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 Ancient Caves
(Containing a daring chronicle of buried secrets.)
Doctor Dave Daniels and King John the Cute entered the ancient caves.
The smell of dust hung in the air, as the caves have been full of sand for two hundred and fifty thousand years. Doctor Dave Daniels and King John the Cute’s feet stepped on ground
“Look over there,” pointed Doctor Dave Daniels. “A skeleton! Perfectly preserved. And over there! Sitting in a circle… This was probably a family sitting around a fire! … The sand must have come in by surprise with the great sandstorm and buried everyone at the same time, as they were.”
“This is quite sad,” said King John the Cute.
“It happened two hundred and fifty thousand years ago, when mankind became what it is today: what science calls Homo Sapiens Sapiens. These people were ancient, but they were the same as you or me. Well… the same as me.”
The two wandered further into the caves. Doctor Dave Daniels looked around at the walls and at the skeletons. King John the Cute looked above, at the ceiling of the caves.
“I can see tunnels!” exclaimed King John the Cute.
“You mean caves?”
“I mean white tunnels that lead to stories!” Doctor Dave Daniels looked up, but saw nothing. The king peered as much as he could further in.
“I can see the Land of All Legends through this one,” continued the king. “I have seen this place in my travels as king… It is the Original Continent! Chariot showed it to me! Once upon a time, the Land of All Legends was only the Original Continent, and the Border of Nothing was on the Original Continent. Later on, more continents and oceans and countries were created at the Border of Nothing, making the Land of All Legends bigger and bigger.
“Chariot says that of all the creatures that had lived on the Original Continent, none remain but the Original Monster who is now in the Afterdeath. The Original Continent remains barren.”
“Tell me what you see!” Doctor Dave Daniels was excited, seeking clues to ancient stories. “Where does it lead?”
“This one leads to a path off a cave, leading to many dark caves.”
“Perhaps a story of a mystery that hides in the dark caves,” mused Doctor Dave Daniels. “Or a puzzle, or even a choice that must be made without knowing the consequences. Or maybe it is a story about a secret place that no one else knows about.”
“Perhaps. There is not enough information from what I see. Over here, Doctor Dave Daniels, further inside the cave, I see another tunnel.”
“I wish I could see what you see…”
“I remember this place. It is a waterfall, near the center of the Original Continent. It is a waterfall so high it almost touches the clouds.”
“Perhaps it is a story about bravery, about boys becoming men if they jump from the top of the waterfall? Perhaps it is a story about the strength of water and nature and that it cannot be overcome…”
“Perhaps. I do not know. Over here, I see a third tunnel,” King John the Cute stepped further into the cave, looking up. Doctor Dave Daniels followed him. “I remember seeing this place from afar, as well. From on high, it looked like a dot, but I recognized the trees. There is a cave here, and a place for a fire just like the one we had seen when entering the caves. The trees surround the entrance to the cave in such a way as to hide it from predators. That is good. And over there, hidden in the trees, I can see many carcasses of great big monsters. I have never seen such monsters.”
“These are probably prehistoric monsters,” said Doctor Dave Daniels, “before your time and before mine. But do you see? I believe this is the tunnel that originally belonged to the Original Monster! It is an ideal place for a family, and the Original Monster protected his family from the prehistoric predators of his time!”
“That certainly makes sense,” agreed King John the Cute, peering intently into the tunnel. “And everything I see agrees with you. The further into the cave we have gone, the more the tunnels led to a place closer to the center of the Original Continent. And this… This spot is exactly in the center. But, Doctor Dave Daniels, why do I see from here yet another tunnel, deeper into the cave?”
The two walked deeper into the cave, and King John the Cute stopped, looking straight up.
“What is it? What do you see?”
“I have never seen anything like this. These are… I do not know how to describe them… There are two tunnels, attached, bound together. One is white, one is pink. One side of them, the side where they touch, is not circular, but straight, for they seem fused together. The white one is quite big, and the pink one is very small.”
“King John the Cute, these two tunnels could be fairy tales more ancient than that of the Original Monster!”
King John the Cute peered into the white tunnel. “This one leads into the Land of All Legends, but not at the Original Continent. It looks into the sky. I can see the blue, and far away, the Sun, the sun of my world, is smiling. Hello, gentle Sun!”
But just as in all other attempts to communicate with his native land, King John the Cute could not make himself heard on the other side.
“And the other one, King John the Cute?”
King John the Cute peered into the other tunnel. “This tunnel is smaller, much smaller than the white one. I cannot look inside it. It bends more. I cannot see what is on the other side. Hello!” King John the Cute shouted. “Anyone there? Can anyone hear me?”
But an answer did not come.
“I am tempted to explore it,” said King John the Cute. “But the tunnel is so small, that I cannot fit. And if it leads back to my land, I shall die immediately.”
“We must gather more clues,” said Doctor Dave Daniels. “What else do you see?”
King John the Cute looked around. There were only a few more yards deeper into the cave until it ended.
“Over here,” King John the Cute pointed to the ceiling above the final yards. “There are two more tunnels, but they are pink tunnels. I am doing my best to look through them, but again, the tunnels are small and they bend and I cannot see.”
“Do you not understand what this means?” Doctor Dave Daniels was excited. “The further we went into the tunnel, the white tunnels, the ones that belong to your world, the earlier the fairy tales! There was the first story about a person, or a creature, the Original Monster. But these… fused tunnels… they were there before! They are… I am certain of it… They are creation stories! There are two creation stories, just as I had suspected. One leads to the sky and sun of your world! The other must lead to the sky and sun of another world of fairy tales!”
“What you say makes sense after all we have seen…” King John the Cute was in deep contemplation.
“White tunnels lead to Land of All Legends! Black tunnels lead to your Afterdeath! Pink tunnels must lead to that other world! And that one,” Doctor Dave Daniels excitedly pointed at the first pink tunnel that King John the Cute had peered through. “That first one must contain that other world’s Original Monster! And the other ones…”
“There is only one more,” King John the Cute added.
“Then that last one must have been a fairy tale told of that world and not of your! But that other fairy tale world, it did not have a chance to live long enough, to expand, to grow, as yours did the stories about the Original Continent. Stories about that other world were probably told a minimum number of times to create a world. There was a creation story and two more stories that were told enough times before the people who told these stories were all buried in the sandstorm and died.
“Since no one else knew of these stories, there are no stories and pink tunnels anywhere in the world that lead back to this world.”
“That is astounding,” said King John the Cute with awe.
“I was right! I can’t believe there is proof I was right!” exclaimed Doctor Dave Daniels. “We are standing in a place that birthed two worlds! Two fairy tale worlds!”
“I share your excitement,” said King John the Cute. But there was sadness in his voice, as well, for he still could not see how he could discover the illness that plagues his land and how to solve it.
“I wish there was a way to see what is on the other side of the tunnels!” said Doctor Dave Daniels, who did not hear the pang of sadness in the king’s voice.
“Ah, but there is,” said King John the Cute, his mood refreshed. “I know how we can explore that world!”
This has been the story in which the lost tunnels were discovered, and the remains of ancient, unknown fairy tales were uncovered. Now read on to discover the exploration of the other fairy tale world.
(To be continued on Thursday…)
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