Rated: E · Book · Children's · #1922493
A young boy writes himself an epic adventure...which starts to come true!
Caitlin opened her eyes and blinked up at the ceiling. She was wide awake. Oh, and it was Saturday! Today she and Jayden were going to go and see a dragon!
Not wanting to wake her parents, Caitlin quietly hopped out of her bed and tiptoed to her bedroom door. She noted that Emma, their dog, was still sleeping in the hallway. That meant Jayden must still be in his bedroom. If he'd gone down to the lounge, the dog would be in the lounge with him. She quietly opened Jayden's bedroom door and snuck inside, closing the door behind her so Emma didn't come in. The dog wasn't allowed in the bedrooms.
Caitlin was very surprised to see Jayden was still asleep. She couldn't remember the last time she'd woken up before him. And it was light outside, so she knew she wasn't up too early. Dad said they weren't allowed to get up when it was dark, but it wasn't dark, and Jayden was still asleep. Very strange.
Caitlin knew she'd get in to trouble if she woke Jayden, so she decided to have a read through the journal while she waited. She saw it lying on the bed beside Jayden, along with a strange feather which she ignored. Picking up the book, she reversed her tracks, carefully closing doors as quietly as possible and then snuggled back in to her bed under her duvet to read.
Caitlin frowned as she flicked through the journal. It looked like there was a lot more writing in there than last time she saw it. She wasn't sure exactly what the last thing Jayden had written had been, but it must have been something about the fairies, Foster and Eolande. Oh yes, he had written them back home, hadn't he? Caitlin turned pages until she came to the last page with writing on.
“Maybe ye could use a piece of charcoal or...a piece of chalk?” Callum suggested when Jayden asked the question. “Let’s have a keek and see what we can find.”
Finally the boys ended up agreeing that dipping a bird feather in a berry and using that to write was the best they were going to come up with.
Jayden was back in his bedroom.
Caitlin stared at the words, trying to make sense of them. She was a pretty good reader, but that didn't make a lot of sense to her. She wondered what keek meant, she hadn't come across that word before. And why was Callum in the story? He hadn't been with them when they met the fairies. The feather though, she remembered seeing that on Jayden's bed. Caitlin frowned as suspicion grew in her mind. He wouldn't, would he? He'd said they would go and see the dragon together.
Caitlin thumbed back through the pages until she saw her own name.
Almost before they knew it, they were back in Jayden's bedroom, sitting on his bed. Caitlin looked very sad, and that made Jayden feel sad too. He knew she was missing her new fairy friends already. He was just about to say something to her when he noticed the pretty band of daisies around her wrist. He smiled, knowing it must have been a gift from Eolande. He would suggest she go and ask their mum how to press the flowers so they wouldn't wilt and die, and she could keep them as a special reminder of their visit with the fairies.
Caitlin had expected that to be the last thing written in the journal. She kept reading and as she read about Jayden and Callum's adventure with the dragon she got more and more angry. She crossly scrubbed the tears from her face as she read. Oh, what a horrible brother he was! How could he be so mean? What did she do to deserve being left out? She might have been given some jewels from the dragon too. She certainly wouldn't have been as stupid as her mean brother and steal some. Huh!
Caitlin's silent conversation with herself kept her anger hot until she had finally read the very last words Jayden had written. Stupid brother, she thought to herself. Who needs brothers anyway? She would just have an adventure of her own. Without him. So there! See how he liked being left out!
Caitlin was muttering under her breath as she closed the journal and put it on the bookcase beside her bed. She crossed her arms across her chest and humphed to herself as she frowned down at her bed.
Suddenly Caitlin snatched up the journal and started hunting around her room for a pen or pencil. She finally found her pencil case on the bottom shelf of her bookcase and withdrew a pencil. She opened the journal to the first blank page and paused with her pencil just above the paper.
Did she dare to write her own adventure in Jayden's magical journal? Was that a form of stealing? Maybe it was. But he had been so mean, leaving her out of the dragon adventure. He deserved it. Caitlin tapped the pencil against her lips as she thought. Finally she decided to do it. She would have her adventure and teach Jayden that if he didn't include her in his adventures, she would find a way to have her own. Caitlin had a feeling it might not be so simple, but she did so desperately want an adventure. It wasn't fair! So she would do it. She would! What should she write?
Caitlin spent a few minutes pondering her very first sentence. She'd seen fairies. What else did she want to see? Mermaids? Unicorns? Ooh, a unicorn. That would be cool. Hmmm, how did she do this? Jayden just wrote something like 'Now tbey were standing in a paddock and they could see a unicorn.' She supposed something like would work fine. Did unicorns live in paddocks? She wasn't sure. Maybe a forest. No, they needed grass to eat, didn't they? Um... A field? Is that what they called paddocks that didn't have fences? Caitlin wasn't sure, but she thought it sounded right, a unicorn in a field. Okay, here goes.
Caitlin wrote as carefully and neatly as she possibly could.
Caitlin could see a unicorn standing in a field.
Then she lifted the pencil and thought for a moment.
Caitlin was by herself, without her brother.
Ha, that'd make sure Jayden didn't turn up in her adventure! She looked up, tapping the pencil at her lips, and realised that she was looking at a unicorn. In a field. At least, she supposed it was a field. It was grassy and she couldn't see any fences. Ha! She'd guessed right. Unicorns did live in fields!
Caitlin smiled as she looked at the animal. It was beautiful. It was like a pure white horse, with a white horn growing out of its forehead. Exactly what she'd thought a unicorn would look like. Caitlin looked around for a safe place to put the journal and her pencil, then realised that she was still wearing her dressing gown. Not again! Oh well, at least it had pockets she could put the journal and pencil into. That was handy.
With the journal safely tucked away, Caitlin slowly walked closer to the unicorn. She wondered if it was friendly. Would it let her touch it? Or would it kick her or bite her? It was a lot bigger than she was. Caitlin had ridden a few horses, but only when an adult was holding them still or making them walk slowly. Only with an adult helping her up onto the saddle and back safely on the ground again. Only safe, friendly horses. She'd never been up to an unknown horse before, and never a wild one. Never a unicorn.
Suddenly, Caitlin wished she'd written about a paddock, with fences. Then she could have stood on the fence, safe from the sharp hooves and strong teeth. Jayden would have thought of that. With a deep breath, Caitlin resolved to be brave, and took another step forward. Then another.
The unicorn lifted its head and looked at Caitlin, freezing her in place with one foot off the ground. Its silver eyes looked at her and she wondered what it was thinking. A sudden thought had her placing her foot back on the ground and reaching a hand slowly out to the unicorn. Sort of like you do with a scared dog, she thought. "Are you afraid of me?" she asked. "You don't need to be afraid of me. I won't hurt you. I'm Caitlin. I'm just a girl, and I won't hurt you. Don't be afraid."
At the first sound of Caitlin's high pitched voice, the horse cocked its head to the side, as if it was listening. When she paused for a breath, it spoke. I know you won't hurt me.
At least, she thought it spoke. It had been a bit weird, sort of like hearing it in her head, but without the noise coming out of the unicorn's mouth.
I don't talk like you do. You are hearing me in your head. Like a thought. It's called telepathy.
Caitlin's mouth dropped open. "That's so cool!"
Caitlin didn't move any closer, but after a few moments the unicorn stepped across the grass until it was nearly within arm's reach. Then it stretched its neck and placed its nose under the hand she hadn't realised she was still holding out. Oh, it was so soft. Caitlin stroked the long nose gently. "You're very beautiful," she told it. "Do you have a name? My name is Caitlin. Caitlin Violet Rosemary."
That's a beautiful name. My name is Equus.
"It's nice to meet you, Equus," responded Caitlin politely. "You are very soft. And very white. Your fur looks very bright in the sun."
Coat, corrected Equus gently. I don't have fur, I have a coat.
Caitlin giggled at that. She wore a coat too! Well, not today, she was wearing a dressing gown, but in winter she wore coats.
"Do you live here?" she asked, still patting the unicorn's nose.
No. I like the flowers in this field, especially the clover. But I have to be very careful to hide and I am often in the forest where men can't find me.
"Men? Are there men looking for you?" Caitlin frowned.
I'd love for you to scratch my back.
Caitlin smiled and moved obligingly along the side of the unicorn, reaching out to scratch the unicorn's glossy white coat.
That's lovely, thank you. I don't like men. They aren't gentle. They want my horn because it gives them magic. I can't take it off, just like you can't take off your fingers or your toes. They kill unicorns.
Caitlin's mouth dropped open, a gasp of indignation escaping her. "They what?!"
Ah, I should not speak of such things to you. How old are you, Caitlin Violet Rosemary?
"Seven. I'll be eight in June."
You're very pretty. I like your golden hair.
Delighted, Caitlin skipped back to the unicorn's head and smiled into the silver eyes. "Thank you! That means we're both pretty."
Of course. A beautiful girl and a unicorn, that's how it is meant to be. Tell me, Caitlin Violet Rosemary, how did you get here? It is lovely to have a visitor, but I don't get many.
Caitlin paused for a moment before telling Equus all about the journal and Jayden's adventure without her. "And I didn't get to see the dragon or have an adventure. He told me he'd take me, then he didn't. He lied! It was so unfair! So I took the journal and wrote my own adventure. To see you. That'll show him," she finished defiantly, stomping her foot on the ground.
The unicorn lowered its head to look down at her foot, then raised it up to look her in the eye.
Caitlin blushed and lowered her gaze. "I know it was wrong, but it was so unfair!"
If you knew it was wrong, why did you do it?
"Because I wanted to! I wanted to have an adventure too! It wasn't fair!"
It's not about whether it's fair or not, Caitlin. It's about whether it's right or not. And you knew it wasn't right, but you did it anyway. Does that make you any better than Jayden?
Caitlin crossed her arms in defiance. "He did something wrong first!"
Ah, Caitlin. I am sure you have been told before that two wrongs don't make a right.
In an effort to divert the unicorn's attention away from her misbehaviour, Caitlin informed Equus that Jayden had stolen from the dragon's treasure room. "He had to clean out all the dragon's poop and then he had to clean the dragon's teeth!"
That sounds like an excellent punishment! Do you think he'll be so quick to steal again next time?
"I don't know. Maybe not."
He might think twice and wonder if the consequences are worth it. About whether he is prepared to risk the punishment.
"Yeah, that makes sense."
You've punished him for lying to you, and leaving you out of his adventure by using pages of his journal to have your own adventure. I presume that once you have used those pages up, they're gone forever. So that's one less adventure that Jayden can have.
Caitlin wasn't sure if she should agree to that or not. It sounded right, but she suspected that Equus was going to turn it around on her somehow. She nodded, tentatively, looking warily at the unicorn.
But you have now stolen from Jayden.
Oh yes, she was right. It had definitely turned on her. Her face fell and her bottom lip jutted out in a pout.
You didn't sit down and talk to him, and tell him how you felt. You didn't tell him what his punishment was, or find out why he didn't take you on his adventure. You just decided to steal the journal and punish him that way. That's like hitting someone back who hits you. It doesn't make it better. It just means that both of you hurt, and sometimes that leads to more and more hitting and everyone feels worse. Maybe now, Jayden will be angry that you stole the journal and he won't take you on anymore adventures. Maybe he left you out of this one because he thought it might get dangerous with a dragon, and he meant to take you on all the rest but now he won't.
Caitlin swiped at a tear that trickled down her cheek. "I just didn't want to be left out!" she sobbed. "I wanted to go and see the dragon and the treasure. It wasn't fair."
No, it wasn't. So what should you have done?
"Talk to him?" Caitlin asked, sniffing.
Exactly. And what will you do when you go home from here, Caitlin?
"Tell him what I did and tell him I'm sorry?"
Good girl. Right. Enough of that. Shall we do something fun, and then it will be about time for you to head home I think.
Caitlin's face brightened. Something fun? That sounded positive! "Okay, what shall we do?"
Hmm, how about a ride? Would you like a ride?
"Oh wow! Really? I'd love a ride!" Caitlin bounced on her tiptoes in her excitement. She was actually going ride a unicorn!!
The unicorn knelt down on the grass so that Caitlin was able to climb on. It was quite hard to get her leg over the broad back, but she finally managed it.
Hold on to my mane, the long hair on my neck. Don't worry, you won't hurt me, it's not like pulling your hair. Hold on tight.
Caitlin grabbed a handful of the white mane in each hand, then held on tight as the unicorn regained its footing. "Oh wow! This is awesome!" she cried. "I'm so high up!" She looked between the unicorn's ears at the long, spiralled white horn. "What does your horn do?"
Well, most of the time it does nothing. It's a part of me that makes me a unicorn, and being a unicorn is a pretty special, magical thing, but my horn doesn't do anything most of the time. If it is taken from me though, it has magical properties.
"Oh, okay. Can you do anything magical? Like fly? Or go invisible?"
I can't fly. There is a horse that has wings, he's called Pegasus. He's different to a unicorn though. I am very good at hiding. I have to be, to survive. Shall we ride?
"Yes!" cried Caitlin. "Let's go!"
They didn't go very fast, but Caitlin thought it was pretty amazing. She'd never ridden a horse without a saddle, or without an adult beside her, or without someone holding the reins. The unicorn didn't have reins! And she was doing it all by herself! And it was a unicorn! Caitlin laughed and smiled down at the flowers they passed.
Too soon, it was time to stop. Equus knelt again and Caitlin slid off his back.
"Thank you so much. That was amazing."
You're welcome, Caitlin Violet Rosemary. It was lovely meeting you. I hope one day we will meet again. Stay honest and don't ever stop smiling.
Caitlin's mouth drooped as she realised this was goodbye. "I wish I didn't have to say goodbye at the end of these adventures. I wish you could come and live near our house and I could see you whenever I wanted."
I would not be safe there. This is the best thing for me. And it means this visit will always be something special for both of us to remember.
"Will you remember me?"
I will always remember you, Caitlin Violet Rosemary. Always. Now I must leave. Until we meet again.
The unicorn bent one knee to the ground, then stood straight again, almost like a bow thought Caitlin.
She quickly took a few steps forward and pressed a kiss to the unicorn's broad nose. "Goodbye Equus." She watched as the unicorn turned and trotted back to the shelter and safety of the forest beyond. When she could no longer see the long white tail, she reached in her dressing gown pocket for the journal and pencil. It was time to go home. And, she supposed, time to confess to Jayden what she'd done.
Caitlin was back home in her bedroom, sitting on her bed.
Did she need to write more? Caitlin looked up and saw that she was back in her bedroom, right where she'd been before she'd written the first sentence. So, that was it then.
Caitlin climbed off her bed and crossed to her bedroom door, journal in hand. She opened the door and went to Jayden's bedroom door before pausing to look around. Emma lifted her head to look at her, clearly wondering what she was doing. Usually when she woke up she went straight to the lounge. She daren't stay down this end of the house because eventually she'd forget to be quiet and talk or laugh loudly and wake her parents, and then they'd be grumpy. It was very quiet, and Emma was still in the hallway, so did that mean everyone was still asleep? She'd been gone ages. Hadn't she? Just in case they were all still sleeping, she carefully eased Jayden's door open. Yes, he was definitely still asleep, he was even snoring a little bit.
Caitlin backed out of the room again, nearly stepping on Emma. Whew, that was close! The dog yelping would definitely wake everyone up! Then Caitlin looked down to the journal in her hand and decided to put it back where she found it. She crept across Jayden's room, trying to avoid all the mess of clothes and books on the floor, and placed the journal beside him. She'd have to explain everything when he woke up. For now, she'd head down to the lounge and pretend everything was normal. No normal day would start off with meeting a unicorn and even riding one, but still... At least until Jayden was up, she'd just have to go watch TV or read a book.
The first thing Jayden did when he woke up was reach for the journal. He'd dreamed the dragon had burnt it up in a pool of lava and he'd been stuck in Scotland forever. But it was there, safe and sound. Whew.
Jayden placed the journal back on his bookshelf where it would be safe and stood up. He stretched his arms over his head and yawned. He was still tired, but he did feel a bit better after his nap. That was something he'd have to remember - if time didn't move here while he was on an adventure, that made his whole day much longer. His parents would be wondering why he was suddenly so tired all the time!
Jayden opened his bedroom door and noted that Emma wasn't in the hallway. Either Caitlin or his dad must be up already. It was light, and Jayden wondered how long he'd slept. Surely it couldn't have been that long - someone would have come to check on him otherwise. He found Caitlin in the lounge, watching cartoons on the television. "Hey," he offered, in way of greeting. She looked up at him and gave him a funny sort of smile.
"Hey," she replied. "How did you sleep?"
"Fine, thank you." He wondered why they were being so polite. "Have you had breakfast yet?"
"No." She climbed off the armchair and followed him in to the kitchen. As he set two bowls on the bench, she grabbed the wheat biscuits from the pantry. They made breakfast in silence, and it went unbroken until finally Caitlin couldn't stand it anymore.
"I went in your room and saw the journal. I know you went to see the dragon without me. I was really angry, because you had promised that I could go with you and see the dragon too, so I took the journal and I went to see a unicorn."
Jayden's eyebrows flew up in surprise. "Oh. Um...."
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have taken the journal, but I was really angry that you left me out."
"Okay." Jayden wasn't quite sure what to say. He'd been trying to figure out how he could tell her that he'd gone on the dragon adventure without her, planning an apology, and now she was apologising to him. "You went to see a unicorn?"
"Yeah. Actually, it was really cool! His name was Equus and he was white and he had a big horn on his head and I went for a ride on his back with no saddle or anyone to help me, and he said I was pretty and...."
"Woah, woah!" Jayden laughed. "Slow down!"
"Oops," Caitlin said with a grin. "It was pretty cool though."
"Yeah, it sounds pretty cool. The dragon was pretty cool too. Well, except for the poop bit," he added with a grimace. Jayden thought for a moment. He'd been a bit mean, leaving her out of the dragon adventure. He'd have been pretty angry if it had happened to him. And she'd apologised. He supposed the best thing to do was just to call it even and make sure neither of them missed out on any more adventures. He supposed that since she had apologised, he should too. "I'm sorry I didn't take you with me. I should have included you."
"That's okay. But I'd really like it if you'd take me with you next time you go."
"Agreed. We should do all the adventures together, then you won't miss out on dragons and I won't miss out on unicorns." He smiled at her and took another mouthful of his breakfast.
"Mmmhmm," she nodded with her mouth full. They smiled at each other and then spent most of the rest of the morning comparing stories. When their parents joined them their mum commented on how well they were getting on.
"It's nice to see you two not arguing. Maybe we can go see a movie or something this afternoon after your swimming lessons."
"Thanks Mum, but I'm pretty tired," said Jayden. "I don't mind just drawing or reading or something this afternoon."
His mother frowned at him. "Are you feeling all right?" she asked in confusion. Both children laughed, and she frowned some more. "What? What am I missing here?"
"Nothing, Mum. We've been writing some stories about dragons and unicorns and we want to do some pictures to go with our story."
"Oh. Okay. Well that's fine. It's certainly much cheaper!" his mum commented as she turned to their dad with a shrug and one of those looks that said 'I have no idea what is happening here!'
He smiled and shrugged back, sending both Jayden and Caitlin laughing again.
"And apparently the police are going to check if there's any record of them, but at this stage, they haven't been reported stolen and it looks like she'll get to keep them. How amazing is that?"
Jayden was trying not to look like he was listening, but his mum had received a phone call from Callum's mum and was now relaying the conversation to his father. It certainly sounded like the jewels the dragon had given Callum had made it home with him. That was so cool. Jayden briefly wondered about using the journal to write all sorts of things home. He could write that he had bags and bags of gold or a pet frog or maybe a pet dragon or... But he knew that the adults would never believe that the journal had made them appear, and he was starting to learn that the journal wasn't quite as straight-forward as he'd thought. Even in the pages of the journal, actions had consequences. Oh well. Seeing new mythical creatures was good enough he supposed. Ha! It was pretty darn cool actually.