As I was doing a little spring cleaning, I came across some old pictures, a dreadful report card, my diploma and a short story. I thought my ENGL 101 instructor was the first to require me to exercise my creativity – I was wrong.
The following story was written in November 1991, while I was a Sophomore in high school. As such, it contains some child-like ideas. Also, I may have read H.G. Wells prior to writing it. I don’t remember the assignment and I think the first page or two may be missing. But here is the work – uncorrected. A surprisingly difficult task, as it is my habit to edit as I go:
(And for those who wonder.. the diploma is tucked safely away again, the report card has very deliberately disappeared, and the pictures ended up on Facebook, naturally….)
“I’m Nodnal. I am a wood sprite,” the creature answered. “You must be Jonathan. Reklaw told me about you. Well, come on.”
“Wait. Where am I? Who’s Reklaw,” Jonathan inquired.
“Don’t ask questions and follow me,” Nodnal replied.
Without arguing, Jonathan followed Nodnal to a small hill. They stopped to rest when a strange animal appeared. It was a white horse with a single golden horn coming out of its forehead.
“Hello Nodnal,” greeted the horse. “I see you have found the human.”
“Hello Nicaren,” Nodnal replied.
“What was that?” Jonathan asked as the creature walked away.
“Reklaw was right,” Nodnal said, looking at Jonathan in surprise. “Your imagination is gone. That was a unicorn. Now, let’s go.”
They began climbing the hill. When they got to the top, Jonathan was speechless. The valley below was covered in blinding white snow. In the middle of this valley stood a castle made of ice.
“Dear Lord,” Jonathan prayed, “have I died and gone to Heaven? Is this your castle I see before me?”
“Is this the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen?” Nodnal asked.
“It’s wonderful,” Jonathan commented as he began to step forward.
“No, don’t move,” Nodnal warned. “If you pass this hill you will never be able to return home.”
Jonathan didn’t listen. He began walking towards the castle leaving Nodnal to run after him.
“Halt,” a loud voice rang out. A monsterous creature stepped forward.
“I was told to bring him here,” Nodnal said to the creature. “Reklaw is waiting for us.”
“A griffin!” Jonathan screamed. “The castle guard is a griffin?”
“Shut up and don’t make Ttoc angry,” Nodnal said. “He’ll eat you alive.”
They entered the castle. There were chandeliers made of ice and crystal. The walls looked like glass. On one wall, there were several different colored mirrors. Suddenly, a beautiful, musical voice sounded through the hall.
“Who said that?” Jonathan asked, not answering the question. “Show yourself.”
“Nodnal, leave us alone,” the voice asked.
“Yes your highness,” Nodnal’s voice shook.
“Jonathan, why did you come to my castle?” the voice repeated.
“I’m not telling you anything until I can see you,” Jonathan replied.
“Very well,” the voice replied, “look into the blue mirror. Do you see that young girl?”
Jonathan looked in to the mirror. He saw two young children at play and a beautiful young woman.
“Is that you?” Jonathan asked.
“No, that is my daughter, Andromeda. Don’t you remember her? You’ve met her in your dreams,” the voice said.
“I still don’t know who you are,” Jonathan announced.
“Look into the pink mirror. Do you see those colors? That is me. I am Reklaw and I am your dreams,” the voice started to weaken. “I am dying because all you ever do is work on your machine. You have forgotten how to dream.”
“Well, what can I do,” Jonathan asked. “How do I remember how to dream?”
“You already remember,” the voice declared. “Now, however, you must stay here forever. Soon, we will all die.”
“You can let me go and no one will ever know I was here.” Jonathan suggested.
“That is not for me to decide. You must talk to Namdnas. He lives in the center of Dreamland, Nodnal will go with you.”
Jonathan and Nodnal started for Dreamland immediately. Halfway there they cam across a toll bridge.
“No one may pass this bridge without answering my riddle,” said an ugly little man. “Are you prepared to try?”
“What is the riddle?” Jonathan asked.
“What animal has four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?” the troll asked.
Jonathan pondered the question and then he asked, “Is the answer a man?”
The troll was outraged. “How did you know?” he asked. “Never mind. Go and do not return.”
So Jonathan and Nodnal were, again, on their way.
Finally, they arrived at the gates made of silver. Beyond the gates stood a giant castle. The castle was made of pink and lavender clouds.
They walked into the castle with no problems. They entered a large hall, on the opposite side of the room was an old man. He had a white beard and was dressed in a long, blue robe.
“Come forward,” he said. “I am Namdnas, ruler of Dreamland. You have come because you wish to leave.”
“Yes. Can you help me?” Jonathan pleaded.
“Yes, only because you have come all this way. Andromeda!” the young girl came into the room. “Andromeda, take Jonathan home. Jonathan, follow her she will help you.”
Andromeda led Jonathan into a room. The ceiling was covered with dark storm clouds.
“Lay down and concentrate on going home,” Andromeda told Jonathan.
He did as he was told. Soon, the clouds began to break and sunlight came through.
“You’re almost home,” a distant voice said.
When Jonathan awoke he was in the school lab. In his left hand was his time machine and in the other was a screwdriver. The time was still midnight, time had never passed.
Jonathan finished his machine and made many trips through time, but he never again forgot how to dream.