DREAM WEAVERS by KJ McManus
December 31st, 2008 · No Comments · Stories
Once upon a time there was a young, dark-haired, freckle-faced girl named, Estella Jean Lane who had no mother, no father, and no real love to speak of in her life. Estella, as she was called, was just shy of her 13th birthday and lived in a home for orphaned girls, where she wasnâ€™t given much special attention. But she did have a very vivid imagination. She found great happiness in the world of her dreams. Each night when she went to sleep, she dreamt of the faraway lands and amazing adventures that she read about in books. She fought dragons, ruled kingdoms, met with new cultures, and learned all of their languages in the course of a nightâ€™s dream.
One Sunday evening, Mr. Trundle, the curmudgeonly supervisor of the home for orphaned girls, sat across from Stella at the dinner table. They were the only two people left at the table and Mr. Trundle sat with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. He insisted that Estella eat all of the lima beans on her dinner plate before she could get up from the table to go to bed. Estella hated lima beans because every time she ate them, she had nightmares, but after two hours of sitting across from Mr. Trundle, she was very tired and she gave in and ate the rest of the cold beans on her plate. Mr. Trundle finally allowed her to leave the table and she trudged up to bed and drifted off to sleep.
In her dream, she found herself sitting at her desk and she was getting started on her homework, when she dropped her pencil. She fished behind the desk to find it and as she pulled it out, she noticed a little grey cloud of dust and hair, a bit larger than a golf ball, attached to the eraser end of the pencil. She tried to shake this little fuzz ball free, but when she did, she heard a noise. She listened more closely and realized that the noise was coming from the dust bunny at the end of her pencil. In fact, as she looked closer, she realized that this dust ball was in the shape of a bunny.
The dust bunny spoke to her and told her that her dreams and the dreams of all the young girls in the orphanage were in danger. They didnâ€™t know it, but all of their dreams were kept in a book in a secret part of the orphanageâ€™s tiny library and a sinister character named Tenebrious MacDevious stole the book to take control of their dreams. The bunny told her that she came from a long line of women who were called dream weavers. Estellaâ€™s mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all had dreams like she did and only they had the power to protect the dreams of others. If she wanted to save her dreams, Estella had to go in search of the Dream Book. The dust bunny was hacking up little dust balls as it talked to Estella. When she got a closer look, she realized that these clouds of dust were little dust bunnies hopping across the floor. As the dust bunny generated tiny versions of itself, he told Estella that she must look into her fatherâ€™s kaleidoscopeâ€”the only thing she had that had belonged to her parents. The dust bunny told her that must turn it twice to the left and three times to the right. Stella followed the bunnyâ€™s instructions and as she made the last turn to the right, she felt herself being pulled quickly into the kaleidoscope. Swirls of color surrounded her as she hurtled through this strange portal.
Just as suddenly as she was pulled into the device, she landed with a giant thud on a patch of grass. When she looked up, she discovered that she was somewhere she had never been in her waking life, but she seemed to remember battling a Chomple Monster in this very spot during a dream she had about two years earlier. As she picked herself up off the grass patch, Estella walked toward a black cliff that lie in front of her. She stepped toward the edge of this precipice and looked into the chasm, only to see pitch black. She slowly moved away from the edge, thinking grimly about how long it would take to hit the bottom. Estella could hear the familiar little cough behind her. It was her friend the dust bunny.
“Well, Estellaâ€¦are you going cross?” said the bunny. Estellaâ€™s brow furrowed, wondering what this creature was talking about. “Cross?” she asked. “Yes, Estella. Are you going to cross the bridge or not? We donâ€™t have time to waste,” replied the bunny rabbit. Estella looked around and saw no sign of a bridge or any way across this chasm. “But, there isnâ€™t a bridge here,” she said. “Hmphâ€¦” the rabbit sighed and shook his head from side to side. “There is a bridge Estella,” he said and muttered to himself, “Itâ€™s worse than I thoughtâ€¦this is going to be more difficult than it needs to be, I supposeâ€¦look againâ€¦there is a bridge.” Estella scanned the cliff and the strangest thing occurred. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a vague rickety form appeared to span the gap. “Well, itâ€™s not what I would have expected, but it will do,” said the bunny. “But, I donâ€™t understand,” Estella replied. “That bridge wasnâ€™t there a minute ago. “Thatâ€™s rightâ€¦ itâ€™s the Willing Suspension Bridge of Disbelief. You have to believe in the bridge for it to appear, but it seems that your belief is not as strong as it once was. This will make it more difficult to cross,” said the bunny. “But how can I cross that bridge? Itâ€™s much too dangerous. It doesnâ€™t even look like it would support a dust bunny like you. It certainly couldnâ€™t support a girl of my size.” As she said this, a crackling sound was heard from the bridge. Estella turned to see pieced of the bridgeâ€™s footpath give way and fall into the abyss. “Oh, you must be careful about what you say, Estellaâ€¦in fact you must be careful about what you think. This land has an interesting way of hearing what you think and making it come true,” said the bunny. “But the only way to find the book is to cross over the bridge and into Verve.”
Estella was scared, but she was determined to find the book. She reached the edge of the bridge and looked across to the other side. It seemed as if it would take forever to cross that bridge, but she knew that she had to try.
“Good luck, Estellaâ€¦and remember, if you believe that you can cross it, you will,” said the bunny. She took a deep breath and stepped onto the rickety bridge. It groaned under her weight as she took her next steps. When she reached the halfway mark, she noticed a distant figure beckoning to her from the other side of the bridge. She began to panic as the wooden footpath gave way under her feet. The figure in the distance shouted, “Estella, you can do it. We need your helpâ€¦focus on me.” Estella fixed her eyes on the figure and quickly found that there was solid matter under her feet. She continued to concentrate on the figure ahead and found that each step was firm. She gained some confidence in her stride, but as her step quickened she heard a groaning under her feet and looked down. Suddenly, she began to fall. She heard the voice shout at her again and she tried to catch a glimpse of the distant figure. As she did, she felt her body being lifted. Her feet were once again on solid ground. She carefully made her way across to the other end of the Willing Suspension Bridge of Disbelief and as she reached the hillside, she came face to face with the form of a small man with a long green beard.
He bowed and spoke in a calm voice, “Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Horatio. Iâ€™m a citizen of Verve.” Stella replied, “How do you do, Mr. Horatio. I should introduce myself, but it seems that you already know my name.” “On a long journey there are a few things that you will need.” As he said this, Horatio pulled out a scrap of paper from the pocket of his waistcoat and showed it to Estella. The list read:
THINGS YOU WILL NEED FOR A LONG JOURNEY
Ability to adapt
Belief that anything is possible
“Wait,” Horatio said, “theyâ€™re not in the right order.” As he said this, the letters began to shift on the page and rearranged themselves so that “belief that anything is possible” came at the top of the list. “Now, it looks as if you have some appropriate waffle-stompersâ€¦clod hoppersâ€¦what you human children like to call shoesâ€¦ and your wraprascal seems warm enoughâ€¦but youâ€™ll need a good sturdy peripatetic stave. “A what?” Asked Estella. “A peripatetic stave, my dearâ€¦a shilallyâ€¦a walking stick. Now letâ€™s see what Iâ€™ve got in my pockets.” Estella watched in wonder as Horatio pulled a large vase full of flowers from his pocket, “Oh no, that wonâ€™t do.” He reached into his pockets again, pulling out an enormous dog whose head reached Estellaâ€™s shoulders. He seemed like the size of a small pony to her. “Oh dear, thatâ€™s not it.” Before Horatio had a chance to put the dog back into his coat pocket, the dog looked at Estella. She thought him to be absolutely beautiful and wanted to pet him, but he was very large and she wasnâ€™t sure if he wanted to be petted. The dog stared for a moment longer, leapt from Horatioâ€™s grasp and bounded toward her, stopping just short of her nose to lick her face. Estella knew that they were friends.
As Estella and the dog with no name got to know each other, Horatio continued to rifle through his pockets. He pulled out a small fir tree, a table and two chairs, some fresh mangos and a compass. “Well, I could use the compass, ” said Estella. “Iâ€™m afraid not, my dear,” replied Horatio. You have to use your inner compass here. You see a normal compass simply spins round and round,” Horatio put the device back in his pocket and then pulled out an elaborately carved walking stick with the face of a woman at the top. “Itâ€™s beautiful!” cried Estella. “It is indeed, my child. This should serve you well in your travels. Iâ€™ve provided everything I can for you. The ability to adapt and the belief than anything is possible are all up to you. I have to be leaving you now. Iâ€™ve got lots of work to do.” “But Horatio, I need your help. I donâ€™t know where Iâ€™m going.” “Youâ€™ll be fine Estella. Youâ€™ll see me soon enough, but I wonâ€™t be much help to you now. You have to find your own way. Your best bet would be to seek out Madame du Rock. You can find her there,” said Horatio as he pointed towards a large dark mountain in the distance. “She watches over Mt. Humidor. You just have to be careful when approaching the mountain because itâ€™s still an active volcano. If you hear the mountain rumble, you could be in trouble. You should take the dog with you though. He seems to really like you and heâ€™ll be good company for you.” Estella said goodbye to Horatio and she and the dog, who she named Shadow, began their journey into the distance.