Here is chapter seven for those who are still reading. Also, I have put up a place for you to enter your email address if you like, and then when I post you'll get an automatic message telling you there's something new to look at.
In the morning, the girls woke to the most wonderful smell, of Polly’s pineapple and pear upside down pancakes, with hot blueberry syrup and lots of butter. The girls were all starving after all the dancing, the night before. During the night, the magic had worn off and all the animals went home to their own beds.
“I think I could eat ten pancakes!” Keona exclaimed.
“I think I could eat twelve!” said Thea.
“I eat more!” spouted Una, who was new to the idea of talking. “I eat this many.” she said as she held up all her fingers and toes.
“There are plenty,” Polly said, “so help yourselves.”
The girls ate until they could eat no more. Keona ate ten; Thea ate twelve, and little Una ate fifteen. Her belly was so full, she looked like she had eaten a soccer ball.
After breakfast, they loaded up Donkeyhotie and headed once again into the dark woods.
After some time, they came upon a pool in the midst of the woods. Smaller than a pond, but clear and clean looking.
“This must be fed by a spring,” said Polly, “in order for it to be so clean. We can fill our water bottles here and rest awhile.” she said as she sat down on a big rock.
Thea got out her water bottle and headed for the pool.
“Look in the pool!” she said, with a start.
As they all ran over and peered in, what they saw was astounding. Beneath the water was another world. There were trees and flowers and strange brightly colored birds. There were squirrels and rabbits and things deeper down, moving around, but they couldn’t make them out. And everything looked as if it had been painted by some impressionistic artist like Monet, or Renoir. It was all strangely beautiful and also oddly familiar. Almost like they had been there before.
“Isn’t it lovely?” said Thea. “It looks like a moving painting.”
“This is most beautiful,” said Polly, “but I think we should be careful. This could be some sort of deep magic. It may not be what it appears to be at all.” she cautioned. “Let me fill our water bottles, and then we better head on, before it gets too late.” She leaned over and dipped a bottle into the pool. Much to her surprise it wasn’t wet and and no water filled the bottle. “This is odd.” Polly whispered. “The water isn’t wet.”
“How can it be water if it’s not wet?” asked Keona.
Just then, Una, who had yet to learn how to swim, let out an ecstatic shout, and jumped in the pool, feet first. With out a hesitation, Polly jumped in to save her, followed by Thea and Keona. When they hit the water there was no splash. There was no ripple on the surface. There was no feeling of dampness on their clothes, and strangest of all, they could breath under the pool. Una squealed with laughter as she landed on dry ground. Polly, being so relived, didn’t notice how their features had changed.
“Polly, you look like you’ve been painted.” Thea said. “No, you look like you are paint.”
Polly looked at the girls and then at her own hands and arms. It was as if they had been painted on canvas and then had magically come to life. They looked like themselves, but yet different. They had the same flesh tones, but mixed in were blues and greens, yellows and reds, which you wouldn’t think strange in a painting, but in real life, seem curious.
“It looks as if we’ve all been altered by this pool in some bizarre way.” Polly answered. “I think we should get out of here.”
Polly tried to pull herself out of the pool, but when she touched the surface, it was now hard like thick glass. She could see Donkeyhotie on the bank looking down at them, but she could not reach through to the surface of the water. Donkeyhotie looked on, not sure how to help.
“It looks as if we’ll have to find another way out of here.” Polly said, worriedly. “Let’s explore a bit and see what we can find. I’m sure we will find a way out without much trouble.” she said, unconvincingly.
So, they set off to find a way out. They walked among tall willow trees, that weeped down with long branches, like worshipers bowing to a sacred deity. They traveled through huge fields of velvet wild flowers, that looked like thick plush persian rugs, and smelled of exotic fragrances that were new to them all. There was a smell like burn’t sandalwood combined with lilacs, and something like cotton candy. There was also a smell like autumn, mixed with spring, and shaken with a hint of a snowy winter’s day. Then there were the creatures. Things they had never seen, yet that also seemed familiar. Bumblebirds. These were tiny birds. About the size of large bugs. They were black and yellow and buzzed around the girls curiously. There were flying fish and barking spiders; singing red pandas, and grass that carried you along as you walked on it like a conveyor belt. Most curious of all were the clouds. They all had faces and would watch them as they walked along, only never saying a word, except to whisper something to one another every so often.
In the distance, before them, they began to see the figure of a man. He was tall and thin. Wearing a knee length red jacket, with the collar turned up and no shoes.
“Let’s see if we can get some directions from that man and maybe figure out where we’re at.” said Polly pointing to the strangely dressed man.
As they got closer and tried to make out what he looked like, they realized they couldn’t. The more they looked at him the more his features blurred. Keona tried, to no avail, to focus on him. She would stare at him and then suddenly not remember why she was looking at him, or even remotely remember anything about his features.
“Hello sir.” said Polly, with her usual friendly tone. “My name is Polly. We are lost and not sure where it is we are. We have come from the other side of the pool, but can’t seem to get back that way. We should very much like to return and be on our way. Could you tell us what this place is called and how we might find our way out?” she implored.
“It is my pleasure to have you here.” he said, as his features continually blurred and shifted. “My name is Philemon and you have ventured into Dream World. You have all been here before, although you may not remember. We have met, but you will not likely remember me. I will be your guide while you are here. I shall try to help you and will answer any questions I can.” he said, as if they were old friends.
“What is Dream World?” Keona asked, feeling strangely comforted by this seeming stranger.
“Ah, Dream World is the most magical place of all. It’s a place where you can learn to fly, or ride dinosaurs, or talk with the trees, or even swim with whale sharks. This is the place where you go when you are sleeping. I happen to live here.” Philemon explained.
“So, are you saying we’re dreaming?” Polly asked, somewhat skeptically.
“No. I should say if you came by way of the pool, you are awake. To be awake in Dream World is a privilege few have. It means you are free. Free to do as you wish, or not to do as you wish. You are simply free.” he said, with a smile.
“We wish to be back on the bank with our burro and on our journey, if you would like to know what we wish.” Polly said, starting to get rather annoyed.
“Well then, I can help with that.” he said, and then began to explain. “You can never go back the way you come in. It is always uphill. The trail is usually nice when you begin and gets harder and harder as you go. Things will go from quite lovely, like they are now, to dark and direful. And then you will meet Pesadilla.” Philemon said, and paused as if pondering the name. “She will show you the way out, if you can conquer your fear. She is of the dark; made of the dark. Of things that frighten. Of secret fears that no one knows. She is part of you and has seen the rooms, in your mind, that need to be swept clean, or unlocked and opened, even though there may be terrible things inside. She is lovely, but dangerous, and you have all known her since you were children. As a matter of fact, you knew her best when you were children. The girls will be the first to recognize her.” Philemon said, glancing at the girls.
“I don’t understand.” Polly frustratedly said. “Is this woman, Pesadilla, somehow over Dream World? Why does she have the authority to let us go, or keep us here?”
Philemon replied, “She only has the authority you give her, but she knows the way out.”
Philemon replied, “She only has the authority you give her, but she knows the way out.”
“Why can’t you show us the way?” Polly inquired.
“Because I live here. If I understood what you all, already know, I should leave here with you, but that was never given me to know.” Philemon answered. “You will understand soon enough. For now, I think we should be on our way, if you will follow me.” he said, and turned, and began walking toward a trail in the trees.
Polly and the girls followed Philemon into the forest. It was mythical. A land that you only read about, or come up with when you are day dreaming, instead of doing your school work. They started up a slow incline, that began to take them up a great mountain. There were huge moths, the size of eagles, flying around them as they walked. They were black and red, or a green and blueish dragon burst. There were birds of all kinds and colors and of course the Bumblebirds.
“I should like to hear the birds sing. Would it be alright if I gave them a taste of the Music Water from your bottle, Polly?” asked Keona.
“I think that might be nice, and maybe it will put a little spring in our step.” Polly answered.
She handed the bottle to Keona, who pored a small bit on a giant water lily. When the birds heard the faint call of the Music Water, they came to drink. The sound was like a symphony warming up. Tuning their instruments and checking their music, and then it began. Like the sound of a thousand captured angels being set free, or the sound of sunlight dissolving into liquid, and running down a mountain side melting the snow as it goes. The gift of song, to a songbird, is the gift of life. It made their hearts light, and their steps seem fewer.
For some time, the trail was sunny and an easy walk, but then it turned steep. The trail began to climb, with many switchbacks. Finally they reached the peak. They found themselves standing on a bluff overlooking a great valley, covered with dark storm clouds. There was a cool breeze blowing, which was very refreshing to them. As, they looked down, a dark figure moved across the valley floor, like a shadow. An ominous feeling overcame them all.
“Do you see that black shape moving across the field?” asked Polly.
Philemon replied, “That would be Pesadilla.”