We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing ~ George Bernard Shaw
She stared into the forest, narrowing her small eyes and held her breath, waiting. Nothing. Tex, her Golden Lab, sat quietly at her side. His soft panting providing her confidence and comfort that he was still there and still on guard. She sighed and squished her eyes shut as tight as they would go. Counting to 20, out loud, in a soft voice because counting in her head was merely thinking the numbers and not actually counting. Or that was the logic she gave her older brother the previous evening.
She wanted to hang out with him. He was holed up in his room, as he always was after dinner, reading and listening to Ozzy Osbourne on repeat. She knocked on his door and asked if she could read with him. He sighed and let her in. As she lay on the bed next to him, she opened her book and began reading, out loud. He looked at her sideways, “I thought you were gonna read to yourself!” She looked at him strangely and said, “I am reading to myself, I don’t expect you to listen.” He smirked, “why don’t you try reading to yourself in your head?” She was quick to reply, “but then I’m only thinking the words, I’m not reading.” He had no quick retort, the logic was sound.
She had always loved books. She devoured books by the arm load. Her mom complained that she was asking her to be driven to the library every other day. Her favourite book was ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’. She was determined to find the entrance to Narnia and the magical world that was right behind that door. Always believing in pixies and fairies and all the woodland creatures, she knew it was out there, the door.
There were plenty of places to look for the door. Her family lived on ten acres of land, most of it trees, with many potential entrances to Narnia. It was her job every morning to collect the eggs from the chicken coop and to feed the goat. She had raised the goat since he was a baby, every morning before school she would feed him warm milk from an empty beer bottle with a nipple, supplied by her parents of course. And every morning she would use her chore time to scan for potential entrance ports.
She stood there counting, eyes shut, finally reaching 20, she opened her eyes and stared into the forest again. Waiting. Did she see the branches on the tree sway? Was the rustling of leaves a breeze or the fairies leading the way? Was that large knot on the closest tree a door knob?
She looked down at Tex beside her. He had given up, lying at her feet, eyes closed and relaxed. He hadn’t heard anything. She sighed audibly. Tex snapped his head up and looked at her, curiosity in her faithful pup’s eyes. “Come on Tex, let’s go home, we’re not going to Narnia today”. Tex jumped up to his feet, excited for the next adventure.
She shuffled toward home, her red Wellington boots a bit big for her small feet. Tex sauntering easily alongside. She loved splashing in all the puddles along the way. She paused beside a big muddy ditch and stared at the muck. A series of small, round pebbles caught her eye. She bent over and carefully picked them up. One by one, she threw the stones into the mud. Each one making a dull thud and splashy noise. The mud splattered onto her red boots. She imagined that she had slayed a tiny dragon that she saw in the mud. Feeling proud of her accomplishments, she smiled and continued on home. Although she did not find the entrance to Narnia, she would try again tomorrow. Tomorrow would definitely be the day.
I used to think that you’d open the door, and there was Narnia. Increasingly, I think it’s all around us ~ Clive Barker
**Disclaimer: I was nominated by the very talented Steve at MSich Chronicles for the Tell the Story challenge. As a self identified rule breaker I’m going to forgo nominating specific bloggers, as there are so many whose words I want to read. And instead challenge all of you to use my cover photo (below) as your Tell the Story starter. Hopefully it provides great inspiration, this challenge pushed me and I thank you