Friday, March 29, 2019

The Last Chapters.

My First Novella (pt 5).

To my dearest friends and followers,

Today I am posting the last 4 chapters of my novella. I have faithfully posted each week for the month of March, posting several chapters at a time, until the book was finished. You can find the other chapters in the blog Archive. Thank you so much for taking this journey with me and reading the first novella I ever wrote. Much love to you all!!

"The Tree And The Castle"

"Do you know what The Sea Monster is?" Elina asked.
"A monster that lives in the sea," Tyler quipped.
"I meant where," she corrected.
"My guess is in the sea."
"Tyler!" Elina scolded. "You are no help at all!"
"I know," he shrugged. "What are big brothers for?"
Elina rolled her eyes. "Whatever. And The Sea Monster isn't a monster. It's a ship that sunk a long long long time ago. A treasure is hidden within. It belongs to Shellie the mermaid, and I want it!"
"You're stealing it?" he questioned.
"Oh, no. She's letting me have it when I find it," Elina corrected him.
"Right," Star spoke up. "We should start in the Lagoon."

The three walked on in the direction of the Lagoon, staying near the coast. They came upon the Silver Tree and it was well named. The trunk, and limbs, every twig and every leaf was made of pure silver. When the wind blew, the tree stood firm, not even the branches swayed. Only the leaves moved, clinking together making a harmonious sound like delicate bells on a wind chime.

"What a strange tree," Elina observed.
"And a fine one at that," said Star. "It is perhaps the oldest thing on this island. Balodian creatures of old used to use it for protection. It turns one's enemies stiff. Not into stone or anything, just stiff. Their bodies buckle beneath them."
"Ooh!" Elina said. She leaned up against the tree, thinking it would turn only her enemies.
"Elina, no!" warned Star. It was too late! Elina already touched it. She plopped onto the ground, still in her standing position. 
Tyler laughed `til his side hurt. "You dimwit! What were you thinking?" he managed to say.
"I - I wasn't," she said weakly.
"I guess not," said Tyler. "How long will she be like this?"
"Forever," Star said.
"What?!" exclaimed Elina.
"There is a cure," Star said. "There is a book we can look it up in. All we have to do is get into the Balodian Castle and use the library. We find the book, we find the cure."

Tyler and Star picked up Elina and carried her to the edge of the mote and lay her down. There was no draw bridge. There was no way across and they couldn't swim across because of the serpent in the water. So Tyler, rope in hand, roped a small statue of a cat on one of the towers and they climbed to the nearest window.

Dropping to the ground, they saw eleven little princesses with eleven little chairs around one table with eleven little cakes and eleven little cups filled with tea.

"Do excuse us," Star said. "Where can we find the library?"
"Would you like some tea?" offered one little princess, holding her cup in hand.
"Would you like some cakes?" asked another, holding up her cake.
"Don't give them any cake," said another. "There is only enough for us."
"Don't be rude!" said the fourth princess.
"Let's get out of here," pleaded Tyler.
"Oh look, you made them leave," said the fourth princess.
"Don't be rude!"
"They didn't take any cake," said the second princess and started crying.
"No, no, don't cry," said another princess.

With that, the three left.
They entered what appeared to be the throne room. A big feast was being held. The queen, sitting at the end of the large rectangular table had on a crown that was too big and heavy for her head. It was so decorated in the front that it weighed her head down so low that her face kept falling in her food.
The king, at the head of the table, had a long bushy gray beard that was hanging all over his plate. When he cut a piece of meat, he cut his hairs from his beard and ate them too.

"Where is the library?" asked Star.
"Guards!" yelled the king. "Get them!"
"No, no, no!" Tyler yelled. He picked up Elina and carried her up a flight of stairs, Star right on his heels. "Ahhh!" Elina screamed. They then ran down a long corridor. There were no guards in sight.
"We better hide," Star said. "Just in case."

They tried several doors, but they were all locked. The Elina noticed one was slightly open. "Try that one," she said. They ran inside and closed the door, locked it, and piled a bunch of furniture against it.

"Hey, we're in the library!" Elina said.
Star and Tyler began to look at every single book in sight in search for the one with the cure.
"Let me help," Elina said. "What is the name of the book?"
"The Silver Tree," Star answered. 
"There," Elina said. "I see it."
Tyler followed her gaze and found the book on a shelf all by itself. The book was rather large, very thick, and had a silver cover with a silver tree on the cover.
Elina was carried to the Wizard's room, adjoining the library.
Tyler read the book while Star filled the cauldron. 
"Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries, poison berries, belladonna berries, five purple marshmallows," he looked up from the book, "says right here that it's important that they're purple. We also need pigs feet, a hawk moth, and a white puffy cloud."
"Sounds good," Star said. "Everything I need is here, but you will have to get the cloud."
"I'm on it!" Tyler said. He took hold of his rope and left.
He stood outside on a balcony. "That one looks good," he thought. Tyler cast his rope into the sky and roped the cloud. He pulled it back to him and ran back into the Wizard's room. 
The winged horse mixed all the ingredients together in the cauldron. It made a thick, foul looking concoction. Star pored the drink into a tall glass. "Drink up," she said, handing it to Tyler to give to Elina. Elina drank it. "I feel way better! I'm sorry I touched the tree. I thought it would only stiffen my enemies."
"Well, now you know it doesn't," Star said.

"The Wrong One"

"Let's get out of here," Star said. "I say we go the fast way."
Elina and Tyler got on Star's back and she flew to the Lagoon. Getting off her back, they all dived into the water.
Elina and Tyler's legs melted together and became tails.

"I'm a mermaid!" exclaimed Elina joyfully.
"I'm a merman!" exclaimed Tyler in disgust. 
"Oh how wonderful!" said Elina.
"No, it's not wonderful," he said crossly. 
"Come on!" Star said. They followed her until they came to a cave. Elina swam ahead and went in first. She came out riding a seahorse. Laughing happily, she said, "Tyler, catch one and ride it. It's really quite fun!"
Tyler went into the cave and came out with one as well. Then Star went in and she also had one.
"I'm going to name mine Bubbles," said Elina. "What are you going to name yours?"
"I'm not," he said.
Elina made a sad face. "Oh look! My poor Bubbles is wearing glasses!"
"Haha!" Tyler laughed. "You picked a blind seahorse."

They were swimming along when - CRASH! Bubbles swam face first into a large rock. His little round eyeglasses crumbled into a million little pieces.
Star looked at the accident and lost control of her seahorse. It bucked her off and swam away. Tyler too lost his with one hand around his stomach as he laughed and the other pointing at Elina.

"Brilliant!" Elina threw her hands up in dismay. "He had glasses before and apparently can't see at all without them. Now he doesn't have any. How can he see?"
"I don't know," said Tyler. "But you don't have to worry about that anymore. He swam away with the others."
"Oh, poor thing!" Elina began to cry.
"Let's go," Star said.

So on they swam in search of the Sea Monster. 
"Look! A ship!" exclaimed Elina, clapping her hands in excitement. 
"Last one there's a rotten egg!" Tyler said.
"First one's gotta eat it!" shouted Elina. 
Star was the first one at the ship. Tyler would have been second, but Elina pushed him aside and made him third. Elina giggled.
"Be quiet and look around," Tyler said.
"Yes Sir!" Elina said with a salute. She swam down to the brig. The water was dark and had a greenish color from the thick layer of slime and moss growing that covered the walls and floors and a human skeleton. "No treasure here."

Next she went to the hold. Old bunks covered every wall. Moldy, mushy mattresses filled the bunks. Rotten tables lay scattered on the sides. A lantern hung from the ceiling that was glowing with a warm flame. "How is that possible?" Elina wondered aloud as she swam closer to it. Indeed it was burning as it flickered out when she came near it. She turned and left, as there was no treasure there.
She met up with Star and Tyler. 

"Any luck? I didn't find anything."
Neither of them had anything to report.
"Maybe Shellie was mistaken?" suggested Star.
"Or maybe this is not the right ship!" Elina suddenly thought. Swimming to the back of the boat, she could see plainly that it did not say the Sea Monster.

"The Salt Water Creek"

"Well, how do we find a specific ship?" Elina asked. "The sea is so big!'
"Morgan!" Star exclaimed.
"Who's that?"
"She's a mermaid. Well, she was a mermaid," Star corrected. "She died a long time ago. There is a stone statue of her. Shellie built it with help of the Balodian creatures. It must have a clue!"
"Where do we find Morgan then?" Elina asked.
"Morgan means, from the sea," Star explained. "But the statue is not in the sea. None Asea Woods!"
"Ooh!" Elina and Tyler got on Star's back.

She flew them to the woods and they found the statue near the edge of the ocean. The statue was tall and she was pointing to the water.
"I guess we should go that way," Elina said. They all jumped in the water and swam around for a while. No one saw a ship of any kind. They got out of the water.
"Maybe the statue was moved?" Elina suggested.
"Let's take a look," Star said.
"Look!" Elina said. She was on her hands and knees studying the ground. "The weeds are all around except this area, like the statue was moved not long ago."
"Hmm," Star thought. "We better put her back in her place then."
Big though the statue was, Elina pushed it all by herself. "There," she said, dusting off her hands. "She's pointing back towards the woods."
"She can't be," Star said. "There is no place for a ship in these woods."
"Maybe she's pointing past the woods then?" Tyler suggested.
Elina pulled out her map. "According to our location, if we followed the direction she's pointing, we'd end up back at Weepers Willows."
"Impossible!" Star said.
"Look here," Elina said, pointing to the map. "What's this line in Weepers Willows?"
"That's the Salt Water Creek," Star answered.
"We should look there then," Elina said.

They went to the creek. Not a word was said as they followed the narrow creek. They could see the bottom as the water flowed over smooth rocks. There wasn't a single fish as the water was too shallow.
The creek should have continued on until it met the ocean, but it didn't - meet the the ocean that is. Instead it continued upwards into the sky. Elina and Tyler were immediately on Star's back and she flew through the sky, still following the stream of water through the air. There were islands floating in the sky, much smaller than Balodia. 
"Is it possible that the ship could be associated with one of the other islands?" Elina asked.
"No one lives on those islands," Star answered. "There wouldn't be a ship there."
They continued to follow the creak through the sky. The water was still too shallow for a ship.
"Star," Elina said, "I just thought of something."
"Shellie said the Sea Monster sunk a long time ago. But she didn't say it was still in the water! Morgan was pointing this direction. The ship could be in the sky somewhere."
"Elina!" Star exclaimed excitedly. "I bet you're right!"
They followed the creek and kept their eyes open for the ship amongst the clouds. In the distance, all three could see the creek ended on a large puffy cloud on which was a pool of what was once water, but was turned into ice. The first deck of a ship was level with the ice and the rest was underneath the cloud. On the back of the ship, they could make out the name.
The Sea Monster.

"Back Again"

"Oh, my oh my!" said Elina bursting with excitement. "I told you we'd find it!"
"You sure did!" Tyler said. "Good job sis!"
"You did it, Elina!" Star said.
"Thank you, thank you!" Elina said, throwing up her arms in excitement. She stepped onto the ice and slid on her tummy all the way to the ship. "Come on guys and help me!" she yelled.
The others slid across the ice and were by her side in a moment.
"We need to break the ice to get to the other decks," Elina explained.
"And when we do get there," said Tyler, scratching his head, "do you plan to break through the wood?"
"Oh no, nothing like that," Elina assured him. "We just need to break the ice enough to get to the side of the ship and then go through the portholes."

Elina, Tyler, and Star were breaking the ice little by little with their bare hands and Star's hooves. Eventually the ice was broken enough for them to slip inside. Wiggling with great difficulty, they all made it through the portholes. The ship was filled with water, but not a single drop made its way out of the ship, not through the open window or even the small crack in the wall. They searched until they came to the third deck. There, in the middle of the room, was the treasure chest. Big massive chains were wrapped around it with a big lock. The keyhole was about the size of your thumb.

Elina, seeing a big key on a ring hanging on the wall opposite them, swam over and grabbed it with both hands. No sooner was the key lifted from the nail that a large electric eel appeared. It moved through the water like a snake. it was black with green spots, red eyes, and four fangs, two on top and two on bottom.

"What are you doing here?" asked Elina.
"I live here," said the eel. "What are you doing here?"
"I have a right to be here. I came to get Shellie's treasure."
"You have no right!" the eel said. "She doesn't want you to have it. Why else would she have me here to guard it?"
"It's mine," Elina insisted.
"You want to fight for it?" the eel said, becoming angry.
The eel, with eyes blood red, swam so very fast to Star and electrocuted her with its fangs until Star appeared to be lifeless. The same thing happened to Tyler.
"No!" Elina screamed. She stood with her back to the wall and kept moving away until the eel had her cornered. She was very scared. She was pushing against the wall with all her might, hoping to get farther away from the eel. She stood trembling with fear as she looked into its eyes. Suddenly the eel darted right for her! She couldn't bare to look. She didn't want the eels fangs to be the last thing she saw. She closed her eyes...

...She opened them and found herself back again. She was sitting on the front porch of her house. Tyler was just sitting down by her side.
"Hey, how long you plan to sleep out here?" he asked, pushing her shoulder.
"Huh?" she said, looking up at him.
"You're still sleeping, aren't you?" asked Tyler.
"No, I'm awake," she answered sleepily.
"Whatever," he shook his head, an amused smile on his face. "Come in and go to bed, you've been asleep at least an hour."
"Is that all?" she responded. She followed Tyler up the steps and inside the house. She said goodnight to her mother and father. She looked at the clock. It read 10:00. She was never allowed to stay up so late.
She went into her room and found the family pet, Winkster, asleep on her bed. After Elina put Shellie's Hidden Treasure on the bookshelf, she changed into her pajamas. 
She picked up Winkster and left her room. She was in the dark hallway and walked past the bathroom door until she stood outside Tyler's bedroom door. She knocked.

"What do you want?" he answered.
"Can I come in?"
"I guess."
She walked in and found Tyler lying in his bed. Elina turned on the light and sat down next to him.
"What is it?" he asked and turned to look at her. He was squinting his eyes from the bright light.
"I was reading and fell asleep..." she began.
"I know," Tyler smiled.
"And I had a dream. It was so strange and made no sense. There was a horse with wings and sometimes she was there and sometimes she wasn't! And you were in it. You were missing and I found you. Then you died. An eel shocked you. And then I..."
"Ya, that's cool," said Tyler. "Can you tell me the rest in the morning?"
"Promise you'll listen to me?" asked Elina.
Elina held her pinky finger out. Tyler rolled his eyes and took her pinky in his. 
"Can't believe we still do that," he mumbled. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight," Elina smiled. She leaned over to hug him awkwardly, still holding Winkster in her other arm. She then went back to her room and got into her bed. THE END.

**THANK YOU so much for reading!! I really hope you all enjoyed reading this!! It was a lot of fun for me to type it out and share it with all of you. XD

Yours truly,

Friday, March 22, 2019

Nightmares Cave.

My First Novella (pt 4)

To my dearest friends and followers,

Thank you for reading my first novella and for coming back to finish the story. It just keeps getting more and more bizarre to say the least. XD I would love to hear from you and what you think of the story so far!!

In case you missed it...
Part 1 (chapters 1-3)
Part 2 (chapters 4-6)
Part 3 (chapters 7-9)

"Nightmares Cave"

"Alright!" said Star. "Let's go to Worlds Grove next."
"Um, shouldn't we go to Nightmares Cave first? It's on the way," Elina said.
"I think we should go there last," Star said. Pale though she was, she became more pale.
"Star, what's wrong?" Elina asked.
"It's too horrible to speak of!" Star shuddered from the thought.
"It's ok," Elina soothed. "You can tell me."
"Well," Star began, "When I was a foal..."
"You were a foal once?" Elina asked. It was hard to imagine Star when she was a baby.
"Believe it or not, I was. Me and my sister..."
"I didn't know you had a sister!" Elina interrupted.
"Yes. I had a sister. We were very small and we were still taking flying lessons..."
"You had to take flying lessons?" Elina said, baffled. "Aren't you born knowing how to fly?"
Star rolled her eyes. "Were you born with legs?"
"Yes," Elina answered.
"Did you know how to walk?"
"Exactly. You had to go to walking school..."
Elina laughed at the idea.
"...And us winged horses have to go to flying school. One day my sister decided to skip school and took me with her. We went to Nightmares Cave."
"It was my sister's idea. She was always getting me into trouble. Inside the cave, it was dark and cold. We could hear bats in the distance. Then we heard something on the ground. It was a huge snake!"
"How huge?" Elina shuddered.
"Too great to say," Star answered. "It slithered to us with its green glowing eyes. My sister and I were frightened by the beast. She helped me escape. That was the last time I saw her." Star lowered her head.
"Oh, you poor thing," Elina said as she rested her hand on Star's head. "Still though," she said, "mustn't we still look for the boy?"
"I suppose you're right," Star said.

On they went towards the mountains, until they came to the entrance to the cave and they both stopped.
"We made it all this way, don't get scared on me now," Elina said.
"I'm not scared," said Star.
"Then why did you stop?"
"Why did you stop?"
They both smiled at each other. Elina put her arm around Star and they walked cautiously inside.
As Star said, it was indeed dark and cold inside. They could both see by the light that emitted itself from Star. They could hear the sound of bats chirping in the distance. Surprisingly, there were several plants that grew in the cave. But they didn't see any Belladonna plant. 

Elina suddenly heard the sound of something moving on the ground. Then she realized she saw a light ahead of them that wasn't Star. Two faint glowing lights.
"What is that?" she asked, a quiver in her voice.
"I don't know," Star said slowly in a whisper.

The light kept coming closer to them until they could see plainly that it was a snake! The width of the serpent was about that of Elina's body and the length was too great to see the other end of it.
Elina screamed, "A SNAKE!"
"Sssomething wrong, Sssweetie?" asked the snake, coiling up and opening it's mouth wide.
Elina jumped on Star's back and she flew out of the cave. The snake suddenly had wings and looked more like some kind of dragon than a snake.
"Ssstop!" Yelled the snake, flying after them. "It'sss not often I get visssitors. I'm ssso hungry!"
Elina looked back. "Hurry! It's gaining on us!"
"I'll go as fast as I can! Hold on for dear life!" Star was flying very fast and was heading for the ground.
"Ahhh!" Elina screamed.
Star landed. She collapsed and panted in exhaustion. Elina looked around. The serpent landed next to them. "Ssso hungry," it hissed.
Out of nowhere, Princess Bella's unicorn came to the rescue. "Ooh!" Elina said at seeing Crystal. 
"It's ok, I'm here!" the unicorn shouted happily. She ran 10 times as fast as the serpent could move. Just by poking the serpent with her long horn, it burst into dust and fell to the ground.
"Oh, thank you! Thank you!" said Elina. She tapped Star's head. "We're safe now."
"Hmm?" Star moaned and lifted her head. "Oh, oh!" She stood up and looked at Crystal. "Yes, thank you. I thought we were done for!"

"Worlds Grove"

"I guess we can put an X on Nightmares Cave," Elina laughed. "Next, Worlds Grove."
As they approached Worlds Grove, Elina knew she had been here before when she met the old woman. She and Star walked up to a tree and opened the door attached to it. Inside was a small boat with a tropical island a short distance away. They got into the wee boat and without paddling, without oars, or a breeze of any sort, the boat moved towards the island.

Finally they arrived and got out of the boat. On the island were hundreds of different kinds of animals, like birds, turtles, lizards, foxes, deer, only to name a few. There were also a lot of plants. "I bet we can find what we are looking for here!" Elina exclaimed. Star smiled at her in agreement.

They came to a young boy sitting on a stump. He was playing a fiddle and put it down when he saw them. He picked up what looked like a spelling test. "How do you spell Mississippi?" He asked.
Elina answered, "M-i-s-s-i..."
"Too slow," said the fiddler. "You lose. Thanks for trying anyway." he waved them on.

Elina lifted her brow in confusion. She and Star walked on. Next they came to a cottage similar to the one the Old Woman lived in.
"Let's go there," suggested Star. "Whoever lives there might be able to help us."
Elina agreed.
They knocked on the door. A couple answered. It was Elina's parents. Her father, a tall thin man with a light complexion, brown eyes and a head of hair to match, answered with a crooked grin. Her mother, an petite attractive woman, more pale than her husband, bold haired and blue eyed, stood beside him with a sweet smile on her lips.
Elina also had a dog. A yellow-ish weenier-dog to be exact, named Winkster. He was chewing on his bouncie-ball, and then jumped up and greeted Elina. He then went back to chewing on his toy.

"Are there any Belladonna plants here?" asked Elina.
"There might be," her mother said.
Elina's eyes got really big and a smile spread across her face. "Would you tell me where please?" 
Her father gave her directions. So the two left the cottage and crossed a little arched bridge over a stream and came to a field of wildflowers as far as the eye could see. They looked and looked and found nothing. "Oh Star," Elina pouted and slumped to the ground.
"Don't give up!" Star encouraged. "There are still more places to look!"

Elina and Star left that world and went to another. It was somewhat the same as the first, but slightly different too. There was an island with a layer of snow that covered the ground. Thick ice was between them and the island, instead of water. Elina, wearing a perfect outfit to go skating in, stepped onto the ice. She found she was wearing ice skates. Star followed close behind, also wearing skates. Elina giggled and smiled all the way to the snow-covered island. Once there, Star's shoes were gone, and Elina's shoes changed back.

They walked to the same spot where the cottage was, only in this world, there was a log cabin with smoke coming from the chimney. 
Elina and Star walked inside. "Hello?" Elina called out. "Mom? Dad? Winkster?" she turned to Star and shrugged. "I guess no one's home."
They left the cabin and came to an area where a crowd of people stood on either side of a snow-beaten path. Above the path was a sign that read FINISH in big red letters. In the distance Star and Elina could see dogs - it was a sled dog race!

In one of the teams, Winkster was the lead dog. "Go Winkster, go!" cheered Elina, standing next to her parents.
Winkster had his tongue hanging out of his mouth as he raced to the finish, his tiny legs moving as fast as lightning.
Winkster ran in front of all the other teams and won the race!
"Woo! You did it Winkster! You did it!" Elina and Star cheered. The two ran to greet Winkster with Elina's parents. They took the dog to the cabin and held a feast in his honor. It was the greatest feast ever held for a dog.
Winkster was put in a chair at the table with a cone-shaped party hat on his head.

"Doesn't he look cute?!" Elina giggled. The feast done and over with, Elina asked her parents if there was a Belladonna plant in that land.
"I've never seen one," her mother answered. 
"Anyway, I doubt if there was that it would have survived this harsh storm," her father added.

Elina and Star left and went to another world. There was a dark sky filled with stars and planets that could be seen with the naked eye. Desert mountains covered the area. There wasn't a single plant in sight. They climbed and looked right and left, up and down, but all in vain.
They came to a ledge with a great big eagle sitting on a nest.

"Is there a Belladonna plant around here?" asked Elina.
"Do I look like I know?" The Eagle said rudely.
Elina and Star walked away and found a large white goat asleep on another mountain with her baby next to her.
Elina gently touched both goats. "Wake up," she whispered.
The baby woke up first. "Ahhh! Maaamaaa!
"Shhh! I'm not going to harm you!" Elina tried to calm the little goat.
The mother awoke. "What's going on!" she demanded.
"Maaamaaa! Maaamaaa!" The baby goat cried out, pointing to Elina. "She, she..."
"What? Did she hurt you?"
The baby goat shook her head. 
"I'm sorry to disturb you," apologized Elina. "Are there any Belladonna plants here?"
"I can assure you," said the goat, "There are no plants here that I know of."
Elina and Star left that world and went to about a dozen more. All in vain. Elina put an X on Worlds Grove.
"Next to None Asea Woods," Star said.
"What does that mean anyway?" Elina asked.
"Asea means, from the sea," Star answered. "So None Asea means not from the sea?"
"Oh," Elina said, wondering why it was called that.

"None Asea Woods"

"I've been here before," Elina explained. "Just before I met the Princess. I didn't know about the Belladonna plant at the time."

Elina and Star entered the woods and walked past the same stone Elina had seen before, only this time it was blank. They made it past the area that held Elina back last time. Both had gone some distance without seeing a Belladonna plant. Finally the two came to the edge of the woods. Beyond that was nothing but a sandy beach and then the ocean. No plants. "Do you suppose we passed it?" asked Elina.
"Perhaps," replied Star.
"Wonder how we missed it," said Elina.

Elina and Star backtracked their steps and looked as they went. Elina spotted a bush with small round black berries. She had not noticed it before. In fact, she was sure it wasn't even there before. 
"Star," she called, pointing. Star looked at it with eyes wide. "Belladonna! That's it!"
"What do we do?" Elina asked.
"We dig!" Star replied. She started kicking away the dirt with her hooves. Elina used both of her hands to dig like a wild dog. The dirt gave way and collapsed underneath them. An Underground cave!
They headed left and after a short distance, they saw a boy, about fourteen years old! he had brown hair and blue eyes. He resembled Elina's brother. Actually, he looked just like him!
"Oh, Tyler!" cried Elina, throwing her arms around him. "We found you! Star, we found him! We found him!"
"Have you been looking for me?" Tyler asked, pushing Elina from him.
"Have we?" Elina quipped. "We've been looking everywhere! How come you've been here so long, couldn't you find a way out?"
"Actually no, I haven't," he said slowly.
"Well, we did!" Elina said proudly.
"Yeah, but you came from the top," Tyler said pointing up. "From here, I can't even touch the top of the cave with my fingers. And I'm pretty tall," he added.
"It doesn't matter how we came in. At least we did," Elina said.
He just smiled and said sheepishly, "thanks."
Elina smiled. "No problem. I couldn't have done it without Star."
Star smiled and took a bow, extending her front leg and bending forward.
Elina drew a big circle around the woods then said with a sigh, "Now that we've found him, can we look for Shellie's treasure?"
Star nodded and said, "I can fly us out the way we came in." And the trio were on their way.

**Thank you!! Next week I will be posting the final chapters!! Ahhh!! :D

Yours truly,

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Sea Monster.

My First Novella (pt 3).

To my dearest friends and followers,

I've been sharing the first novella I ever wrote when I was 13. Part 1 and 2 are available to read in the blog Archive. I'll be sharing part 4 next week.

"The Sea Monster"

Elina sat down on a log in the shade next to the river and pulled out a notebook and pencil from her pocket. She didn't want to talk to Star just yet and tried her best to find out what Shellie's clue meant. "Let's see," she said to herself, tapping the pencil on her lip. "Shellie had to be speaking English. Maybe it's old English like I'm reading about in school."

"No, that can't be it," she said a few moments later. "Herte si a ugrosgoe edunr atwer ragned, og dan kalt ot het esa serho," she said as she wrote the words in her book. "Hmm. It's definitely not old English and etreh doesn't say anything, so it's nothing spelled backwards," Elina said to herself. She sat in silence for a few minutes and thought. What did it say?

The Island was like a nice spring day. It was warm with a cool breeze now and then. All of the flowers were in bloom. Every little bee was busy at work, flying from flower to flower. Every so often a young fawn would come and put its little mouth in the water and quench its thirst. Not far away stood the mother keeping watch.

"I think I've got it!" exclaimed Elina. "These words have to be unscrambled! Herte is there..." Elina trailed off, writing everything down in her book.
"I've got it! I've got it!" Elina shouted, waving her book around. "There is a gorgeous under water garden, go there and talk to the sea horse."

Elina jumped into the river and was on her way to the under water garden, and somehow she knew where it was. The river turned into the ocean and Elina came to a shipwreck under the water that was overgrown with plants of all different kinds and colors. Sitting on a chair behind a desk was a human size seahorse wearing spectacles, for this horse was rather old and blind.

"Can you help me?" She asked as she swam closer to it.
"The Sea Monster," said the seahorse.
"What about a sea monster?"
"The Sea Monster," repeated the sea horse.
"I'm supposed to come here and talk to a seahorse. Can you help me?" said Elina.
Again the seahorse gave the same reply.
"Perhaps I can talk to a different seahorse?" she said.
"The Sea Monster," he said again.
"Can you tell me what that means?" she asked.
The seahorse ignored her.
"Please?" she asked sweetly.
Still there was no answer.
"Oh! Darn you!" Elina was irritated and left.
"I don't know what to do. Am I supposed to ask a sea monster?" she wondered to herself. "Which one do I even go to? The serpent outside the castle or Scum? What if they try to eat me?" these thoughts just kept circling her mind.

"Weepers Willows"

Elina's walkings brought her to a lake with lily pads and big frogs sat croaking on the tops of them. In the grass next to the lake, was Star rolling on her back like a silly foal.

"I have discovered many things, and again am at a dead end," Elina said.
Star got up and looked at her. "Sit down and tell me all about it."
Elina told her everything, and finished with talking about the princess. "She kept telling me her name. Beautiful Bella. She gave me a note that said to talk to you if I didn't understand what that meant."
"Well," said Star, "you said she kept telling you her name? Beautiful Bella, Beautiful Bella..." Star trailed off and thought.
"Hmm," she said, walking back in forth. "It has to mean something..."
Elina sat down and plucked a single blade of grass and kept ripping it up smaller and smaller just to pass the time.
"Ooh!" Star said. "I think I've figured it out!"
Elina looked up excitedly. "What is it?!"
"The boy is hidden underground. Belle, or Bella, literally means beautiful. Bella - there is a plant rarely seen on the island, Belladonna. It is beautiful, but it is poisonous. No one would ever disturb such a plant. Perhaps the boy is hidden underneath a Belladonna plant!"
"Oh!" Elina exclaimed. "How exciting! Then we should begin looking! Do you have a map of Balodia, so we may keep track of where we've been?"
"Why yes," answered Star as she pulled a map quite literally out of nowhere.
"Very nice," Elina said as she studied the map. "We'll put X's on the areas once we've looked there."
"You decide where we shall look first!" Star said.
"Well," Elina looked at the map, "we are nearest Weepers Willows. Let's go there."

On they walked until they reached Weepers Willows.
A long-legged hermit with big feet, a long white bushy beard, and a large crooked nose sat on a branch of a willow tree. He had a leg dangling on each side. He was holding his tattered shirt to his eyes as he weeped. Every so often he would blow his nose, which sounded like he was playing a trumpet.

"That," Star said, pointing with her hoof, "is the Weeper."
"He's not very pretty," Elina said.
"Now be nice," Star said.
"He's too busy weeping to notice us," Elina said. "I'm sure he won't mind if we look around his willow trees."

So the two walked around and searched near the little creek and in the little creek and around the willow trees and in the willow trees. They found nothing.
Just then, the hermit looked down at them and jumped from his tree. 

"What are ye doin' in my willow trees?" he growled fiercely. 
"What are you doing in you're willow trees?" Elina replied sassily.
"Quite right then," Elina said. "We were only looking for a Belladonna plant."
"There ain't no Belladonna here! Go away or I'll..." he finished by threatening with a fist.

Elina got on Star's back, drew a big X on Weepers Willows and the two left.

"The Lagoon"

Elina and Star went to the Lagoon next, being the closing place according to the map.

"Nope. No Belladonna plant here," Said Elina after she and Star looked around. "You wait here. I'll go in the water and see if I see anything."

She jumped in the water and was looking along rock walls and the bottom of the ocean when she saw Shellie.

"What ya doin'?" asked Shellie curiously as she swam to Elina.
"Looking for something."
"May I ask what?"
"What are you looking for?"
"A Belladonna plant."
"I have to if I want to find the boy."
"Oh," Shellie sighed. "What about my treasure? Have you given up?"
"No," Elina said. "I did talk to the seahorse though. It said 'the sea monster' over and over."
Shellie laughed like a child. "Can I tell you what it means? Please, please, please!" she begged, bursting with excitement. 
"Ok. But it better make sense," Elina warned.
"The Sea Monster is not a monster at all. It's an old ship that sunk a long time ago."
"Ooh!" Elina said, smiling happily. "Sometimes you make no sense at all and sometimes you couldn't be more clear!"
"Well, that's not quite true. I could tell you where the ship is," Shellie said. "But I'm not going to."

"Star!" Elina shouted, once out of the water. "Guess what?"
"I give up. What?"
"I talked to Shellie! She said The Sea Monster is the name of a ship!"
"That's good," Star nodded in approval. "But we're not looking for Shellie's hidden treasure right now. We're looking for the boy."
"Oh, alright," Elina said. She put an X over the Lagoon.

**Again, thank you for reading!!

Yours truly,

Friday, March 8, 2019

My First Novella (pt 2).

The Enchanted Island.

To my dearest friends and followers,

In case you missed last week's post, I am sharing my first novella from when I was 13. I posted chapters 1-3 last week.

"A Freak Accident"

Elina skipped along happily in the grass with wild flowers all about and of every shape, size, and color. Up ahead a short distance, she could see something lying in the dirt next to a cliff. Not taking her eyes off of the object, she walked up to it. She went down on her hands and knees and picked it up. It was a pocket knife.

"This belongs to the lost boy!" Elina said, quite sure of herself. She started searching the grass for something else that might help her find him.

The hill above her had a large rock on it. How that rock came to be rolling down the hill, I do not know, but indeed it was rolling and indeed with every second it rolled faster, rolling right in the direction of Elina.
Suddenly Elina was being squished by the rock. All four limbs were stretched out. "Oh great! she exclaimed sarcastically.
When she tried to push the rock off of her back, she couldn't. It was much too heavy for only one girl to move.

"Help me! Please someone help! Help!" shouted Elina.
After lying there for what seemed like ages, Elina, still shouting and screaming, saw twelve creatures coming to help her. What eleven of these creatures looked like, I leave to your imagination. The twelfth one was Shellie. She had long pale legs instead of a tail. She and the others grabbed hold of the rock and, working together, they could not push, pull, nor could they lift the rock a single inch.

"I'm going to get help," Elina said. She was up and walking around the island, trying to find Star. She walked up to a gopher hole and put her face down to it and yelled, "Star? Are you in there?" When there was no reply, she turned and left. "Where has that horse gone to?" she wondered aloud.
Next she went to a tree with a hole in it, big enough for a squirrel. "Hello? Star?" Elina shouted. She stood there a minute and waited for someone to answer. When no one did, she turned and left, just as before. Then Elina came to a lovely little meadow where she saw a winged-horse grazing happily, minding her own business.

Elina ran to the horse and said, "Star, please help me. Help me move the rock."

Elina was once again under the rock. Shellie, Star, and the others lifted the rock, waited for her to move, then dropped it again with a loud thud. "Oh, thank you!" Elina said, relieved.
"What were you doing here?" Star asked.
"I wanted to find the lost boy. Poor thing. Hidden away five years." Elina said sadly.
"You should talk to people on the island and gather information," Star suggested. "You might also try looking for clues."
"Looking for clues," Elina repeated. She held out the little knife she found and asked, "is this a clue?"
"That's a start!" Star answered.
"What does it mean?"
"No Balodian creature has such a tool. He was here."

**Please bear with me. I know a lot doesn't make sense, but it's not meant to...

"No Sense At All"

Elina looked for clues near the cliff, but didn't find anything. She decided to look for the treasure again. Standing on a little rock, she dived into the water. She was swimming through a school of brightly colored fish, when she saw a dark creepy looking cave. "That looks the like perfect spot for someone to hide treasure," she thought to herself. She swam up to the opening and peeked her head inside. "Hello?" she said, fearing there might be someone inside. Hello hello hello she heard her voice echo back to her. Satisfied that no one answered, she swam in.

Inside she saw a very large fish with a strange light attached to it's head. Elina was scared. She swam out of the cave. She swam back through the school of fish. She swam a good while until she saw a beautiful but strange looking house made of bright orange coral.

She swam to the door and knocked three times. "Anybody home?"
"Hello Elina! Won't you come in?" Shellie answered from inside, opening the door.
When they were inside, Elina noticed that the house looked big on the inside and small on the outside. In one corner of the room stood a very pretty pink vanity with a big mirror and the knobs to the drawers were pearls.

"You should have not disturbed Scum," Shellie broke the silence.
"Scum?" Elina thought of the fish she had seen in the cave. "I didn't realize he had a name."
"Why were you bothering him?"
"I didn't know he lived there. I was looking for your treasure."
"Oh!" Shellie was excited. "Would you like to hear something which might help?"
"Yes please!"
Shellie cleared her throat and with a twinkle in her eyes, she said, "Herte si a urgosgoe edunr atwer ragned, og herte dan kalt ot het esa serho."
It sounded like a beautiful language Elina had never heard before which left her more confused than ever. "What does that mean? That makes no sense at all."
"It wouldn't," Shellie agreed. "But it will."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Elina said. "Won't you at least tell me in English?"
Shellie thought a moment. "Just take your time."
Displeased, Elina left.

*  *  *

"I don't understand. I don't know any other language," Elina said as she braided Star's main. "I don't think she wants me to find her treasure."
"Actually, quite the opposite," Star said. "She loves it when someone looks for it. It's like a game to her. She just likes to make it more interesting for her amusement."
"That's kind of cruel of her," Elina said.
"Some would see her that way." Star said. "Her clue is easier to figure out than you think."
"Oh?" Elina said, curious. 
"You know the answer already," Star said. "You came up with the clue."
Elina was very confused. "How do you know?"
"I just do."
"Will you please tell me?"
"No," Star answered. "At least not now."

"Beautiful Bella"

Elina walked up to a mote. Across the mote was an enchanted brick castle. She wanted to get to the other side of the castle, but figured it would be faster to go through it and go around it. She was about to jump in the dark swampy water when she saw something move below the surface. She tried to get a better look.
She didn't have to wait long, for the creature, which appeared to be a huge serpent, lunged at Elina and showed it's long yellow fangs. Elina screamed and fell on her behind, got up, and ran along the side of the mote until she reached the woods. She had not gone far when she saw what looked like a headstone. She saw these words written on it:

Oh, good for you,
you have found this note.
However, you have skipped the first.
To find it, cross the mote.

Elina decided to ignore the message. She did not want to cross the mote. So on she went, deeper into the woods until she suddenly couldn't walk. Her feet were not stuck to the ground, nor was there anything holding her in place. It was as if she were not permitted to walk any farther, like two magnets held that refuse to be joined together. 

Discovering that there was no way around it, Elina decided to do what the stone said. She walked back to the castle, but this time the drawbridge was down. She crossed and walked up a seemingly never ending staircase. At the top was a big wooden door. She opened it. It was the room of the princess.

"Um, hello Princess," said Elina, giving a curtsey.
The Princess looked up. She had long red hair with bright green eyes and lovely pink cheeks. "Hello," she said. "Please, call me Bella."
"I'm Elina. You're very beautiful, Bella," said Elina.
"Thank you. That's what my name means."
"Oh," said Elina. "Nice place you got here."
Bella nodded in agreement.
"I read this stone that says I'm supposed to come here and find a note or something," Elina explained. "Can you help me Bella?"
"I think so. It's about the boy, right?" Bella asked.
"I've heard that he was hidden underground," said Bella.
"Underground?" Elina said.
Bella changed the subject. "Would you like to see crystal?"
"Um, sure," Elina said. She followed the princess down all the stairs and outside to a stable with a small pasture that Elina was sure wasn't there before.
"Isn't she a beauty?" Bella said once inside.
"Oh," breathed Elina. "She's amazing."
Crystal is a tremendous and attractive unicorn with a horn of pure crystal.
Elina heard Bella muttering to herself, "Beautiful Bella, beautiful Bella, beautiful Bella."
Bella turned to Elina. "She is a very special unicorn. Her horn holds powers. She can lightly tap a rock with it and the rock will crumble to a million pieces."
"Oh! She would come in handy if I have to dig for the boy," Elina said. "Can I take her with me?"
"Why will you be digging?" Bella said.
"To find him," Elina said. "I'm gonna dig all over the island until I find him."
"Oh Elina," Bella said, "You totally missed it. You don't need to dig! But you may take her if you wish," she said because a princess never forgets her manners. "Here is your note," Bella said, handing Elina a piece of paper. "Goodbye now," she added, gesturing towards the door.
Elina turned to leave when Bella grabbed her by the arm. "Oh wait! remember the name, Beautiful Bella."
When Elina left, she didn't take Crystal. As she crossed the bridge, she read the note. It said,

First talk to the princess.
If you don't get the clue,
it's time to see Star.
She is more clever than you.

**More next week. Thank you so much!! I would love to hear from you and what you think of the story so far. XD

Yours truly,

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Enchanted Island.

My first novella.

To my dearest friends and followers,

Did you know that there is a holiday pretty much every day of the year? I recently found out. Quite recently in fact. There's no holiday today that interests me, but this past Tuesday, the 26th of February, was National Tell a Fairy Tale day. I'm serious. Who knew? So I thought I'd honor that by sharing a story with you. It's actually the first novella I ever wrote, back in 2008, inspired by Peter Pan. I came across it just a few weeks ago and it's pretty cringeworthy, so bear with me!! I decided to insert the original drawings as well, sort of like I'm archiving this entire thing on my blog. It is the original story, but I want to let you know that I corrected spelling errors and cleaned up the story just enough to somewhat make sense (trust me, there were some sections extremely difficult to read). I didn't have a computer back then, so I actually wrote the entire story by hand. This is the first time ever I'll be typing it out!! The story consists of 16 chapters. I am going to divide it up and post roughly 3 chapters at a time, sharing the entire story by the end of the month. I hope you enjoy and thank you in advance. XD

Thirteen year old me:

The Enchanted Island

"What a great book!" exclaimed ten year old blond haired, brown eyed Elina Trickle. She was sitting on the front porch steps of her house, listening to the frogs and crickets while she read.

You see, Elina loved to read. She also liked animals, learning about plants, ice skating, and roller skating.
It was a beautiful evening. The sun had already gone down for the night. You could see very few stars in the sky, because the moon was full and had a beautiful bright orange glow. It was bright, but Elina still needed the outside light on while she read.

Elina loved to read and right now she was reading a book called, "Shellie's Hidden Treasure." This book Elina quite enjoyed. It is about a mermaid with azure and lime green hair named Shellie. Shellie had taken a treasure chest from a sunken ship which was filled with pearls and gold and rubies and diamonds. Later Shellie had met two young human girls. Shellie made friends with them and told them about the treasure. Of course the girls wanted Shellie to share the treasure, but she was not going to just give it over. What fun would that be? Instead they had to hunt for it! Shellie hid the treasure under the sea, and she found it quite amusing to watch them hunt for the treasure in spots that would make her ask, "Why would you look there?" though sometimes she pitied them and would give them a clue to help them find the hidden treasure. Before the girls could use the clue, they had to decipher it.

Now you know why Elina had interest in that book. As Elina read she was becoming quite tired.
A few minutes later, Elina, still on the steps, looked up in the sky, and do you know what she saw? She saw what she thought was a rather large and strange looking bird. It was white with a greenish glow. I leave you to imagine her surprise when it flew closer to the ground not far from where she sat. It wasn't a bird at all, but a horse.
Suddenly the winged-horse landed, sending up a great gust of wind. The horse was just standing there, with her bright blue eyes fixed on Elina. At first neither of them could do anything, except stare at each other.

Finally Elina was the first to move and she slowly made her way over to the beautiful creature. All was so silent that when the horse said, "Are you coming?" It made Elina jump back and squeal.
"Please don't squeal!" said the horse rather stern.
"Oh!" Elina said. "I'm sorry."
"Well, are you coming?" repeated the horse.
"What's your name?" Elina asked, curious about her visitor.
"Yes. At night when I fly high in the sky, I blend in with the stars, so they call me Star," she explained.
"Nice to meet you. I'm Elina."
"Yes, yes, now are you coming?" Star repeated again.
Elina then said, "I do believe you have asked me that question three times, and I have ignored you. Where is it we're going?"
"The Balodian Islands of course!" Star answered.
"The Balodian Islands?" Elina echoed.
"Yes," Star said, "Balodia is a beautiful magical island. Mermaids in the water, horses in the air, snakes in..."
"Snakes!" Elina interrupted. She was not too fond of snakes. Whenever she saw one on the ranch she lived on, she would scream and run.
"Why of course there are snakes," said Star. "Did you think there wouldn't be any?"
"Well, I didn't really think about it," Elina admitted.
"Are you afraid of snakes, Dear?"
"I am afraid they will bite me," said Elina somewhat ashamed of herself.
"A snake won't bite you unless he feels threatened," Star stated. "What do you say?"
"Um," Elina hesitated. "I say Balodia here I come!"
"Great! Get on my back," Star told her. Elina did as she was told. "Hold on tight!" Star shouted. "It's going to be a rough ride!"
"Is it?" Elina said nervously.
"Haven't you ever ridden before?" Star asked shocked.
"Well not exactly," said Elina.
Star could not believe her ears, but nothing else was said by either of them.

Though Elina had never ridden before and she was usually afraid of heights, she, for some reason, enjoyed that flight.
It was a wonderful view up there. Elina could see her whole ranch, no, the whole town, no, the whole state! Ok, maybe not that much, but she could see a lot. Elina lived on a ranch where her family raised about 200 goats. And in that one night they flew east, from the ranch all the way to Balodia.

*sigh** is this chapter painful to get through, or is it me? Ok, moving on...

"The Balodian Islands"

Elina had been asleep for a few hours and woke up expecting it to be morning - and it was, but the sun wasn't up yet.
"Oh, you're awake," Star said. "Look, there are the Balodian islands, straight ahead."
Elina looked and didn't see anything.
Star explained that only a Balodian creature could enter the islands, or someone accompanied by one. The islands were covered by a magic shield of thick slime. They passed through and Elina was surprised she was dry. She noticed the islands they were flying over. The sun was just rising, giving a pink, orange, and golden yellow color across the horizon. The islands were as pretty as a picture, and hundreds of trees crowded each other in various areas across the islands. There was one area that had strange trees on it. Trees that you are not familiar with, but you will be.

Star finally landed and Elina got off her back. The moment she was, the winged-horse disappeared. If the child noticed, she didn't show it.
Just then Elina heard a kazoo being played by - well, she couldn't exactly tell who or what was playing it. A monolith and willow trees blocked her view. Elina ran a short distance, climbed and peaked her head over the giant stone. On the right side was a river. To the left were trees. Down below she saw that she was on a cliff, and she saw a mermaid with azure and lime green striped hair. She had on a blue top and a green iridescent tail. The mermaid was sitting on a rock under a waterfall, letting it shower down upon herself.
Not far from her was a small rock. On top of the rock sat a lizard playing the kazoo, holding the instrument with it's front feet and standing on its hind legs like a man.
The lagoon in which the two were in glistened in the sun. The reason for this is because there were thousands of diamonds floating in the water.

Elina, now standing with her feet in the water, said, "Oh, how pretty these are! I think I will take just a few. I'm sure it won't do any harm." She scooped up three precious gems and put them in the left pocket of her pants. Elina was the kind of girl who, if she saw something shiny, she had to touch it, but not always would she take it.

Suddenly the mermaid jumped to a rock where the water could not fall on her and sang:

"Isn't it just a beautiful day,
A beautiful day to be up here."

She stopped singing and turned her head back and forth as though she were looking for something. Then she continued,

"I wonder where Elina is,
Surely she must be near."

Though Elina was in plain sight, the mermaid, whom Elina knew to be Shellie, didn't seem to notice until Elina said, "Shellie! I'm right here!"
Shellie turned her head to Elina and said, "Oh, there you are! How silly of me. I didn't see you," she said excitedly and then got shy.
"Yes, how silly of you," Elina agreed playfully.
"Are you going to look for the - my hidden treasure?" asked Shellie.
Elina knew which treasure she meant. "Yes, yes, yes! I am! I am!" Exclaimed Elina, excitedly jumping up and down.
"Well then, search away!" Shellie told her grinning ear to ear.
Elina jumped into the water to look for the treasure and had no trouble swimming or holding her breath. What Elina saw in the water included diamonds, big rocks, strange but beautiful colored plants, and a large variety of fish.
"Oh, isn't it gorgeous!" she thought to herself. She had never seen so many fish. Then she saw a creature that looked like a spider, but had a tail and fins. It still had its spidery legs. It was about the size of a basketball. Elina opened her mouth to scream, but forgetting that she was under water, she swallowed some that sent her up to the surface choking and in need of air. She jumped out onto the soft sand. "Ah ha, ah ha," she coughed.
"Poor Elina," Shellie soothed from her rock. "What happened?"
"There's a weird spider in the water! A really big one!" she said, creating a large circle with her hands.
"Oh!" Shellie exclaimed. "I do believe you are talking about the common Spider-fish. They are very poisonous if they bite you."
Elina left Shellie and decided to come and look for the treasure a different time.

"The Door"

The morning dew sparkled like diamonds in the grass, and as Elina walked, the cuff of her pants became all wet. Where she was going, I cannot say, but what happened is worth telling.
She came to a dirt path and on either side there were hundreds of trees scattered everywhere. The looked like ordinary trees, but they, in fact, were not.
Each one had a wooden latch that was attached to it. Elina, curious to see doors in the trees, and even more curious to see what was on the other side of the doors, thought to herself, "who can live in a tree so small?" The trunks weren't very big at all, and she thought only one person would be able to fit if he stood upright. So she walked over to a tree and turned the latch.

Inside was a whole new world! "This is amazing!" Exclaimed Elina, stepping inside and closing the door behind her. In the new world, there was a lovely little forest, with a lovely little cottage, and a lovely little old woman busily sweeping the front step.
"G'day Lassie," the woman greeted without looking up. "What brings ye into the forest today?"
"Hello Ma'am. I was walking along when curiosity led me to a door," Elina told her.
"A door?" the woman asked and stopped sweeping that she might look Elina right in the eyes.
"Yes, there were lots to choose from and I just happened upon this one," Elina explained.
"Ah, that is no good," the woman said, looking past Elina.
"Why, what did I do?"
"Tha' has closed the door."
Elina was worried and confused.
"When the door is closed," the woman explained, "no one can open it from this side. I've been trapped in this here wretched forest all alone for many a year, hoping someday some good soul would open the door. Finally some girl opened the door, but foolishly closed it!" she said angrily.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't know any better!" Elina cried.
"Oh, that's all right," the woman calmed down. "Within time someone else will open the door."
Elina sat down on the step next to the woman. She wondered how long she would be waiting for that good soul to open the door. She decided to get up and see if anyone could hear her if she knocked on the door, but before she could, the door opened and there stood Star with her head peeping in.
"Oh," was all she could say.
"There you are!" Star said. "How on earth did you get yourself stuck like that?"
"It's not like I tried to," Elina said. "By the way, thank you for helping us out."
"You're quite welcome."
The old woman saw her chance and ran through the door, nearly knocking Elina over. Elina then went through, closing the door again.
"Did you have any luck in finding Shellie's hidden treasure?" Star asked as she and Elina walked along a path with ordinary trees on either side.
"No, not really," she answered.
Star stopped walking and stared into Elina's brown eyes. "Elina," she said, "I don't know how much of this is true, but there may be something else of interest to you."
"Really?" Elina felt herself fill with excitement.
"Yes, they say about five years ago, a boy was found in Balodia - by himself. There wasn't a Balodian creature with him and everyone thinks there is a hole in the shield that he must have come through."
"What happened to him?" asked Elina, her excitement extinguished, hoping he wasn't hurt, or worse.
"He was captured and hidden somewhere."
"Why would anybody lock him up?" Elina asked, wondering if she too would be locked up.
"He was locked up for being here without a Balodian creature." As if reading her mind, Star continued, "No one can take you because you are here with me. However, I do not think he got here by mistake. I think whoever brought him here left him for some reason. Then someone else saw him by himself and saw that as a bad sign."
Elina felt sorry for the boy. "I'm going to find him," she said with a determined mind to do so. "I'm going to find him and help him get home."

**I will be sharing more chapters next week. If you made it to the end, THANK YOU!!

Yours truly,