March 27, 2018

C is for Chen

        The first thing they heard was the soft splashing of a fountain at the center of the small courtyard in which they now stood.  All around them were arches covered with wooden screens carved into filigree, and the floor was tiled in a cool mosaic of blue and white.  
        “This is beautiful!” exclaimed Polly, “I wonder where we are!”
        “Yeah,” Chen replied, “And I wonder what sort of trouble we’ll be in if we’re caught here.  It looks like somewhere we aren’t supposed to be.  Do you think we should try hiding in here?  Or try going out through that door over there and see if we can find somewhere less conspicuous to hide?”
        Polly shrugged.  “We probably don’t have long before Mr Blank gets his copy of the Book and comes after us.  Let’s call his the Ornate Book.  All he’ll have to do is come through the page for either of our Books, and he’ll be here.  We should keep moving.”
        “Then what does it matter whether we move or not?  It’s not like we can get ahead of him.  No matter how many different places we go, he’ll always be able to come straight to us because the Books are directly connected.  There’s got to be a way to keep him from coming straight to us all the time.”
        Polly frowned, thinking hard.  “How about if we overnight express mail the Wreath Book to my mom.  Then when it arrives in Wellesley we’ll be able to get home through the portal from your Book.”
        “A, we don’t have any money to pay for overnight express mail.  B, what if Ammon Blank portalled to the Wreath Book while it was in the mail truck and stole it.  C, while we waited for it to arrive in Wellesley, we’d still have Blank able to come straight through to us any time through the Dragon Book door.  D, even if it all worked and we got to Wellesley, I still wouldn’t be able to get back to Cleveland Heights.”
        “Okay, we can think of something else.  What if we locked the Books in the trunk of a car in a big parking garage.  If Mr Blank came through the portals he’d be surrounded by hundreds of cars.  He’d have no way of knowing which one had the Books, and he wouldn’t be able to get at them anyway.  And there’d be plenty of places for us to hide until he gave up looking.”
        “Yeah,” Chen snapped, “Too bad I don’t have my car keys with me… Or my car… Or my parking garage…”
        “At least I’m trying to come up with ideas instead of just shooting them all down.”  Polly scowled for a moment before brightening up again.  “Well, if we can’t think of any way to get home, why don’t we go ahead and check out Benjamin Franklin’s fifth clue.  There’s nothing to be gained by avoiding it.”
        She unfolded her sheet of graph paper, but Chen hesitated.  He wasn’t sure there was anything to be gained by following the clues, either.  They didn’t understand the second clue,
the fourth clue had been stolen by Ammon Blank, and it seemed unlikely that following more clues was going to get them home, which was all he really wanted at this point.  But on the other hand, what else were they going to do, wandering lost through a maze of magical doorways?
        “Fine,” he said reluctantly, “Which door is it?”

        Chen Connelly from The Extraordinary Book of Doors, an upper middle grade fantasy (excerpt from Chapter 11: Out of the Frying Pan).  More information here, or “Look inside” at Amazon.

[Picture: Plate XVI, illustration by AEGN, 2013.]

A-Z Challenge, all links for the letter C.


Liz Brownlee said...

Gosh, magical doors - this was always a favourite theme for me when young! Liz

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

And what's better than a magical door... except an entire book of magical doors! ;)

Iain Kelly said...

Sounds like part of a great adventure story. Well written.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...


Kristin said...

I need to start making a list of these books. My husband enjoys reading youth fantasy books.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Wow, I didn't know "Tale Spinning" is your husband. Husband and wife dual A-Z Challenges? You should get some sort of special medal!