Emerald

It’s time for the fourth and last adventure from the nieces and nephew! If you missed the last while, just know that I helped my sister with her kid’s Creative Writing classes last semester and now each one has their own adventure story to share.

This week you get to meet Esther. =)

In her own words:

Hi, I’m Esther. I love reading and writing. This is the first book I’ve ever finished writing. I love reading the Ranger’s Apprentice, The Land of Stories, Percy Jackson, and Wereworld series.  I am 10 years old, in 5th grade. I like dancing and painting. Hope you enjoy this story!

And now on to her adventure story!

Emerald

emeralds-jewels-1367039

You’ve been in the palace for a bit and you have just received a message from the queen and it said:

Meet me in my quarters now.

You know if you delay you will be in trouble, so you hurry. When you get there, the queen is in tears.

You ask, “are you ok?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“The emerald has been stolen. You must find it, since this is what all that detective training was for. The emerald is as big as a man’s skull, and is the last one in the kingdom!

You set off at dawn.”

As you pack your bags, a thought pops into your head and you remember the haunted mansion that a servant told you about. It’s concealed, so you decide to start your search there.

The next day when you are midway to the mansion, you are sweating from the heat of the sun. Your horse starts to buck and you see that something is bothering it. You check her, but she seems fine, so you continue. Being worried, you are very careful.

You’ve been on the road for a while, and you’ve finally made it! At the gate, you are surprised because it is open, so you go in and it gets dark. You look back, it is also dark outside the gate now even though the sun was shining only moments ago!

Do you:

A: Search inside the mansion first?

or

B: Search outside first?

Emerald Option A: Search Outside

You decide to start your search outside because it makes the most sense. You turn left. Just then a man appears in front of you butquote-the-raven-1475620 he is rather white. This is frightening, so you turn around to go the opposite way of him.

You’ve been looking for what seems like hours now and you’ve seen nothing but ravens.

You are very frustrated, so you turn around and see someone in the distance, and you decide to ask if he knows anything. Running to the boy, you ask breathlessly, “Have you seen an emerald?” 

“Why do you ask?”

Then a man walks  up and  asks, “What are you two doing?”

“Talking,” you say.

“Ya,” the boy agrees.

Then you notice that they are see through. Then you ask, “are you guys ghosts?” 

“Yes,” the man agrees, “and you are looking for the emerald, no doubt?”

“Yes,” you say in astonishment. 

“Come, we’ve been waiting.”

tunnel-1226855“You have?” 

“Yes,” the mysterious man answers.

They show you a hidden tunnel and the man says, “This will take you to the emerald.” 

Do you:

Aa: Go in the tunnel?

or

Ab: Run back to your horse?

Emerald Option Aa: Go In the Tunnel

The ghost is good enough to let you live, so you step toward the tunnel.lantern-1165222-m

Then the man says, “you will need this,” and the man hands you a lantern.

“Thank you,” you say.

“And good luck,” the man says.

The tunnel is dark so you light the lantern the man gave you.

Then you hear a sound that makes you shiver all over.

Then a bat comes flying at your face!!! Startled, you drop the lantern, making everything go dark. You try to keep going but you trip on a rock, causing you to fall. You hit your head on another rock hard enough to make you go unconscious.

You wake up feeling dizzy. You stay on the ground for a while to think and you start to remember what happened. You get up to look for your lantern but you fail to find it in the dark, so you continue down the passage for what seems like hours and you finally see a light in the distance. You run toward it.

When you get there, you find a door. You go in and see six letters on a table in the center of the room. You walk to the table and read:

Alcor,

You know the risk, you will come, I know you will.

Yours, Ema

Ema,

I can’t come, so sorry.

Your friend, Alcor

Alcor,

Why can’t you come? 

Ema

Ema,

Don’t tell anyone this, but I’ve been crowned king!

Alcor

Alcor,

Oh my gosh! What happened?

Ema

Ema,

Adine was murdered by Adum.

Alcor

emeralds-jewels-1367039You see a box in the far corner of the room. Curious about what’s inside it, you run over and open it. Inside is the emerald! You put it in your bag and go back to the tunnel and begin the journey back to your new ghost friends. When you get to the spot where you fell, your toe hits something hard. You stop to grab it and find it is your lantern. When you reach the end, you see the man and boy.

The boy asks, “are you ok? What happened?”

“Yes, I’m ok, I’ll tell you about it another time. Right now I need to talk to… what’s your name again?” 

“Oh yes, my name is Atum and this is Marco. How are you feeling?” Says the elder of the two ghosts.

“I’m-”

You are cut short by a girl ghost who says, “Atum, who’s this?” And she points a finger at you.

“This is the one you spoke of,” Atum says

“Oh, do you have it?” The girl asks, shocked.

“Who are you?” You shoot back ignoring her question. 

“Oh fine, I’m Ema and these are my brothers.”

“Atum, did you kill a guy named Aline?” You ask.

“No, I didn’t kill Adine. Why do you ask?” Atum replies.

Not sure how to respond, you turn to Ema and say, “You might want these letter I found.” 

“Thank you,” Ema says. 

“I really probably should head back now, the Queen will be worried.” 

“Okay, we’ll see you some other time,” Atum says.

“Bye!” Marco says.

You walk to your horse and ride home. The queen is overjoyed with the return of the emerald. You, unfortunately, never find out how Adine got killed.

The End

Yay! You succeeded in your mission. Well done =)

Thank you, Esther, for sharing!

The adventure will take a week’s break and then we’ll be back to the usual adventures starting on the 5th of April. (Oh no! you’ll have to deal with my writing again =) ) I’m working on one beauty right now that involves memories and marbles. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

So, until then, blessings and have an amazing week,

Jennifer

The Troll Chaser

It’s time for Caleb’s adventure!pen-and-pencil-1534991

If you missed the last several weeks, just know that I helped my sister’s kids with their creative writing last semester and now we
get to share in the adventure stories they wrote. It’s fantastic to see their imaginations at work.

This week you get to meet Caleb.

In his own words:

Hello, my name is Caleb. I am 9 years old, and this is the first story I have ever written. I love video games, especially Halo! My favorite series of books is the Amulet Series. If you like mythical stuff, you might really like it too! I hope you enjoy my story.

And now for his adventure!

The Troll Chaser

Jaskinia Mylna - Okna Pawlikowskiego

You’re asleep in your cottage at night when you hear your mom scream. Jumping out of  bed, you see your mom being dragged out the door by a troll!

You grab your flashlight and your knife and race after them. Until sunrise, you follow them through the forest. The massive, muddy, smelly troll leads you to a cave big enough for four of your cottage to fit in. Right before the troll disappears into the cave, you see your mom is okay and still conscious.

You sit down on a pile of moss to think when black smoke trails from the cave.  You go in front of the cave and notice the smoke smells like rotten flesh and makes you want to throw up. Going in and following the smell, you notice there is gold on the floor. You follow the trail of gold and find a dragon that stands in your way!

So do you:

A: Sneak around it?

Or

B: Go over it?

Troll Chaser Option A: Sneak Aroundthe-lighted-door-1464933

You feel like going over the dragon is too dangerous, so you go around. Tiptoeing around the massive, blue dragon takes you a half an hour. During that time, you notice a light coming from a doorway on the other side of the room. As smoke trails from the dragon’s nostrils, his eyes start to open! You tiptoe faster than you ever have. The dragon stirs less and less and finally goes back to sleep. 

You keep sneaking towards the light, when his tail whips around and knocks you off your feet! You grab your gut and glance at the dragon to see if he’s awake. He is not. When you finally get to the light, you look in and see the troll and your mom, so do you:

Aa: Sneak around the troll?

or

Ab: Scream and fight?

The Troll Chaser Option Aa: Sneak Around the Troll

You think you can sneak around the troll and save  your mom because the troll is asleep. Your mom is tied up to a bedpost. 

You are glad you grabbed your knife. When you get there, your mom is happy to see you but she is very pale. She whispers, “I am saber-knife-1067468-mso happy to see you, please untie me now.” 

You start to cut the ropes but as you finish, the troll awakens with a roar! You throw your knife at the troll’s eye and grab your mom’s hand and run out!

The troll is in too much pain to follow and the dragon doesn’t wake up. You make it home and move away because your mom doesn’t feel safe. Your new home is so fun and safe!      

The End  

Yay! You bested the troll and saved your mom. Well done!

Thank you again Caleb for sharing your adventure. =)

We’ve got one more story to explore from the nieces and nephew. Next week I’ll introduce you to Esther and her adventure, Emerald.

Until then, have a wonderful week!

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

Shipwrecked

It’s time for a new adventure!

To recap if you missed the previous few weeks, I helped last semester with my nieces’ and nephew’s Creative Writing class. So now, each one of them has a full adventure story to share! Their imaginations humble me.

This week it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Haylee:

In her own words:

Hello! My name is Haylee. I am seven years old, and in second grade. I’m small, but fierce! My favorite book is The Puppy Place, Goldie.

This is the first story I’ve ever finished writing, I hope you enjoy it!

And now on to the start of her adventure.

Shipwreckedshipwreck-1442444-m

You are sailing in the pacific ocean when there is a storm and you crash on an island. It is just you and your parents on the boat.
You get knocked over when you crash.

Getting up, you realize the mast is covering the hatch. The hatch is the only way into the bottom of the boat where your parents are.

You climb over broken bits of the ship to get to the hatch and bang on it to see if your parents are alive. “Help!” You hear them yell.  

You shout back, “I will try to find a way to get you out.”

Searching for a wedge, you suddenly feel hands grabbing your arms. You turn your head and see ten bandits!

Do you:

A: Scream and fight?

or

B: Go with them quietly?

Shipwrecked Option A: Fight

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You are angry that your parents are stuck and you won’t let them out of your sight so you can’t go quietly with these bandits. You took eight years of karate. Spinning around, you roundhouse kick and knock them all off their feet. This surprises them so much that half of them are stunned and the other half of them are knocked out! So you grab a rope as fast as you can and tie them up. Next do you:

Aa. Talk to them?

or

Ab. Send them sailing on pieces of the wreckage?

Shipwrecked Option Aa: Talk to Themtrapdoor-handle-1472740

You need to know more about the island so you take their masks off, and you talk to the bandits. When you take their masks off, you realize that they are your long lost friends, so you untie them and give hugs and remember that they had been sailing too and never came home. They help you open the hatch and your parents are thirsty. You stay on the island because you all feel happy there.

The End

Yay! Well done on finding a happy ending. Thank you, Haylee, for sharing.

Next week I’ll introduce you all to Caleb and you’ll get to explore his adventure. Until then, have a wonderful week =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

Dragon’s Breath

confetti-1154283Hello everyone! It’s great to be back to the adventure and I can now reveal a surprise that’s been brewing since last fall.

When the school year started, my sister asked me to help with my nieces’ and nephew’s English lessons. She wanted to work on their story telling and teach them such things as protagonist, point of view, setting… you know, all the story telling things that are right up my alley!

And the kids blew me away. They put me to shame! Seriously, I need to up my ante to keep up with them. =)

The fantastic part is…they wrote their very own adventures. Options, multiple endings, the whole speel.

So for the next while, we get to explore the adventures these kid’s imaginations came up with! It’s gonna be awesome!

This first adventure was written by Jael.

Let’s meet her in her own words:

My name is Jael Rohman. I’m 11 years old, in 7th grade and I have always wanted to write a story. I wrote a poem that was published in Creative Communication. I’ve started writing tons of books but never finished. This is the first time I’ve ever finished a story, and it’s a little long. I love reading and some of my favorites are the Wings of Fire series, the Wish List and so many others. Enjoy the adventure. “

And now on to Dragon’s Breath

“Hey!”

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

You jolt out of a dreamless sleep, look around and think until you remember where you are. The dripping of water off enormous, vine covered trees reminds you, you’re  in the middle of a rainforest island being kidnapped by dragons. Right. You suddenly remember your dogs who you brought with you but you don’t see them.

“Hey!” the voice repeats.

You try to turn around and realize you’re lying down and your hands are tied in front of you. You look up instead and almost scream. Thank goodness you’re gagged as well as tied up.

Three tremendous dragons stand above you. One is green and blue and looks to be female. The second is brown and gold and definitely male.The final one is a male with scales so yellow they’re almost white, and they hurt to look at.

“Oh good, he’s awake,” says the green and blue female.

“I told you he wasn’t dead,” says the gold and brown one, sounding relieved.

You glance at the last dragon, expecting him to say something, but he just continues to examine you with obvious contempt. Finally, he says, “Liam, take the prisoner to the dungeon, then follow me an’ Ruby to the council room.”

“Yes sir,” replies Liam, the gold and brown dragon.

As the other two leave the room, he walks towards you, gently picks you up and asks, “What are you doing on Dragon Island?”

You can’t decide how much to tell him. You came to the island to find a flower called Dragon’s Breath to heal your sister, Cassandra, from a fatal sickness called Hydra-Bane. Liam seems trustworthy, but you never know with dragons.

So do you:

A: Tell the truth?

or

B: Make something up?

Dragon’s Breath Option A: Tell the Truth

You’re tired and don’t think you can make something up on the spot. Liam has removed your gag, so you tell him everything fromblue-dragon-1578149 the moment your sister fell ill, but once you get to the part about needing Dragon’s Breath, he jumps up and runs off at top speed without a backward glance. 

“Well, that was interesting,” you mutter. 

Having nowhere else to go, you follow Liam. You pass many cave entrances, but one in particular strikes you as strange, with glowing orbs of fire hung around the sides and top of the mouth. 

So, abandoning your plan to follow Liam, you stop and look in. What you see almost makes you scream again. Thankfully, you have gotten better control of yourself. Five gigantic dragons stand in the room beyond. Three of them look related to Ruby, the blue and green dragon who left with the big white and yellow one. The rest of them look like neither of the others. They’re murmuring too quietly for you to hear them so you creep closer and hear a bit of the conversation. 

“We need to attack now while they’re least expecting it,” says the largest one, one of the ones not related to Ruby. 

She’s picking her teeth with something that looks disturbingly like a human thigh bone, your stomach lurches as you realize that’s exactly what it is.

“But what if that little one can tell us something, like what kind of weapons they have? And what about the barrier?” argues one of the ones related to Ruby.

With a jolt, you realize they’re talking about invading the mainland. Though you’re not sure what the barrier is.

So do you: 

Aa:Find out more?

or

Bb:Sneak away?

Dragon’s Breath Option Aa: Find Out More

blue-dragon-1578149You desperately need to get out to find the flower, get home, and heal your sister, but the temptation to stay and find out more is almost overwhelming, so you creep even farther into the cave. Suddenly, you hear voices again.

“Gosh,” says one, “that human has made the entire cave system smell.”

“Come on Greatness, it’s not that bad,” says another.

You can’t see them so you assume they’ve moved elsewhere in the cave. 

“Well, I agree with Phoenix,” says another dragon, “your nose hasn’t been right since the Great Depression.”

“Very untrue,” responds the first dragon, sounding injured. 

“Hey ladies, knock it off. Greatness’ sense of smell is perfectly fine,” says a male voice, all the others have been female. 

“Don’t you dare call me a lady, Glacier,” hisses Phoenix. 

You’ve never really been afraid of animals but this dragon’s voice is the definition of scary, maybe because there’s an underlying tone of threat in her voice. 

“I can smell them too,” says Glacier.

“Oh really, and that makes you right?” says a new voice, another male.

“No, but your noses aren’t very good anyway,” replies Glacier. 

“Oh really?” 

“Yes.”

“Ha, like that’s true,”

As you’ve been listening, your nose starts to itch madly, warning you that you really have to sneeze. You try everything, from pinching your nose to holding your breath. All of a sudden, you can’t hold it any longer and, you sneeze, and it isn’t just a tiny sneeze. It’s one that the entire cave system can hear, bouncing off the walls and echoing back to you. The talking inside cuts off abruptly. You hear feet marching toward the door and then a huge dragon looms in front of you. She’s black with silver scales scattered across her body.

“What is it, Phoenix?” asks Glacier.

“It appears that you and Greatness were right, the human’s right here.” 

The dragons all start talking at once.

“What did it hear?”prison-1198488

“We should put it in prison.”

“What is it doing out?”

Then Glacier’s voice above all the others, “Just put it in prison.”

Then both he and Phoenix grab one of your arms and carry you off.

Sad to say, you didn’t survive that prison. You always wondered what happened to Cassandra.

The End

Oh no! Not exactly the ending we were hoping for but well done, Jael, on writing this adventure! Next week we get to explore Haylee’s adventure. I’ll introduce her on Tuesday =)

Until then, blessings,

Jennifer

 

Briefcase Genie

Photo courtesy of Arthur Rousseau with Hope for Haiti.

Welcome to this first Monday of April.

This week we have a real treat. We have a guest author with an awesome imagination for this adventure blog!

Please welcome Leslie Rohman. She’s a wife and mother of four beautiful children, I don’t know how she finds the time to write!

But somehow she does=) So read ahead and enjoy.

Briefcase Genie

You’ve always wanted to do something adventurous and crazy, but there’s always been something to hold you back. When you first started dreaming in high school, you obviously couldn’t just leave. Then, some of your more affluent friends did the whole traveling before college thing. But you were quite short on funds. So you figured you would do college first and get a good paying job, then you could do whatever you wanted!

What you didn’t count on was being up to your eyeballs in debt after college. And here you are now, stuck at this dead end job and your dreams seem so far from achievable that you have basically given up on them. Maybe after you retire….. or win the lottery.

Today seems no different from the rest until a black briefcase appears with a small flash of light right in the middle of your paper strewn desk! On the top it reads “everything you need for an adventure” in glowing yellow letters.

Dumbfounded, with your mouth hanging open, you peek from side to side to see if anyone else has noticed this sudden appearance. Matilda, on your right, is engrossed in a phone call. On your left, Harry is filling out an online request for more staples. And behind you, Frank is trying to hide the fact that he’s playing Minecraft here at work. So, nope, no one else noticed.

You pick up the briefcase and nearly throw it over your head because you were expecting it to be heavy, but it feels empty. You flip it over and see nothing else interesting on it and when you set it back right side up, the letters have disappeared. What the what? This is so weird!

You search for a latch to open it, all the while throwing furtive glances at your co-workers. There’s nothing there except for a little pad thing to put your thumb on. Is that called biometrics something-or-other?

Heart thumping, you place your thumb on the pad and *click* the top is open! How could your thumbprint open a case that you’ve never even seen before? And where did the crazy thing come from in the first place? You stand up and take a wider scan of the office to see if anyone is watching you and laughing, maybe this is just a big joke. But, nope, everyone is totally absorbed with their everyday tasks.

You sit back down, open the top and your heart plummets. It’s empty. You run your hands along the edges looking for a hidden pocket or compartment. Nothing.

This must be just some cruel joke! Perhaps someone is watching you via a hidden camera or some other such nonsense. But it is a mighty cruel one, to raise your hopes and crush them the next instant, bah! You throw the now offensive object under your desk and try to bury your disappointment in work.

***

At the end of the day, the briefcase is still sitting there. You decide to take it home and throw it in the dumpster outside your apartment building.

Everything feels slower and harder than normal. You trip on your own untied shoelace on the way out the door, it’s raining buckets, you forgot your umbrella and it takes absolutely forever to hail a taxi. Maybe it would be better to just stop hoping for things since disappointment hurts so bad?

As you sit there shivering and feeling blue, you notice a yellow glow coming from around the cracks of the briefcase. OK…….

Your curiosity gets the better of you and you place your thumb on the scanner. *click*

It’s not empty now! As it opens, you’re reminded of one of those jewelry boxes where the ballerina stands up and spins around to music. Except this is no ballerina.  It’s a hologram of your face! Your image starts talking and you shoot a nervous glance at the cabbie but he apparently can’t hear any of this.

“One: If you call me a genie, this briefcase will disappear forever and you’ll never know what might have been.”

This is really freaking you out having your own image speaking to you in your own voice. And you have no idea why you might call it a genie, but it seems to be waiting for a response, so you nod your head.

“Two: You must agree to pass this gift along when your adventure is done.”

This sounds easy enough so you nod again.

“Three: You get three destination choices. First choice: high or low?”

Ah ha, now you see why the genie comment. “High or low, what’s that mean?” You ask with furrowed brows.

“Not a valid entry, please choose high or low.”

Well, this is certainly an interesting twist. You don’t like it when your emotions are jerked around so much. First the crazy hope then the bitter disappointment and now this cryptic offer. Hmmmmm…..

Ah, what the heck! Going home to your lonely apartment sounds terrible. Let’s try this crazy ride!

So what’s it gonna be:

A. High?

or

B. Low?

Briefcase Genie Option A: High

You tell your holographic head in the briefcase, “Let’s try high.”

“High it is then. Please exit the cab and hold on tight, we don’t want any accidents this time.”

“Huh? This time?” You ask in a slightly squeaky voice. But the hologram has already disappeared and the top almost closes on your fingers.

Not so sure about following these instructions, you must get out for the cabbie is waiting. You pay him and cautiously step out.

As soon as your feet touch the sidewalk, the case starts to rise taking you with it! You grab the handle with both hands as the speed increases. The wind drowns out the noise of you yelling yourself hoarse.  Already high above even the tallest buildings of the city, the clouds are fast approaching.

You hear a crackling sound coming from the briefcase and suddenly, you’re in a spacesuit. And none too soon either ‘cause it was getting seriously hard to breath! The huge gloves of the spacesuit make it very hard to hold on to the handle of the case and you’re slipping as you hear more crackling. The case disappears and you land inside a huge clear bubble.

You kneel at the bottom and try to get your breathing back under control. Still rising at an incredibly fast speed, you leave the Earth’s atmosphere, and it looks like you’re enclosed in a fiery bubble. The spacesuit makes you feel just a little claustrophobic.

“You have approximately 4 hours of oxygen,” the holographic head is floating near the top of the bubble. “Please sit back and enjoy the ride.”

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots. Check out her blog or Facebook page!

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots. Check out her blog or Facebook page!

Relatively calm now you stare google-eyed as you fly past the moon. The earth looks exactly like in all the movies. It’s hard to believe that so many people fit in what looks like such a tiny ball now.

“If you will look to the right, we’re approaching Mars now. And oh look, we can even see one of the rovers sent from earth down there collecting information.”

You can see why Mars has been dubbed the “red planet”. It looks a lot like the red rocks that make up the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs that you visited once as a child. Mars appears to be smaller than Earth and the surface is full of craters and mountains, amazing!

“Brace for slight impact.” the hologram states in its flat voice.

“What?!” You swivel around and crane your neck up and down to see what it’s talking about. Right behind you, you see a rock about the size of a mini cooper barreling towards you.

A stream of barely intelligible words flies out of your mouth, “Turn, twist, duck and cover, move it, move it, get out of the way!”

And with each command you try to give, the silly case replies, “Not a valid entry.”

“AHHHHH!” You shout in frustration and no small amount of fear. You ram your right shoulder repeatedly into the side of the bubble to see if you can alter course just enough to get out of the rock’s way.

You’re making progress, but it’s not looking like enough. “Brace for impact” you mimic and then shout, “There is nothing in here to use for bracing!”

“And coming up on the left you can see Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, has at least 67 moons and is…..” The hologram keeps right on going as if nothing extraordinary were about to happen. Some part of your brain does note the enormous size of the planet.

CRASH!

You bang against the sides like a pinball and your guide says, “Due to unfortunate circumstances, we’re going to have to return home before the end of our journey, I apologize for the inconvenience. “

Inconvenience? This briefcase is crazy! There is a gaping hole in the side of your bubble!

“It also appears that your suit was damaged in the collision, and you used up a large amount oxygen when panicking earlier, as such you may run out of air before we land. Please breath slowly.”

“What!?” Your breathing is anything but slow now.

You’re zooming past Mars again, much faster than before.  It’s incredibly noisy; kind of like a car ride with the windows all rolled down at 60mph. Except you can’t feel the wind in your face as you’re enclosed in the spacesuit.  It’s definitely getting harder to breath and very, very chilly.

You shoot past the moon so fast that you might not have seen it if you’d blinked. The force of your speed has you pressed against the back of the bubble. The earth is coming up mighty fast.

“We shall attempt a water landing. Usually the briefcase will reappear and pull you safely to shore, but seeing as how you might not be awake-“

Your vision is fuzzy and you hear no more till- SPLASH! – The water brings you back to alertness.

“Good, good, hold on tight,” The briefcase bobs along in the water.

You are now spacesuitless and you manage to grab on and not let go till you are pulled onto a white sandy beach. It’s dark and moonless.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

You lay there taking deep slow breaths agreeing with the Hobbit who said that adventures are “nasty, uncomfortable things” or something like that.

The case next to your head is buzzing and glowing yellow around the cracks again. You reluctantly place your thumb on the pad and see the holographic face as it opens.

“Where are we?”

It surprises you greatly when it actually answers, “Thailand.”

Huh, that’s pretty far from Denver…

Seeing how the case has a very large lack of concern for safety, you are reconsidering your original idea about throwing it in a dumpster. Getting home shouldn’t be too hard….

So do you,

Aa. Want to hear your next adventure options?

or

Ab. Chuck the case and thumb your way home?

Briefcase Genie Option Aa: Hear the Next Two Options

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

You lie on the sand and just watch the moon rise and creep across the sky for a while. As you do so you contemplate your options.

You’ve only a few dollars in your pocket, no credit cards (you did the freezing them in a block of ice thing a while ago…), and your bank account is almost empty, so getting home on your own sounds nigh on impossible. You hesitantly ask the briefcase, “Do you have two more options for me?”

“But of course.” It answers and then just sits there staring blankly at you.

“Well… Can I hear them?”

“Certainly. Hot or Cold?”

This is an easy decision. Living in Denver, Colorado with its beautiful mountains all around has given you plenty of cold days. Somewhere warm is the place for you!

“Hot, please,” you request.

“Excellent choice. Just close and re-open the case and you’ll find everything you need. Watch out for sand fleas.”

“Eeeeeww.” You say as you close it up. When you re-open it, there is no hologram, but there is a plane ticket, your very own passport with a stamp already in it from when you “entered” Thailand, a small pile of money and a can of mosquito repellant.

You wonder just for a moment if you’ll still have a job when you return home, but the sunrise sparkling up over the horizon drives the worrisome thought from your mind. What a spectacular sight!

After enjoying the sunrise, you get yourself to the airport. Turns out, getting a taxi is the same no matter where you go. But the drivers are a little more aggressive here.

At the airport, the tiny, little lady behind the ticket counter gives you a funny look which concerns you. Maybe the briefcase is messing with you. Maybe it’s not a real ticket. But everything checks out ok and she points you towards security where lines of people are already taking their shoes off. After you make it through the line, you stop at the restroom and one look in the mirror causes you to realize she was looking at you funny because of your hair! You have the worst helmet hair ever!

You’re still not even sure where you’re heading till you get to the gate and read Belize as the destination. Where is that? And how long will it take to get there?

Turns out it’s in Central America and it takes you a full 24 hours to get there. But the case somehow got you in first class so you sleep and eat in style and are very well rested when you arrive.

The next week that you spend in this little part of paradise is beyond awesome. You explore ancient Mayan ruins, and jungles full of the noisiest and most colorful birds. You relax on the beach, swim and get a little sunburned.

Your favorite part by far, though, has been scuba diving in Lighthouse Reef and the Great Blue Hole. The hole was a cave some thousands of years ago. But at some point the roof collapsed leaving an almost perfect circle about 1000 feet across. The scuba diving took you almost two full days to master, but it was so worth it! There’s still even stalactites at the bottom!

Your briefcase head hasn’t reappeared at all while you’ve been here. But that’s been perfectly fine with you.

You figure today’s probably the last day here ‘cause the money has almost run out. So after the traditional dinner of rice, beans and fried chicken, you head down the beach with the case for a stroll. You plan to lie on the beach, watch the stars again and see if the hologram will show up with your next options.

You pick a spot as far away from the lights of the resort as possible, spread your towel and stretch out. Ah! It’s still warm from the day. You dig your toes in and savor the softness of the sand. You open the case, but no luck yet.

The moon creeps slowly across the heavens, your eyes are getting droopy and you sigh with contentment.

And then you’re sure you’re dreaming ‘cause it looks like the stars are coalescing and shaping themselves to look like humans dancing. They dance closer and closer. Not any bigger than normal, still tiny twinkly stars, but close enough to touch.

You reach out and behind you you hear your voice say, “ I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

You jump up and the stars scatter like frightened butterflies. You stand there very still and they dance their way closer again. As they twirl around, you ask, “Why not touch them?”

“The only other time I’ve witnessed the Invitation of the Stars, the young girl who did touch became one of them. “

Just to make sure you aren’t dreaming, you pinch yourself. OUCH!

“This is real then?”

“Oh yes, and I’ve no idea if they’ll go away or not so we’d better give you the next options and get out of here.”

You just sigh in response. A star girl twirls by so close, you can feel the breeze of her passing.

“Yes, yes, we’d better hurry. Would you like forwards or backwards?”

So…

Aa1: Backwards

or

Aa2: Forwards

Briefcase Genie Option Aa2. Forwards

Picking an option while the stars dance around you is one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. But you manage to whisper, “Forwards.” The stars disappear, and you find yourself surrounded by what appear to be aspen trees that are the size of redwoods. And they’re growing in what looks like the ruins of a large city.

The sun filters down gently through the light green leaves and the wind makes them flutter and whisper.

There’s not a soul in sight and you realize with a start that neither is the briefcase! You frantically search around but it’s nowhere to be found. You sit and try to wait for a while to see if it’ll appear, but patience has never been your strong suit. So you jump up and start picking your way through the ruins.

Photo courtesy of Arthur Rousseau with Hope for Haiti.

Photo courtesy of Arthur Rousseau with Hope for Haiti.

You walk out of what used to be the front door onto a street. This too has been overtaken by the trees. Large chunks of building lay strewn about everywhere. And the trees stretch as far as you can see in any direction.  You consider trying to climb one to get your bearings, but quickly discard the idea. They are all way too big around for climbing.

You notice smoke in the distance. Heading that way only makes sense, smoke usually means people!

After about an hour, you start to smell the smoke and it’s not too long after that that you hear voices.

As you step into the clearing where you’re pretty sure the smoke is coming from, you’re met by the business end of three compound bows held by three very scared looking twenty-something year olds.

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” You shout and put your hands up in a very non-threatening gesture.

They lower their weapons and start laughing as the youngest looking boy says, “Dude, it looks like we’ve got another case of the crazy here!”

You look down and realize you’re dressed in a pretty wild mixture of your once nice work clothes and souvenir type clothes from Belize. You chuckle along with them.

You take a glance around, now that there are not weapons in your face and see about 25 men, women and kids. The clearing must be man made for you can see the stumps of a few of the massive trees. There’s two very large log houses that look as if they were made from the aspen wood.

Most of the people congregate in a huddle on the other side of the fire, but four others; two men and two women invite you to sit with them and offer you a cup of water. You gulp it down gratefully and your eyes grow to the size of saucers as one who calls herself Misty starts to guess correctly where you’ve come from!

“You had a magical briefcase appear and offer you three options? And from the looks of it you chose hot before picking forwards and landing here?”

You nod and realize your mouth is hanging wide open.

“Can’t tell if you chose up or down for the first option though,” she muses.

“U…up,” you stammer.

One of the boys next to you slaps the other in the arm and says, “Pay up, Phil! I knew the next one would be an upper!” Phil passes something off to the boy with a groan.

Misty finishes her summary of your trip, “and when you got here, the case was gone?”

“You’re really freaking me out, how do you know all this?”

She smiles sadly at you. “I was the first one left here by the case, then came Phil, then Jesse, then Bev.” As she says each name she points to the people sitting next to you.

“The rest of them,” she nods her head at the people on the other side of the fire, “They’re from this time.”

“How long have you been stuck here?” you ask.

“I got here exactly one year ago and the rest have come every three months like clockwork.”

Phil and Jesse take over explaining at this point. They tell all about their various journeys with the briefcase and then proceed to tell the tale of what happened to this once great city.

Turns out, you are sitting in the remains of your very own Denver, Colorado. The year is only 5 years later than when you left.

About 3 years ago, a group of scientists were experimenting with a serum that would make trees grow bigger so they would produce more wood. It worked great on pines and spruces. But when they tried it on the aspens, the serum traveled through the root system and got out of their control.

The people here traveled as far as they could and never did make it out of the trees. From the other travelers they met they learned that most people left the country. All that remains are a few pockets of groups like this one.

“So are all you briefcase people from Denver too?” You ask and all their heads nod. “Why is it sending us here? What does it want? Any ideas on how to get back?” Your questions always pop out faster than you intend when you’re nervous.

Bev talks for the first time in a very soft voice, “We don’t know why here and now. And all of them,” She indicates the natives to this time, “most of them still don’t believe us, so we try to not talk about it too much and just be helpful around the camp to earn our keep.”

Phil grunts, “Bev here is sure the case has a plan and is comin’ back for us eventually.”

This is indeed a bit more adventure than you had bargained for, but hey, now you don’t have to worry about that dead-end job that you hated anymore… You take a deep breath and muster up all the bravery you have left to ask, “What projects you got happening now that I can help with?”

Leslie and her husband, Nick.

Leslie and her husband, Nick.

The End

Again thank you to Leslie Rohman who took on the challenge this week and wrote Briefcase Genie.

Blessings and have a wonderful weekend,

Jennifer