Crista's Journey to the Otherworld Is written to entertain but the thought that it grapples with bullies and their victim's life was intentional yet unintentional. Hopefully this carries the message that bullying is never okay. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. -1 Corinthians 13:7 “We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.” -Anaïs Nin Copyright by Victoria Otazo, Marmar Zakher ISBN: 978-0-359-06690-2 Chapter 1 "Ouch,” reacted Crista as she was pushed to the hard concrete floor. Connie smirks, "Serves you right, you white trash." "Why? What have I done to any of you that you should treat me like this?!" With blue eyes that seemed to Crista colder than ice, "Because you exist...Now, girls." At her order, Connie's group started to repeatedly kick Crista while in fetal position. All the while, Crista thought, I won't cry. I won’t give them that satisfaction. After who knows how long this had been going on, an angry voice shouted, "Hey! What the hell do you idiots think you're doing?!" Gina. Annoyed, Connie said, "You Again? Really, Gina, do you have to save your girlfriend each and every time?” Gina said, "Ha! You wish I swung that way," before pulling out her cellphone and saying, "If you and your lackeys don't get out of here before I count to zero, I'm calling 9-1-1 on your asses." Before Gina even got to three, they were gone. "Seriously Crista why didn't you get up and fight back? I always have your back but this is getting old. I hate those stupid bitches. They have nothing better to do with their time but to ridicule you and you just take it." Gina exasperated with the most annoyed look on her face as they walked back to Crista's house. "I hate my life Gina! And you're not making me feel any better I want to cry." Crista softly sobs. "I'm sorry, sweetie, I just want you to stick up for yourself." "I know, I just get scared when I see Connie and her clique c-c-cause I know what's gonna happen next." "I seriously wanted to punch Connie's face, she's lucky she scrammed. That stupid bitch is an idiot." "Thanks Gina." "Look don't mention it. Bullying is a problem that needs to go away. And it won't. You know why? Because there is such a thing called jealousy. She's jealous of you." "Yeah right? What is she jealous of?" "That you're a sweet girl and she's the devil incarnate." Crista laughs. "Okay, sweetheart. If your parents find out, call me okay. I have to go home now. This has got to stop I'm ditching class because of you sweetie not to mention, risking my hide from my mom." At this, Crista laughed, "Yeah, your mom has got nothing on Connie when she's in a rage." "Don't you know it, but what are friends for?" "I'm so sorry." "Ok, call me, love." "Okay bye." Crista takes her key and opens the door as softly as a feather falling to the floor. Her parents were so busy arguing that they didn't even notice. "Ana, now listen, honey. I told you cook the butter on the pan first. Then add the simmer. Then add the shrimps. Did you do what I said? Now it tastes like shit, honey?! What'd you do?" "Listen to me, Dan; I cook for you each and every day. And this is the thanks I get? The hell is with you! I'm through I'm absolutely through. Next time I cook for you it’s going to taste like double shit. And you're going to beg me to cook like I always do. I'm a great cook. You must have eaten a mushroom. I'm sorry Dan you cook or you behave." Crista shuts her door quietly. "Oh God, my parents are crazy. I'm glad they didn't see me. " After murmuring that, Crista jumped on her bed and thought about how pitiful her life was. She had no friends except for Gina, but even she knew how pathetic she was. Ever since day one of high school, she had been targeted by Connie and her cronies and could never fight back. And now, even though she wasn't that bad of a student, it would be a miracle if she ever graduated from high school and went to college with how truant she was. That reminded her that she would have to delete the messages the school would send her parents about her ditching school, again. Crista shuddered at the reminder of what had happened the last time she got caught ditching school before thinking, It’s not even my fault that I don't attend school. If anything its that Connie girl and her clique’s fault so my parents shouldn't even blame me, but nooooo, if I ditch school suddenly, the whole world is going to collapse. In the midst of her thoughts, Crista felt her eyes get heavy and allowed the bliss of sleep to claim her with the thought, At least I'm safe in my dreams. Crista woke up groggy and tired of her life but she dragged her feet to school yet again. It was time for lunch and Gina was running late to see her at the cafeteria. Oh God. Gina is running late again. Stupid teachers make you stay until the entire minute or even more. I'll just get her food so we can eat together. "Hi, Mrs. Lopez" "Hello! How are you? Do you know you look so pretty?" What Mrs. Lopez didn't know, the old cafeteria cook, was that Crista could see the pity in her eyes. "Can I get served for two trays? My friend is running late. She's still in class." "Yes anything for you. What would you like?" "She likes pizza. I'll get the lasagna. I also need two cans of coke." "Okay here you go. Anything else?" "Yeah we'll just get the salads on the side. I'll have Italian, she likes Balsamic." "Okay, sweetie. Enjoy!" Crista spots a table and walks carefully so she does not drop the food. Connie walks briskly and slams down the trays from Crista's hands. "Oops! Sorry I didn't see you. You're just so much of a midge that I thought I was walking through air." Feeling her eyes moisten, Crista drops her trays on a random table and races to the bathroom before they can see her tears. Peeking out from the stalls to make sure that no one was there, Crista crept out of the bathroom stall so that she could wash the stains of her tears from her face. As she was splashing the tap water on her face a voice asked, "Are you alright?" The girl's hair was dyed a deep blue and her contacts made her eyes look a brilliant gold. Her skin was a golden olive tone and she was dressed in a black sweater and cargo pants. Normally, Crista avoided these types, but something in her eyes made her want to tell her the truth. So Crista bluntly said, "I was bullied." Taken aback the girl said, "I see. Well, you want to know a cool trick?" "What?” The girl clasped her hands together and when they opened, an Ace of Spades appeared and landed on the deck effortlessly that she hid through her sleeve. “Amazing how on earth did you do that?!" The girl smiled and said, "A secret. But do you feel better, now?" Crista nodded and realized that she did. Witnessing something so incredibly odd had made her forget her troubles if only for a few moments. The girl then handed her a necklace with a teardrop pendant made out some unrecognizable stone. "What's this for? Oh you shouldn’t.” "As thanks for enjoying my trick. Hold on to this while facing the stars and say, 'I wish upon a star and my dreams will come true' and you will find that life is not as hard as you believe it to be." Crista looked up from the charm and looked around and scoffed, "As if-hey where'd you go?" The girl with charm disappeared. ********** "Oh my god! Gina I just met this weird girl in the bathroom!" "What are you hallucinating now? Dammit girl I'm going to file a report with the school principal over these bullies and you’re coming with me! I can't take this anymore. I'm so concerned for you. I'm tired of this bullshit!" "Seriously Gina a girl just randomly gave me a charm necklace and disappeared before my eyes." "What?! How does she looks like?" "She had gold eyes probably because of her contacts and she was pretty." "Okay that doesn't tell me anything. Maybe you were hallucinating. Sweetie let's go home. I'm walking you again." "Fine. I wish you could believe me." "I'm trying to sweetie. But I can't right now. You have to be in my shoes. Poor thing. I just hate that girl. On Monday we are going to file a report with the school principal." "Okay but I'm scared." "Why?" "Because what if I get in trouble?" "Oh dear god, you're not going to get in trouble." "Okay fine. I'll do it." When Crista entered her home, she sighed in relief at finding it empty and then went to delete the phone messages that the school left from her absence yesterday. When that was done and taken care of, she went upstairs to take a nap. When Crista awoke she opened her bedroom window to the night sky and thought about the misery that was her life. Amidst her thoughts, she remembered the pendant that graced her neck and the words of the girl. If asked later on, Crista wouldn't have been able to answer, but in the moment of self-pity, she wanted something different to happen so while tightly gripping the teardrop pendant she said that corny phrase, "I wish upon a star that my dreams will come true," and in her sleep state her world began to turn into a vortex of many colors. Little did she know, she landed on another planet. Chapter 2 Blood. No matter how many times Grakevah had seen this, it was always the same. He had to remember to himself that in eight years time, he would be joining his father on the council of the great Raeynova and no matter how they seemed now, these people were filth and were undeserving of whatever mercy he wished to give them. After all, it was this same spy that was a follower of that cruel god who wishes for the destruction of Raevo and his people. As he looked at his men, no his father's men, removing the spy's nails one by one from his hands and feet, he thought, Remember, he deserves this. This is for all the harm and destruction that has been wrought on the great people of Raeynova, those favored by the god Raevo. While standing calmly and staring down the spy, Grakevah said, "This would be easier if you would just give us the names of those you are working with. If you do, your pain will end and I will assure you a quick death." "You bloody alloy-hugger! There isn't a drop of loyalty in any one of you Raevo cultists! I will never give up my allies!" Grakevah sighed, knowing that today, he would have to personally see to the prisoner or he wouldn't talk. Whenever he met one of these types, they were either the first to confess under the first hour or the stubborn types. Unfortunately for him, some of his soul would be ripped away as he personally saw to this one. Knowing that it wouldn't be good if Grakevah lost his composure in front of his father's men, he picked up a scalpel and began the painstaking work of slowly butchering the spy until he confessed an hour and a half later. ******** Grakevah briskly exited the interrogation room and headed toward his toilet room. He began to puke excessively. The fuel discharge was quickly discarded by Grakevah so no one would notice. Grakevah's racing thoughts got on his nerves quickly. How can he keep up with this vile, sadistic lifestyle in a world where he just viciously interrogated a poor soul taking orders for the sake of his god? His tendencies towards a peaceful life never let up. No matter what he did. Whether it be travel to an outside planet or write away his heart's thoughts it evaded him on a cyclical basis. The only thing that comforted him from time to time was his dear friend Magisdru. Whenever he would see Magisdru he would regain his memories of when he played with his mother, Meanomarsha, when he was growing up. Now that his mother is out of sight but only within a time travel's reach, Magisdru is his mentor and only friend. "Magisdru, I need your help," Grakevah said in worried manner. "Yes Grakevah what can I do for you now? You seem very perplexed, did your father order you to enslave a Raeyvo or execute the required ritual tasks again?" Magisdru always noticed the pensive worried look on his face and knew he hated his father and his life on Raeynova. "No it's not that. I'm just tired of following my father's orders around every single living existence of my being! You know I just want my own taste of freedom." Grakevah began to tear up. "I understand you would like to view your world in a whole new light Grakevah but unless you do something about it, it makes no sense to deprecate yourself over it. Fight for your right to live the life you want. If it were up to me, I would leave in a heartbeat. I don't have anywhere to go. At least you know the secret ins and outs of the time travel machine. If you unhooked it someplace else they might find you but that's the risk you'd take. Do you understand what I mean?" "Yes I do understand. But you don't get it. I am trapped here too. All I have is my mother and I don't know. She's hard to see on a more cyclical basis because of father. If he didn't order me around and look for me every millispacial, I would easily live my existence on another world." "Sounds like you need a mate. I'm running out of time myself." Magisdru said with a smirk on his face almost sensing Grakevah is better off than himself. "You just gave me an idea." Grakevah's eyes beamed open. "I am going to go to and fro with the galactic intention to look for my soulmate. She may be in another kingdom. I can go to [uranus] for more information. I know they have a computer or many that can give you the locale and physical details and the rest of a matching atomic energetic mate." "Well that sounds like a plan. Just make sure your father doesn't find out. If he knows he's going to smother you like a creature stuck in a time capsule." Magisdru didn't know what to expect from Grakevah. He always he saw him with another perplexed, inhibited, and passive aggressive look on his face of the doom gloom he always experienced. But this time he finally thought the energy around Grakevah was going to change for the better. And he hoped his father wouldn't know. ********* Grakevah walked through Kamosrom, the capital of Raeynova. As he walked, men saluted him and people he had helped waved to him. He knew that most of the country did not enjoy the prosperity of the capital, but he liked to think that was he was strong enough to at least protect those residing in Kamosrom. Every time his eyes looked into the Kalapen towers and citizens of the capital, his resolve was strengthened. Grakevah would do whatever was necessary to protect them, even if it cost him his own soul. From the corner of his eye, he spotted his father's snake of a servant, Xplorion, but continued his wanderings. He never liked him, not even as a boy and always wondered why his strong father placed such trust in so obvious a coward. Spotting his friend, his father's rat of an agent was soon forgotten. ******** As Xplorion walked, he entered Bezzlomatis' estate easily as the guards had known him as one of their own cold blooded agents. Walking through the seemingly complicated estate, he came upon a large door made out of kalapen, a type of hardened mineral only found on Raeynova that most buildings were made out of. Bezzlomatis fierce voice deadpanned,"Enter." Bezzlomatis was the most cunning, crafty, and intelligent of all council members at Raeynova. Standing 6 foot 4 he was a towering figure, intimidating especially with his dark features staring at you with the coldest black eyes ever seen on the planet doomed with destruction. At the sound of Bezzlomatis' darkened and hoarse voice there was an authority that made all that heard him bow down in obedience. "What have you found Xplorion that might be of interest to my knowledge?" Bezzlomatis knew the answer before he was given the answer but asked out of his testy nature. "My Lord, I know that there is an astral user that is being intercepted by our atomic sensories machinery located heavily inside the quarantine room." Xplorion knew at this point Bezzlomatis was more cold than letting on. "And why would he choose the quarantine room and not any other?" Bezzlomatis grew tired and would ask no more questions. "Because, my Lord, this astral user needs to be safe from the knowledge of his very own father finding out which is yourself, my Lord." Xplorion said timidly hoping he could scram as soon as he was ordered to. "Leave Xplorion and summon Grakevah in your place." Bezzlomatis penetrated the atom with which he could sense his son's betrayal and could not help but grow angry. "As you wish, my Lord." Xplorion walked briskly towards Grakevah's headquarters with the guards that escorted him to and fro. As Xplorion and the guards walked the halls briskly, they sensed the atomic worry handled by the others in interaction with their's and tried best to keep the matter a secret. And no one dare penetrate into the matter lest Xplorion find out and relay it back to Bezzlomatis. As they walked and entered a transport to Grakevah's headquarters a sense of jarred energy rushed toward Xplorion and his guards. Xplorion buzzed his name through the electrical recording apparatus which beamed his voice and translated it into his red name across the top of the room's door with his message: "Candidate Grakevah, I have a message from Bezzlomatis. It is Xplorion." Grakevah's message beamed back to Xplorion.. "Do tell and do not enter yet, I am taking care of business." Sensing Grakevah's irritation, Xplorion called with a more stern voice, "I have word from your father Bezzlomatis that you must enter into his chamber at once. The guards are with me." Grakevah exited his room with a look of extreme displeasure at Xplorion before he was escorted back to his father's secret chamber. As they walked, Grakevah wondered just what truth that snake had twisted to get him into trouble. He thought, No matter, I'm sure it's nothing I can talk my way out of. After no more than four minutes, the guards waited outside and Grakevah entered his father's office. "Yes father you summoned me. What is going on? Why did you summon me like this?" "How dare you visit Abdomhan without my knowledge. If you persist I will punish you. Sneaky son aren't you. Going into to the quarantine without anyone's knowledge and staking your hide out. I assure you it will happen if you persist." With a calm he did not feel, Grakevah said, "I assure you, Father. I have no idea as to what you are talking about. Although it is true that I intend to go to my mother's planet, it is not for the reason that you believe." "You lie!" fixing his momentary show of emotion, Bezzlomatis, took a deep breathe to calm himself before saying, "I know you love your mother Meanomarsha but she is no longer living within our confines. It is wise for you to stop your secret activity." Bezzlomatis turned around trying to hide his thought from his son over his mother. He was inwardly jealous that his mother loved his son over him but was too proud to show it. "Father, will you at least hear me out?" Without facing his son, Bezzlomatis said, "Five minutes." Smiling at his victory, Grakevah said, "As you are aware, it is only a few more years until I go through the ceremony and take my place alongside you on the council." "Yes. Go on." "As you are also aware, it is customary for most council members to be mated by the time they take a seat and currently the only unmated member would be Magisdru." At his father's nod, Grakevah continued, "My wish was to discreetly visit Abdomhan with the intention of searching for a loyal mate." Bezzlomatis made certain that Grakevah would choose a loyal mate for Raeynova if he should attain council status. His father said, "Make do that she is an allegiant to Raeynova's will and force in this kingdom." Grakevah replied, "Of course, father." His father then turned to him and said, "I see. Very well, but the next time, even if your intention is to be discreet, please do inform me." Before he turned to leave, Grakevah acquiesced, "Yes, father." Rushing back to his room, Grakevah knew he needed to speak with Magisdru. He wondered how that snake had found out and for a moment thought his friend betrayed him, but quickly dismissed the thought. Chapter 3 Colors. That's all Crista could see. First blue. Then purple. Now red. She couldn't keep track of them all, but in the back of her mind was a strange sensation. She tried to grasp it and vaguely, it came to her. She thought, I'm falling. In this indescribable wonderland of colors, her brown eyes widened, and she screamed, "Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!! OMG, what happened? Where am I going?!!" Crista was falling in mid-air in what appeared to be an another realm. The colors. So many colors were changing before her eyes rapidly. She could see blue, green, red, violet, and all of the colors imaginable including colors she never dreamed of. But Crista couldn't make certain what she felt or where she was going. "Oh nooooo! What's going on?!!!" Clash!!! Crista landed on a sea creature with pods and slumped on his malleable back as he slept. There was nothing but fear that suddenly came over her face. The pods were a glowy kind of silver color with a texture her eyes had never seen on Earth. "What is this?! I have never seen this in my entire life! Am I dreaming or is this some freakish dream I'm having? I gotta get out of here!! Ahhwh!!" The moving creature in the lagoon looked so colorful and dreamy but she was in sheer panic over its silver ponds that interconnected by what seemed like air. It formed a face, a body, and limbs. "Tákam mecuirbarat peeneeladhee ar amadroimee?! Eknoisaimaspa!" Crista thought, I can't understand a word they're saying!! Out loud, she yelled, "What the hell?! You don't speak English?!" The creature then started arguing with something that Crista couldn't see in the water with that strange lyrical language of theirs before a strange bluish mist lifted from the pale blue water. As the nanobots that would allow them to communicate entered her body through her pores, Crista was filled with unimaginable pain. At first it wa just like tiny pokes, but then it felt like each one of her pores were being jammed in with a million tiny bullets. With what little thought she could muster, Crista imagined that this pain was equivalent to having her period and childbirth at the same time. As Crista opened her mouth to scream, the pain had vanished as quickly as it had come. As for the Zenghoolin creature, it could feel her malleating his ponds and with his grouchy voice could not be perturbed in his lagoon. This was the most terrifying creature of the pond due to his high temper. If perturbed, he could strike at any moment. Feeling that enough was enough, the Zenghoolin tossed her off and Crista's body clashed into the lake as the Zenghoolin prayed to the gods that she would drown. "Oughhhhh, oughhhh," Crista fighting for air managed to swim in these deep waters but Zenghoolin pushed her into the deep not knowing what her intentions were when she landed on him. Cánotia, the feminine fish-baby with her little human-like body covered in blue sea fins and scales and an olive-complexion of her humanoid skin, saw upon swimming in the distance for pleasure with her sea fish parents in sight, a girl in the distance gasping for breath from a pond creature.. Cánotia rushed to her sea father, Muiheer, who like his daughter had humanoid skin and blue fins and scales, rushed to the girl's side along with Arateed, his mate, who swam as fast as she could alongside him. "What do you think you're doing to this young lady, let go of her, Zenghoolin!" Muiheer untangles the pods out of Crista's arms so she is not drowning and Areetad his female mate swims with them to help her to safety at the shore of the unusually large pond. It was an unfamiliar territory like anyone had ever dreamed of on Earth but one thing’s for sure, Crista literally rushed where angels fear to tread. And she didn't know how she did it. She just did it. When she got to land and the shock wore off, her eyes darting everywhere and then in a moment of epiphany she thought, Oh, I get it. I'm Dreaming. With that one thought, everything began to become clear for Crista. She really wasn't here so it was okay to let things happen as they come even though she'd never do such a thing in real life because no matter what happened, it wouldn't affect her real life. That was why when the fish offered her food, she accepted it and when they began asking her standard interview-like questions like where was she from and what was her name, she answered truthfully in between bites of the strange, sweet purplish fruit that they had given her to eat. While she was thinking about how good this fruit tasted for a dream, the Chemeerlach began to whisper among themselves. Muiheer whispered, "Is she the one?" Zenghoolin whispered, "What are you on about, she can't be the one. Look at her." All three of them looked at Crista trying to figure out what exactly the fruit in her hands was. His mate whispered, "But she does fit all the prophecies made on it and whoever heard of a hero who appeared as a hero when you first met them." Muiheer whispered, "She's right. In the stories, heroes are always the least expected." Zenghoolin whispered, "Very well. We'll give it a try, but if you two are wrong remember that it's on you both." Arateed kindly smiled and said, "Crista you have such a lovely name you know many would love to get to know you. Why don't you visit the trusted councilman is Rikown Sahnasant." "What?! Who are you people I am only dreaming. This is the funniest dream I have ever had." Crista was laughing at the lady she thought appeared weird to her. "I am Muiheer my mate is kindly inviting you to see someone to also explain to you that this is more than a wishful dream. You are on Abdomhan." Just as he said the planet's name he waved his fins and arm in motion so that she could see the planet's beautiful colors. "I see this supposed dream planet is colorful and nice and you people are nice but I think it’s time for me to wake up. How do I wake up?" Crista was starting to whine again over her circumstance. "Only way to find out is to go to Rikown lady!" Zenghoolin didn't wince on a word. "Fine I'll go! Now where's the map?" Crista motioned for it impatiently. Crista was handed an instruction by Muiheer when something odd happened in her hearing. She heard the sounds of ruffling feathers and scuffles in the nearby brushes. She thought to herself, Now what? From the dark purple bushes came out three...things? Well, she wasn't exactly sure what to call them except for things. They didn't resemble anything in real life, she meant, they didn't even have freaking arms. They were about three feet tall, with thick violet colored fur? Crista didn't even want to know if that wasn't fur. Their bodies were round with heads proportional to their bodies, goblin-like ears covered in the same thick fur, and faces that were each as unique as if you were looking at three different human faces. As for their legs, they were thin and reminded her of a flamingo's legs, except they weren't as more fluffy. Crista dumbly stared at them for a solid three split seconds before she turned to the Zenghoolin and while gesturing to the three things with her right thumb, she said, "What the hell are they?" In disgustingly cute voices the three jumped up and simultaneously exclaimed, "We're the Meechies!" Crista thought, Th-they t-talk too? ********** As she walked, Crista thought that she had quite the imagination. She meant that who would have ever thought that she could dream up a place with blue and purple foliage with pale gray tree trunks? Even the grass was a silvery blue! At this thought, she felt her hand itch with the need to draw and wished that she had dreamed up her sketch book so that she could draw all this, but then thought that she could just do that when she woke up. She couldn't help but mutter, "Take that Connie." "Who's Connie?" A Meechie muttered in intrigue. "What did you ask me? You're a furry thing that talks in my dream and you have a personality and you want to know who is bugging me? Hahahahaha! I'm having a trippy dream." Crista was nearly relieved that she was not afraid of her experience anymore. She was starting to accept it when all of a sudden she began to remember a website that said if you die in your dreams, you die in real life. "Oh god! Wait am I dead? I gotta pinch myself. Oh noooo!! I'm dead! Let me look for my mom. Wait ... MOM! Can you hear me ?! Oh no." "We are the Meechies we bring you no harm we only need you to know you are not dead. You will be with your mom soon. We will help you find her. From where did you spring from?" The Meechies innocently yet creepily wanted to assist her and were not helping. "I think I'm fine I just need to calm down. I'm in a dream state right now I'll wake up soon." Crista comforted herself. "What brings you here? How did you come?" A Meechie asked. "I came when I slept and dreamed this place up after making a wish on a star." Art notwithstanding, Crista was starting to hate this colorful hell. "I am a Meechie like my friends we mean no harm. We know you are afraid. We can bring our friend who can help you find your dream portal. He can lead you back. This is how you came here. Through a portal from the skies." One of the Meechies was starting to feel sorry for the young girl. "But we can keep you company." Feeling the proverbial light bulb click over her head, Crista said, "No that's okay. I'm just a little weird cause I need to go to the bathroom. Is it okay if I can have some privacy?" The middle meechie said, "We will wait here and you can go in the trees." The right one said, "But don't take too long." Looking at them, Crista thought that their wide eyes meant that they were the trusting sort, but experience had taught her that even the kindest of eyes could hide even the blackest of hearts so she asked, "Why?" The left one answered, "It's dangerous to be alone in the forest." Crista nodded and then walked through the trees and when she was far enough away she snickered at how gullible they were. As if she would actually go back. She meant how did she know that these things weren't the minions for some evil creature that sent them to lure everyone into a false sense of security before secretly killing them in that "Rikown" place? Sure they seemed nice and innocent, but their cuteness bordered on creepy so it was the smart thing to leave them be and it's not like anything was going to happen to them with how well they seem to know this forest. As she thought, she muttered, "Hmmm...I wonder if that's what you call this place. I mean sure it looks like a forest, but the colors are still off." She then turned her head right and left before she continued, "Great. Now I'm lost in my own dream world. Perfect Crista. Just perfect..." Her voice trailed off as she saw the most adorable creature in her life. It was small and white and fluffy with cute little dog ears and the prettiest silvery blue eyes she had ever seen. Looking at it she couldn't help, but want to help out this poor creature. Who would have ever abandoned anything so cute? Call it maternal instincts or whatever, but Crista was suddenly filled with the urge to protect this creature. It wasn't just some momentary flighty feeling of compassion either. She just felt like if she didn't protect this creature it would... well she wasn't exactly sure what would happen. She just had to protect this wondrous creature. As Crista was lost to the charms of this creature, she did not see the eight foot tall white, furry, creature that was the cub's mother lunging for the unsuspecting girl caught under the tiny cub's illusionary abilities. At the last second before it could sink it claws and teeth Crista, three voices yelled, "Protect" and a blue sphere surrounded Crista right before the creature could hit her, causing it to smash head first into the barrier. All at once, the smash had snapped Crista out of the cub's spell and she dropped the creature from her arms into the ground and in a daze asked, "What just happened?" "Lady Crista, are you alright, " asked a disgustingly familiar voice. As Crista looked down at the Meechies, she thought, I thought I lost these things already. I can't believe I am not dreaming. Everything feels so real. I just can't believe it. I was going to get into a lot of trouble. I must be in another world or something. How on earth did I get here? Oh wait. I'm not sleeping anymore because I realize what's going on. Oh great! "What do you think you are doing to this strange lady? Why do you seek to destroy her? You do not know her intentions." Said the middle of the Meechies toward the aggressive mother. "I don't care what you think or say about my intentions. I seek only to care for my baby Ghebassah! This young lady does not know him and yet she seeks to care as though she is his mother. But I am his mother and I felt a threat coming!" The mother of the cub standing eight feet tall towered over the Meechies seeking to intimidate them with the sound of her commanding voice and height. She didn't care at all about the Meechie's speech. She considered her voice to be more projected especially in the presence of her young. "You must think I will let you get away with this lady being hurt. But we won't let you." As the next Meechie said these words, the mother Ghebassah outstretched her paws and sought to strick the Meechie who spoke up before the elder Meechie created a barrier. And the mother felt her paw sting. "Ahh! Now I'm grabbing that lady for good!" Mother Ghebassah reached out to Crista grabbing her by the arm toward her cub who sought to put a spell on her again. But the Meechie who didn't say anything yet thought of a great idea. "Wait!!" The littlest Meechie finally said a word. "What do you want?" The mother eyed him viciously. "Why don't you let her give you a favor in return for freedom from your spells and ensnarement." The little Meechie proved to be loyal. "And what can she give me that I don't already have." The mother became angry jerking Crista's arm as she was listless and dumbfounded as to what was happening to her. First, she could not believe she was dreaming nonetheless in front of two stranger characters fighting over her soul's right to freedom. Finally she started to open up to the Meechies. "Let me go! I can give you a favor of drawing? I-I-I am an artist. I can draw your baby?" As Crista said the words I can draw your baby suddenly the mother's grip loosened with an air of tranquility coming from the spirit of the mother. "An artist? How interesting...but I have no need of any paintings." The mother began to walk slowly towards Crista and whispered, "Light of the Great Moon, For the sake of a boon, Create for me an orb." A blinding light suddenly appeared and a circular sphere filled with a strange bluish light appeared and fell to Crista's hands. "Artist, keep that for now. When I have need of you it shall glow with the light of the Great Moon and I shall come for you to give me my favor," said the Mother Gheabassah before she left with her young. As the creatures left, Crista thought, oh god what did I do to get here? And how will I get out of this crazed place. When they were gone, the Meechies erupted in an uproar at how she had abandoned them. They were talking so fast and all at once that she couldn't keep track of when one complaint started and the next ended. Amidst their complaints, the situation really hit her. She realized that if it wasn't for the Meechies, she would have really died. It was the first time that anyone except for Gina had ever saved her life and even with Gina, she wasn't completely sure if she would go so far as to actually stick her neck out for Crista like that. Connie and her cronies were one thing, but this was life and death here and as much as she hated to admit, she had never met anyone who would ever risk their lives for someone like her. And as she thought this that irritating thing called a conscience began to creep in. "I'm sorry," yelled Crista and the Meechie's complaints abruptly stopped. At their silence, Crista continued, "I was just scared but if you guys still want to; can you lead me to that Rikown place or whatever?" The right Meechie asked, "So you won't try to abandon us again?" "Yeah I won't." "And you won't wander off," asked the left one. "Yes." "Lady Crista, we are so happy to have earned your trust," finished the middle one. Crista could feel herself getting red. No one had ever been happy to be close to her before. Even Gina always complained about her personality. As they walked, Crista thought, Maybe this is my chance. Maybe I can throw away the old Crista and become a new one. After all, no one knows the old Crista. Chapter 4 "Oh honey, do you have to watch that show right now? We're supposed to be eating at the dinner table," Ana complained as she set the table. She couldn't stand watching her husband's neglect as it was a Friday night. Dan was a computer programmer so he was prone to have attention deficit disorder bouts, but really, couldn't he understand her feelings? "I have to watch it. I have been getting almost every question right on the show. Can't you wait honey?" Dan replied with irritation. "I made some shrimp soup, your favorite." Ana's smile was hiding that she felt neglected in the family. "Oh thank you honey," responded Dan with a slightly guilty smile. As Dan seated at the table he felt there was something bugging him at the back of his mind. But he forgot so pushed it from his mind to focus on his meal. In contrast, Ana remembered their daughter that was noticeably absent. She just decided to use this chance to let her daughter rest and have some peace with her husband. "I can't believe you're a brainiac at figuring out all those jeopardy questions! I couldn't give a flipping answer for the life of me," Ana commented with an impressed glint in her eye. "Thanks but a post graduate education in engineering and lots of books helps a lot too you know. And what you lack in science you make up for in your paintings." Dan replied embarrassingly as he attempted to complement her. Ana was about to thank her husband for the rare compliment when a banging happened at the door. Opening the door, Ana found Gina there. For a moment she was confused as to why Gina was here so late and was about to ask why. "Hello Mrs. Gatz, do you know where Crista is?" asked Gina. "In her room, why did something happen?" asked Ana. "No, why would you think that? She just borrowed my...er...notes and I realized that I really needed them back because there's this big test tomorrow and my mom will kill me if I fail it and I can't pass it without those notes. So yeah, notes," responded Gina nervously. "Notes," said Ana in disbelief. "Yeah. For my test," Gina replied. "So you've said," responded Ana. "Well, Mrs. Gatz it was nice talking to you, but I'm gonna go upstairs now," Gina said. "Yes, for your notes," said Ana in disbelief before shrugging and going back to the dinner table. As she made to sit down, Anna muttered, "Kids these days are so strange. Why I remember when we were young.” "That was a very long time ago and times have changed," interrupted Dan. Just as Ana was about to respond an ear-splitting scream went off from the attic that made Crista's room. Forgetting any plans, both Dan and Anna ran up to the attic to find Gina screaming at an unconsciousness Crista. "Oh dear god, what's going on?! Crista can you hear me?" Dan was startled to watch Crista lying there aimlessly breathing but not awake. "Oh god, don't just stand there Dan do something! Call 9-11!" Ana became hysterical at the sight of her listless daughter not responding. "Oh my god, Mrs. Gatz, what happened to her?" Gina felt bewildered. She didn't know what caused Crista to be passed out on the bed like that. In a state of shock, Gina could do nothing but watch helplessly as her friend lie there not responding. Dan fumbled for his cellphone. "Dispatcher?" Dan panicked. "My daughter is knocked out. I have no idea what's going on. No, I said I don't know what's going on! How would I know what caused this?! Sh-she was in school , came home and now we're in her room looking at her like this. Please send help right away. Our address is 67894 Clayborn Avenue, Sacramento CA 94235. "Sir we'll send an ambulance right away. Make sure she is not lying down in a way to obstruct the airflow so just leave her as she is if she isn't obstructed. Our ambulance is coming right away okay?" The dispatcher attempted to act calm and in control. "Yes mom." Dan replied calmly yet nervous. ******** "Hi, I am your nurse Jackie, I understand your Crista's family. The doctor will come in around 15 more minutes if you can just wait outside the ICU he is finishing the evaluation." The nurse felt sorry for them but tried to comfort them in her tone of voice. "Ok thank you." Said Dan subtly disappointingly. "Ok if you need anything I'll be around the hall and rooms and you can just call me okay." The nurse was attentive to their needs. "God, Mrs. Gatz I can see your poor daughter is all hooked up into machines and she's barely breathing. Who knows what knocked her unconscious?" Gina's face grew long staring at Crista through the ICU unit window. "I know this is a complete shocker, thanks for coming here you are such a good friend. I am so worried that Crista is going to be here for a long time. I don't know how this even happened. We were having dinner next thing you know she has a machine and tubes hooked onto her. I see the doctor is coming out Dan. Oh god." "Ana I think she is going to be fine. Just calm down. They'll tell us what's wrong, she's in good care now. I am glad we have health insurance for Crista." Dan looked perplexed but strong. "Hello, I understand Crista is you daughter Mr. and Mrs. Gatz?" Dr. William's pensive poise looked stern. "Yes, doctor." They braved for the worst. "Would you like the good news or the bad news first?" asked Dr. William. Ana and Dan shared a look. "Good news," Ana finally responded. "Well the good news is that physically there is nothing wrong with your daughter. She is perfectly healthy and fit. There is also no signs of foreign substances entering her body to cause her current state." "Then, if nothing is wrong with her, why won't she wake up?" Gina bluntly asked. "This is the bad news. We will be running a few more tests to be sure, but for now, we believe that the problem is psychological. I recommend we receive a specialist's opinion." Dr. Williams responded. "That is just nuts. There is nothing mental about my daughter. She is a fine sweet girl, she is not crazy and has never had an inclination to be sick. So why are you diagnosing this as psychological?" Ana said with a slowly escalating voice. "Ana let me handle this. Listen Dr. Williams I understand you believe that our daughter has a psychological diagnosis but how could she have even reached that if there is no foreign substance in her body? Are you telling me she is epileptic or something? I want you to get another doctor for a second opinion right away." Dan was just as annoyed and demanding for a legitimate answer. "I am sorry Mr. Gatz but I cannot force you to have Crista be seen by a specialist but it is in her best interest." Dr. Williams was not obliging since he follows the strict protocol of the hospital. He did not see it fitting to let her see another diagnostic doctor since it would undermine his opinion and integrity. Chapter 5 Crista stretched once she was able to see the skyline from the hill she stood on. Down below looked to be a village of some sort straight out of some video game or something. Behind her was the "Forest of Bakantus." Feeling a breeze, Crista remarked, "I thought we'd never leave that place." "This forest is big, but only just so," responded the middle meechie. "So where are we off to now?" Crista asked. "I heard in the days before the council, it used to be really difficult to get to the capital," said the left meechie. "So the capital," wondered Crista aloud. "Yes, since the council was established, there is a road that cuts straight to the capital," said the middle meechie. Crista nodded and the three made their way towards the village, but stopped at the sound of shouting. "What do you mean closed off?" yelled a...cat. Crista stared in disbelief at was surely a very large stripped human-like cat, in beige slacks, a green tunic, and brown boots. "Talk about a new meaning to 'Puss in Boots'," muttered Crista. All three meechies cocked their heads in curiosity. "Do you have any idea who I am? I have my papers? Or is it ryul you want?" kept yelling the cat-man. The men that he was yelling at had blue and purple hair, pale skin, and were dressed in this black, asian style tunic, with black pants and boots. What was weirder was that Crista didn't see any weapons on them. As Crista was examining the guards, she heard the cat-man walk away from them and mutter, "By the Saint, everything has gone wrong on this trip." "Saint? You mean like what the Catholics have?" Crista asked the cat-man curiously. "I don't know what these 'Catholics' you so speak of are, but do not confuse the Saint with some lowly everyday No-Fur*," the cat-man said with an air of authority. One meechie jumped on top of Crista's head and said, "But, sir the Saint was a No-Fur*." "Yes, but he is incomparable to any other No-Fur. The Saint is someone who no one can ever compare to," the cat-man said while blushing like some fan-girl. "Um...you still haven't told me who this Saint guy is," Crista attempted to interject. The cat-man looked Crista up from head to two and narrowing his slitted eyes said, "Now that I take a good look at you, your coloring is off, even for a No-Fur," then he grinned like cheshire cat and continued, "Oh, I've heard that in the mountains there exist small tribal groups of No-Furs with odd looks. You must be one of them," he then looked at Crista with pity and said, "You must have never heard of the Saint. Come walk with me and I shall be glad to tell you all about the wonders the Saint has done to our lovely world of Abdomhan." The meechie on top of her head said, "Who are you that you would know so much about the Saint?" "Oh, please forgive my rudeness," the cat man said before he took a bow and continued, "I am Horsenol Semoor, a historian employed by the Capital's Academy focusing on the Saint and his journey throughout Abdomhan." A cat historian, don't question it Crista just go with it and maybe you can use him so you don't sound like an idiot later on. "So could you tell me more about him since you seem to know so much?" Crista asked as the meechies looked on in disbelief. "Come walk with me and I shall tell you a tale of the Saint whose journey began in what is known as The Forest of Bakantus, or 'beginning' as is said in the Old Abdomhanian Language," Horsenol said. Why do i feel like I'm about to listen to a lecture? Whatever, just bear with it, Crista thought to herself as she and the meechies made to follow Horsenol through what looked to be some medieval village. "It all began two thousand years ago when Abdomhan was split into many countries with as many kings as there are stars," Horsenol started. "That's a really long time ago," Crista commented. "Yes, in those days no one knew that there were other planets that held life. We had believed ourselves to be alone and would continue to believe so until much after the Saint had perished," Horsenol replied, then adjusted his glasses before continuing, "As I was saying, seeing the pain and bloodshed of his people, the Sun King appeared before the young Saint and set him on a journey to unify all of Abdomhan under a council, rather than a king. It is this very council that rules in the capital, and whose head is descended from the great saint, himself." "We're at the inn," one of the meechies said. Caught off guard, Horsenol looked at the wooden sign with strange letters and said, "So we are." Chapter 6 "I'm sorry for your confusion Ana and Dan but we are ruling out every other disease. Her tests seem to run normal. It must be a cognizant dysfunction of some kind related to sleep perhaps." Dr. Katz felt bewildered in her diagnosis. "What do you mean doctor?" Dan motioned. "I mean she isn't having a normal pathological passage that would allow her to wake up in the morning. Instead she is trapped in a state of sleep but still alive." Dr. Katz couldn't believe what she was saying but it made sense. "Omg! A sleep disorder! Dan where in the hell did she get a sleep disorder from?" Ana couldn't adjust to the news. "Relax Ana she will wake up all the more if its just a sleep problem. We have to have our heads together in this." And Dan held Ana against his chest. "Sorry to break in but I gotta go, I have class tomorrow. I'll be back to check up on my friend." Gina exclaimed feeling antsy and worried for Crista. ******** "I see that your father found out and now your alone in your chamber once more." Said Magisdru his loyal confidant with as much as sympathy as he could muster. "I hate my life." Grakevah felt conflicted over his dual nature, both evil and good. "I'm sorry but you have everything here. Your father is THE leader on this planet. I mean THE leader of the council and you can always get away with murder. That is how spoiled and how much you literally have nothing at stake." Magisdru said the truth as always. "Yeah but what if I don't want to murder anyone. What if I just want to live someplace else? My dad will always control my life with whatever technology he could have someone get their hands on. I should have lived life on Earth. It’s more simple yet complex there. Just nature driven. It would have been better if I actually had the chance to sneak out of my mission and see my mother on Abdomhan for once. Here I'm just a spoiled loser and someone that can be tossed around. It’s scary sometimes." Grakevah confided his feelings in Magisdru. "I see your emotions are getting the best of you. That would make sense since your mother is a descendant from Abdomhan. A planet that places emphasis on creativity and emotion. Well you better have a way out or you better adapt slowly. That's all I can tell you to do. Your father is by the book so you either adapt and win his favor for a mate to suit your temperament or you escape someway to Abdomhan. But I wouldn't recommend the latter. Don't repeat what I said." Magisdru gave his advice to a spoiled son of a leader in a dangerous way but knowing Grakevah with his powers of cognizance he knew he wouldn't say a word to anyone of their talks. He couldn't. "Hmmm... I think you gave me an idea. I better grab my memory blocker so no one intercepts my future plans of my desires." Grakevah felt a shimmer of hope in his dark chamber. "Very well, I'm on my way." And Magisdru left and used his memory wiper tool on his forehead. Chapter 7 "Why hello who are you two travelers?" Wallace-Fallace asked at the same time. "Why I am Horsenol a scholarly cat of good tidings and this here is...” "I'm Crista. How did your two heads get stuck together?" Crista had a big mouth. "Oh you can stay Horsenol but your friend has to go!" Wallace-Fallace grinned at poor Crista. "Oh now you wait a minute Wallace and Fallace, she doesn't understand you are twins. She is just a poor girl. Now come on in." Myrna-Fyrna opened the door for the despot travelers and let them in. "Why excuse me Wallace-hmm-Fallace and Myrna-Fyrna but I can assure my friend is an inexperienced person from who knows where who was lost on her journey and needs accomodation." Horsenol cleared his throat. "Fine. But that big mouth better think twice next time she speaks." Wallace-Fallace exclaimed. "I'm so sorry you see where I come from we see that people as your kind have surgeries to fix what is wrong. I didn't know that you grew like this. I am sooo sorry. "Crista couldn't seem to gather the right words. "Oh so where do you come from miss perfect lady?" Myrna-Fyrna was starting to get annoyed with Crista. "I come to my parent’s house on earth and I don't know how I got here or how to get out of here. And I don't even know if I'm dreaming!" Crista felt impatient and nervous. "Okay we will have to introduce you to Dean-Dean so that you can help yourself. He is a two headed bird like the rest of us who knows which two different outcomes upon each decision." Myrna-Fyrna said. "Oh geez. So now I gotta talk to a parrot to figure out where I am, Horsenol you’re a talking cat. And oh brother, my life couldn't get worse." Crista started to pinch herself because she was trying to figure out if she was alive or not. "Ok I see I'm not bleeding nor have any pain, few I'm only dreaming." Wallace-Fallace were brothers who stood 5'3 tall , they had dark brown scrunchy hair to their shoulders and a gruff look about their face. They constantly argued with each other. But thanks to their counterparts as if a gift from the Sun King himself, Myrna-Fyrna knew how to love them and keep up with their antics. Myrna-Fyrna, although conjoined twins at the heart and neck, still felt like beautiful women and considered them up to date on fashion on Abdohman. "Can we see the parrot; I would also like to ask a question?" Horsenol asked out curiosity. "Sure, why you two wait here, I'll go bring him out. Help yourselves to any drinks here and my Myrna-Fyrna will go and get the keys to your rooms." Wallace-Fallace stated. Myrna and Fyrna grabbed the keys from behind the smokey wooden counter that seemed like an antique cottage and comfy on the inside as well as the outside. "What the hell is going on you two? Now what?" Dean-Dean was not in the mood. "We have guests that need your help so you better help." Wallace-Fallace said. "Alright-alrighty." The two headed parrot spoke at the same time except when in a serious mood. "So what's your question?"