If you’re just joining us, here’s the story so far.
Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story. We are in the middle:
The Three Outsiders
(Containing the unknown tale of three unknown people from an unknown world.)
A caring wolf mother found me, continued Benjamin Miller, and raised me with her wolf cubs. I grew up quickly, and left my new wolf family, thankful, appreciative, and loving. And yet, all through my childhood, I longed to return to my human family and to the world I had come from.
I decided to travel the Land of All Legends back and forth, crissing and crossing, zigging and zagging, until I found something that would help me return to the land of my birth and to my parents.
For thirty years I traveled the land. And at the end of thirty years, I found nothing, absolutely no clue as to how this place could exist, how I could have arrived from another place, and how I could possibly return.
Then, when I was full of despair and self pity, I lay down on the street and waited for Death. A woman found me. She was older than me, and took care of me, and we spoke. She learned my story, and then she told me hers.
She had also come from that other place, from the world where I had been born, that world with the tall buildings and lights on the ceilings of every room. She had come here when she was twelve. One moment she was at school, the next she had been transported to this place, to a place filled with real people and creatures that she had only read about.
She had never found out how she arrived at this place, just as I never did. But it was not at night, and it was not during a dream. It was in the middle of the day, when she was surrounded by her friends.
Her name was Sylvia Fo, and she had come from a land called Milano. She had come here at the age of twelve, and so she knew more of the world she could not return to. She knew more and remembered more and missed more and needed it more. And she has searched for a way home for more years than I have been in the land.
We decided to continue searching for a way out and for more people like us, people lost to their original world.
For thirty years we combed the land, swept it, raked it, and scrutinized it. And yet, we found nothing. During our searches, we were both cursed by an evil witch, so that we could never die of old age. We could die of other things, but not of old age. We would simply get older and older and older. And therefore you see before you a seven-hundred-year-old man.
In any case, we found nothing but a curse, and once more the two of us fell into despair. We were two people without a story, surrounded by people and animals and creatures each of which had many stories told about them.
Upon our despair, we met a man, a hero, just returned from a quest. His name was Otto the Outstanding, and he had been on a quest to discover a creature called the Original Monster.
(King John the Cute’s ears perked up even more, remembering his own incident with Magno the Magnificent, who, six hundred years after Otto the Outstanding, was also on a quest to find the Original Monster. King John the Cute remembered that Magno the Magnificent had claimed that no one had ever found the Original monster.)
Otto the Outstanding, continued Benjamin Miller, claimed that he had found the Original Monster. But then, for a reason he would not explain, he had let the monster go. However, Otto the Outstanding told us, before he was freed, the Original Monster spoke of another world, a world of tall buildings and a light on the ceiling of every room. The Original Monster had traveled to that world and back many many times.
This is what Otto the Outstanding had told us before he had disappeared. Now our quest was changed. We decided to find the Original Monster. Otto the Outstanding believed the monster should live freely, but nonetheless told us where he had last been seen. We went in that direction, and I had never seen Otto the Outstanding since.
And so we spent the next forty years chasing rumor after rumor, desperately seeking the Original Monster. I do not believe we were ever even close. And yet it had given us hope that it was possible to return home. Still, more than a hundred years have passed since I had arrived at the Land of All Legends, and my parents surely were no longer alive. My world, you see, has no witches and no curses. People do not live to be seven hundred years old there.
Then, after a forty-year search, we were once more filled with despair. Once more, we lay down, crying, holding each other for comfort. And then another man found us. His name was Ochi Moeketsi.
We told him how we do not have a story, that we do not come from here. And then he told us, that he, also, had arrived from another land, a land called Johannesburg. He told us his story about his story-less life. He had been eighteen when he was snatched. He had been lying on the ground outside his house, staring at the clouds in the sky, losing himself in thought, when he had suddenly found himself staring at a very different sky in a very different land, filled with the stories his parents had told him throughout his childhood. Ever since that time, he had searched for an explanation, and a way back to his world.
In those first hundred years, King John the Cute, I have found two people who have been transported from my world. Something was happening, but not often. It was a mystery, but I had never solved it.
In any case, Ochi Moeketsi felt just the way we did: that he did not belong in a land of fairy tales and legends. He had searched for a way back for forty years, and only recently had found a clue. There was an island, he had heard, in the middle of Slapstick Ocean. It was an island filled with stories that did not belong in the Land of No Respect. It was an island filled with people and creatures who were vastly different from all other creatures who lived in the Land of All Legends. It was an island filled with creatures and people and animals who were, like us, different, and did not belong.
That, Ochi Moeketsi said, was where he was heading next.
Together, the three of us began a quest to reach the Land of No Respect, to discover its creatures that did not belong, and to perhaps find another clue that will tell us how to return home.
And that has been the long and harrowing story of how a group of three outsiders came to search for an island of outsiders.
“Hmmm,” King John the Cute said. He had been lost in the story, and felt that something important was being told to him. “Please continue. I must hear the rest.”
(To be continued on Tuesday…)