Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.
Here’s the story so far. The story continues:
The Frightened Chicken
(Containing the exciting adventures of Sarah O’Connell.)
This is yet another titillating tale, featuring the exciting adventures of Sarah O’Connell.
Sarah O’Connell, the blindfolded woman with the broken-but-mending heart, had been given a task by the man she called John the No Longer Cute. She was to uncover the secrets of the Afterdeath, secrets even Death himself did not know.
In roaming the land, she thought long and she thought hard about how she could discover the secrets of a place she could not visit and return to tell the tale. After thinking long and after thinking hard for seven days and six nights, she remembered a tale she heard at John the No Longer Cute’s palace: Once, until a few hundred years ago, people and creatures died and then stepped out harmlessly through Death’s Door to continue in their adventuring.
Sarah O’Connell searched the land for creatures that have died and returned. Everywhere across the land there were tales of these creatures, but, alas, the Land of All Legends was dying, and its creatures, even those who survived death, died once more and did not return. All creatures that have died and returned, have since died and not returned. All, that is, but one: Sammy the Frightened Chicken.
Sarah O’Connell traveled across the sea in the shell of a huge water snail to the River Red Continent, where Sammy the Frightened Chicken was rumored to live. Upon landing on the continent’s shores, she found Sammy the Frightened Chicken’s hut, and went to interview him. She was not aware of the fact that at that precise time King John the Cute and his party were on the continent, as well, stranded without Chariot.
Sammy the Frightened Chicken was old. His yellow feathers have turned white with age. His raw energy of old was replaced with a need to lie down on the beach and stare at the sky.
“Sammy the Frightened Chicken?” Sarah O’Connell stood above him. She could not see him because of her blindfold, but she smelled his feathers.
“I go by ‘the Chicken’ now,” answered the Chicken. “It stands for ‘frightened’, although I am no longer that.”
“I come at the request of the king,” said Sarah O’Connell. “I must question you about your death. What happens after we die? What did you see? What do we not know?”
The Chicken stood up. “Sit down, blindfolded woman with a broken-but-mending heart. I serve my king and I will answer your questions. But to tell you the story of my deaths, I must tell you the stories of my lives.”
Sarah O’Connell sat down on the beach near the Chicken and listened.
“Back when I was young, almost five hundred and fifty years ago, I was a very chicken chicken. I was frightened of everything. I saw the end of the world when a nut fell from a tree or when a stone was kicked loose by a man. Being a chicken chicken, I had many adventures. And they were always the same: I saw something harmless that was not a danger. I then decided it was a danger that would lead to my death. In trying to avoid the danger, I accidentally got myself killed. After spending a day or two in the Afterdeath, I would step out and back into life, and the process would repeat.
“It was very tiring,” the Chicken sighed.
“We all have our own adventures, don’t we?” said Sarah O’Connell. “But please tell me, chick, what is the Afterdeath like? What did you see there?”
“The Afterdeath is always the same, only longer,” answered the Chicken. “It is a huge black corridor. On both sides of the corridors are many rooms, a room for each creature now spending time in the Afterdeath. There were monsters in the rooms, creatures I have never heard of and could not imagine. There were heroes in the rooms, maidens, giants, bats, witches, kings, cats, fish, whales, dragons, and even one Smurf.
“Every time I returned to the Afterdeath, the corridor was longer, because by that time more creatures have died. I do not know what others had in their rooms, but my own room consisted only of a bed and some food, which I admit is all I ever needed in life.
“At the end of the corridor is a door. It is the door Death led me through each time I died. It is a door that leads from this world to the Afterdeath. But it also leads from the Afterdeath back to this world. At the time, any dead creature could simply step out and return to the world he had known. Us living creatures could step out, but never in. It is rumored that Death cannot even step in. But living creatures have not come out of that door for exactly five hundred years and fifty five days, and I suspect that something has happened to the door. For some reason it now allows people to go in… but not out. But I have no idea why that has changed.
“In any case, I have one more fact to tell you about the Afterdeath. One side of the corridor leads to the door that leads to this world. But the other side of the corridor leads to another door, which looks exactly the same as the first.”
“There is another door?” Sarah O’Connell was astounded.
“Where does it lead?”
“I always wanted to try. But you see, blindfolded woman with a broken-but-mending heart, I was always too chicken to try. And so, even though I was tempted many times to walk through that door, I never did. I always returned to life. If there was another creature that walked through that other door, I do not know of him. If he has a story to tell, I do not know what it is.
“All I know is that one day, people stopped returning back to life once they were dead. And on that day, I knew I had to stop being afraid of death, or I would die and remain dead. I came here, to the River Red Continent, a place where creatures go to grow up. Here I grew up and learned how to live my life without fear.
“And that, my dear blindfolded lady with a broken-but-mending heart, is all I know.”
Sarah O’Connell stood up and thanked the Chicken.
She returned to her snail and returned to the palace, but the king was not there. His advisors, she was told, had not been here for more than four months.
Sarah O’Connell became worried that perhaps something had happened to John the No Longer Cute. But, true to her word, she left the palace and continued in her quest to find more information about the Afterdeath and about the second door.
This has been the exciting adventure in which Sarah O’Connell learned that there was something else besides life and death.
(To be continued on Tuesday.)
You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!