I believe that I've mentioned that The Ankulen was originally a play that I was going to perform in my backyard with my younger cousin. Well, the other day, I was digging around in my notebook drawers (I have two, and they're both full to the brim) and ran across the original script. And, to my surprise, I discovered that before the script, I had written some of it in book-form. So I thought I'd share with you the original openings.
Fifteen-year-old Jennifer (Huh ... when did I change the spelling of her name?) sat by the side of the stream that cut through her parents twelve acres. In her lap was an open sketchbook, with an unfinished pencil drawing of a dragonfly. (Oh ... so she was originally an artist. Interesting!)
Her attention, however, was not on the book, instead she was gazing at the rippling water with an almost black look on her face.
Brown Stream was what her parents called it, and what she herself did now, but years before, back when she was seven, it was never Brown Stream. Some days, it hadn't been a stream at all, but a mighty, rushing river, perhaps the Nile or the Amazon.
Those were the days, she thought to herself, back before her then-best friend and next-door neighbor, Christofer, had disappeared. (Not her brother. Her friend) Since then, Jen had never quite been able to craft those fanciful stories that the two of them were continually doing.
She peeled off her shoes and socks and waded into the stream. Oh, the stories the two of them used to come up with! Her mom had assigned her so many story assignments since, but to no avail. Her knack for stories had disappeared with Chris, which made her wonder, had the talent all been his?
No, she was sure it wasn't, for back then she had been able to flour (???) even Chris at times. No, her now-lack of imagination was from other cause.
In the middle of the stream she paused, something had caught her eye. She bent down to find that it was a golden ring the size of a bracelet. On one side, her name was written, on the other, Chris's.
"Duck!" a voice suddenly yelled, and Jen, of course, instinctively did so. A stick whizzed over her head, and disappeared into the trees.
"It's safe now," the voice assured her, "I killed the dragon." It was the voice of a young boy, and sounded vaguely familiar.
"What dragon?" Jen asked, turning to face her "rescuer."
"The big, horrible, green, scaly one that was about to eat you," the boy said, as her eyes fell upon him. Jen thought there was something familiar about him.
"Who are you?" she asked, stepping out of the stream on his side.
"Sir Christofer," the boy said, taking off his newspaper hat and performing a bow. "And what is the name of the fair maiden I just had the honor of rescuing?"
Jen smiled. Why not play along?
"Princess Jenifer," (So that's where I switched!) she said with a curtsy.
"Where did you get that!" Sir Christofer suddenly exclaimed.
"What?" Jen asked.
"The Ankulin," he explained. Jen realized that he was talking about the ring.
"I found it in the stream," she said. "Why?"
"I can use it to find my friend, Jenny," he said. "I lost her eight days ago."
Now this was freaky. "What happened to her?" Jen asked.
"We were arguing over how to fight a dragon," Sir Christofer explained. "And she stormed off. I haven't seen her since."
And here is where I evidently realized that, since it was supposed to be a play, I ought to write it in script form. Cast was me as Jen, my cousin as Chris, and my sister, V. Kathie, as Tisha.
Jen: (sitting by a stream, has an open notebook in her lap, but isn't paying attention to it. Instead she is staring ahead with a frustrated look on her face.) I'ts no use! I just haven't been able to make up stories since Chris disappeared. (throws down the pencil and takes off her shoes and socks, and begins wading across the stream, the notebook under one arm, and the shoes dangling from her other hand. The pencil is now thrust into her hair. About halfway across, she stops, bends over, and picks up the Ankulin. Chris enters, she stands. Her attention is on the ring.) Christofer ... Jennifer ... that's weird.
Chris: Duck! (Jen does so, and he shoots an arrow) It's safe now. I killed the dragon.
Jen: (standing up) What dragon?
Chris: The big, horrible, scaly, green one that was about to eat you!
Jen: Who are you?
Chris: (Takes off newspaper hat, bows) Sir Christofer. (Puts hat back on, straightens.) And who may the lovely young maiden I just had the honor of rescuing be?
Jen: (Rolls eyes in amusement.) Princess Jenifer. You can call me Jen.
Chris: You can call me Chris. (Jen sits down and begins putting her shoes and socks back on. He catches sight of the Ankulin.) Where'd you get that?
Chris: The Anklin. (points)
Jen: Oh, that. I found it in the stream just now. Why?
Chris: I can use it to find Jenny!
Chris: My best friend. I lost her about a week ago.
Jen: What happened?
Chris: We got into a big argument over how to kill a dragon. She stormed off, and I haven't seen her since.
Jen: (looks slightly amused.) Really? (face straightens) That's too bad. Maybe I can help you find her.
Chris: Will you? I would like that. Could I please have the Ankulin?
Jen: (Shrugs) Sure. (hands it to him)
Chris: (takes it, closes eyes.) Find Jenifer. (turns around a few times, and begins walking towards Jen. Jen moves out of way, he changes direction and continues in the direction she is now in. This happens a few more times, finally he opens his eyes.) That's funny. The Ankulin can't seen to be able to decide where Jenny is.
Jen: Maybe I'm messing it up, since my name is Jennifer.
Chris: I don't think so. It's only set to find my Jennifer, and it's never messed up before. Unless ... (eyes brighten)
Jen: Unless what?
Chris: Unless you're Jenny under a spell to make you older.
Jen: Okay, that's too far. No, I got to fifteen the normal way.
Chris: (holds up one finger) But maybe you have a forget spell on you that rewrote your past.
Jen: You've got some imagination, but I don't think trying to make me your friend will make me her.
Chris: Oh, I know that! I'm just saying that you could. Anything's possible in the Land of Imagination.
Jen: Is your friend real or imaginary.
Chris: Oh, she's real. If she was imaginary, I wouldn't be having so much trouble finding her. All I would have to do is imagine her found, and she would be.
Jen: And how would she be me?
Chris: You could have imagined yourself older.
Jen: (shakes head and rolls eyes) Okay, I told you that I would help you find Jenny, not that I would be Jenny. (suddenly drops notebook, and when she picks it back up, it is revealed that she has a picture of Chris pasted on the cover.)
Chris: See! That proves you're her? Why else would you have a picture of me?
Jen: (doesn't look at the pic) That is a picture of my best friend Christofer, not you. I have it on my notebook to see if it will inspire me to write, as I haven't been able to make up stories since he disappeared, which was eight years ago. (glances down at her notebook, does a double take) You do look like him!
Chris: She! Wait - you've lost your imagination? No wonder you couldn't see the dragon. You probably also can't tell that we're on a boat in the middle of a mighty, rushing river.
Jen: Really? Where are we going?
Chris: Wherever the river takes us.
Jen: And where is that?
Chris: I really haven't decided yet. Where do you want to go?
Jen: Where I can find the answer to all this craziness.
Chris: I like that idea. If that isn't tied to anything in reality, that's we're going. If it is, we'll to somewhere that can lead us in the right direction.
Jen: Sounds good. (Walks closer to the audience) I can't believe that I'm doing this! Where did this kid come from? And why does he look like, sound like, act like, even have the same name as Chris? He's funny though ... guess that's why.
Chris: Oh, don't fall off!
Jen: I won't. (rolls eyes)
Tisha: (Comes on) Hey Jen, I don't think that's homework.
Jen: Oh, sure it is! He's trying to get my imagination back so I can write my story. Oh, and there's an ugly, purple dragon behind you.
Tisha: A what? (turns around, screams)
Chris: (grabs bow and arrow) Duck! (Tisha ducks, he shoots, then reaches for her hand and helps her aboard the 'boat') You're lucky I was here to shoot the dragon that Jen couldn't see.
Tisha: It was right there. How could she not see it? Who are you?
Chris: I'm Sir Christofer, an old friend of your apparent friend, the Princess Jenifer. Who are you?
Tisha: Letitia, but you can call me Tisha if you want. What do you mean, old friend?
Jen: (drawing Tisha aside) Today is a very strange day. (Shows Tisha her notebook) the only evidence I have against these two being one and the same is that he, (taps picture) disappeared eight years ago. Used to live in the same house you live in now.
Tisha: (blinks, then shudders) that is freaky.
Jen: I know.
Chris: You know, that dragon just now proved one good thing.
Jen: (rolls eyes.) And what's that?
Chris: You've only lost the part of your imagination that allows it to influence you, but you can still influence it. (Hah! The opposite of what happened int the final version!)
Tisha: Say what?
Jen: He keeps saying things like that. I don't get him.
Tisha: How did you get into this mess?
Jen: I don't know.
Chris: Jen didn't speak of the dragon because it was there, it was there because Jen spoke of it.
Tisha: You mean Jen put the dragon there?
Chris: Not intentionally, but yes, she did.
Chris: This is my and Jen's land, our imaginary kingdom. Everyone has one, but we're able to collaborate ours, and make it real. We can do anything we can think of, and make anything we want.
Tisha: Where are we now, and what are we doing?
Chris: We're on a river -
Tisha: I can tell that, what's the river's name?
Chris: I don't know. I haven't bothered to name it yet. Got any ideas, Jen?
Chris: Sounds good. We're on the mighty river Agua, on a quest for Jen's imagination!
Tisha: If it weren't for the fact that I'm sitting in a boat in the middle of a river, I'd think he was crazy. As it is, I think I'm crazy.
Jen: I think we all are. (a mischievous grin spreads across her face. Suddenly, Chris and Tisha are flung to the side, into the "river")
Chris: Jen! What did you do that for?
Tisha: How'd you stay in the boat?
Jen: What boat? I'm sitting on the side of Brown Stream.
Chris: Jen, you're not making things easy.
Jen: I know. (she grins.) Oh dear, it looks like there's another dragon. (Tisha turns around and screams)
Chris: Jen! Will you cut this out? This is serious!
Jen: I'm having too much fun.
And that is where the insanity ended. The rest of the notebook is filled with scribblings for other books, including Bookania and The New Division, as well as the play Unforgiven which also was never performed, though it did get written all the way through. We just couldn't find enough actors. I also have a few of my weirder writings in here, but we won't go there.