Artwork by Dusan Trajkovic
“Holy…!” Gina Dore’s butt-boy of a brother Zack, “ZZ,” Zacky-bear, had somehow fallen through the Map into the world of Ismara! Gina was sure of it, not simply because it made sense, weird nonsensical sense, but because a part of her had known from the moment she and Zack had first touched the Map. Yes, Zack had gone to Ismara. And now there was no choice: she had to go there too, and rescue her little brother!
She ran to the Map. But, wait, what if it was winter there? She quickly replaced her shorts with jeans and pulled on the thick oversized terrycloth robe Momandad had given her two Christmases back—a heavy coat would have made more sense, but Christmas trumps logic every time. And then, feeling the need to have something special from home—what if she never came back?—she put on her furry pink monster slippers.
Gina was about to stand on the Map the way Zack had, when she heard Mom come in downstairs, and shout, “Hi, guys!”
“Um, me and Zack are up here in my room, making a, um, cool surprise, so you can’t come in. Huh, Zack?” “Definitely!” she added in “Zack’s voice.”
Incredibly, the response came back: “OK. I picked up a video. Maybe we can make popcorn when Dad gets home!”
“Cool!” Gina yelled, trying to sound like both Zack and herself at the same time.
She heard Mom muttering, “Hanging out together again. Glad to hear that.”
She think-danced over to the Map and stood in the middle of it. Now what?
“Take me there!”
Wait! What if Zack somehow managed to come back on his own? Gina jumped off the Map and ran over to her dresser. She glanced at the clock on her nightstand, then pulled out some paper and scribbled a quick note: “Zack: Went to find you in Map, 5:27, Gina-bear.” (It seemed important to mention the time.)
She put the note on the floor by the Map, and then stood on it again, this time near a village called Rennou in the Kingdom of Frenga; she felt strangely drawn to the place. She took a deep breath, and said:
Was she crazy? Was Zack playing some kind of trick on her after all? Should she just give up and go eat popcorn? What movie did they get?
No! She couldn’t give up! Besides, Momandad would definitely notice Zack was missing! She sat down cross-legged on the Map. Now what? Images began to flash across the screen in her mind, images of white-barked trees and coppery moonlight filtered through trembling coral leaves.
“I wish I could just go there,” she sighed.
And she was gone.
Thoughts: Have you ever embarked on a mission from which you knew you might never return?
To read the next episode, click here.