Sunday, August 3, 2014

Into Ooladada - Chapter 1

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Since you can already read the first chapter of The Ankulen, and I don't have a first chapter of Mermaid Footprints ready for reading, I'm going to share the first chapter of the original version of Behind the Rainbow. It's changed a LOT since then, but that's another issue. (I.E., this was written back when the story belonged in the Mikada universe).

Chapter 1
The Quest is Given
   Our dear Reader, we would like to thank you for picking up this book. We will promise you that it will be different from most other stories you have read. While it is true that Kendra is the one typing and wording things, the story belongs to both of us.
    This happened some years ago, while the two of us were ten and twelve. Whether it is true or not, we will leave for you to decide.

    We were at our Grandparents house, playing in their woods. Kendra was showing off next to the gully that pretty much divided the woods from the rest of the property.
    “I bet I can walk across the board backwards,” she declared.
    “You better not,” said Kathie, “You’ll fall in,” but Kendra had already taken a step backwards and was falling in. Kathie gave a cry and grabbed for her, and—fell as well.
    Neither of us has any idea how long we were falling, for the descent seemed to take forever. All we know was that it was scary. Finally we landed on a very soft surface. Kendra was the first one up.
    She looked up and exclaimed “Look, V!” that’s one of her nicknames for Kathie, “The sky is green!” Well, actually it was more of a teal, but that was the first thing that popped into her head. The sun had a greenish tinge to it, too, but the clouds were a dull red color, the color of the red clay that had been in our backyard.
    “And look at this, this hill we’re on!” said Kathie, “It’s like a giant pillow.”
    “That must be why it didn’t hurt when we fell,” said Kendra, “I wonder how we are going to get down.”
    “Kendra, where are we!” Kathie exclaimed, suddenly panicking, “How are we going to get home! What will mom say!”
    “Oh, relax V.” said Kendra, rolling her eyes and shaking her head, “Look at it this way, it’s an adventure. Who knows, we might meet a princess!”
   “You and your princesses,” said Kathie, rolling her eyes in turn, but Kendra had calmed her down sufficiently.
   “Now, how are we going to get down from this hill?” Kendra asked.
   Kathie peered over the edge. “Maybe we can climb down,” she suggested, “And look, there’s a town that way, maybe they can help us.”
   “That’s an idea,” said Kendra, “I’ll go first, since you’re scared of heights.” She grabbed the sides of the huge pillow and began descending. Kathie followed cautiously.
    After a scary (as Kathie puts it at least) descent, we finally reached the bottom.
   “Kendra,” Kathie said as feet touched solid earth, “Where do you think we are?”
   “I have no idea,” Kendra answered, “But I suppose the only direction we can go is forward.”
   “Then let’s go,” said Kathie decisively. We started walking along, with no real direction as there was no real path. We became aware of a rainbow ahead of us, and decided that was as good as any destination, for we had mostly forgotten about the town. As we neared the rainbow, we discovered that we were, indeed, nearing the rainbow. Instead of staying all the time just tantalizingly out of reach, it stayed put, and soon we were right at the foot of one of the legs.
    Now, we must describe this rainbow to you, for it wasn’t like any other rainbow we had managed to reach the foot of before. Okay, you got us, this was our first rainbow to reach the foot of, but personally, neither of us thinks you have seen the foot of a rainbow either. It was solid looking, and we couldn’t see anything through it. There were seven stripes, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, each blending ever so slightly into the next. The really strange part of the rainbow was that it had books sticking out of it.
    Kathie reached out and touched one of these books, out of curiosity. Now we aren’t quite sure how to explain what happened next, but you know how in movies and cartoons, some one may be next to a wall, and suddenly (planned or otherwise) the wall turns and they find themselves in another room? Well it was sort of like that, only we felt no motion, it was if we were standing still, and the world was what was turning.
    When the world had rotated a good 180 degrees, we found ourselves in a room absolutely filled with shelves. These shelves were absolutely filled with books of all shapes, sizes and colors. Kendra, being an avid reader, immediately started to peruse the titles.
   “Don’t touch them!” Kathie warned, “they could take us somewhere even weirder. I want to go home!”
   “I could live here,” Kendra muttered, then said, “Look V. here’s the horse series you’ve been working on reading. They’ve got the one the library at home doesn’t have.”
   “I don’t care,” said Kathie, “Don’t touch it!”
   “Oh, all right,” answered Kendra, “Be a worrywart”
   “I’m being cautious,” said Kathie matter-of-factly, “You’re being silly.”
    We were both to busy talking like this to notice that a door (that happened to be in the only small portion of the wall that wasn’t covered with books) had opened and a small man had entered. Perhaps we should describe him to you. He was shorter than both of us. His bald head seemed large in proportion to the rest of him, and he had a long, wispy, white beard. His skin was brown, and very wrinkled. He wore a short green tunic, a pair of brown trousers, and a pair of spectacles that seemed almost to big for his small face. He struck Kendra, who was the better read in fairy tales and the like, as a perfect little gnome. That is, he did when we noticed him.
     “How may I help you?” He asked in a rough and almost squeaky voice, startling us out of our conversation. We spun around to face the man already described.
    “How do we get home?” Kathie asked before Kendra could ask anything about the books.
    “You get back to Ooladada through the door,” the gnome-man said.
    “I don’t want to go to Ooladada,” said Kathie, “I want to go home.”
    “You don’t live in Ooladada?” the gnome asked, “I thought I hadn’t seen the two of you before. This is the Library, and I’m its keeper, Otis.”
    “Can we read the books?” Kendra asked eagerly.
    “Of course,” said Otis, “That’s why they’re here.”
    “Cool!” said Kendra, “They won’t change our location?”
    “Oh no,” said Otis, “Only the ones that are touching the rainbow do that. They’re how you get in here.”
    “How do you get out?” Kathie asked, frantically.
   “Through the door,” said Otis, “haven’t I already tell you that?”
    “I don’t see any door,” Kathie challenged.
    “Hmmm…” said Otis, “I guess the two of you don’t know what to look for. Anyways, while you’re here, do you want to read anything?”
    “V. wants to read this,” said Kendra, pulling the horse book off the shelf, “Our library at home doesn’t have it.”
    “There isn’t a book in your world that isn’t in this library,” said Otis, “We have every book that ever was written, and ever will be written. Even the books that should not have been written, although no one ever reads those here. In your world, however, it’s another story.”
    “That’s a lot of books,” said Kendra with a whistle, “Which are your favorites?”
    “I’ll show you,” said Otis, “Follow me.”
    Now, before you jump on our case for following a stranger, you have to remember that we weren’t on earth, we were in Ooladada, and more specifically, in the Library behind the Rainbow. You’re able to trust people better there. Besides, he was a librarian. Librarians tend to be trustworthy.
      After we introduced ourselves, he took Kathie to a room filled with chairs just perfect for reading in, with lighting that was just perfect for reading in, and a nice, warm, roaring fire, which was a contrast to the chill of the other rooms. Otis told us that the chill was for the preservation of the many, many books. He then showed Kendra to another room of books. More specifically, to three shelves, and we don’t mean tiny shelves.
    “This is my favorite author,” he said, “well, actually authors, for she co-wrote with her sister for many of her books.” He pulled one of the first books off the shelf. “This is one of the first books she’ll write, for you have the rare privilege of seeing the will be written books. Would you like to read it?”
    “Sure,” said Kendra, taking it. The title was “Sew, It’s a quest.” The Author’s name was Kendra E. Ardnek. In fact, you might have read it, for it has now moved to the has been written section.
    “Why’s it your favorite?” Kendra asked.
   “Because of another series she wrote,” said Otis, “The only books in this entire library that speaks of the Land of the Ooladada and of this library in particular.”
     “Why’s that?” Kendra asked. Our dear readers even though Kendra didn’t yet, we are sure you know which books that Otis was talking about, for you hold in your hands (unless, of course you are listening to this) a book about Ooladada.
    “You will understand that eventually,” said Otis. He then showed her to the room where Kathie was, and she settled down into a chair and began to read.
    Within a few paragraphs, Kendra was rolling with laughter. She got all the punch lines and there wasn’t anything in it really that she didn’t like. She wondered when it would be written so she could read it in our world. Of course you, our dear readers, know the answer that puzzle.
    “Hush,” said Kathie, at one point when Kendra’s laughter was particularly boisterous, “I’m trying to read.”
    After that, Kendra tried to keep quieter.
    Once we were done with our books, Otis took them so he could reshelf them. “Now,” he said, “You know that series, Kendra, that I told you about, the one that is the only series in this library that speaks of this library.”
    “Yes,” said Kendra.
    “There is a chance that they will never be written,” Otis said.
    “How’s that?” Kathie asked.
    “I can’t tell you that,” said Otis, “but the two of you can help them be written, and in reward I will tell you the way back into your own world.”
    “Really!” Kathie exclaimed, “What do we have to do?”
    “I have lost one of the books in this library,” Otis explained, “I can’t tell how, or which one, but I need you to find it.”
    “How would we know we have found it?” Kendra asked, “And how will it help that series be written.”
    “You’ll know it,” answered Otis, “And you’ll know the answer when you find the book.”
    “Oh,” said Kendra, “Okay, let’s go!”
    Otis laughed. “You don’t think I would send you out unprepared, now do you?” he said, “I am going to give each of you a copy of one book—although it can only be a book that has been written. None that haven’t been written, we can’t copy them.”
    “Which books should we take?” Kathie asked, always the practical one.
    “Whichever you choose,” said Otis.
    “Well, you said that that one series composes the only books in this library that are about Ooladada, and they’re future,” said Kendra thoughtfully, “So I don’t suppose you would have any books that would serve as travel guides, do you?”
     “No,” said Otis with a laugh, “You’re correct there.”
    “How about the Bible?” Kathie asked, “Do you have that book?”
    “I do,” said Otis, “Although you will find it slightly different from the King James Version you’re used to. This is the Hebrew/Greek version that is translated as it would have been written had the authors written it originally in English.”
    “Cool!” exclaimed Kendra, “But what should the other book we take be?”
    After some more discussion, Kendra asked Otis what he thought she should take, and he gave her a book entitled “Infiltration.”
    “This book was given to this library personally by its author,” he said. “It’s a good story, and true, too – if only it could be better known in other lands than just this one, and the land from which it came.”
    “It looks interesting,” said Kendra, peeking into the pages at the handwritten words.
    “One more thing,” he said, just before we left. He handed Kendra another small book. It was a soft purple, and had no title.
    “What is this?” Kendra asked.
    “When you have found the book you seek,” said Otis, “Open this one, and you will find yourself back here.”
    We then went through the door and again found ourselves at the foot of the rainbow.

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