Thursday, 18 July 2013

Beyond Imagination - Chapter Two

Well, it's time to share Chapter Two of my Children's Summer Reading program story, Beyond Imagination with everyone here on my blog! Yesterday a new chapter was released in the Vaughan Weekly, The Guardian and The Journal Pioneer newspapers and I'm going to be posting all the chapters that have been printed so far to keep everyone up to speed!

This chapter is very yummy; but not so yummy as the next chapter. Unless you're a fan of pickle flavored ice cream.

Chapter Two

"Artwork Good Enough to Eat"
 
Milo wasn't often very sure of anything, even at the best of times. So since he was positive that this had to be a dream, it absolutely must be.
Right? Wrong.
The way Etta kept bouncing up and down with her mop of wild red hair swinging around while she irritatingly tugged on Milo's arm was too real to make this a dream. But since it wasn't, Milo was left to figure out two very important matters.
One, how to get his street back to normal so the only person who looked like him was in fact him. Two, he had to get away from Etta long enough to run home where she wouldn't find him.
"So, how're you gonna fix it!" Etta shouted in the boy's ear and then changed the subject quickly. "Do you sometimes feel like maybe you're a lot like everybody else? 'Cause sometimes I do" She asked.
"...Yes, sort of..." Milo admitted hesitantly, although the little boy knew that he always considered himself ordinary. How someone like Etta could feel like everyone else though was beyond his imagination. There wasn't anyone Milo met who was remotely like Etta.
"Then if you fix that, maybe all the other Milos will go away." She replied, but Milo wasn't really paying attention, he was thinking.
After all this situation was particularly puzzling for a boy of Milo's age, but he was a sensible child. Sometimes Milo was so sensible that he would drive his mother crazy by correcting her when she was a hurry or trying to make a joke.
But a sensible mind was just what would work in a mixed-up situation.
"If all the other Milos are like me because I feel that I'm no different than them..." He said thoughtfully. And then Milo's eyes grew wide and his ace got bright with an idea!
Looking over at the nearest Milo, who just happened to be the one with the pickle flavoured ice cream, the little boy shouted as loud as he could. "I DO NOT LIKE PICKLE FLAVOURED ICE CREAM!" And with a very magical poof the Milo disappeared, leaving behind a funny looking little boy with freckles who was enjoying his ice cream as though nothing had happened.
"You did it!" Etta squealed, her little face was all squished up in her great excitement as she hopped from one foot to another.
Milo secretly wondered if she could stand still for more than sixty seconds.
"Yup, there's something about each of these other Milos that isn't like me. So if I find out what it is, than I'll be able to put everything right again!" He declared in his most rational voice.
"Well what's keeping you then! C'mon!!" Etta cried, grasping Milo's hand and pulling him down the street. They went so fast that Milo only had the chance to shout out at each child that looked like him as he saw them.
"I can't jump rope yet!" Milo yelped.
"I haven't learned to whistle yet!" He proclaimed to another before hastily adding. "But I will!"
Etta giggled like a hyena at that one, which made Milo blush just a little bit.
"I can read chapter books!" Was the most cheerful thing Milo called out, proud at his excellent skill when he came by a child reading a picture book. Then again sometimes he still liked reading picture books just because they were fun.
"I don't like spinach!"
"I'm a very good singer!"
"I like chocolate better than lollipops!"
And he kept on doing this until Etta stopped running and they both fell down laughing on the broad stone steps of a building at the end of the street.
A building at the end of the street? There had never been one here before...
Milo was sure he was going loopy now, but looking up he saw a huge museum that looked grand and regal. Like some place his mother would take him downtown to look at pictures that people painted hundreds of years ago.
He would have spent more time looking at it too, if it wasn't for Etta pointing back down the street where they had come from. "Look! Look! You did it Milo!"
And he certainly had, every child who had once looked like him was now themselves again and didn't seem fazed in the least. Milo grinned, a broad grin that he didn't even know could fit on his face. He felt special; there were so many reasons he wasn't like any of those children that he knew he would never feel not unique again. It was a great!
"Wow, you're pretty cool after all Milo." Etta said , spinning like a ballerina. But mid-spin the girl stopped and stumbled a bit, Milo caught her and quickly saw that she was staring up at the building where they had stopped. For a minute it seemed like she was speechless but in all the strange things that had happened so far; Etta being truly quiet was the only real dream.
Bouncing back onto her feet, she let out a great big "Ooooo" and then an exaggerated "ahhhhh".
"What is this place?" Milo asked curiously, climbing the stairs up to a set of doors made from heavily carved wood that looked way too heavy to open. "This was never here before..."
How could things just appear out of no where? Milo had thought that this was his street because it certainly looked like it, but maybe he was just as lost as Etta. The thought was a little overwhelming and it made Milo want to find home more than ever.
Now that he was lost too, he no longer wanted to lose Etta. They would stick together.
Considering whether or not they should try to go into this place or not, Milo's mind was made up for him as Etta came barrelling towards the boy and pushed the door open.
And what a surprise, it wasn't heavy at all!
But because of that and his new friend's momentum, Milo and Etta went tumbling inside, somersaulting and rolling straight into a long hall.
Left lying on his back and staring up at a ceiling that felt like it was spinning, Milo could hear soft, funny music and everything around him smelt old but clean. Like when he would go to his Granny's house. Slowly sitting up, the first thing Milo saw was a tiny little stuffed animal.
It was an owl, a blue owl with great big eyes, exaggerated stitching and purple fabric feathers on it's belly. Milo thought it was kind of cute, especially when it would blink.
Blink? ...Blink!! Stuffed animals can't blink!
Oh no! That was entirely, certainly and completely ridiculous!
"Who are you?" The small stuffed Owl said, his 'w' sounded like he was trying to whistle at the same time as talking.
"YOU TALK!" Etta cried excitedly as she leaned over Milo's shoulder to get a good look at the little creature.
"Of course I talk..." The owl said, as though the whole thing was elementary. "All Poppets can talk."
"What's a Poppet?" Milo asked smartly, despite thinking the whole thing was absurd.
"I'm a Poppet; that's all you need to know for now." Mister Owl explained very vaguely. "Now, who are you?" He asked again, tapping a little stuffed claw on the floor.
"I'm Milo and this is Etta." The little boy explained, standing up slowly and looking around. "Where are we? Can I get home from here?" He asked hopefully. "I want to get home for supper."
Watching Milo as he walked around, the owl nearly turned his head all the way around while keeping an eye on the boy. "You can't go straight home. You can only go forward and never really go back the same way you came. But if you really are set on going back you must take the opposite way around and trick what's already happened into letting you back in again." The owl explained sagely.
Milo wasn't sure he understood that and from the dazed look on Etta's face she didn't understand at all and might be hurting her brain trying to figure it out.
Looking around the room where they stood, Milo saw that it was one huge hallway. It was long; in fact it looked like it would never end if they were to walk down it. But more interesting than that were the paintings on the walls. They were two times taller than Milo and Etta, even if she were standing on his head. And each one had a fantastic picture!
There was broccoli trees, orange juice lakes, a mountain of grapes and fields made from mashed potatoes. Each one was different and each one made Milo hungry!
But the most interesting of all and had drawn both him and Etta to it was a painting that depicted a vast, endless amount of cake, ice cream, fudge, cookies and desserts that Milo didn't even know the name of!
"That makes my tummy very interested in it." Etta said, licking her lips as she looked ready to eat the picture. As she reached out to touch it, Etta found that her hands didn't meet the artwork but went straight through. Her hand had vanished!
A mix of chuckling and hooting came from beneath them. It was that owl again and he looked very amused...
"Is this how we continue on?" Milo asked with an eyebrow lifted, considering what the little creature had said before. A smile crept on the boy's face as he thought himself very clever for figuring it out.
"Indeed, you must choose one of these paintings. But remember, reckless choices now will make for more work later. They always do." The owl said again in his very wise, old voice.
Milo was glad real owls couldn't talk because if they all said things like this one; the world would be very confusing. And so without really considering the Poppet's advice, Milo looked at Etta who looked back at him as the two of them smiled at each other.
They knew what they wanted...
"CAKE!"

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