It begins….

The long and laborious errand of editing over 90,000 words of manuscript.  While I have already edited the first two chapters, I managed to edit the third one tonight.  With there being 28 chapters in this book, this is barely scratching the surface.

I’ll keep you all updated on my editing progress, and maybe even post a couple “samples”.

Until then, stay tuned and stay cozy at the Walker Estate….

It is finished!

My first book, The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox is finished!  Well, the rough draft, at least.  I just finished it last night.

Now comes the fun part.  Editing over 200 pages of manuscript.  I might throw up a couple of sample chapters in the meantime.

This is going to take a while…..

But yay again!  I’m finished!  🙂

One more chapter…..

The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox is nearly finished. The first part of it, at least, as this will be the first part of three.  The second part will focus on Zachary’s school years and the final part will focus on Zachary’s adult years.

With that, I am satisfied with the progress I am making on this story, and I hope to have the first part done soon.

More updates in the future!

A Sample….

Blessings

                Thomas Miller wiped the sweat off his brow, his eyes probing the entire kitchen.  Every cook was busy, preparing the numerous dishes that were asked of them.  On top of this, various new orders filled the kitchen.  The time was 6:24 p.m.  The orders were coming in faster than what they could manage.  It was crunch time.

“You’re all doing good!” Thomas shouted, above the various kitchen sounds.  The sounds of steak sizzling on a hot grill.  The clinging and clanging of various pans as the cooks prepared the other side dishes.  Then there was the noise of the pastry chefs on the other side of the kitchen.  Altogether, it was the sound of business.  A well oiled machine guaranteeing another profitable night.

With nearly 4,000 words and counting, that is all you get.  You will have to wait until I’m finished to get the whole story.

There will be more updates in the future.  Stay tuned!

My Next Project….

For those of you who are unaware of what I have been working on lately,  it’s time that I inform all of you.

I have been working on a novel since August, so I feel that the time is long overdue to share with the world my most recent project.

Before I get to the project, perhaps you all would like to know what this story is about.  I’m glad that you asked.  Even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.

To all who ever has undergone the long and perilous journey of parenting, I commend you.  Parenting may be old or new to you, depending on your age.  You may either be a new parent, an older parent, or even someone who hasn’t even thought about parenting yet.

Wherever you are in that journey, or if you are even on that journey at all, most of us can generally agree that parenting can be a very rewarding experience.  This is especially true when they’re all grown up.

With parenting comes the lack of choice.  None of us can choose the kind of kids that we have.  Furthermore, none of us can even decide whether our kid is normal or not.  For the kids that aren’t normal, they have some kind of disability.  Whether it’s a physical one or a mental one, these children are to be loved all the same.  They are the “special” children, and they are to be treated as such.  Not in a condescending way, but in very much the same way that a normal child is treated.

Now whether or not you even have a child, imagine this scenario.  You have just found out that you have a new child.  This child is a boy, and he has a rather unique disability.  Not satisfied?  Too bad.  I’m the one deciding the scenario, not you.

Continuing with the scenario, a lot of you are probably wondering what kind of disability this child has.  With your child having just been born, you’ll have to wait until he gets older.

To make this scenario more interesting, let’s say that your child was born on February 29th.  That would mean that you had this child last year.  In another month, your child will be a year old.

But what about the disability?  That’s the thing.  With your child being nearly a year old, he doesn’t look any older than three months.  Congratulations.  You now have a child with an aging deficiency, and he’s  the only one in the world that has that problem.  This is the premise for my latest project – The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox.

The scenario is pretty much what the story is about.  The mother has a baby boy named Zachary.  Over time, she finds out that Zachary is not an ordinary child.  With Zachary being born on February 29th, he doesn’t age as fast as we do.  For every four years that we age, he only ages one year.  Is the date of Zachary’s condition coincidental?  I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

The story is about a family coming to terms with the differences that Zachary has as a person and learning to accept them.  By family, I am referring to the Willowbrook Family.  The mother, the father and Zachary’s two younger siblings, which will remain a surprise for now.

Now Zachary’s condition in the present is pretty minor.  His parents can raise him and support him.  In the future, however, Zachary’s condition will pose some major circumstances.  Zachary will outlive his parents, his siblings, his grandchildren and even his great-grandchildren.

For a preview on this story, I would check out my “Think & Write” titled The Gift of Time. Click there and it will take you to that story.  This is the “Think & Write” that inspired me to write this novel.  I have put a lot of work into it, and I hope to have the first part done soon.  With over 44,000 words, I have discovered that I have a lot to say about Zachary and the wonderful family that he has.

As for the new “Think & Writes”,  I’ll have more up as I’m inspired with new ideas.  For the new ones, don’t expect them to be like the previous edition.  I feel that the first edition was purely experimental and served as a way to express my creative ideas.  Over time, I feel that the form has completely changed from “Think & Write #1”, and is now shifting towards something of greater quality.  I feel that a more polished piece of writing will be a better thing to look at than all of my second-rate drafts.  While they have achieved my purpose, I don’t think they achieve yours.  I also feel that having too many stories will overwhelm any newcomers.

For any of my stuff, just stay tuned.  And I’ll let you know how my Zachary story is doing.

Think & Write #126

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part V

“Jill?  Jill?”

Jill woke up in her bedroom.  Her mother was standing there near her bed, looking down at her.

“Jill?” she called.  “Are you awake, honey?”

Jill nodded, as she let out a yawn.  She then looked around her room.  What is going on?  Was that all really a dream?

“Mother,” she told her.  “I was in England.  A mysterious man named Freedom took me there!  I think he was an angel.”

Her mother looked at her and smiled.  “Well, that must have been an interesting dream.  What else happened?  I heard you scream.”

“I had this golden leaf,” she told her.  “And it turned me into this evil girl named Autumn.  It was terrible, mother!”  Jill then looked around for the golden leaf.  “Where is it?”

“Where is what, honey?” the mother asked.

“The golden leaf.”

“It was only in your dreams, honey. It is nowhere to be found!”

Jill then sat there and thought for a moment.  “Maybe it was just a dream….”  She then thought of the words that Freedom told her:

“But do not worry.  We will destroy her, and all this will be a distant memory.  For you, it will be like a bad dream.  A bad dream.  Baaaad dreeeeeeamm……”  The memories faded and blurred in her mind.

“That’s it!” Jill shouted.  “Freedom reduced everything that I experienced to a dream, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it ruining my life.”

With that, Jill got ready for the day.  The day was Friday.  The same day that she and Jaime played in the woods, looking for the golden leaf.

After getting ready, Jill went to school.  After a day of school, Jill decided to play with Jaime in the back of her house.

Jill looked at the same pile of leaves as she did before, and she jumped into them.

“Jaime,” she said.  “Have you ever heard of the golden leaf?”

Jaime shook her head.  “The golden leaf? What is that?  Is that some kind of new game?”

“No,” Jill told her.  “It’s something that we could….nevermind.”

“What?” Jaime shouted.  “I want to play this new game!”

Jill sighed.  “Alright.”

While it was a game to Jaime, Jill wanted to see if the golden leaf was still in the forest.  Jill entered the forest and walked over to the very tall tree.  It was very old, with gnarled branches and gnarled roots.  At the base of the tree, Jill dug up every leaf that she could.  The golden leaf was nowhere to be found.

At that, Jill smiled.  Autumn was finally gone.

Before she left the forest, she stared at it, quietly thanking God for appointing someone like Freedom to liberate her from the golden leaf.

Jill, being completely thankful, slowly left the forest, gazing at the sea of autumn foliage.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #125

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part IV

Jill sat there, in a coach seat next to Freedom, just behind first class.  It was a long flight to England, so it gave her plenty of time to think.

As she stared out the window, she began to think about her parents and her family.  She also thought about Autumn, and how her life was ruined with the golden leaf.  The more she thought about it, the more she hated it.  That golden leaf was a wretched thing, she thought.  Her hatred of it increased, and she was filled with feelings of resentment.  She wished that she never found it in the first place.  It was trouble from the start.

“I hate it.” she quietly growled.

But it was loud enough for Freedom to hear her.

“I know you do,” he told her.  “But do not worry.  We will destroy her, and all this will be a distant memory.  For you, it will be like a bad dream.”

Jill nodded.  Despite what Freedom said, she still didn’t feel any better inside.  She felt troubled and insecure, knowing that she wouldn’t feel any better until Autumn was gone.

The hours dragged on by, and Jill was now deep in thought.  She tried to think of things that were more peaceful.  Things that were more pleasant than what she had to experience for many days.  All these days were spent screaming and crying, hoping that Autumn would allow her to regain control of her consciousness.

Jill was now fast asleep.  After a little while, she woke up, screaming.

“It happened again,” she whimpered.

“Relax,” the man told her.  “You had a bad dream.”

“I dreamt that I had the golden leaf again, and Autumn was controlling me again.” she cried.  She then looked out the window.  “How much longer until we land?”

Freedom smiled.  “They just announced it.  We are one hour from landing.  They announced it right before you woke up.”  Freedom then looked at Jill with a fixed gaze.  “Don’t be afraid. There is nothing to fear.  Follow my master.”

Jill shrugged her shoulder.  “Who is your master?”

At this, the mysterious man smiled again.  “You know who he is, Jill.  There are many names that describe him, but they all refer to him.  Yahweh, Jehovah, Lord, God.  This is the master that I serve.”

Jill nodded.  “I know who he is.”

“Good.” Freedom told her.  “But I feel that you should continue your pursuit.  You will experience more peace if you do.”

“Okay.  I will work on that.”  With that, Jill looked at the window and closed her eyes.  While she wasn’t speaking with her lips, she spoke with her heart.

By the time that she was finished, the plane began to touch down at the airport in Somerset, which was the Southwest part of England.

After the plane touched down, Jill and Freedom got off.  Going to the baggage claim was not necessary, since they didn’t carry any luggage with them.

From the airport, Freedom hailed a taxi, which took them to the forest.  This was the very forest where it all began.

“So, this is the place?” Jill asked Freedom, as they got out of the taxi.

“It is,” the man told her.  “But you won’t find the golden leaf here.  The last time that it was here was in the 16th century.  The weapon, however, is still here.  I will show you where it is.”

“That’s if he can stop me,” a voice answered.

Both Jill and Freedom turned around to find Autumn standing there.

Jill’s heart sank.  “How did you get here?” she gasped.  “I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but whatever it is, we’re stopping you!”

Autumn gave a sinister smile.  “How did I get here?” she asked her.  “Why, I took the plane, of course!  I took the same plane that you did, transforming into a pile of leaves in a piece of luggage.  Did you enjoy the ride?”

“Cut it out!” Jill shouted.  “You caused me more pain than what I could ever bear!”

“Enough.” Freedom told her.  “Don’t say another word to her.  She’s only trying to make you upset.  We’re going to the underground passage where the weapon is.  Then, we will go on a little trip.  Hurry!”

Jill ran with Freedom, right past Autumn.

Jill quickly looked back at Autumn.  “Jaime, hang in there!” she shouted.  “We’ll free you soon enough….”  Right after she said this, Freedom tugged her forward, causing her to resume her faster pace.  They ran off, beginning to outdistance Autumn.

Autumn was furious.  “You will not destroy me.  I cannot die!”  And with that, Autumn began running after them.

“Autumn can die,” The man told Jill.  “The Autumn Sword can kill her.  But the one that I’m showing you won’t.  The materials are worn out.”

“What’s the point of showing me, then?” she asked.

“Just wait, and I’ll show you.” he told her.

Jill and Freedom ran deep into the forest, until they came to a large patch, which sat in the center of the forest.  Freedom revealed an old stone cover in the ground.  Lifting on the stone cover revealed a stony staircase, leading underground.  They both followed the underground passage to where the weapon sat.  The weapon was an iron sword, covered in rust.

“We will not be using that sword,” Freedom told her.  “Grab my hand.  We are going on a trip through time.”

Feeling a little scared, Jill grabbed the man’s hand.

After she did this, a vortex appeared.  Just before it disappeared, Autumn ran and jumped into it.

A few seconds later, Jill and Freedom appeared in the year 1512.  They were in the forest.  Instead of there being a large parch, an enormous tree stood there instead.   Freedom dug through the leaves on the ground and found the golden leaf.

When Jill saw that leaf, she screamed.  “Get that away from me!” she shouted.

The man nodded.  “Don’t worry, Jill.  This leaf is needed to create the Autumn Sword.”

“The one sword that you will never be able to forge,” Autumn’s voice sounded.

The pile of leaves on the ground formed into Autumn, and she grabbed the golden leaf.  “Another leaf?” she gasped.  “This one’s from the 16th century, I see.  I remember that era well.”

As Autumn held the additional golden leaf, she grew until she was half the height of the giant tree.  “This was my height as a child, when I lived long ago.  Just the right size to squash you.”  Autumn then placed the leaf inside her dress.  The second leaf grafted into her body, right next to the first.

“Two leaves?” Jill gasped.  “How can we stop her now?”

“We’re going to the beginning.” Freedom told her.  “It didn’t matter whether she got that leaf or not.  All that matters is that we get the leaf from long, long ago.”

Before Jill or Freedom went anywhere, a girl approached the tree where they were.  When Jill saw the girl, she gasped.

“It’s….the same girl from my dream!” she gasped.  “The one in the cell!  That means….”

“I have two victims!” Autumn shouted.

The girl looked around.  “Who said that?” she said in a strong British accent.  “I thought I heard something….”

“You did.” Autumn told her.  “I have a beautiful gift for you.” Autumn ungrafted one of the golden leafs and gave one to her.  Upon doing this, Autumn reverted to her original size.

The girl held the golden leaf and smiled.  “It’s quite lovely!  I’d fancy this would fetch quite a few shillings!”

“Yes!” Autumn said, smiling.  “And it’s all yours!”

Suddenly, the girl flashed, transforming into Autumn.  “Fancy meeting the lot of you here!” she shouted.

“Let’s go.” Freedom told Jill.  “We still need to get the blade.  After that, we’re out of here.”

Just as Jill and Freedom were about to lift up the stone cover, the current Autumn stopped them.

After that, the newly formed Autumn joined her.  “My twin counterpart,” she said, smiling.  “Really, she’s just me, only five hundred years younger.”

“Quite correct, you are!” The other Autumn shouted.  “Are these scoundrels giving you trouble?”

“Indeed.” she said in agreement.  “Let’s stop them.”

“Stop this at once!” Freedom shouted.  And with that, Freedom spread out his hand, striking both Autumns to the ground.  He then lifted up the lid, revealing the same stony staircase, only a lot less worn.  In fact, the stone looked more freshly cut.

As they both ran down the underground passage, Jill looked at the man.  She looked quite worried.

“Don’t worry,” Freedom assured her.  “I did not hurt them. I only made them lose consciousness for a short time.  Both the girl’s and Jaime’s body will be fine.”

Meanwhile, both Autumns regained consciousness, and combined together.  The current Autumn appeared with both leaves again, standing at half the height of the giant tree. Just as tall as she was before she went after the girl.  The colossal Autumn then became an enormous pile of leaves, blowing herself down the underground passage.

At this point, Jill and Freedom just reached the area where the blade was stored.  There it sat, ready for use.

“It is almost ready,” Freedom said, holding the blade.  “All it needs is a golden leaf.”

“But Autumn already took the golden leaf in this era!” Jill shouted.

“We’ll get the one in the beginning,” the man told her.  “Just a few hundred years after the flood.  About a century after the ice age.”

But Jill was filled with doubt.  “What if Autumn gets that golden leaf? She’ll be unstoppable!”

“She won’t get it.” Freedom told her.  “Don’t worry.”

“I hope not.”

Freedom then held out his hand, inviting Jill to grab it again.  Jill grabbed his hand firmly.  The vortex appeared again.

“Hang on!” The mysterious man shouted.

And with that, they both passed through the vortex, with a large pile of leaves trailing them.

Just seconds later, they appeared in 2488 B.C.  The forest there was fairly new.  Not more than a hundred years old.  In the center of the forest sat a tree that was taller than the others.  Outside the forest was a tiny village with various dwellings.

Jill looked around and gasped.  “Where are we?” she asked the man.

“We are in 2488 B.C.” Freedom told her.  “A few hundred years after the flood and about a hundred years after the end of the ice age.  We are right before the first girl enters the forest.  Shh….Here she comes….

Jill and Freedom quietly watched as a girl walked toward the large tree.  She was covered in animal skins with blondish, puffy hair.  As she approached the tree, she chattered something in her native tongue.

“Now….” Freedom whispered.  “Before the girl grabs the leaf….”

But before they could do anything, a large pile of leaves emerged from the ground, and the gigantic Autumn appeared.

“I don’t even have to take this one from you.” Autumn said, with a sinister grin.  “I will just let this girl take it.”  Autumn then turned to the girl.  “Go on! It’s yours!”

The girl held up the leaf and smiled.  “Ooooooooh!!!!” she shouted.  She then made a series of sounds, indicating joy and excitement.  Jill couldn’t understand a single word she said, but she knew that she was excited.

The girl then let out a sinister laugh, and transformed into Autumn.  This Autumn only spoke the girl’s native language.

“Now that’s a little vague….” Autumn said.  “I used to know that language, but now I don’t.  Combine with me!”

The new Autumn combined with the gigantic Autumn.  Autumn flashed and grew even larger.  She was now taller than the tallest tree in the forest.  She was so tall that the giant tree was as tall as her foot. The third leaf grafted with the first two.

“Now this is the size I was when I was alive,” Autumn said, smiling victoriously.  “Look at you two.  You’re like ants.  Ants that need to be squished.  Long ago, which is actually not too long in this era, I was living a wonderful life.  My mother was of this earth and my father came from another place.  He was not of this world.”

“My life was wonderful!” she continued.  “I ravaged the land, doing whatever I pleased, whenever I wanted.  But then, it started to rain.  It rained so hard that it started to flood.  And it never stopped raining!  After three or four days of non-stop rain, the water was over my head. There was no food to eat, and I drowned!”

“The next thing I know, I was told that I could exist on Earth, instead of being thrown into the abyss.  I started to have my fun again, but then you stopped me.  You enslaved me to this leaf!  With this golden prison, I cannot go anywhere without it!”

“So because of what you did, I decided to have a little fun.  I would relive my youth over and over again.  Granted, it’s just a puny human body, but each one is like a new outfit to me. Some are nice, and some are quite elegant and pretty.  Some can be bratty, but I like them all the same!”

“Apparently, I learn that I was going to have fun in Jill’s great-granddaughter Margaret.  However, all that was ruined.  Because of that wretched egg!  An idea that came from you!

“Do not say my real name!” Freedom ordered.  And with that, Freedom held Autumn’s tongue so that she couldn’t speak.  Autumn then frantically gestured to him.  Freedom restored her voice.

“I won’t say it,” she told him.  “Now let me continue!  That egg ruined my chance of that future happening!  After being ejected from the egg, I tried to get Jill back.  It didn’t work.”

“But then I saw Jaime.  Innocent little Jaime, digging up Jill’s old body and burying it in the ground.  After she saw that leaf for a while, she couldn’t resist.  After all, it’s in her genes!”

“And now, you want to kill me and banish me to the abyss.  You are not permitted to do this!  I WILL NOT LET YOU!!!!”

“That is where you don’t have a choice.” Freedom spoke loudly.  “Your story is a futile attempt at creating sympathy.  While most of it is true, the fruit of your deeds have been nothing but wicked since the day you were conceived.  Your father is one of the many wicked rebels that has fallen out of league with my master.  He should’ve known better than to meddle with the affairs of men!  Our kind is not made to breed, and you, the fruit that he produced from the earthly woman, is proof of it.  This is exactly why we constructed the Autumn Blade.  There was one thing that you mentioned that was a total lie.  You were destined to be thrown into the abyss, but you ran away before we were able to bound you.  This act didn’t happen by accident, but was allowed to happen.  The golden leaf was supposed to be used for the Autumn Blade.  But since you ran away, we used it to imprison you instead.  You were supposed to stay in that leaf, so you have far overstepped your boundaries.   You have done so many times.  Must you try my patience?  If so, how much more would you try the patience of my master?  Now, you were allowed your freedom for a time.  But now, your time is up.”

Freedom held his hands high, and flung his right arm forward.  A strong blast of energy came from his right arm, creating a powerful shock that penetrated the colossal Autumn.  The shock caused one of her three leaves to ungraft and fall to the ground.

Freedom created a soft gust, which resembled a light.  The light extended its palm, clutching the golden leaf in its fist.  The bright, shiny fist then flashed like a zephyr back toward Freedom.  The light dissipated and he caught the leaf.  He then placed the golden leaf on the cross-guard.  The leaf then flashed as it became part of the sword’s engraving.

“To the abyss with you!” Freedom shouted.  “You wicked Nephilim.  Unnatural breed destined for destruction!”

Freedom held up the Autumn Sword, hoisting it as high as he could.  He then swung the sword forward, slicing through the air.  The force of the swing created a bright beam that hit Autumn directly.  After she was hit, the other two golden leaves ungrafted and fell to the ground.  Every one of them were absorbed into the sword.

And with one last swing, that was it.  Autumn let out a piercing scream.  “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” she screamed.  “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

A vortex appeared, and Autumn was sucked into it.  As she was sucked in, Jaime’s body remained on the ground, along with the native girl and the British girl from 1512.

Jill stood there in shock.  “It’s over.” she said.  She then looked at Jaime, who laid there, motionless.

Full of worry, she began to shake Jaime.  “No,” she cried.  “Is Jaime….dead?”

“In this era, she is.” Freedom told her.  “In fact, the other two girls are dead as well.  Autumn used all the energy that they had.  But worry not.  They are all alive in the era that you are returning to.  Each in their own era.  And Jaime in yours.”

Jill looked at the girls and then back at Freedom.  “Why?” she asked him.  “Why was it allowed to happen?”

The man smiled.  “This was allowed to happen so that all of you girls throughout history could learn an important lesson.”

“What is that lesson?” Jill asked, still confused.

“Are you still in the dark?” Freedom said, frowning.  “In every one of your lives throughout history, Autumn had control of your lives.  Autumn resembles the sin in your life.”

“Then why was I freed?” Jill asked.  “I was freed with an egg.”

“That too, is important.” Freedom explained to her.  “It pretty much resembles how everyone lived before the savior was born.  You have read about this, haven’t you?”

“Yes, I have!” Jill said, nodding.  “It’s the Christmas story!”

The man smiled.  “Well, with that egg you were in, your old body died and your new body was born.  Think of what this means.”

Jill nodded.  “I guess I’m starting to understand now.  You wanted to teach me and all the other girls a lesson about sin and how we can be freed from it?”

The mysterious man nodded.  “You are starting to get it.”

Jill smiled.  “I still have one question.  What about all the boys?  How are you going to teach them a lesson?”

At this, Freedom smiled again.  “Don’t worry about them.  There will be a way that they will learn, but you won’t ever see it happen.”

Jill frowned.  “I won’t?”

“Well,” the man told her.  “Do you want to experience the golden leaf all over again?”

“NO!” Jill screamed.  “Never again!”

“Then I will spare you living in a world with the lessons that the boys will experience,” he told her.

The man then approached Jill.  “Now,” he told her.  “With Autumn dead, everything that you have experienced will be like a distant memory.  It will be like a bad dream.  Okay,  Jill?  Jill?  Jill?”

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #124

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part III

Over the next few nights, Jill had the same dream as before.  It was the same cell as before, only she was outside of it.  In each dream, Freedom told her that her time has not yet come for the plan to be put into action.  This confused Jill, since she was eager to destroy Autumn once and for all.

Meanwhile, Jill worked everyday on her schoolwork.  In being so behind on all her courses, she was home schooled by her mother.  This was nice for Jill, since she got to spend more time at home.  However, this allowed her less time to see Jaime, since she was at school all day.

During the second week of November, Jill had a slightly different dream from all the other dreams that she had.  While the setting was the same, the message was completely different.

Looking at Freedom, Jill sighed.  “Okay.  You want me to free all these other girls throughout history.  When is this going to happen?”

Freedom smiled.  “That day is today.”

Jill frowned.  “Why not any of the other days?”

The man stared at Jill.  “I have told you before, and I will tell you again.  I am not the one who decides when this is going to happen.  I receive the orders from my master, and I carry them out.”

Jill looked at the cell again.  “What about my homeschooling?  Will my mother really send me alone to England?”

“You will not be going alone.” Freedom told her.  “I will be going with you.  Getting there will not be a problem.”

Jill nodded.  “Well,  you freed me from Autumn.  So I will trust you.”

The man shook his head.  “I was not the one who freed you.  My master did.  The dream only served as a symbol of what he did.”

Jill was surprised.  “It did?”

Freedom nodded.  “The egg, too, is another symbol of what he did.  Just as you have been given a new body, so the same must be done with you spiritually.”

Jill nodded.  “I have been reading, and I will continue to read.  I will take these symbols to heart.”

“Arise.” The mysterious man told her.  “We will defeat Autumn and restore history.   But let me advise you.  In doing this, you will have no memory of this ever occurring.  You will be living your life as you did before.  It will just be a better one than before, without Autumn bringing any ruin to it.”

Jill was perplexed.  “Why did this all happen throughout history in the first place?  And what is the point, if I’m not going to remember?”

“All this has happened to serve as a lesson for you,” Freedom told her.  “You will surely remember the one event, but it will only be a dream to you.  A dream that will become a distant memory.  A distant memory that will soon fade away.  This is all that will remain of your current reality in this era.”

“I’d rather it be a dream.” Jill told him.  “A dream that I soon want to forget.  Let’s defeat Autumn, and give these other girls the same peace that I so eagerly desire.”

After Jill said this, she woke up.  She then read her bible and got ready for the day.  After that, she got dressed, putting on another white dress that she had in her wardrobe.

She then went downstairs to tell her mother about the trip that she needed to make.  She told her everything that she heard from Freedom, and pleaded with her.

“You can go,” her mother told her.  “But you need to go with someone responsible.”

At that moment, the doorbell rang.  When her mother opened it, there stood a man with his hand extended out.  The man wore a white dress shirt and blue jeans.

When Jill saw the man, she smiled.  To her, he looked quite familiar.  “You’re the man from my dreams!” she shouted.  “What are you doing here?”

The man shook his head.  “Didn’t I tell you?  I said that I would be going with you.  Is that okay with you, Mrs. Hollingdale?”

The mother nodded.  “Certainly.  I just want her to be with a responsible adult.  And who might you be?”

The man extended his hand and shook with the mother.  “Call me Freedom.  That is all you need to know regarding my identity.  I am a messenger that will help Jill on her mission.”

Jill’s mother, after thinking about what Jill told her, nodded.  “Go right on ahead.  After what happened to Jill, there is nothing that can surprise me anymore.  All I ask is that she returns when she is finished, okay?”

The man nodded.  “Thank you, Mrs. Hollingdale.  Let’s go, Jill!”

Looking at Jill, the mother gasped.  “What about the plane tickets?”

The man smiled.  “Don’t worry.  I have already taken care of that.  They are all paid for.  A round-trip ticket to England.”

“Okay,” the mother said, nodding.  The mother then kissed Jill on the cheek and hugged her.  “Bye honey.  I hope that you can get rid of this ‘Autumn’.”

Jill nodded.  “I will, mother.”

The mother closed the door and they left the house.

As Jill was about to leave in Freedom’s car, Jaime ran up to Jill.  It looked like she was in a really good mood.

“Let’s play, Jill!” Jaime shouted.  “Do you have time for that today?”

Jill shook her head.  “I don’t have time for that, Jaime.  I’m going to England.  The Autumn Sword needs to be forged to destroy Autumn once and for all.”

Jaime nodded.  “It’s too bad I can’t come with you.  But go.  Defeat Autumn for me.”

“Thanks….” Jill said with a smile.  Then she turned around, walking towards Freedom.

“Wait!” Jaime shouted.  “Before you go, can I talk to you?  We haven’t seen each other in a while.  It will be just for a little bit.  I promise!  You do have time, don’t you?”

Jill looked at her watch.  It was now three hours before her flight took off.  “We have time.” Jill told her.  She then turned facing the man.  “Can I talk to her quickly?”

The man nodded.  “Don’t be long.  We don’t want to miss this flight.”

Jill nodded, and faced Jaime.  “What is it?” she asked.

“It’s about your old body,” Jaime told her.  “I want to show you a project that I just finished.  It will be quick.  I promise.”

Jill nodded.  “Okay.”

Jill followed Jaime into the woods.  They walked all the way to the tall tree, where her old body sat.  But when they got there, she saw a shovel stuck in the ground, with a fresh patch of dirt that has been smoothed down into the ground.

“Your old body was repulsive,” she told Jill.  “I couldn’t stand looking at it so I buried it.  I also made a wooden sign to go where I buried the old you.  I wanted to bury your old self, since that’s not you anymore, right?”

Jill nodded.  “We should now leave.  The very thought that Autumn’s still here creeps me out.”

Jaime nodded, pulling the shovel out of the ground.  “I agree.  But before we go, your old body’s grave needs only one thing to be complete.”

Jill shrugged her shoulders.  “What would that be?”

Jaime reached into her front pocket of her jeans and pulled out the golden leaf.  “Don’t you think that this would complete it?”

Jill nodded.  “Place it on there.”

Jaime smiled.  “That’s what I thought. It would complete that grave.  But do you know what?  I love this leaf too much to part with it.”

Jill shook her head in disbelief.  “What are you doing, Jaime?”

Jaime held the golden leaf up, holding it tightly, like it was her prized possession.  “Isn’t it a great leaf, Jill?  I knew how dangerous this leaf was.  But I just couldn’t resist!  You had the leaf before, and you never showed me!  Why did you do that, Jill?  It’s not being a very good friend, is it?”

Jill backed away.  “Jaime, you are starting to scare me….”

Jaime’s smile widened.  “Aw….Is Jill afraid?  Maybe this will make you feel better….” Jaime took the golden leaf and placed it towards the top of her shirt.  The leaf flashed, reappearing on her body.  The leaf then grafted to her body in very much the same way as it did with Jill.

Jaime then transformed.  Her hair grew longer, going from black to gold and orange streaks.  Her complexion became golden and her height was shortened a few inches.  Her jeans and purple shirt flashed and became an autumn colored dress.  Her tennis shoes and socks became leafy sandals.

“Hey Jill!” Jaime shouted, taunting her.  “I am you and you are me.  Just give it time, and you will see!”

“Stop it!” Jill shouted.  “Stop it, Jaime!”

“My name is not Jaime anymore,” Jaime told her.  “Do you know what my name is now?  You know what it is, don’t you Jill?”

“Autumn….” Jill said with a sigh.  “Just know that your days are numbered.  Just as I was freed from you, My best friend will be, too.”

Jill then ran off, away from her imprisoned friend.

“You have a plane to catch?” Autumn shouted in the distance.  “I will not be stopped, and you are not going anywhere.”

Autumn transformed into a pile of leaves and blew herself in front of Jill.  She then rematerialized, holding Jill tight.  “You are not going to make your flight,” she whispered in her ear.

Jill was furious.  “Well you know what, you ancient evil giant?  You are not going to stop me!”  And with that, Jill broke loose from Autumn and gave her a shove.  She then ran out of the forest as fast as she could.

She then approached the driveway, where the man stood.  “Not a moment to waste!” he shouted.  “We are not taking the car.  It will take too long.”

“I’m sorry about the wait.” she told her.  “My best friend….”

“Is now enslaved to Autumn,” he said, finishing her sentence.  “That is exactly why she needs to be vanquished.  Autumn is not doing what she was ordered to do.  Now quick!  Grab my hand!”

Jill saw Autumn in the distance, fast approaching them.  “I see her coming….” Jill cried.

“Now!” Freedom shouted.

Jill quickly grasped the man’s hand and they both vanished.  They appeared at the airport.

“You were thinking of your friend,” the man told her as they ran toward the entrance.  “I know how much she means to you, but she will be freed.  Don’t worry.”

Jill ran with Freedom, holding his hand tightly as they ran through all the terminals.  Eventually, they reached the concourse that had their scheduled flight.  The man showed the tickets to the person at the desk.  Upon seeing the tickets, they nodded, pointing to the gate that they needed to enter.

Jill and Freedom boarded the plane and they were off, on their way to England to the place where it all began….

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #123

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall – Part II

“Me?” Jill gasped.  “Why me?  What role do I have to play in all of this?”

Freedom smiled.  “A very important one,” he told her.  “But I assure you.  You will not be doing this alone.  I will assist you in this task.”

Jill stood there, silent for a little while.  This enormous task was delegated to her, and she didn’t even know where to begin in accomplishing it.  How would this be done?  What are the steps?  There were still a lot of questions that Jill had for this mysterious man.

Finally, Jill spoke.  “So, you say that we must go thousands of years into the past to destroy her.  Why is that?  Who exactly is this Autumn that we’re dealing with?”

“Autumn’s history goes back a long way.” Freedom explained to her.  “A long time ago, there were giants that walked the earth.  These giants were very evil, and corrupted nearly all of mankind.  These evil giants, known as the Nephilim were born from rebels.  Those who have fallen out of league with the one I serve.  They married with the women of this earth, and created a purely evil race.  Because of this, my master sent a great flood that destroyed all of them, and everything that roamed the earth.  Humanity and all creation was preserved on one floating vessel.”

Jill nodded.  “Like the story in the bible, right?”

The man smiled.  “That is exactly what happened.  After the waters receded, the bodies of the Nephilim were wiped out.  My master, however, left a certain number of the spirits to remain on this earth.  Autumn was one of them.  She was formerly one of the giants before the flood, and has been up to no good ever since.”

Jill gasped.  “I knew that she was no good from the beginning.  But wait!  Why does she have a golden leaf?  How did this all start?”

Freedom invited Jill to sit down.  “After the waters receded, Autumn traveled north, to where England would be today.  After waiting through the ice age,  she began her trouble.  Her trouble proved to be too destructive.  She was destroying villages and various dwellings, by making trees appear.  She was continuing the destruction that she caused as a giant.  She needed to be punished.”

“With that, a weapon was planned to banish her to the abyss, but it was never complete, since the priority was to stop her.  Focusing on this, Autumn was bound to a golden leaf, the final part that we would need to finish the weapon.  She could not go anywhere without it.  She was bound to it, even after she died.  This limited her form, which led her to find other bodies, like a parasite.”

Jill frowned.  “So why wasn’t the weapon ever finished?”

Freedom smiled.  “The weapon, the Autumn Sword, is all ready.  It just needs to be assembled.  Prior to the pilgrims settling, there was a fire in the forest where that great tree sat in England.  Prior to this, the seed was gathered for this tree and taken to America.  The original tree was burned down, and all the parts of that weapon are buried in a underground cavern, which sits just underneath that forest.”

Jill smiled.  “So let’s go get it!”

“I greatly appreciate your determination, but it’s not going to be that easy,” Freedom told her.  “We will have to travel back in time, before the fire.  We will need another golden leaf to finish the Autumn Sword, since we can’t use the one in this era.”

Jill still looked troubled.  “So why is it every hundred years?” she asked him.

“That time was set to limit her form.” the man told her.  “Such matters won’t be relevant once we defeat her.  In doing so, we will change history, including yours.”

Jill looked back at the cell, that had all the other girls in it.  “Don’t worry.” she told them.  “You will all be freed soon….”

The mysterious man began walking away.  “I must be going.” he told her.  “We will surely meet again.  Follow my master and you will not go astray.”

Jill nodded.  “I will!”

After that, everything began to fade from view.

The next thing that Jill heard was the sound of a loud crack.  After this happened a few more times, she heard a louder crack.  She then opened her eyes.  To her surprise, she was no longer wearing an autumn-colored dress.  Instead, her dress was white.  Whiter than any white that she has ever seen before.  Right next to her lay her old body.  The very sight of this creeped her out, so she looked away.

Next to her old body, it appeared again.  The golden leaf sat there, waiting for a new master.

Then she heard a voice that sent chills down her spine.  Jill…..Come back….

Jill backed away from the golden leaf.  “No!” she shouted.

A strong gust of wind blew on her.  The voice spoke again.  I am you, and you are me.  Just give it time, and you will see.

“Go away, Autumn!” Jill screamed.  “I hate you!!!”

After this, she saw Jaime entering the forest.  When Jaime saw Jill, she ran up to her and hugged, squeezing her tightly.

“Oh Jill!” she cried.  “You’re finally back!”  Jaime turned around to see Jill’s old body, with the golden leaf lying next to it.  “Not that leaf! Let’s get out of here, Jill.”

Jill nodded in agreement and they both left the forest.

After leaving the forest, the first thing that Jill did was run inside her house.  The whole family was there, including her older brother.

“Jill!” the mother cried.  “Is it okay if I call you that, honey?”

Jill, now in tears, nodded.  “Yes mother.” she cried.  “Please call me that.  That is what you named me, right?”

The mother approached Jill and hugged her tightly.  “Don’t you ever touch that leaf again,” she pleaded.

“I won’t.” Jill said, still wiping away tears.  “I love you, mother.”

They continued hugging, while Jaime watched in the distance.

The mother turned and nodded at Jaime.  “Thank you very much for your help,” she told her.  “Without you, I wouldn’t know a thing about my daughter.”

The older brother turned and gave Jill a hug.  “Sorry about the leaf,  little sis.” he smiled.  “I’m just glad that you’re back.”

And with that, the reunion lasted for a while.  Jaime’s family was invited over for dinner, and both families ate together.  It was a big dinner celebrating Jill’s return.

After the dinner, Jaime’s family left.  Jill’s family then talked to Jill for a while.  Jill, tired from all that went on that day, decided to call it a night.

Jill went upstairs and got ready for bed.  She changed into her pajamas, brushed her teeth and drank her glass of water.  She entered her bedroom, climbing into bed and getting underneath the covers.  After that, she fell fast asleep.

Jill was greeted by a dream.  A dream that was familiar to her and one that she met before….

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #122

The Golden Leaf: Autumn’s Fall

Over the next couple days, Autumn paced around, keeping her distance from the egg.  Everything about the egg bothered her.  The abnormally large size.  The overly pervasive luminescence that haunted her.  The twinkle of light that shimmered and sparkled from it.  The egg sat there, like an open invitation.  An invitation that Autumn didn’t want to accept.  One that she greatly feared.

The one thing that that bothered her the most had to do with the proximity of the egg to the tall tree where she usually stood.  This was her favorite place in the whole forest, and the egg was encroaching on it.  An unwelcome guest in her domain.  “I can not approach it,” she said with her utmost determination.  “Direct contact with that egg will result in losing this body….”

Then it came to her.  An idea.  One that might prove useful in removing the egg from her forest.  So for the first time in a couple days, she approached the tall tree, where the egg sat.  “That ugly thing will be rid of very soon,” she whispered.

Autumn raised her hands, gathering a great multitude of leaves around her.  It was a towering mass, which was more than tall enough to cover the egg.  She then used her breath, creating a large gale that blew at the leaves.  To her surprise, the egg did not move an inch.

“That egg is for you, and you’re getting inside it.” someone shouted in the distance.

Out of nowhere, Jaime leapt from behind a tree and sprinted forward.  With every ounce of strength in her body, she lunged at Autumn, tackling her to the ground.  Autumn’s head sat just inches from the egg.

“Get inside!” Jaime shouted.

Autumn looked at Jaime and smirked.  “I admire your bravery, but your precious ‘Jill’ is nowhere to be found.  Now step aside.  I have a wretched egg to dispose of.”

Jaime gave Autumn a look of disgust.  “You are wrong.  Somewhere inside you, Jill is fighting.”

Jaime advanced forward towards Autumn.  “I heard the message from the egg.  You have already ruined her great-granddaughter’s future.  You are an unwelcome guest in her life.  Leave my best friend alone!”

Autumn got up and backed away from the egg.  “Quite a nuisance you are.  Maybe I should turn you into a leaf.”

“Try it.” Jaime dared her.

Autumn waved her hands at Jaime.  Nothing happened.  “What’s going on?” she gasped.

“A promise you made with my great-grandma.” Jaime said with a smile.  “You promised not to harm any of my family.  Even if you broke that promise, I am of the same descent.  My genes protect me from your magic, just like they do with you.  Grandma told me all this, so you can’t tell me any lies.”

Autumn shook her head.  “Very well,” she told her.  “But that promise excludes Jill’s descendants.  Now about that wretched egg, I am never entering it and there is nothing you can do to make me.”

Jaime nodded.  “Exactly.  Autumn would never enter the egg.  But Jill wants to so badly.  Now ‘Jill’!  Can you hear me?  I want you fight Autumn like you never fought her before.  Please!  Fight her for me!  For your mother!  For your whole family!”  After she said this, she couldn’t take it anymore.  Overcome with sorrow, she started to cry.  “Fight her, Jill!  Fight her!”

Autumn stood there stiffly.  A different look came across her face.  A look that Jaime recognized more than anything.  A tear rolled down Autumn’s cheek.  “Jaime?”

Jaime squealed with delight.  “Yes!  Keep fighting her!  Don’t stop, Jill!”

Autumn (or Jill) took a step toward the egg, and then stopped.  “Get back inside, you wretched wart!” she screamed.  “I’m in control!”

“Don’t listen to her!” Jaime screamed.  “Keep fighting!”

Autumn smiled victoriously. “Jill has lost the will to fight.  Her strength is spent, and she can’t move another muscle.”

“Then you’ll have to fight me then,” Jaime challenged her.  “I still have plenty of strength, and I’m not going to back down.  Get inside, before I make you.”

Autumn started to run away from the egg.  “You won’t be able to if I’m far away from it.  Away with you, brat!”

“GET IN THE EGG!!!” Jaime screamed at the top of her lungs.  She stared at Autumn with a deep hatred.  The intensifying hatred painted her face crimson.  With the overwhelming tide of emotions beginning to flow through her, she rushed forward and grabbed Autumn by the leg, tripping her.  And, just as Autumn was beginning to stand up, Jaime forcefully shoved her forward, which was enough to send her tumbling forward.  Autumn tumbled into the egg, which sent ripples of light that formed up and down it.

Autumn pressed against the inside of the egg and pounded on it.  “Let me out!” she shouted.

And that was it.  A potent mist emerged from the egg, which dissipated into the air.  Jill lay there, inside the egg with her eyes closed.

Jaime, who was watching at a distance, knew what was happening.  Jill was dying.  Knowing the outcome, Jaime began to leave the forest.  “I’ll come back when her new body hatches,” she said to herself.

Meanwhile,  Jill remained there in the egg, her body motionless.  While her body laid there, her mind was in a different place.  Jill was dreaming.

Jill opened her eyes to find herself in a cell filled with other girls her age.  When she inspected the door, she found that it was locked.

“Don’t bother,” one girl said with a British accent.  “It’s locked.”

Jill nodded.  “I know that.”  Then she turned toward the door and pounded on it.  “Let me out!”

A few seconds after she pounded, someone walked toward the cell.  It was a man with a radiance that almost blinded her.  The man had various otherworldly features, most notably his stature, which nearly extended to the ceiling.  “Do not fear,” the man told her.

In spite of what he just said, Jill was deathly afraid.  The man’s voice was like a multitude of voices.  He spoke with an intensity of a thunderclap.

“W-who are you?” Jill stammered.  “Are you some kind of angel?  What is your name?”

The man unlocked the door and approached her. “Why do you ask for my name?  My name is beyond understanding, and is not something that you really need to know.  While my name will not be revealed, I will do something else for your sake.  You may call me ‘Freedom’, as I feel that this would be a suitable name to address me here on earth.”

Jill walked outside the cell, towards the mysterious man.  “So I can call you ‘Freedom’, in place of your real name that you don’t want to tell me?” Jill asked him.

Freedom nodded.  “The name that I gave you will work.  Now Jill.  Look before you.  Do you know why you are here?”

Jill shook her head.  “I don’t know.” she told him.  “What am I doing in this place, and who are all these girls?”

“To answer the first question,” Freedom began.  “I will tell you who the girls are.  All of these girls you see represent every girl in history that has been under Autumn’s control.  I have set you free, and I will do the same with all the others.”

Jill looked back inside the open cell.  None of the girls even paid attention to the door.  “Why aren’t they escaping?”

“I have already told you,” the man told her.  “In their own time periods, they haven’t been freed yet.  They don’t see the open door like you do.  To them, it’s still closed and locked.

“But wait!  I thought Autumn was dead!  Didn’t the egg kill her?”

The man shook his head.  “The egg only killed her in your era.  Even with that being the case, it only killed her temporarily.  Long enough to free you from her.  To truly destroy her, we must travel thousands of years to the past.  To the place where her first victim dwells.  You will be the one to help free all these girls from the same fate that you were freed from.”

Jill gasped.  “Who? Me?”

Freedom nodded.  “Yes. You.”

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #112

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part V

Autumn looked around at the surrounding suburbs.  “Why stop here?” she gleefully smiled.  “I can remodel all these other ugly places too.  Why, I should’ve done this 100 years ago….”

Her destruction continued.  Autumn raised her hands, causing large groups of trees to spring up, destroying entire neighborhoods.  When she got to Cypress Street, she smiled.

“Ah,” she sighed.  “My old house.  Well, Margaret’s at least.  Thank you for the body, sweetie….”  Autumn raised her hand, causing an enormous tree to spring right through the house.

Meanwhile,  a very faint sound was buzzing deep inside of Autumn.  It was deep inside her subconscious.  Now, the sound was actually very loud.  But to Autumn, she could barely hear it.  It was the sound of shouting and screaming.  And crying.  But with this noise being generated at the subconscious level, Autumn was hardly aware of it.

Inside of Autumn’s subconscious, Margaret was shouting and crying.  “Give me my body back!” she screamed.  “Why can’t you hear me?  When I break though, you are totally going to regret it….”

Margaret screamed and shouted, until she couldn’t scream and shout anymore.  She sat down and sulked.  “I hope that Jill got my message,” she said very sadly.  “Jill, please enter that egg.  You are my only hope….”

After that, Margaret started to cry.  Her crying became bawling.  Her bawling became wailing.  Her eyes were flooded with tears, with her cries echoing through time….

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #111

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part IV

Margaret woke up, covered in a pile of leaves.  This left her in a state of bewilderment.  There was not a single tree anywhere in the city, except for the Forest Sanctuary, which she visited yesterday.

When she saw the bright light emanating from the golden leaf that she was holding, it made sense.  It was her.  The one who called herself Autumn that was doing this.  Margaret, with the strongest conviction inside of her, knew that this was true.

Margaret went to the window and opened it.  Right after she did this, the golden leaf became brighter and created a strong gale that blew all the leaves out of her room, save the mysteriously enchanted leaf.  When all the leaves were gone, she closed the window.

Her next trip was to the bathroom.  She grabbed her clothes for the day and set them in the bathroom, placing the golden leaf on top of them.  Upon looking at the mirror, something puzzled her.  “My hair!” she gasped.  “Why is it all gold and orange?  It’s also longer than what I had it!  Is this the kind of hair that Autumn prefers?”

Margaret stared at the mirror with a sly look.  “Two can play that game,” she said quietly.  “Using her same powers. I’ll turn it back.”  And with the power of her will, her hair shortened to its normal length and changed back to brown.

Margaret showered, humming a happy tune as she usually did.  After she showered and clothed herself, she began thinking about Autumn.  “That leaf gave me weird dreams last night,” she said to herself.  “I also feel different.  I can’t let her control me….”

Margaret picked up the golden leaf and placed it in her white dress.  “You are going back to the Forest Sanctuary,” she told it.

After getting her hair in a ponytail, Margaret was all ready.  She walked downstairs and approached the door.  Her mother was sitting on the couch, organizing her to-do list on her Multitasker.

“Mother,” she announced,  “I’m going back to the Forest Sanctuary to return the leaf.”

Her mother smiled, giving her a nod of approval.  “Okay honey.  Get rid of that leaf, okay?”

Margaret nodded.  “Okay mother!”

Saying goodbye, Margaret left the house and went back to the Forest Sanctuary, taking the same way as yesterday.  After entering, she went to the same place where she found the golden leaf – underneath the tall tree with gnarled roots and branches.

Margaret reached into her dress and pulled out the golden leaf.  As she tried to release it, the leaf stuck to her hand.  She then put the leaf into her other hand and tried thrusting it as hard as she could.  The leaf remained on her hand.  It would not part from it, no matter how hard she tried.

At that point, she heard a voice that sounded like the wind. You silly girl…. Autumn whispered.  Do you think that I would actually change my mind?  I have made my decision.  You are the next one that I will use.  Being a descendant from your great-grandmother, you are like family to me, and the most suitable place to live.  Be a nice girl for me, okay?  Your great-grandmother was….

“My great-grandmother had no choice!” Margaret shouted.  “You took that choice away from her!”  Her anger began to intensify, but when she saw the golden leaf, it all seemed to vanish, like a distant memory.  “This leaf is too beautiful for me to part with.  What was I thinking?”  Margaret gently lifted the leaf up, and placed it back inside her dress.

Margaret, disappointed, went back home.  Autumn was happy that Margaret had the leaf in her possession.  Margaret, however, wasn’t.

As Margaret entered the door, her mother stood up.  “So, did you get rid of it?” she asked her.

Margaret was worried.  But that worry immediately transformed into a joyous passion.  Margaret eagerly took the golden leaf out of her dress, proudly displaying it to her mother.  “No mother,” she said.  “I couldn’t.  This leaf is far too precious for me to part with.”

Lily, her mother, shook her head.  “Far too precious for Autumn, right?” she said, raising her voice.

Fighting back, Margaret broke down.  “Yes mother,” she sadly admitted.  “This Autumn is starting to get to my mind.  I am not feeling myself.  Really! I’m not!”

Her mother nodded, looking increasingly worried.  “I can see that, honey.  Read those diaries while you can.  There may be hope for you.  Hope for a better future.  Hurry!”

Margaret nodded, fighting Autumn as much as she could.  “Right away mother!  I will read them right away!”

The conversation abruptly ended after that.  Margaret sprinted upstairs.  She still had her wits about her, but knew that this was only borrowed time.  Time that would not be wasted.

Once upstairs, Margaret ran to the end of the hallway.  From being up there with her mother in the past, she knew how to get up to the attic.  She pressed a button, that was hidden behind an old portrait.   This activated a compartment, which opened up to reveal a ladder.  The ladder folded downward until it reached the floor.  Margaret then climbed the ladder and entered the attic.

Sitting in the corner of the attic was an old desk.  The old desk was a mess, with diaries laying all over the place.  There were diaries on the desk and diaries on the floor, all caked with dust.

With so many diaries to leaf through, Margaret didn’t know where to begin.  For her, it would make the most sense to start where the earliest year was.  She quickly arranged the diaries into small stacks, from earliest to most recent.  She began with the earliest one, titled “Maple’s Diary – 2048”.

Margaret leafed through every page, trying to find a date that dealt with her great-grandmother.  She came across a page dated “March 22, 2048”.  Margaret read:

March 22, 2048

My mother has just awakened from her long winter nap.  My father just got back from the forest and told me this.  Why is her naps so long?  When I used to take naps, they were never that long.  When I asked my father about this, he told me that she needs naps like this because she’s special.

My mother spends half of the year living in the forest.  Why does she live in the forest?  I know that other mothers don’t live in the forest.  I told my other friends about this and they said that their mother lives with them.  They’re lucky to have normal mothers because I don’t feel like my mother is normal.

My father said that we will be visiting my mother tomorrow.  I am so excited to see her.  He also said that she will be staying with us until late September, when autumn begins.

I miss mother, and I have a lot of questions for her when she comes to stay with me and father.

That’s all I have to say for today.   Until tomorrow, my dear diary!

Maple

Margaret read on, leafing through the pages quickly.  She found another page that stood out. She read again:

April 3, 2048

Dear diary,

I am right.  My mother is not normal.  I am starting to get tired of asking all the questions.  Whenever I ask her about living in the forest or her long naps, she gives me the same answer as my father.  She’s special.  But what makes her so special?

I also asked her about her name.  When I asked her, she said that her name was Autumn.  It’s really a strange name, since none of the girls that I know at school have that name. 

Well, my not normal mother is calling me again. Don’t worry, diary.  We will meet again.

Always yours,

Maple

Margaret leafed through the rest of the diary, and leafed through a few more.  She then came across a page dated “June 15, 2055”.  Margaret read:

June 15, 2055

Dear diary,

The journey continues in learning the truth about my mother.  But I’m happy to say that I found someone who will help me a lot in that journey.  It’s an older woman named Jaime.  She’s the same age as my mother and she knows a lot about what happened to her.  Hopefully, things will make sense after I talk to her again.  She lives down the street from me, in the same house as my mother.  Well, my mother and father are on a date, and Jaime is coming over here.  Be back later, diary!

Well, I talked to Jaime.  I’m totally blown away with what she told me.  My mother’s real name is actually Jill, and she found this golden leaf when both her and Jaime were nine.  Since she had it, Jaime said that it transformed her into this mysterious woman named Autumn.  Everything that she told me makes sense now.

Well, sort of.  I’m still trying to sort it all out in my head.  I wish that there was something that I could do to help my mother.

I gotta go now, diary!  My mother’s calling me.  I can’t tell her about “the meeting”.  We will meet again tomorrow!

Yours forever,

Maple

On and on Margaret read.  After a few more diaries, she came across something totally shocking.  The page was dated “January 21, 2059”.  Margaret read:

January 21, 2059

Dear diary,

It is now the middle of the night, and I just had this really strange dream.  In this dream, a voice was telling me to build a strange device.  The voice said that this device would help my mother, and that one of my ancestors would be the one to save her.

I found it quite strange to have this dream tonight.  It has been exactly one month since my mother began her winter nap.  I am guessing that I had the dream now so that my mother doesn’t know.

After thinking about it, I know that this dream is definitely from God.  I have been praying and praying for a way to save my mother.  Tonight, I can say that my prayers have been answered.

Starting tomorrow, I will begin on this strange device.  From the blueprint that the voice explained to me, this is going to take a very long time to finish.  I will work on it during the fall and winter months, when mother is not living here.

On another note, finishing my psychology degree will not be necessary anymore, since I just met this lovely man who is pursuing his Ph.D. in psychology.  He is very bright and seems to like me a lot. More on all this tomorrow.  Love ya, diary!

Yours always,

Maple

Margaret leafed through the diaries.  Most of them had to do with her progress on the device and her conversations with her mother.  Over time, she learned that Maple’s mother was getting more and more suspicious, forcing Maple to be more and more cautious on the device that she was working on.

She then came across another entry that sent chills down her spine.  The date read “October 24, 2085”.  Margaret read:

October 24, 2085

Dear diary,

It just happened.  My mother is gone.  After she died, her body went into the golden leaf.  The golden leaf then vanished, materializing into traces of golden light.  From all the information I’ve gathered over the years, it has been 73 years since that leaf appeared.  The next one will appear in 27 more years, at the very spot I’m standing.

Right now, my daughter Lily is in bed.  I will not tell her about this until I am ready to.

As I am writing this, I am starting to worry.  When my mother was alive, I called her Jill ever since I found out her real name.  Before she died, she cast a spell on me.  It was a spell to turn me into a leaf.  She didn’t say when the spell would happen.  All she said was that one day, I would be turned into a leaf.

Well, I’m not going to let this bother me.  I will continue working on the egg.  Well, that’s what the device is starting to look like, at least.  I am almost done with it.  There are just some hard to find materials.  Once I find them, I can finish this egg.

My mother has lived a long hopeless life as Autumn’s puppet.  82 years have been lived, with 73 of them being stolen from her.  I am hoping that either Lily or her child can send this egg back to the past.  Only then will my mother have a better future.

It is too much for me, diary.  Goodnight!

Tearfully always yours,

Maple

Margaret began to tear up, as she read through the remaining diaries.  She finally came to the last one.  The date read “September 30, 2103”.  Full of tears, Margaret read:

September 30, 2103

Dear diary,

I have finally done it.  The egg is finished.  I will tell Lily when I return from the forest.  I go here everyday to visit my mother.  While her body may not be here, I can feel her presence.  It is not Autumn, but her.  I know it. 

Now, it is very important that either she or her daughter send it back to the past.  Lily told me that she was pregnant, and was ready to have her daughter.  When she is ready to have her, I will visit.  I look forward to hearing the g

And that was the last thing that Maple wrote.  The entry was not even finished, something that really troubled Margaret.

The one thing that troubled Margaret even more was the date.  After studying the date, it hit her.  September 30, 2103 was the exact date that she was born.

Margaret frantically looked around in the attic for the egg.  Hopefully, it would be here, considering her current house was different than Maple’s.  In the far end of the attic by the window, Margaret found something that was covered in a large sheet of plastic.  Margaret removed the plastic.  There the egg sat.  On its interior, it looked like some kind of cockpit.  The egg was translucent on the inside with a polished white sheen on the outside.

Upon touching the egg, it lit up, like some sophisticated machine.  A holographic display then came out of the egg, displaying some words and numbers.

“Please enter date, time and location?” Margaret read.  “October 21, 2012.  5:47 p.m.” Margaret than entered the exact coordinates for the tall tree as it was listed on her Multiasker.

After entering the coordinates, one more message appeared.  It read “Record your message.  Say ‘begin recording’ when you are ready.”

Knowing that she was running out of time, Margaret quickly thought about her message.  While she did this, she reached into her white dress and pulled out the golden leaf.  Finally, she was ready.  “Record message.” Margaret ordered.

“To the one originally called Jill,” Margaret began.  “This message is for you.  From researching my ancestors, I have found that you are my great-grandmother.  In looking at your history, I have found that we share the same fate.  Autumn has already tainted you, and she is beginning to do the same with me.  I have found this golden leaf, and I wish that I never had.  It is her vessel.  This is what she told me.”

“Now I know that your name is not Jill anymore since she renamed you with her name.  She has not done this with me yet, which is why I am acting quickly.  While I am still in my right mind, I am executing a last-ditch effort to change history.  That sphere that you see before you is an egg.  Now I need you to enter that egg.  It is the only way that you can kill Autumn.  Your body, however will die with her.”

“But don’t think this is the end.  In place of your old body, the egg will hatch and your new body will be born.  It will be just like your old body, only you won’t have Autumn inside you anymore.”

“Please take heed, Jill.  Autumn will not stand anywhere near that egg, for she fears its power.  But you must fight her.  Fight like you’ve never fought before.  I know you can win.”

“Well, my mind is beginning to fail me.  I am beginning to feel her influence even stronger now as I’m recording this.  I hope that this egg and this message gets to your time period.  I love you very much and I hope that this ripple that I’m creating is enough to effect time.  Your great-granddaughter, Margaret.”

Just as the last word left her mouth, the egg immediately vanished.

“Where is that wretched egg?” Margaret screamed.  “I need to destroy it!”

Margaret then shook her head.  “No Autumn!” she shouted.  “I did the right thing, and history is going to be changed because of it!”

Once again, Margaret continued fighting Autumn.  “No!  I will not….let you….con…trol…..m….eee……”

And just like that, Margaret transformed.  Her hair extended and became orange and gold.  Her body shrunk a few inches and her white dress was now full of autumn colors.  The golden leaf was now grafted to her body, with a network of barely visable roots branching out in every direction.

Margaret’s countenance changed.  Instead of looking stubborn, she now wore a pleasant expression on her face.  “My new form suits me well….” she said, smiling.

She then heard someone climbing the stairs.  It was her mother.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” she said, gasping.  “I heard you scream.  Is there anything….” Her mother glanced at Margaret.  “Oh my goodness!  Margaret honey!  Autumn is starting to control you!”

“Mother,” Margaret told her.  “My name is not Margaret anymore.  I don’t like that name.  I hate it.  I really do, mother.  Do you know what name I like?”

Her mother shook her head in disbelief.  “No, honey….”

Her daughter stared at her with a smile on her face.  “Do you?”

Lily was now crying.  “No! No Margaret dear!  No!”

The daughter nodded.  “Yes mother.  I will tell you, since you don’t want to say it.  I like the name Autumn.  This is my name now, and what you will call me from now on…..”

Her mother sighed, still upset.  “Autumn?”

“Yes,” Autumn said, nodding.  “You will learn to love this name, like my great-grandmother did.”

Her mother was now angry.  “But you’re Margaret!” she shouted.  “I will never call you Autumn!”

Autumn faked a frown.  “You won’t?” she said coldly.  “You will have to, or I will turn you into a leaf.”

But the mother refused.  “No Margaret dear,” she argued.  “You will always be my Margaret!”

Autumn grinned.  “Well, let me tell you a secret then.  Do you remember your mother Maple?  I cast a spell on her before she died.  One day, you couldn’t find her.  Do you want to know why?”

“Why?” the mother shouted.

“That is because your mother turned into a leaf,” she answered.  “And this happened on the very day that your daughter was born.  And now, you will be joining her.  Farewell, Lily….”

Before the mother could scream anymore, she became a bright orange leaf.

“A lily colored leaf,” Autumn said with a smile.  “How nice.  I will now return to my real home.”

Autumn became a pile of leaves, and blew herself in a strong gust of wind all the way to the Forest Sanctuary.  When she got to the tall tree, she was upset.

“Too small,” Autumn said, complaining.  “I can barely live in this glass spot!”

Autumn raised her hands, which caused various trees to spring out of the ground.  Several of them broke through the glass dome.  Around the whole perimeter, trees sprang up everywhere, breaking through the glass.

“I will not be limited to this plot of land!” Autumn shouted.  “This wretched city looks ugly too!”

After a few more trees sprung up, the glass dome collapsed.  Chunks of glass fell to the ground, shattering everywhere.  But Autumn didn’t stop there.  When the glass dome was down, more trees sprang through the skyscrapers, causing many of them to collapse.  Autumn continued doing this to every city block.  When she was finished, the entire city was a vast, sprawling forest.

“Now this is the way I remembered it,” Autumn said with a smile.

Autumn sat at the base of the tall tree, staring at the bright moon above her.  Staring at fields and neighborhoods, it left Autumn unsatisfied.  The city was only the beginning….

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #109

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part III

Something woke up Margaret in the middle of the night.  It was a strong gust of wind.  After realizing her window was shut, she looked around, trying to find the source of the wind.  She then noticed that it was coming from the golden leaf.  Her room was now lit with a strong yet faint golden glow.

Margaret then heard a voice.  The voice was subtle and quiet.  It was a gentle whisper that was just like the wind.

Margaret…. the voice whispered.

Instead of feeling scared, Margaret felt comforted by the voice.  It sounded familiar to her….  “Who are you?” she asked it.

A gentle gust flowed through Margaret’s hair.  I am you…. the voice whispered.

Margaret shook her head.  “You can’t be me,” she told the voice.  “If you were me, you would look exactly like me.  I don’t see anyone around here, so this can’t be true.”

The golden leaf’s light became brighter, and an even stronger gust of wind blew at Margaret.  I am you….!  The voice shouted in a loud whisper.

Margaret smiled.  “For you to be me, you would have to know who I am.  You would have to know pretty much everything about me in general.  Do you know who I am?”

Silence.

“Do you?” Margaret said louder, challenging the voice.

The strong wind became violent.  So violent that it knocked Margaret down on her bed.  The voice then spoke, in a rather quick, stern and quiet tone.   I am you, and you are me.  Just give it time, and you will see.

Margaret’s face lit up.  “A riddle? I love riddles!  And it won’t take me time to figure this out.  Trust me….”

A few minutes passed as Margaret thought about the riddle.  In her head, she kept repeating the words “I am you, and you are me”.   “I am you,” she repeated.  “And you are me?”

Moments later, she got it.  “I am you,” she repeated again.  “That means that I will become who you are.  You are me.  That means that you will become who I am….”  At this, she gasped.  “But who are you, then?”

A playful breeze hit Margaret’s face.  I am you….the voice said.  Don’t you see?

Margaret then thought about the riddle again.  “Oh yeah!” she gasped.  “The last line!  ‘Just give it time, and you will see.’ That means that I am not you yet.  But I will be….”

Then it hit her.  “Wait!” She said, gasping.  “Are you the one that my mother was talking about?  Autumn?”

The wind blew back Margaret’s hair.  You figured it out….The voice told her.  I am Autumn, and you will be soon….

Margaret shook her head in confusion.  “Does that mean that you’re my great-grandmother?”

The voice laughed.  That’s who I was.  But now, I need a new host.  You’re a pretty smart girl and you will suit me well….

Margaret was now shocked.  “Is this what you did to my great-grandmother?” She quietly shouted, careful not to wake her mother.  “You possessed her, and ruined her life!  You will not use my body, you wretched nymph!”

Autumn let out a sigh of laughter.  I’m afraid that it’s too late for that.  Both you and your great-grandmother did not learn their lesson.  Both of you took the leaf out of the forest.  That golden leaf is my vessel.  Now, how would you like it if someone took your bed out of your room….?

Margaret shook her head and took the defensive.  “I didn’t know,” she firmly stated.  “To me, it was just a beautiful leaf!  There wasn’t a sign anywhere that said “Do NOT take this leaf!”.

The wind began to pick up.  As smart as you are, you should’ve left it alone.  But thank you very much, Margaret, for letting me use your body.  I will enjoy it very much, and pretty soon, so will you…..

Margaret gasped.  “But I didn’t tell you that….”

A calm wind blew on Margaret’s face.  Again, thank you….and good night…..

Margaret’s face saddened.  She was thinking about crying, but she knew that this wouldn’t make things any better.  Thinking about what her mother said earlier, she tried to find something that she could do to resolve this problem.

Then she heard it.  The voice of her mother saying “Read the diaries, honey.”

The diaries….” she whispered.  “I’ll read them tomorrow….

Margaret, now calmer, got underneath the covers.  The golden leaf blew into her left hand and rested there.  Knowing that it would be futile to remove it, Margaret let it lay there.

A faint glow emanated from the golden leaf, It covered Margaret, filling her and the room with golden light….

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #108

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn – Part II

Margaret stood there, gazing at the golden leaf.  As she stood there, the leaves began to blow in a circular motion, until they were making circles around her.  There was something about the leaf that she couldn’t put into words.  Words could not explain what she was feeling right now.  To her, the leaf felt familiar to her.  She couldn’t explain why.  It just felt that way.

As Margaret remained in awe at the golden leaf that she was holding, a loud beep came from her Multitasker, and a holographic image of her mother projected out of it.

“Margaret, it’s almost 7:00.” Her mother said with a sigh.

This snapped Margaret out of her reverie.  Or perhaps it was a different state of mind or a trance.  It didn’t matter what it was.  All Margaret knew was that she was late.  She looked at her Multitasker.  “Display time.” she ordered.

The Multitasker projected a holographic image of a digital clock.  The time was 6:57 p.m.  “Oh mother!” she said, gasping.  “I’m very sorry!  I was having too much fun….”

“I’m glad that you did, sweetheart.” her mother said, smiling.  “Now….”

“And then I found something that was truly amazing!” Margaret interrupted.  “I’ll be home shortly.  Bye!”

The holographic image of her mother vanished, and Margaret began running towards the exit of the forest sanctuary.  As she was running, she held the golden leaf tightly in her hand.
Such a lovely leaf,” she whispered, in labored breaths.  “Can’t wait to show mother….

Margaret came to the exit of the Forest Sanctuary.  She exited the door she entered, and ran back to the crowded plaza nearby.  She found the coordinates for home and scanned them in, using her Multitasker.  She then pressed the button and was transported to Cypress Street, the road that ran down the subdivision where she lived.

From there, she ran down the street, back toward her house.  27842 was the house number that she stopped at.  She concealed the leaf and approached the door.

Upon opening the door, there her mother stood, with a frown on her face.  “Margaret dear!” she shouted.  “What took you so long?  I was starting to worry!”

Margaret, still short of breath, stared at her mother, smiling.  “I’m….very sorry….mother….” she gasped.

Her mother gave her a hug.  “I’m not mad at you.” she told her.  “I was just worried.  Now dear.  You seem to be quite exhausted.  Now I want you to catch your breath, and then we can talk.  Okay?”

Margaret nodded, still gasping for air.  “Thank you….mother….”

Margaret sat on the sofa for a few minutes and waited for her breathing to return to normal.  Her mother quietly sat there, watching her daughter.

Finally, Margaret’s breathing was normal.  She then stood up and approached her mother.  “Now mother,” she announced, “The Forest Sanctuary was a lot of fun.  I took your advice and I used my imagination.  I created several imaginary friends and we all had fun.  Too bad they all had to leave.”

Her mother nodded.  “Well, that’s your imagination, honey.  They can come and go as much as they please if you want them to.”

An even bigger smile began to form on Margaret’s face.  “Now mother….” she announced.  “The reason why I was so late was because I found this.”  She reached inside the top of her dress and pulled out a golden leaf.  “I found this beautiful leaf in the Forest Sanctuary.  Doesn’t it look amazing?”

At this, her mother gasped.  A sudden feeling of fear began to grip her tightly.  “Where did you say you found that again?”

“I found it in the Forest Sanctuary, under a really big tree!” she told her.  “Is there something wrong?”

A sudden look of anxiety began to fill her mother’s face.  “Yes honey,” she said, her voice quavering.  “It’s that leaf that you’re holding.  Get rid of it!”

Margaret brought both of her palms together, holding the golden leaf in the center.  She then looked back at her mother and frowned.  “Why, mother? What’s wrong with this leaf?”

The mother, still nervous, made a waving gesture at her daughter.  “Sit down honey, and I will tell you.  And please put that leaf away.  I…I don’t want to see it.”

Margaret nodded, and placed the leaf back inside her dress. She then sat down next to her mother.  “Now what’s wrong with it, mother?  I think it’s a beautiful leaf.”

Her mother shook her head.  “That leaf is dangerous, and I’ll tell you why.  It affected my grandmother.”

Margaret gasped.  “Your grandmother?  How?”

The mother let out a deep sigh.  “Well….first of all, she’s your great-grandmother.  Now I don’t remember this happening very well.  When I was your age, she died.  After that, her body went inside a golden leaf.  It was a leaf just like the one you have. My mother told me all this since I wasn’t there when my grandmother died.”

Margaret shook her head.  “That’s sad….Now mother, what was my great-grandmother like?”

The mother sighed again.  “I don’t remember much about her, honey.  Now my mother told me a lot about her.  She said that she wasn’t acting herself and that she lived in the forest.” The mother then stared at Margaret directly in the face.  “Now listen to me, dear.  Because of my grandmother, my mother was crazy.  Trying to cure my grandmother was the only thing she spent her whole life doing.  She wrote in her diaries, filling them with notes from everyone that was able to provide information about her.  She even talked to my great-grandmother and my grandmother’s friend.”

“What was her name?”

“Whose name, honey?”

“Your grandmother.”

The mother paused.  Finally she said, “her name is Autumn.”

Margaret gasped.  “Autumn?  That’s an interesting name.”

The mother grabbed a tissue and wiped some sweat off her brow.  “She does have a real name, but I’ll let you figure that out yourself.  Her diaries are upstairs in the attic.  I’ll let you take a look at them.”

Margaret sat there, her face frozen.  She was dumbfounded.  “Why was your mother crazy?” she finally said.

The mother shook her head.  “She was crazy because of all the crazy things that she wrote.  One thing that she claimed to see was this strange vision.  It told her to do something.  That’s all I’ll tell you.  Read the diaries, honey.”

Margaret nodded.  “Okay mother.  I will.”  After that, she sat there, thinking.  “Why don’t we ever visit your mother, I mean, my grandmother?”

When the mother heard this, she burst into tears.  “It’s because she’s gone, honey.  She disappeared on the day you were born, and I haven’t been able to find her since.”

Margaret sat there, silent, watching her mother cry.  Of all the nine years that she has been alive, she has never seen her cry like this.  After she cried for a while, she blew her nose with a tissue.  After that, she felt a little better.

Finally, Margaret stood up.  “I’m going off to bed.” she told her.  “I’m a little tired.”

Lily gasped.  “Without dinner?”

Margaret sighed.  “I’m not hungry, so goodnight!”

“Good night, dear!” her mother said, smiling.  As her daughter was about to go upstairs, she gasped.  “Get rid of that leaf too, honey!  Return it to where you found it!”

Margaret nodded, both feet on the first step.  “I’ll do it tomorrow, mother!”

Margaret walked upstairs and got ready for bed.  While she was doing this, she left the golden leaf on her dresser in her bedroom.  After getting ready, she put on her light blue nightgown.  She then grabbed the golden leaf and sat on her bed, resting the leaf on her lap.

She stared carefully at the leaf and sighed.  The leaf continued to glow, flashing its golden light into her eyes.  “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.  “What could be so bad about this?”

Margaret placed the golden leaf underneath the covers.  She then turned off the light and crawled underneath the covers.  Grasping the leaf, she held it in her hand, pulling the covers with her other hand until just her face was showing, resting on the pillow.

Margaret then fell fast asleep, with the light from the leaf emanating from her clutched hand.   The light grew and grew, until her entire room was greeted by its radiance….

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #107

The Golden Leaf: Autumn Reborn

Margaret sat in her room on her bed, holding what looked like some black box.  Letting out a deep sigh, she spoke into it.

“Record,” she instructed the box.

“Margaret’s Video Diary,” Margaret spoke.  “Friday, October 14, 2112.  1:04 p.m.  It is official.  I have officially died of boredom.”

At that point, Margaret almost burst into tears, but she held her composure.  “What’s a nine-year old like me supposed to do when there’s no one to play with?  I have uploaded all my lessons for today and watched all the required lessons.  All of my homework for the weekend is already done and has been sent to the Greenville Elementary Learning Network Server.  This neighborhood has no other kids that I can become friends with.  There are students, but they are all much older than me, and would rather not associate with a ‘kid’ like me.”

Margaret pounded her fist into her comforter.  She then crossed her arms on her lavender dress and pouted.  The tears, one by one, began flowing down her face.  She was so upset that she forgot that she was recording.  By the time she realized this, her dress was slightly damp with tears.  Her face reddened in embarrassment.

“Excuse me,” Margaret said, crying.  “End recording.”

Margaret than heard a knock on the door.  “Come in,” she whimpered, as she brought her face to her knees.

The door opened, and her mother, Lily stood there wearing a dress that was similar to Margaret’s.  The dress also reflected Lily’s stature.  When she saw Margaret, she was greatly surprised.  “What’s wrong, Margaret dear?”

Margaret buried her face in her hands and continued weeping.  “I am extremely bored, mother.”

The mother sat down beside Margaret and gave her a pat on her shoulder.  “There there, sweetheart.  There’s plenty to do around here.  Have you completed all your homework, and lessons for the day?”

Margaret gave a soft nod.  And continued crying.  Her eye contact was directed at her feet, away from her mother.  “I don’t have any friends, mother.  And the older students don’t want to be friends with me.”

Her mother sighed, and looked at her daughter.  There was no face for her to look at.  Just a large unkempt strand of brown hair.  Margaret was now looking downward, at her dress and her knees.  She patted her daughter again.  “Look at me honey, and stop crying.” she pleaded.

Margaret sighed and looked up.  She saw her mother, staring at her.  She felt a sense of longing coming from her.  “Oh mother!” she cried.  And then she threw her arms around her mother and gripped her in tight embrace.

Her mother smiled.  “There we go, Margaret dear.” she said, using a soft tone.  “Now you tell me that you’re bored.  What about your video games?”

Margret released her embrace and shook her head.  “I have already played every single game that is approved for someone my age,” she told her.  “Every single one bores me now.”

At that statement, her mother was speechless.  Margaret too, had no words to say, until a troubling thought entered her mind.

“Why doesn’t daddy ever come home?” Margaret complained.  “He’s always on business and he’s never around!”

Her mother nodded, and she hugged her daughter again.  “I miss him too, honey.  But remember.  He doesn’t want to know that you’re unhappy.  If you should be happy for anyone, be happy for him.”

Margaret nodded and sighed.  “I’ll try.  But it won’t be easy with nothing to do.”

The mother gasped, and then smiled.  It was as if a light bulb went off in her head.  “I just thought of something, my dear.” she told her daughter.  “Why don’t you play outside?  I heard that children used to do this a long time ago.”

“But mother,” Margaret sighed.  “Where would I play?  In pretty much every public area, playing is prohibited.  Just recently, they demolished the last playground in the city, because no one showed any interest playing in it.”

But her mother continued to smile, completely unmoved by what her daughter said.  “I know that, honey.” she said.  “But I’m not referring to those areas.  What I had in mind is that Forest Sanctuary.  From my understanding, you can still play in a spot like that.”

Margaret gave her a strange look.  “By myself?  Who would I play with?”

“Use your imagination.” she told her.  “When I was little, I had an imaginary friend named Lissie.  Me and Lissie did everything together.  Of course we parted ways eventually, but she was definitely fun to play with.”

Margaret nodded.  “It sounds weird, but I’ll give it a try, mother.  I’ll be back later!”

Her mother stood up and got out a black box like Margaret’s.  “Okay.  Be back at 6:30.  Set alarm ‘6:30 p.m.’ to Margaret’s Multitasker. Have fun, honey!”

Margaret nodded, and left her room.   Her mother followed her, then walked into the master bedroom.

After Margaret left her room, she approached the landing.  From the landing was a spiral staircase leading down to the living room, which led into the great room.  Margraret went down the stairs, walked through the great room and exited the house.

Margaret walked down the street to the end of the subdivision.  The lights were on in various houses, with everyone unwilling to leave them.  She approached an intersection, where a teleporter sat.  Across the street led to another subdivision.  To her left, the street led on, with more subdivisions branching on either side, until it eventually turned into local businesses.  To her right, it was pretty much the same thing, only that street eventually led downtown.

Margaret found the coordinates to the Forest Sanctuary and scanned them into the teleporter.  After the scan, the teleporter automatically entered the coordinates.

She was about to teleport when some older guy approached her.  To her, he looked like a high-schooler.

“Where are you going, miss?” he asked her.

Margaret hesitated, and then sighed.  “My mother always told me to never talk to strangers,” she boldly asserted.”

The guy looked at her and laughed.  “Really?” he shouted.  “That is so old-fashioned!  Now look.  You can trust me.  I’m not like those hoodlums at night.  Where are you going?”

At this point, Margaret was getting impatient.  Giving in, she let out a sigh.  “Okay.” she told him.  “I’m going to the Forest Sanctuary.”

The high-schooler laughed again.  “You’re going THERE?  Nobody goes to that boring place.  I’m going to the abandoned mall, so I can see where people used to shop.  Later!”

At that, the high-schooler scanned in his location with his Multitasker and pressed the button.  The teleporter enveloped him in a beam and he was gone.

Margaret shrugged her shoulders and pressed the button on the teleporter.  In just a split-second, she appeared downtown, in a busy plaza.  The Forest Sanctuary was nearby, which everyone walked past.

Margaret approached the Forest Sanctuary.  It was inside a large glass dome, which covered even the tallest tree.  Surrounded by the 300 acres of domed forest was the city.  Highrises and various skyscrapers dwarfed over it.

Margaret entered the Forest Sanctuary.  From what she learned in her history lessons, she was well aware that trees were becoming more and more scarce in the world today.  With urbanization happening everywhere, a measure was taken to protect the forests that still remained.  With the Forest Haven Act, which was passed in 2073, every city was required to set aside a designated haven of trees.  This would prevent America’s supply of trees from going extinct.

As she walked around, she smiled.  For a second, she forgot that there was even a city around her.  She suddenly remembered when she looked up and saw the skyscrapers that stood much higher than the dome.

For the next few hours, Margaret played in the forest.  Since she had no friends, she took her mother’s advice.  She made up her own.  With her “friends”, she jumped into the colorful leaves that dropped from the various trees around her.

Margaret then approached a very tall tree.  It was taller than all the others, with gnarled branches and gnarled roots.  As she was doing this, her alarm went off.  All of her imaginary friends left her and she was left alone, face to face with a giant tree.

After taking it in for a while, Margaret began to leave, but something made her stop.  It was a flash.  A flash that came from a large pile of leaves at the base of the tree.

Curiosity got the best of Margaret, so she got down on her knees and began digging through the pile, scattering as many leaves as she could.

After scattering a few more clumps of leaves, Margaret found it.  The flash was coming from a golden leaf.  One that flashed its new glow brightly and proudly.  What a discovery!

Margaret lifted up the leaf and let it rest in the palm of her left hand.  The flash came out of the leaf again.  This time, it was brighter.  It was as if the flash was granting her approval.  The flash continued, glowing brighter and brighter until it covered her body…..

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #100

Tower of Ideas

I woke up and went to my computer, like usual.  It would be the same kind of drill that I do everyday, right?  That’s what I thought, but how wrong I was.

As I sat there at my computer, typing,  I saw an enormous flash.  Curious about this flash, I looked behind me.  A mysterious door appeared out of nowhere.

Without even pondering, curiosity got the best of me, and I entered the door.

Once inside, I was in this vast field, filled with lush green grass and flowers of every color.  In the distance, I saw a vastly tall tower that challenged the heights of the tallest trees.  None of them could exceed the height of the tower, which mysteriously sat there in the middle of nowhere.  Even more curious, I ran as fast as I could to reach the tower, which seemed like it was miles away.

As I approached the tower, I noticed that it looked just like an office building.  Something like would belong in the city. But here it was, just here in the open field.  Gasping for air, I entered the tower.

Still having a shortness of breath, I stood there, until I could breathe easier.  As I did, I took in all the surroundings.  The lobby was majestically decorated, with Italian terra cotta tiles in a black-white checkered pattern.  The borders of the rooms were outlined in tan, surrounding the checkered floor.  A service desk sat in the center of the lobby, with a receptionist there, busy at work.

Finally having my breath back, I approached the receptionist.  “What is this place?”  I asked her, desperate to find some kind of answer.

The woman looked up at me and smiled.  She didn’t seemed bother at all by the asking of my question.  “This place?” she said, spreading both of her arms outward.  “This is the tower of ideas.  You’re on the first floor.”

I didn’t want to invade on the woman’s privacy, but I had to know who she was.  “Who are you?” I asked.

The woman stopped typing and looked up again.  “Oh.  Sorry.  I didn’t have this on my desk.” She blushed, and got out a placard.  With haste, she sat in on the desk.  “I’m Julia.”

“That is a nice name,” I told her.  “Do you have any children?”

Julia nodded.  “I do have one.  Her name is Cindy.  She lost her cat Mittens a few months ago.  She’s in one of the rooms with her new kitty.”

Then it all made sense.  This woman was the same one that I wrote about in my first Think & Write!  I held our my hand to get her attention.  “I don’t mean to bother you again, but where are the elevators?”

Julie stood up and pointed to an area just behind her desk.  “They’re right over there.”

Giving a nod of approval, I looked at Julie again.  “Thanks.”

Julie smiled.  “Anytime, Mr. Walker.”  Julie then looked back at her computer and continued typing.

I walked away from the desk and approached the elevators.  As I was pressing the up button, a nagging thought entered my mind.  How did she know who I was?  Immediately after I thought this, I knew the answer.  “I created her!” I told myself.  “Of course she knows who I am!”

The elevator door opened and I entered.  Looking at the panel, it was filled with buttons.  There were 100 buttons, with some other miscellaneous ones used for maintenance and emergencies.

I chose the first floor at random, with my eyes closed.  When I opened them, I saw that the button to the 27th floor was lit up.

As the elevator rapidly ascended, another disturbing thought entered my mind.  Where did this tower come from?  And what about the field and the mysterious door?  Before I could wonder any more, the elevator stopped on the 27th floor and the doors opened.

I got off and I noticed a narrow corridor.  After walking down it for a while, it led to another one.  In one of the rooms, I could hear a little girl screaming.

“DON’T PUNISH ME!!!!” the girl screamed.

“Stop that, Sidney.” the mother shouted.  “You’re four years old and you need to start acting like it.”

I knew that it wouldn’t be best to interrupt this argument, but curiosity got the best of me.  After all, I created them.  So they owe me their respect.

I opened the door to find Sidney sitting on the ground, in just a t-shirt and a diaper.  The mother was standing there, holding a wooden paddle.

When the mother noticed me, she sighed.  “Mr. Walker,” she said.  “I hate to say this, but could you come back later?  Now is not a good time.  Like usual, Sidney is acting like a brat.  Never listening to a word I say.”

I nodded.  “I’ll leave you be then, Natalie.  I’ll come back later, when Sidney is under control.” Before leaving, I bended down and looked at Sidney.  “Mind your mother for me, okay?”

Sidney shook her head.  “No!  She’s a meanie!”

I closed the door and left them to their business.

As I walked down the corridors to the elevators, I saw a teenage woman walking toward me.  Who is this woman, and what does she want?

The teen girl was gasping for air and looked desperate.  “Mr. Walker,” she said, gasping.  “I need your help.”

I still didn’t know who this girl was.  “How can I help you and who are you?” I asked her.

The girl frowned.  “You know me!” she said.  “I’m Holly.  Now I need your help.  Somehow, I ended up on this floor.  I need to get to the 47th floor.  Can I go with you?”

I nodded.  “Feel free to.  I’m still trying to figure out how this place can exist….”

Holly looked at me weirdly.  “What did you just say?”

My face then blushed.  “I’m sorry.  Did I just say that out loud?”

Holly nodded, as we both approached the elevator.  I pushed the up button and we both entered.

At random, I chose another floor.  I chose 62, with my eyes open this time.  Holly pressed 47.  The elevator doors closed and began to ascend.

As the elevator ascended, I noticed Holly getting younger by the second.  “Are you aware of what’s going on?” I asked her, who now looked eight.

Holly nodded.  “Yes, Mr. Walker.  But it’s just a dream.”

The elevator then reached the 47th floor.  Holly was now a five year old.  “Thanks Mr. Walker!” she said, as she left the elevator.

I nodded as the elevator doors closed again.  It then went up to the 62nd floor and opened up again.

To my surprise, Holly was standing there again, now in her early thirties.  She ran into the elevator and pressed the close button.

“You need to hide me from those creeps,” she begged me.

I threw up my hands in frustration.  “But I just got here!” I shouted.

Holly shook her head.  “But it doesn’t matter.  I’m not going to let those creeps perform experiments on me.  Now tell me.  Are you going up or down?”

I raised my hand towards the ceiling.  “Up,” I told her.  “And aren’t you a dream anyway, in a clone’s body?”

“That’s what they say,” she said.  “And you’re with them, too?  Well, I can’t really argue with you, considering your position.  Now quick.  What floor?”

I thought for a moment.  “Hmm….”

“Hurry up!” Holly shouted.  “Just pick something!”

Finally, I pressed the button I wanted.  “85,” I told her.

Holly shook her head.  “I don’t want to go there.” Holly then pressed 72.  “I’m getting off there.”

The elevator then ascended and I waited.  Holly had nothing to say, so the ride up was quiet.

Finally, the elevator reached the 72nd floor.  Holly got out promptly and waved at me.  “Thanks Mr. Walker!”

“Anytime, Molly….I mean, Holly,” I said, smiling.

The elevator door closed and it ascended to the 85th floor.

When it opened, I got out.  As I did, I heard a crunch.  I looked down and I realized that I stepped on a leaf.  When I looked up, I realized that the whole floor was filled with leaves.  Leaves of various colors.

As I wandered down the leaf-filled corridor, I saw her.  It was a small girl, with long orange and golden hair.  Her complexion was golden, and she wore an autumn-colored dress with leafy sandals on her feet.  A bright glow emanated from her.  When I approached the girl , her back was facing me.

The girl turned around and smiled.  “Do you like it,?” she asked me.  “I made all those leaves, just for you.”

I smiled, looking around at the colorful foliage that lined the floors and walls.  “It’s wonderful, Autumn.”

As I was about to leave, I turned around and suddenly remembered something.  “One other thing,” I told her.  “Did you enter the egg yet?”

When I asked that, Autumn looked very nervous.  “N-no I haven’t, Mr. Walker.  I mean, it looks like a beautiful egg, right?  I-I’ll check it out, someday….”

I quietly sighed.  “She won’t even go near it,” I whispered.  I then turned to Autumn one last time.  “No need to hide your feelings, Autumn.  I know you hate that egg.  Hopefully, ‘someday’ will come….”

Autumn nodded.  “Someday?!  You’re right about the egg.  It will never happen, Mr. Walker!  Never!”

“Bye Autumn,” I told her.

“NEVER!” Autumn continued shouting.  “Never! Never! Never! Never!”

I ran back to the elevator and pressed the up button.  I entered again and looked at the panel.  I knew where I was going this time.  I pressed 87.  The elevator went up two floors and opened again.  I walked out to find another maze of corridors.

As I walked down one of them, I heard the sound of a very happy girl.  I followed the sound and knocked on the door.  “Hang on, little Jess.  Someone’s at the door.”

The door opened and I saw a young woman standing there.  She was in her late twenties, with a younger girl standing next to her.

“You must be Jessica.” I told her.

Jessica smiled.  “And you must be Mr. Walker!” She shouted.  “Nice to meet you! Well, I already know you, but nice for you to visit!”

The girl looked at me and frowned.  “Who is that?” she asked Jessica.

Jessica looked at her and smiled.  “Oh.  That’s Mr. Walker.  Say hi to Mr. Walker, little Jess!”

The girl look up at me and smiled.  “Hi Mr. Walker!” she shouted.

I sniffed the room and groaned.  “Don’t you have air fresheners?”

Jessica gave me a look of embarrassment.  “Sorry about that.  I just changed her. One moment.” She ran and quickly came back with an aerosol can of bathroom spray.  She then sprayed it around the room.  “There. Now Mr. Walker.  Are you just stopping by?”

I sighed.  “Actually, I’m just exploring this place.  I don’t know how it got here.  I’m actually leaving now.  Have fun with your younger self!”

Jessica nodded.  “I will.  Say ‘goodbye Mr. Walker’ with me, little Jess.”

The girl looked at her and nodded. “Bye Mr. Walker!” they both shouted at the same time.

I went back to the elevator and pressed the up button.  I then went up to the 97th floor.

The elevator door opened and I got out.  In one of the corridors, I saw a girl with a fairly large stand.  It read in neatly written letters “Charlotte’s Cider Stand”.

When I saw the stand, I immediately ran up to the girl.  “Hey Charlotte!” I shouted.  “How goes the cider business?”

Charlotte looked up and saw me.  “It’s going really well, Mr. Walker.  Would you like a glass of my cider today?”

I nodded.  “Sure!” I told her.  “How much?”

Charlotte pointed to all the signs, which were all neatly arranged throughout the stand.  “My cider is 50 cents.  Refills are a quarter.  Donuts are a dollar.  Five dollars for a dozen.  Or, you could have some of my pastries.  Two for a dollar.”

“I’ll just have a glass of your cider, please.” I told her.

Charlotte poured me a glass of cider and handed it to me.  I gave her 50 cents.  “Thanks for your business, Mr. Walker” she told me.  “Have a wonderful day.”

“You too,” I told her.

I walked back to the elevator with the cider and pressed the up button.  I entered it and looked at the panel.  100 was the highest floor.  There was no other floor after it.  Shrugging my shoulders, I pressed 100.

The elevator doors opened and I stepped out.  The floor was an enormous room, lavishly decorated.  A desk sat in one corner and a king-sized bed sat in the other.

To my surprise, my muse was sitting there on the bed, looking impatient.

“What took you so long?” she asked me.

Her question confused me.  “What do you mean?” I told her.  “Were you here the whole time?”

She quickly nodded and sighed.  “Of course!  Why did you bother to go to any of the other floors?  You should’ve came here in the first place!”

I looked at my muse.  Her size was not any different from the last time that I saw her.  She was over twice my height, and getting very thin.

“If I knew you were here, I would’ve come sooner!” I told her.

“Never mind that,” she said.  “How about feeding me for once?  And no.  These tiny crumbs that you call ‘Think & Writes’ do not count.  They are barely enough to keep me going!”

“What about ‘The Golden Leaf’ and ‘Inner Child’?  Those are larger, aren’t they?”

“They’re not enough!” she yelled.  “I need real food, like that ‘Zachary Willowbrook’ story that you stopped working on.  Can I have more of that?”

“In due time,” I told her.  “Be patient.”

I then looked at the room I was in and frowned.  The scenery did not make any sense to me at all.  Enough is enough.  Why is this here?  “What is this place?”  I asked her.

“It’s the Tower of Ideas,” my muse promptly answered, in a matter-of-fact tone.  “I made that door, field and this tower because I was starving.  There’s 100 stories here.  Enough to sustain me for now.  I’ll do this again if you don’t feed me.  I’ll just eat leftovers.”

I shook my head.  “No.” I told her.  “No leftovers.  Now get inside me and I’ll continue creating.”

My muse smiled.  “Okay.  Start making with the food.”

And with that, my muse dove right into my head and became a gentle mist.

On this floor, I noticed a computer sitting on the desk.  When I sat down, I noticed that the latest ‘Think & Write’ was already typed.  At the end of it were these words:

To my master,

I made this for you, and for me.  This is to honor your dedication for 100 days.  Congratulations on reviving me.

Love,

Your Muse.

I then looked at the directory.

The Tower of Ideas – Directory

Floor 01 – Farewell to a Friend  Floor 02 – The Mysterious Blond  Floor 03 – The Fight  Floor 04 – Dreaming While Awake  Floor 05 – Dream Girl  Floor 06 – The Perfect Game  Floor 07 – Leaving the Colony  Floor 08 – The Parched Land  Floor 09 – Unable to Awaken  Floor 10 – Paradise’s Clever Disguise  Floor 11 – Deadline  Floor 12 – Storm at the Summit  Floor 13 – Butterflies  Floor 14 – Returning Home  Floor 15 – The Bright Wish  Floor 16 – Windfall  Floor 17 – A Dream Come True  Floor 18 – Birthday Wish  Floor 19 – Crash and Burn  Floor 20 – The Laundromat  Floor 21 – Faster  Floor 22 – My Muse  Floor 23 – The Gift of Time  Floor 24 – The Chance  Floor 25 – Soup of Ages  Floor 26 – Presentation Day  Floor 27 – The Punishment  Floor 28 – For the Fans  Floor 29 – No Parole  Floor 30 – Sunburn  Floor 31 – Saying Goodbye  Floor 32 – Dead End Job  Floor 33 – Ice Cream My Way  Floor 34 – Gaming Junkie  Floor 35 – Man of the Forest  Floor 36 – Room Service  Floor 37 – Closing Time  Floor 38 – Another Night at the Movies  Floor 39 – The Forbidden Secret Revealed  Floor 40 – A Second Chance  Floor 41 – From Riches to Rags  Floor 42 – A Good Read  Floor 43 – The Pest  Floor 44 – Heart-Shaped Circuit  Floor 45 – Remembrance  Floor 46 – The Perfect Cup  Floor 47 – Benjamin Button on Steroids  Floor 48 – One of Them  Floor 49 – Unfinished Report  Floor 50 – The Flood  Floor 51 – White Collar Toast  Floor 52 – The Family Blessing  Floor 53 – Last Day on the Beach  Floor 54 – Human Time Machine  Floor 55 – Summer’s Last Stand  Floor 56 – The Colors of Autumn  Floor 57 – Lending a Hand  Floor 58 – Night of Pain  Floor 59 – Advancing to Boardwalk  Floor 60 – Shopping List  Floor 61 – Captured  Floor 62 – The Experiment  Floor 63 – My Muse II  Floor 64 – Barriers  Floor 65 – Autumn Lawn  Floor 66 – A New Shade of Gray  Floor 67 – From X to Y and Back  Floor 68 – The Shoes  Floor 69 – The Promotion  Floor 70 – Outcasts  Floor 71 – The Usual  Floor 72 – A Lucid Reality  Floor 73 – Raising Avery  Floor 74 – The Cider Stand  Floor 75 – Out of Time  Floor 76 – The Golden Leaf  Floor 77 – The Golden Leaf: Part II  Floor 78 – The Golden Leaf: Part III  Floor 79 – A Different Set of Feet  Floor 80 – Inner Child  Floor 81 – Inner Child: Part II  Floor 82 – Inner Child: Part III  Floor 83 – Inner Child: Part IV  Floor 84 – The Golden Leaf: Part IV  Floor 85 – The Golden Leaf: Part V  Floor 86 – The Perfect Costume  Floor 87 – Inner Child: Part V  Floor 88 – Sea of Autumn  Floor 89 – Autumn Snapshots  Floor 90 – Pile of Autumn  Floor 91 – No More Leaves!  Floor 92 – The Other Clone  Floor 93 – When I was Alive  Floor 94 – A Heart for the Northeast  Floor 95 – Candy Record  Floor 96 – Leftover Candy  Floor 97 – Pursuing the Dream (The Cider Stand II)  Floor 98 – Nonstop  Floor 99 – Catching Up  Floor 100 – Tower of Ideas

After that, I smiled, thanking my muse for creating this tribute.

To my master,

I made this for you, and for me.  This is to honor your dedication for 100 days.  Congratulations on reviving me.

Love,

Your Muse.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker