Archive for October, 2013

Tickling Butterflies – The Ancient Caves

October 29, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe 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?”

“Tell me!”

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…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

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Tickling Butterflies – The Excavation

October 27, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Excavation

(Containing a sweeping tale in which an ancient truth is unearthed.)

 

“Once I had a theory I believed to be true,” continued Doctor Dave Daniels, while King John the Cute listened intently, “I took out my maps and tried to deduce where these stories could have been told, so that I may find evidence of the stories.”

“What did you find out?”

“There were many clues to sift from. We knew more or less where the humans were at the time, and where they had gone a few years later, spreading around the world. We knew what the land looked like back then. And I knew that the stories I was seeking did not find their way to the lore of our societies today. That was the most important clue, you see, for it means that once the stories have been told… something happened to the people who had told it. Perhaps they died for some reason, and the fairy tales that had been told enough times to become fairy tales… did not continue to be told further.”

“Fascinating,” said King John the Cute. “Please continue.”

“That made deducing the location of the other first stories and the other first story of creation easier. Because there is scientific evidence that one tribe, quite a big tribe, lived right underneath the spot where we are standing. And the evidence shows that a sandstorm of forty days and forty nights covered the entire desert, including all the people in it.

“When the storm was over, caves were buried underneath new mountains of desert sand. The river from which they drank and the plants that grew near the river were all buried, as well.

“The big tribe of early humans were buried underneath mountains of sand. Surely, they did not survive that. And neither did their stories.

“This is why I have come here, to discover their caves, to discover where they lived, and perhaps even to discover evidence of their stories. Unfortunately, I did not think this through, for I am one man and not an archaeologist. Their caves lie two to three hundred yards underneath our feet. To get there, I must remove all this sand. Even a team of expert excavators cannot remove all this sand, unless they work for a few years.”

“But I can do it,” said King John the Cute. “And quite quickly.”

Doctor Dave Daniels looked at the king in surprise. The king said, “Please move aside, for I shall summon the Winds.”

Doctor Dave Daniels moved aside, and watched the king call for the Winds, “Winds! I require your services! Please appear before me!”

A whirlwind appeared in front of the two, gathering sand and rising to give the sand the appearance of a man standing in front of King John the Cute.

“Hello again, King John the Cute. We are happy to see that you have made it across the ocean without our aid.”

“Indeed I did. Thank you for your concern. Dear Winds, I require your assistance in a small matter that will not take you away from lifting airplanes and creating hurricanes.”

“We are at your service, then, king. We will gladly help to restore the humans’ knowledge of magic on our planet.”

Doctor Dave Daniels looked at the two figures, followed the exchange, but did not speak.

The king continued, “We are standing now on a mound of sand. Two or three hundred yards underneath us are caves which we must uncover in order to complete my quest. Can you please clear away all the sand that had gathered here over the years.”

“Of course, my king. It is a simple task, even for a small whirlwind.”

The king thanked the Winds. He then ordered his chariot of butterflies to lift himself and Doctor Dave Daniels above the mound.

From their vantage point in the air, the two watched as a silent whirlwind cleared away the sand from the entire mound and all mounds surrounding. The sand flew aside systematically, leveling more and more of the mounds and the hills that surrounded the area. Within minutes, the mounds and hills were no more, and now the Winds began to clear the level sand.

More and more desert sand was carried away and swept aside to create new mounds and new hills near the horizon. The Winds worked hard and the whirlwinds swept and swept and swept the sand away until a hard land was discovered. Now, the Winds worked even harder to sweep all the desert sand that covered the hard land.

Soon, the hard land turned out to be a top of a hill. The hill, made out of rocks rather than desert sand, spread in both directions. And in that hill, the Winds soon discovered, was a cave. Soon, another cave was discovered next to the first cave, then another, then another.

“It is a network of caves!” whispered Doctor Dave Daniels in awe, as he was floating in the air above the cave, held by thousands of butterflies.

The Winds worked harder still, cleaning the surrounding area, and whisking away all the sand in the caves.

Soon, after sixty six minutes and sixty six seconds, the entire area had been swept clear of desert sand. The wind appeared once more in front of King John the Cute, creating a semblance of a person made out of sand.

“The deed is done,” said the Winds.

“Thank you for your great help,” said King John the Cute. “You have helped me in my quest, and for that I, and all beings in the Land of All Legends, will be eternally thankful.”

The semblance of a man bowed before the king. “It has been our pleasure. And now a plane in Sudan requires our assistance.” And with that, the remaining sand dissipated and the Winds blew elsewhere.

The chariot of butterflies brought down the king and the doctor to stand outside the caves.

“I believe we should go in,” said King John the Cute.

“Indeed, King John the Cute. The truth awaits us.”

This has been the sweeping tale in which an ancient truth had been unearthed. Now read on to discover what happened in the caves.

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Story Seeker

October 24, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Story Seeker

(Containing the story of the one who seeks stories.)

 

“The Land of All Legends is sick,” King John the Cute explained to Doctor Dave Daniels. “I do not know the cause of it. I do not know exactly when it began, but I do know that for five hundred of our years, new creatures have not been created in the land. I have discovered that the tunnels created in your world when a fairy tale is born no longer lead to the Land of All Legends, but to the Afterdeath.”

“That is strange and worrying,” said the doctor. “Yet it seems more like a symptom of a disease than a cause. What else do you know?”

“I know that Death’s list of the dead is created by the stuff of the Land of All Legends itself. The more people die, the more they do not return, the more the land dies, because new land is not being created.”

“The life of the Land of All Legends is the material that brings death?” echoed Doctor Dave Daniels. “That seems like an important clue.”

“And I know that Death was once a revolving door in the Land of All Legends. Those who died, returned. But now the path back to the land of the living is blocked by a fearsome monster called a vampire. And so the Land of All Legends becomes emptier and emptier. Soon, it shall die.”

“Quite curious,” said Doctor Dave Daniels, deep in thought. “Before I tell you what I think, I would like to hear why you have come to me. Why do you think I can help?”

“I seek information about my own land,” answered King John the Cute earnestly, even as he felt the pangs of his wound grow slightly more painful. “I seek information that does not exist in my land. You have studied the human side of fairy tales and you know much about my land. Perhaps you have learned something in your studies, a fact that will help. Quite soon I will die, for my fatal wound bleeds more and hurts more. You are my last hope. I have no more stones to turn, no more avenues to explore. After you, I can only depend on the Fates, and the Fates cannot be leaned on. I am the last hope of my kind, and you are my last hope.”

“That is too much weight to put on the shoulders of one man,” said Doctor Dave Daniels. “And I understand now the lines that are etched on your face. Still, I shall ignore the weight and do my best to help you. Indeed, you come at a most providential time, for I have come to Africa and to this mound to explore a theory I have about fairy tales, a theory that resembles the illness you speak of.”

“You have a theory? Please, let me hear it.”

“To hear my theory, you have to understand my personal story.

“All my life, I have been obsessed with stories. Stories are magical to me, they are unique and special. And now that I have seen the Original Monster and have gotten a glimpse of all the stories that live in the Land of All Legends, I understand that the truth was more magical than I had believed.

“I have learned stories, I have explored stories, I have probed stories of all kinds. But the stories that seemed the most magical to me were the first stories. There was something even more magical, in my eyes, about the first stories, in particular the first fairy tale that had ever been told. I wanted to feel what the first humans felt when they were compelled to tell a story again and again and again… I wanted to feel what they felt, which I could only do if I learned what that story was.

“Then I recovered writings on a wall belonging to an ancient tribe of humans. Before humans could write, they drew on the cave walls and on the ground. And one of those cave walls survived, telling a beautiful and powerful story… the story, as I learned later, of the Original Monster.

“Once I had met the Original Monster, once he told me who he was, and once he told me tales of his land and brought me proof of it, I had believed I had uncovered the mystery I had sought all my adult life.

“I was caught up in my excitement. I decided to write the book, which the Original Monster supported because he thought it would save his world. I was completely engulfed with feelings of joy and fulfillment in writing the book and in seeing the response once it had been published. My joy was even greater, when I saw the Original Monster being sucked into the sky against his will and disappear in front of my eyes.

“But then… Much time has passed… When I was alone, I had time to think.

“A thought nagged at my mind. It had taken me quite a while to discover what it was… But finally it crystallized and I could see it clearly. At first, I realized that the story of the Original Monster was not the first story ever told. It was the first fairy tale ever told. It was the first story told enough times to become a fairy tale. There were other stories, surely there were, stories that were not told often enough, that did not survive more than a million retellings. But surely there were other stories…

“And then I began to think that perhaps there were other fairy tales, earlier fairy tales, fairy tales told often enough by other tribes in other places on Earth. It is true that at the time the story of the Original Monster was drawn on a wall, the human race was gathered on a small piece of land in Africa, but they were not all together in one place.

“It made sense to me, you see, it made sense that there were other first fairy tales… Fairy tales that the Original Monster had never seen… perhaps even some that had come before him.”

“I do not understand,” said King John the Cute. “If there were other fairy tales, where were they? Why did he not see them? Why did no one else see them? Where can I find them?”

“My story is not yet done, King John the Cute. By the way, there must be a story behind that name of yours, but I will not bother you with it now. You see, my fairy tale friend, the more I thought about it, the more I saw that it had to be true. Because when the Original Monster appeared in the Land of All Legends, the sun was already there, and trees were already there, and the ground was already there… In fact, the whole world was already there.

“I realized that before there were fairy tales about monsters and people, there were stories about creation. Every culture has a story of creation. In fact, most ancient cultures had two very different stories of creation that did not agree. I have studied our ancient cultures and I know it to be so. Before the story of the Original Monster, there had to be a story about how the world was created. In fact, there had to be two very different stories.”

“But how could two stories of creation exist within one Land of All Legends?” asked King John the Cute.

“Ah. That is my point, my friend. They can’t. I suggest that one story of creation, told enough times in one part of Africa, created the Land of All Legends. Meanwhile, in another part of Africa, another story of creation told enough times, perhaps at precisely the same time, created another land of fairy tales. I came here to check my theory, King John the Cute, that there is another Land of All Legends out there.”

This has been the story in which King John the Cute first heard the idea that there could be more than one Land of All Legends. But the story is not yet over.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Fairy Tale Test

October 22, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

The Fairy Tale Test

(Containing a fateful meeting on a mound.)

Doctor Dave Daniels stood atop a small mound in the middle of the desert when he saw a tall man with a golden crown being carried by a cloud of butterflies.

The cloud of butterflies brought down the man in front of the doctor. The butterflies came to rest on the yellow sands surrounding the two.

“My name is Doctor Dave Daniels,” said Doctor Dave Daniels.

“I am King John the Cute,” said King John the Cute. “I come from the Land of All Legends.”

Doctor Dave Daniels took a step back, ran his hand through his hair, and then said, “I believe you. It is an honor to meet another fairy tale.”

King John the Cute looked at Doctor Dave Daniels strangely. His hair was white, his beard was white, and his face was almost as wrinkled as the King John the Cute’s. According to the story told by the Original Monster to Otto the Outstanding and then to King John the Cute and his party, the Original Monster had met Doctor Dave Daniels when the doctor was quite young. Now he was quite old. More than six hundred years have passed in the Land of All Legends since the Original Monster met Doctor Dave Daniels. But surely no more than fifty years have passed in this world.

“Excuse me for asking,” said King John the Cute. “But how is it that you believe me that I am a fairy tale? Can you tell the difference between me and an Earth human?”

“I admit that I cannot,” answered Dave Daniels. “But you have passed my fairy tale test, and so I believe you.”

“A fairy tale test? What is that?”

Doctor Dave Daniels smiled. “To answer your questions, I will have to tell you the story of the book, ‘Return of the Original Monster’. I enjoy meeting fairy tales, and so I will enjoy telling you this story.”

“I am listening, Doctor Dave Daniels.”

“As you must know, I have been in contact with the one you call the Original Monster. He has told me many true tales that I could not put in my research, for I have no facts to support them, only the words… of a fairy tale. I had put his words in a book called ‘The Return of the Original Monster’.

“I had exactly three intentions in writing the book.

“My first intention was to share with the world the stories told to me by the Original Monster. I have loved stories from the time I was the smallest of small children. I have always thought stories were magic… Stories transported me to other places… Stories influenced my life… This is why I went into my academic field, to research the nature of stories, and to learn about the first stories that ever existed. Writing the book was a way to share this joy with other people.

“My second intention in writing the book, King John the Cute, was to help the Original Monster. The Original Monster wanted to possess the power of Life in an effort to revive his land. But he did not have that power. We had already learned that if a story is read enough times by enough people, it becomes true in the Land of All Legends. And so I inserted into my book a new tale. In it, the wizard, Triple Dee, gives the Original Monster the power of Life. In the story, wherever the Original Monster walks, life is renewed: flowers grow in his wake, animals are formed in his footsteps, and magical fairies and baby dragons are created where his shadow rests.

“Triple Dee represents me. I have three D’s in my name: Dave Darren Daniels. By writing the book and selling it, I have given the Original Monster the power of Life. Usually, when a new tale is told enough times, it simply comes true and shimmers to life in the Border of Nothing in the Land of All Legends. This is what the Original Monster has told me. But because the Original Monster already existed, a sort of tunnel appeared in the sky and sucked him up, back to his own land. That is the last I have seen of him. I did not see the tunnel, but that is what he told me before he was thrown into the air and disappeared from my sight.

“Hopefully, his powers have restored his land by now.

“My third intention in writing the book was a secret one. You see, in writing ‘The Return of the Original Monster’, I have inserted a test into the book, a test that tells ordinary human beings from fairy tales.

“Ever since the book came out and became popular, people have been approaching me, claiming to be fairy tales from the fairy tale kingdom. But all of them have failed the test; all of them were human.

“The test was simple, you see. In the book, I call the land the Land of Fairy Tales. Only those who come from it or have been there know its true name. You, King John the Cute, passed the test with your first words to me. I believe that you are, indeed, a fairy tale and a king at that. I am honored to meet you. Now tell me why you have come to see me and how I can help you.”

“Doctor Dave Daniels,” said King John the Cute. “Your attempt to save the Land of All Legends with the help of the Original Monster has failed. The Original Monster has been transported to the Afterdeath rather than to the land of the living. He is stuck there and cannot save the land. However, you are still my last hope. Together, we must save the Land of All Legends or it will die.”

This has been the tale of how King John the Cute passed Doctor Dave Daniels’ fairy tale test.

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Upside Down Airplane

October 20, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Upside-Down Airplane

(Containing a topsy-turvy tale of a topsy-turvy trip in a topsy-turvy world.)

 

This is the story of King John the Cute’s voyage across the ocean on the magical planet Earth.

Once upon a time, towards the end of his quest to save the Land of All Legends, King John the Cute found himself standing on the shore of the ocean. The stain of blood on his clothes was growing slowly while the pain in his chest was growing quickly. And his clothes and crown would still not come off.

The king stood on the beach and stared at the ocean, for the man he sought, Doctor Dave Daniels, was now on a small mound in a big desert in a big continent called Africa on the side of the big ocean.

During the events detailed in the last three stories in this book of legends, Doctor Dave Daniels boarded a flying machine called an airplane. The airplane transported the doctor to the faraway mound in the faraway desert in the faraway continent and now King John the Cute needed to find a way across the ocean.

His chariot of butterflies could not carry him across the ocean, for butterflies cannot fly so long and so far.

“I understand,” the king told his chariot. “I will find another way.”

King John the Cute turned to the Earth’s Winds and asked for help. But the Winds could not carry him, for they have found employment working for mankind. The Winds were too busy carrying mankind’s heavy airplanes back and forth across the sky. The Winds regretted the fact that they could not carry the king and his chariot across the ocean.

“I understand,” said the king. “I will find another way.”

King John the Cute turned to Earth’s Waters and asked for help. The Waters rippled before him and said this: “For ages we have rippled back and forth, looking at the advance of man. For the last hundred years or so, we have seen man advance to the skies. From our vantage point, we have studied the airplanes of man carefully, as they flew above us. We have seen their shapes and the way the Winds swirl around their wings. We have studied their flights. We have studied their patterns. We believe that now we can create a duplicate such an airplane that will carry you and your chariot to the land you seek.”

King John the Cute thanked the Waters. The Waters rippled and shook, waved and condensed, until the solid shape of an airplane appeared underwater. The airplane was made completely out of water. Its bottom was aimed upwards, at the surface of the Waters, just as the bottom of airplanes in the sky are aimed downwards, at the surface of the Waters.

The king and his chariot entered the plane as it rose to the surface. The water airplane closed around them, containing air to breathe, just as airplanes in the sky contain air to breathe for the people they carry.

The airplane descended into the depths of the ocean, flying upside down, a reflection of an air-flying airplane. King John the Cute and his chariot of butterflies sat in the airplane upside down, and watched the water swirl around the upside-down wings. They watched the colorful wonders of the sea as they sped by them. They watched sea creatures that man had never seen and colors that man had never known. The wonders of the sea were great, and King John the Cute stared outside the upside-down water-made window, and enjoyed the sights, just as air-flying airplane passengers enjoy the sight of clouds.

The upside-down airplane flew underwater for ten hours before it began to ascend, just as air-flying airplanes descend. The upside-down water-flying airplane reached the shore of a desert, not too far from the mound sought by the king. The upside-down water-flying airplane landed by reaching the surface of the water and the air, near a beach.

King John the Cute stepped out of the airplane, into the air, and unto the beach, a chariot of butterflies surrounding him.

“Thank you for your kind service, Waters of the Earth.”

“It is our pleasure to help the one who will bring magic back to the planet Earth,” said the Waters. “If ever you desire our help again, call us.”

And the Waters slipped away and dissipated, turning into frothy waves upon the shore.

This has been the story of King John the Cute’s topsy-turvy tale of a topsy-turvy trip in a topsy-turvy world.

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – Two Doors, Two Kings, and Two Questions

October 17, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

 Two Doors, Two Kings, and Two Questions

(Containing a story in which further secrets are revealed.)

 

King John the Cute considered his next question carefully yet again. He did not want to ask the wrong question because he still needed much information and comfort from the man whose kingdom he had inherited.

Resolve appearing in his eyes, King John the Cute asked, “Your highness, you say that a monster guards Death’s Door. Is there a chance, perhaps, that you can find another way out of the Afterdeath? The vampire, after all, cannot be in two places at once.”

Spooky Sam looked aside and told King John the Cute, “He is nodding and laughing. Oh, now he’s speaking. This is what he’s saying, ‘You are wise beyond your years, young one. For that is a question I would never have thought to ask before I had actually seen the Afterdeath. The answer is complicated, for, you see, the corridor in the Afterdeath has Death’s Door on one side. And on the other side, the side that is constantly growing, there is another door.

“ ‘The first door leads to the Land of All Legends and is guarded by the fearsome monster that fears only the Sun. The second door… No one knows where it leads. Many have tried to open it or walk through it using all possible methods: brute force and soft magic, even soft force and brute magic.

“ ‘But the door does not open. It is not even cracked. No one knows what lies beyond it. There must be some kind of key to open it. Only when the creature with the key arrives will the door be opened. Only then will we see where it leads. Perhaps it leads to a hidden Death’s Door on the other side of the Land of All Legends, one we do not know of. No one here knows.’”

“Every answer carries more puzzles,” King John the Cute said to himself, and two more lines of worry appeared on his face. “How will I solve all these puzzles when I am so far away?” Suddenly afraid that King Charming the Fifth will disappear, he quickly raised his arms and said, “That was not a question! Is he still here?”

Spooky Sam nodded.

“I have a fourth question, then, your highness,” said King John the Cute. But then, as he considered the information that has been conveyed to him by the king so far, he recalled the dark tunnels that appeared in the sky, the tunnels that appeared to lead to nowhere. These tunnels had been created by fairy tales, as was the black tunnel through which he had seen and talked to the Original Monster. But these tunnels did not lead to the Land of All Legends. Could it be that the tunnels lead to the Afterdeath? There was one way to be sure. King John the Cute delayed his fourth question and asked another in its stead, “Your highness, do you know the current whereabouts of the Original Monster?”

“ ‘I am astounded,’” Spooky Sam quoted the king. Spooky Sam understood almost nothing of the proceedings, but he continued to speak the ghost’s words. “ ‘Never would I have thought to ask this question. But the answer is, Yes, I do. Only a few days ago, the Original Monster emerged from one of the rooms of the Afterdeath. It appears that he had been stuck in his black room for weeks, unable to find his way out. Just like the new creatures who arrive here, he arrived at the Afterdeath without dying. He claims that he has arrived here via Earth, and that now he has a new magical power, the power of Life. But that power does not work in the Afterdeath.’”

“Your news is quite fascinating,” King John the Cute mused.

Now King John the Cute was certain that while the white tunnels led to the faraway Land of All Legends, the black tunnels led to the Afterdeath. All new fairy tales were being sucked immediately into the Afterdeath rather than into the Land of All Legends. In addition, since King John the Cute could hear the Original Monster through the tunnel but could not hear the creatures in the Land of All Legends through the tunnels, the Afterdeath must be nearer to Earth than the Land of All Legends. “I have learned quite a lot from our fourth conversation, your highness, and I hope to learn more.”

“ ‘I am at your service, your young and worthy highness. Ask your question.’”

Now King John the Cute put forth the question he had delayed. “ ‘In our third meeting, your highness, when we met and when you died… You said that I was not who I thought I was. Who am I? What did you mean?”

“ ‘Unfortunately, I am beginning to disappear. This means that the question you ask will not help you heal the Land of All Legends. I am not allowed to answer that question. I fear our meeting is at an end.’” Spooky Sam’s mouth gaped open. “King John, he’s starting to disappear!”

“Wait! Wait! Before you go!” King John the Cute shouted at the air itself.

“ ‘There is nothing more to be said,’” Spooky Sam said quickly, his eyes staring at the disappearing ghost of King Charming the Fourth. “ ‘This has been our fourth and final meeting. It has been prophesied that we shall never speak again. You are indeed a wise and worthy king. It has been a pleasure to know you, your highness.’”

“And you, your highness,” answered King John the Cute and bowed.

Then there was silence.

King John the Cute looked up.

“That’s it,” said Spooky Sam. “He’s gone. For the first time in a year, he’s gone.”

King John the Cute put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Thank you for your service, Spooky Sam. You have helped save an entire land.”

“The land of fairy tales?” Spooky Sam asked, unable to keep a sardonic tone out of his voice, in spite of all that he had seen.

“The Land of All Legends,” answered King John the Cute and began to walk out. “You may sleep soundly now. You have earned it.”

King John the Cute opened the door. Outside, the light of day had arrived.

Spooky Sam watched with awe as ten thousand butterflies minus one gathered around the wounded king and raised him into the air.

This has been the third story (out of three) in which Spooky Sam helped save magic.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Two Kings

October 15, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Two Kings

(Containing a story in which Spooky Sam’s spooky talents are truly used.)

 

Not too long ago, in a spooky building at the end of a spooky street on a spooky night on the planet Earth, Spooky Sam called upon the ghost of King Charming the Fourth.

“He is here,” said Spooky Sam. “But only I can see and hear him. I will repeat the words he speaks.”

“Your highness,” King John the Cute bowed. “I am honored that you sought me out. It is good to be in your presence again.”

“ ‘King John the Cute’,” Spooky Sam repeated the words of King Charming the Fourth. “ ‘It is good to be in yours. As always, you appear to be in good health.’”

“I may look well,” answered King John the Cute, “but I have been fatally wounded by your son. I have no more than a few weeks on the planet Earth before I die. And when I return I shall die within seconds.”

Spooky Sam said, “The king is sad. He’s saying, ‘I am sorry that my son has given you such trouble. He has always given me much trouble, as well.’”

“You have less to worry about your son, your highness. When I released him from the still water, he was a spoiled child incapable of taking any responsibility. But in the meantime, he has successfully raised an army against me and fatally wounded me. He has grown to be quite capable. Now I understand he reigns the land side by side with Queen Sarah O’Connell. I trust her that she would not let him reign if he was ineffective in any way.”

“ ‘That is good. I am happy that he is doing much better.’”

“But your highness, our time may be short, and although I have made much progress in my quest many puzzles are still unknown. May I ask you some questions that may help me in my quest?”

“ ‘Of course. But first you must realize the terms of our meeting.

“ ‘Not everyone who is dead can become a ghost. In fact, almost no one who is dead becomes a ghost. I will not tell you the full story of how I became a ghost. Rather, I will tell you the end of that story: A wizard who lives here in the Afterdeath granted me my wish: to speak to you again. But in exchange, once this conversation is gone, my soul shall disappear, not only from the Land of All Legends, but from the Afterdeath. My soul shall truly die, and none shall ever speak to me or see me again.’”

“That is sad and horrible news,” said King John the Cute.

“ ‘It is worth the price, if I can help you save our land… my land. Being a king carries responsibility. And with great responsibility comes great sacrifice.

“ ‘Now come the terms of our conversation, for the wizard has limited me even further. You may ask me questions for as long as you want, but only if my answers will help you in your quest. If the answer to your question will not help you in your quest, I will cease to be a ghost, and I will cease to exist. If I say something that will not help you in your quest, our conversation will also end, and I will cease to exist.

“ ‘So choose your questions carefully, my young and worthy king,’” said King Charming the Fourth through Spooky Sam.

“I will. Thank you for this warning.” King John the Cute considered carefully the questions he sought the answer to. Then, trusting his instincts, he began, “What does the Afterdeath look like, your highness?”

Spooky Sam looked at the ghost only he could see as if he was afraid of the answers he may hear. He recovered within a second and continued to relay King Charming the Fourth’s words. “ ‘There is much to say about the Afterdeath, my young and worthy king. I will tell you all that I can.

“ ‘Firstly, the Afterdeath is a long and black corridor. When a person’s soul passes through Death’s Door, the corridor magically stretches, and a new room is formed in the Afterdeath. The new arrival is formed anew in this new and dark room, and he appears not as he did when he died, but as he did when he had the most adventures. That is why Spooky Sam sees me as a young and dashing figure and not as the old and sick man I had been when I died.

“ ‘That person needs to feel his way through the dark room to find his way out, and out he comes into the corridor. The corridor seems to have the ability to stretch infinitely, for more and more rooms are constantly being created. I do not know if it has a limit. The Afterdeath seems to be magically equipped to handle all those who die.

“ ‘However, in the last six centuries, something else has happened, something that the Afterdeath is not magically equipped to handle.

“ ‘King John the Cute, the reason that new creatures do not come into being at the Border of Nothing is that they appear here, in the Afterdeath. They are created here, they appear here. Without dying, without having lived. A room is formed, and they appear in that room. Over the last few centuries, thousands upon thousands of creatures have been amassed in the Afterdeath, never having seen the light and colors of the Land of All Legends.

“ ‘There are new and magical creatures, King John the Cute, that you would have loved to see. But they no longer come through the Land of All Legends. Even Death does not touch them. Perhaps he does not even know they have come into existence.’”

“Are you saying that all new living creatures now appear immediately in the Afterdeath?”

“ ‘Indeed they do, my young and brave king. It is no doubt one of the symptoms of the illness that plagues the land.’”

“That is strange and intriguing. And it brings me to another question, your highness.” Once more, King John the Cute hesitated for a split second. For he knew that if he asked the wrong question, King Charming the Fourth would disappear forever. Then, the split-second behind him, King John the Cute spoke with steel determination, “I have learned during my quest that once upon a time Death was like a revolving door. Those who died simply walked out of the Afterdeath unharmed. Why does no one walk out of the Afterdeath today?”

“ ‘You are wise to ask this question. I would not have thought it has anything to do with helping you solve the illness that plagues the land, but I see that I am free to answer.

“ ‘A few centuries ago, one of the first creatures that appeared in the Afterdeath instead of into the Land of All Legends was an evil and frightening monster with sharp teeth and a fear of our Sun. That monster is called a vampire, and he is a new monster the likes of which I have never seen in the Land of All Legends.

“ ‘His fear of the Sun is so great, and his madness so unreasonable, that ever since he has appeared, he has guarded the door from those who would want to exit. He slashes and hurts anyone who comes near and wants to pass. This man-sized creature is so fierce and vicious that he frightens even the most fearsome dragons and giants of the Afterdeath.’”

“That is intriguing and disturbing,” said King John the Cute.

“That may be, but I need a bathroom break,” said Spooky Sam, speaking as himself and not as the king.

“But wait,” clamored King John the Cute. “I still have more questions to ask!”

“That’s great,” said Spooky Sam. “And he just told me that he still has more answers to give. You will both have to wait until I return. Thank you.”

And with that, Spooky Sam went to the bathroom.

This has been the story detailing how the fourth meeting (out of four) between King John the Cute and King Charming the Fourth began.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Seance Scoundrel

October 13, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Séance Scoundrel

(Containing the spooky tale of Sam the Scoundrel.)

 

Once upon a dreary midnight, at the very edge of the scariest street of the scariest town on the planet Earth there stood the scariest building you could ever imagine. The building seemed haunted and made noises that made no sense but were quite frightening.

In the middle of the night, King John the Cute’s chariot of butterflies brought him to the scary door of the scary house. With a great flutter of their small wings, the butterflies dispersed in all directions and melted in with the scary garden, where scary lamps cast scary shadows.

King John the Cute knocked.

The house creaked in response.

Shortly, a small and stocky man answered the doors. His face was tired, as if he had not slept well in days.

“Yes?” said the tired man, opening the door. Then, glimpsing the king with the crown of gold on his head, the tired man sighed. “Oh, no. Another king.”

“That is correct,” said King John the Cute. “How many kings have you met?”

“Are you a ghost?” the tired man asked, appearing insulted.

“I am not a ghost,” answered King John the Cute. “I am a fairy tale.” For during his journeys on the planet Earth, he had learned his true nature.

“Wonderful. A fairy tale. Isn’t that original!” Once more, the tired man appeared more insulted than surprised.

“My name is King John the Cute. Does King Charming the Fourth reside in this building?”

The tired man’s eyes widened in surprise. “King John the Cute! You mean you’re real?”

“As real as a fairy tale, yes.”

“I’m not imagining things? There actually is a King John the Cute? Who gave you that name, anyway? What kind of name is that for a king? And why would they name you King John the Cute? That name does not agree with the way you look. Why not King John the Troubled?”

“My dear man,” said King John the Cute. “You have heard of me, and I know nothing of you.”

“Oh, yes, yes, please come in.” The tired man moved aside and allowed the king to enter. “I am so glad you’re real. I’ve been waiting for you. But maybe to understand what’s going on, I need to tell you the story of who I am.”

“I would love to hear it.”

The tired man told the king to sit down and offered him drinks. Then, he began to tell his tale.

“My name is Spooky Sam. That, at least, is the name everyone has known me by for the last twenty years. I am a charlatan.”

“A charlatan?” King John the Cute did not recognize the word.

“A con man.”

“A con man?” King John the Cute had never heard the phrase.

“A man who lies.”

“Ah. A scoundrel.”

“Yes. A scoundrel. That is who I am. I have made a living from holding things called ‘séances’. These are events in which I talk to ghosts that have passed to the other world. There is, of course, no such thing as ghosts, but people want to believe in them so much that they will believe everything I say. They need to speak to their dead and gone, and so when I tell them I can see and hear they dead, they quickly believe me.

“Over the last twenty years I have made a very good living lying to people. They paid me to communicate with their dead loved ones. I would do a little research about the family first, then I would tell them things everyone wants to hear: that they are forgiven, that they are loved, and so on. To add ‘truth’ to my claims, I had this house built in as spooky a way as possible. The house creaks and moves, the pictures sway, the wind blows when the windows are closed, and there are recordings of strange whispers in every corridor.

“In twenty years I have ‘spoken’ to more than two hundred and twenty ‘ghosts’ and I have become quite rich. And yet, I have never actually seen a ghost.

“Until last year.

“Suddenly, in front of my eyes, an apparition appeared.

“He stood tall and regal. He was old, but his face was soft, beautiful, and charming. He had a crown just like yours. No, in fact it was your exact crown, with the same scratch right there. He wore the garments of a king. And he said his name was—”

“King Charming the Fourth!” exclaimed King John the Cute.

“Exactly. King Charming the Fourth. No one else could see him but me. No one else could hear him but me. For the first time in my life, I realized that I was seeing a ghost. But this ghost could not exist. There has never been a person in all the countries, in all the world, who was called King Charming.

“We had many conversations, the king and I, because he would not leave me alone no matter what I did and how much I begged him. He told me stories of his youth, stories of his land. And the more he told me, the more I knew that this man could not exist, because none of his stories could be true. He spoke of dragons and princes, of maidens and witches, of spells and curses, and none of that – none of it! – exists in the real world! I was seeing the ghost of a fairy tale! I thought I was going crazy!

“Then the king began to ask me about my world and its stories. And once he learned more things about the planet Earth – rather than this other Magicland – he said that one day a person would come to Earth, and his name would be King John the Cute. And that when he comes, I must hold a séance, a real séance, in which King John the Cute will talk to him.

“Now it was his turn to beg me to put an ad in the newspaper for every day until this other king responds and comes to see me. And, lo and behold, here you are! So it turns out I wasn’t crazy. It turns out I do have a knack for seeing ghosts, just not Earth ghosts.

“I do not know how fairy tales can exist. But maybe we can finally have the séance, and the damned King Charming can finally leave me alone and let me sleep!”

King John the Cute stood up, a light of bright hope in his eyes. “Yes!” he cried. “I must talk to the king! Let us begin this séance now!”

Spooky Sam sighed. “All right, all right. We’ll begin the séance now.”

This has been the spooky tale in which Spooky Sam learned that he was not imagining things.

 

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – A Day without the Fates

October 10, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

PART 13

THE LOST FAIRY TALES

A Day without the Fates

(Containing a fateful story about a fateful choice.)

 

Once upon a time, a dying king walked the magical planet Earth. He had already discovered the magic of memory, the magic of death, the magic of birth, the magic of imagination, the magic of inanimate objects, the magic of butterflies, the magic of balloons, and the magic of fairy tales. But he has yet to discover the reason for his quest: the ailment that plagues the Land of All Legends.

The Fates had promised him success in the form of a prophecy. But success seemed far for the king, and he believed the Fates had left him, at least for the day. And on that day, he walked the bustling streets of a small city and a small yellow car stopped on the road beside him.

“King John the Cute, is that you?” asked the small yellow car. “What an honor to actually see you in person!” The man inside the car looked at his car and could not believe it was speaking.

“The honor is mine,” answered King John the Cute, ignoring the man. “Everyone in this world is so welcoming.”

“I bring important news,” answered the car. “The rumor among cars has it that you are looking for Doctor Dave Daniels, a man of academia. The rumor has reached the doctor’s car, and he has told every car he has met where his owner could be found. The information of the doctor’s whereabouts are spreading on the roads. Could it be that I am the first to reach you?”

“Indeed you are, and this is a great piece of news.”

“Get in, then,” said the car to the dismay of its owner. “I will drive you!”

King John the Cute bent to open the car door, when a sneeze behind him caused the king to stop and turned around.

A news vendor in his early forties was blowing his nose. “I am going to find the man that invented the flu,” mumbled the news vendor, “and I am going to kill him. I’ll make it my life’s quest!”

“That is not a good idea for a quest,” said King John the Cute.

“Huh? What?” The news vendor looked at the king. Then, immediately, he offered him a newspaper. “Want to buy a newspaper? There’s a lot going on in the world!”

“No, thank you,” said King John the Cute.

The newspaper underneath the king’s nose suddenly realized who was in front of him. “King John the Cute! King John the Cute!” the newspaper cried in a squeaky, high-pitched voice. “I bring important news in my pages! All this week’s newspapers have been looking for you!”

King John the Cute looked at the newspaper. Then he took the newspaper from the vendor and told him, “I shall not buy your newspaper, but I would like to talk to him for a bit. Thank you.”

“Talk? To him?”

But King John the Cute did not hear the vendor, for he was speaking to the male newspaper.

“King John the Cute,” said the newspaper. “Within me, there is an ad specifically addressed to you.”

“What is an ad?” asked King John the Cute.

“An ad is a message,” answered the newspaper.

“What does it say?”

“It says, ‘KING JOHN THE CUTE, KING CHARMING THE FOURTH WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK TO YOU’.”

“ ‘King Charming the Fourth’!’” King John the Cute was astonished. “In this world?”

“There is also an address,” said the newspaper, and recited the address.

King John the Cute looked to his left: the yellow car waited to carry him to Doctor Dave Daniels. To his left was the newspaper stand, filled with messages from King Charming the Fourth.

The king had to decide what to do. He wanted to see both people. He wanted to miss neither of them. He feared that a wrong choice would lead to failure.

King John the Cute decided to wait for one minute and eleven seconds and allow the Fates to step in and help him make the choice.

For one minute and eleven seconds King John the Cute waited, but the Fates did not step in.

Once more, King John the Cute felt the Fates had abandoned him, at least for the day. Torn, he made his decision. He asked the yellow car for Doctor Dave Daniels’ whereabouts, and then called for his chariot and asked the butterflies to fly him to the address named by King Charming the Fourth.

Carried by the wings of ten thousand butterflies minus one, he rose into the sky. The eyes of everyone on the street, including the street vendor, the car owner, and dozens of passersby followed him until he was gone.

This was the story in which King John the Cute decided that sometimes the Fates do not step in; sometimes it is all up to you.

This has been the story in which the fate of many worlds was decided with a sneeze.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!

Tickling Butterflies – The Perfect Death

October 8, 2013

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:

 

The Perfect Death

(Containing the retelling of a perfectly flawless tale about a perfect man with many flaws.)

 

This is a story of Perfect Paul and Flawless Farah.

At the time of the telling of this story, Perfect Paul had died forty-four times, and yet had never been successfully claimed by Death. Cursed by being born and reborn without the memory of the past, but with the same personality, he was called Iddy the Ideal.

Iddy the Ideal was the fastest runner in the Land of All Legends. Iddy the Ideal ran against birds in flight, he ran against cheetahs in a hunt, he even ran against the swiftest dragons. And always he won.

Iddy the Ideal had fallen in love with Tarah O’Perfect. Tarah O’Perfect was the forty-fourth incarnation of Flawless Farah. Tarah O’Perfect had fallen in love with Iddy the Ideal, but her eternal quest for artistic perfection led her to a dangerous dive at the bottom of SleeplessOcean, where she promptly died and was claimed by Death.

Death had been slow in claiming the soul of Tarah O’Perfect, for he was under the influence of a visit from three Foreseeing Propheseers. The Foreseeing Propheseers claimed that, without the shadow of a doubt and in no uncertain terms, the one known as Iddy the Ideal would one day turn Death into Life.

Once he had recovered his wits from this astonishing news, Death continued on his daily tasks and claimed the soul of Tarah O’Perfect.

The very next day, news of his love’s death arrived at Iddy the Ideal’s house. Stricken with grief, he collapsed and cried. But even as he cried, the curse of the evil witch acted upon him once more, and now, too late, he recalled all his past lives and all of Tarah O’Perfect’s past lives.

Too late, Iddy the Ideal remembered the curse. He wept for his love and he wept for the fact that he would never be with his love and that this curse would go on forever.

Suddenly, Iddy the Ideal looked up and saw the mysterious and dark stranger known as Death.

“I am Death,” said Death.

Iddy the Ideal stood up. “I know. For I remember all my past lives.”

“There are things, however, that you do not know,” Death said calmly. “You have been named in a prophecy. There it claims that you shall turn me from Death to Life.”

Iddy the Ideal blinked with surprise. He did not know such a thing was possible.

“The second thing you do not know,” continued Death, “is that your name has appeared on my list. I am to touch you and kill you, for your life is at an end. Please, turn me quickly into Life before I touch you. You have seconds.”

“I do not care about your prophecy, Death,” screamed Iddy the Ideal, still racked with grief. “I am under a curse that only leads to eternal misery!”

“Reconsider quickly,” Death’s voice was calm although his mood was one of anger. “For when I touch you, you will be gone. You are the only creature for which I have ever delayed a touch. And yet, the urge will soon be too strong.”

“You shall never touch me, Death, for I am quicker than you! I am the fastest creature in the Land of All Legends, and I vow here and now that you shall never claim me! I vow that I will elude your grasp and find my way to the Afterdeath myself! I shall walk through Death’s Door without your help, and in that way I shall break the curse and live with my loved one happily ever after in the Afterdeath!”

“Iddy the Ideal, reconsider.”

“You are a poor guardian of souls,” shouted Iddy the Ideal, still in emotional agony. “For you let others snatch them from you time and time again! But you shall never touch me again, Death! I shall die on my own, and my soul will not be snatched, by you or by a curse! I will race you and I will win!”

“You do not want to race Death,” said Death.

“You do not want to race Iddy the Ideal,” answered Iddy the Ideal.

Filled with anger at the falseness of the prophecy, Death said, “A race it is, then. Prepare to die.”

And Death took a step towards Iddy the Ideal, but Iddy the Ideal had already run out the window and was sprinting out of the city.

Thus it was that the race for Death’s Door had begun. Iddy the Ideal was much faster, but Death went in a straight line while Iddy the Ideal did not know the way. Death stopped in the middle to gather souls, while Iddy the Ideal needed to stop and sleep and eat. Death talked to no one during the race, while Iddy the Ideal was slowed down by encountering greed, temptation, vanity, a bully, and a troll.

Three weeks, three days and three hours after the race had begun, Iddy the Ideal reached Death’s Door. With acute agility he avoided the giant flower that guarded Death’s Door. But a yard before the door, he stopped in place, panting: Death stood between him and Death’s Door.

Before Iddy the Ideal could react, Death touched him with his deadly hand and claimed Iddy the Ideal’s soul. Satisfied by his victory and disappointed in the falseness of the prophecy, Death turned around to deposit the souls of Tarah O’Perfect and Iddy the Ideal, as well as hundreds of others, through the shimmering darkness of Death’s Door. But to his surprise, between Death and Death’s Door stood a familiar and frightening yellow monster with talons big enough to scare Death. The monster reached into Death’s robes, and snatched away the souls of Iddy the Ideal and Tarah O’Perfect. Its loot in its hands, it jumped into the air and was far above the clouds before Death could react.

Death remained behind and looked at the monster that had snatched the souls away from him for the forty-fifth time. His feeling of satisfaction at winning the race was gone. He was left only with the feeling of disappointment that he would forever be Death and not Life.

This has been the story of John the Cute’s first race against Death.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)

You can win a chance to have a fairy tale written about you in the Tickling Butterflies universe!