Continue reading “Chapter Twenty-Three: The Coconut”
“Magic is broken,” Spaceship said.
The human hipster male nodded, and looked at Bobby through his glasses to see if he was following.
Bobby was not following.
“Broken…?” He paused. “Magic…?” He paused again. This pause was long enough that Spaceship wondered if Bobby’s next question was going to be IS…?!
“Indeed,” confirmed the human hipster male finally. “And you were sent here to find the creature who is going to fix everything.” Continue reading “Chapter Twenty-Two: Elsewhere… Magic is Broken”
Spaceship ran on solar power. Which was great. Most of the time.
Spaceship was also super chatty. Which was great. Most of the time.
The problem always came when she was super chatty while they were flying under the clouds on overcast days.
“Isn’t it a wonderful day? I mean, I know it’s cloudy and everything, but really, life is just wonderful, isn’t it, and I love flying you around and taking you from place to place and seeing everything on all these different planets. It’s just weird, though, don’t you think, how all these planets look the same and oh no I’m running out of power I’m going to have to… shut… dooownnn… nooooooowwww…”
And with that, Spaceship shut down, and plummeted towards the ground.
“Ugh,” said Bobby to himself. “Not again…” Continue reading “Chapter Seventeen: Elsewhere… a Crash”
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!””