"Another Place, Another Time"
"Come on, come on. We're almost there!" Jack whispered excitedly to his younger brother Mike. Darkness surrounded them with an eerie silence, and the black water below splashed menacingly around the uncomfortable cart they were situated in. If only they knew what secrets they would uncover there.
It was a gorgeous day in May when Jack and Sam, his best friend, were lounging on the beach in Miami, Florida. There were people everywhere, from little kids to old couples. They could hear the kids screaming as the waves crashed onto the shore, and the parents complaining about wet clothes. The smell of salt and seaweed filled their nostrils, and a warm glowing feeling covered their skin as the sun beat down on them. They were in complete bliss.
"What was that?" Jack asked uncertainly as a bright blue light blinded his eyes.
"Um, what are you talking about?" Sam replied hastily. Even thought, he had also seen the light, Sam knew that Jack could never know why it appeared.
"That bright blue light out in the middle of the water," Jack proclaimed. Sam gave him a confused glance in return. "Never mind, I guess I was just imagining it."
"Okay. Well, I have to go. Bye, Jack."
"Alright, I'll see you later." Quickly, Sam rushed down the street knowing that he probably wouldn't see Jack ever again. Sam was headed towards the land that only existed in fantasy stories.
Jack treasured that memory from one month ago, knowing that the blue light must have had something to do with Sam's disappearance. It had been only yesterday that he had seen the blue light again. This time Jack was determined to follow the light knowing that it would lead him to Sam. He didn't know what gave him that feeling; he just knew. If there was an answer, he'd find it there. Jack and Mike sauntered in the direction of the light. It was the same way he saw Sam walking in when he left the beach last May. After about ten minutes they ran into a couple who were in their mid fifties. They said their names were Tom and Sue. Jack acknowledged that Tom and Sue could help them on their quest. After contemplating the idea of telling them for a few minutes, he told them what the two brothers were up to and asked for their help.
Tom and Sue didn't have any children of their own; they always loved the idea of going on an adventure, so they agreed to help as long as they went with the two boys once they found a way to follow the blue light. Quickly, the boys approved of the plan. Out on Pier 9, Sue found a nearly invisible string hanging of the dock, so she quickly called everyone over to her. With one pull, a wooden cart with a sail rose out of the clear blue water. It was on a railroad that led out into the middle of the ocean. Jack found this quite peculiar because the tracks weren't really supported by anything. As soon as they hopped onto the cart, it jerked and starting slowly moving out towards the Bermuda Triangle.
Darkness surrounded everyone and everything. They had been on the cart for more than three hours; still, they found nothing. Jack noticed a strange figure ahead of them floating on the water. It was directly in front of a wall of pearly, white mist. Painfully slow, the cart reached the mist and jolted to a stop. Cautiously, everyone stepped off the cart and into the water, but surprisingly they did not sink. They were floating on the water, just like the shadow.
"Welcome to the Land of Choices. Here is where dreams meet their ends," the shadow greeted them. "I am No Name. You will find me in the place where your decision is the hardest. Now, you may begin your journey."
Jack and the others immediately darted through the mist wall and came to a stop. There were two paths leading in complete opposite directions. One path was made of dirt and clearly lit; the other path was dark and made of stone.
"Which way should we go?" Mike asked. He was very scared of No Name and did not like the idea of having to choose. They chose to go down the light path which led to a field of golden flowers. On the other side of the field there was another choice. This pattern continued on with the group turning every which way every couple of minutes. Finally they came to a stop when they reached a canyon.
"Now what?" questioned Tom as he looked at the two boys. They weren't sure what to do. All Jack knew was that they couldn't stop there. He had an uneasy feeling that something bad was about to happen. At the edge of the canyon, a cool breeze settled in the air; No Name stood there with a smirk on his face.
"This is the Confusion Canyon. Here you will make or break your quest," he said cryptically. Jack gave No Name a startled look. "Yes, Jack, I do know who you're looking for. You are correct; Sam is here, but only I know exactly where."
"Cut it out with the annoying talk. Just tell us where he is."
"Now, now, let us not be hasty. I'm the only way you can save your friend."
"Okay. So, what do we have to do?" asked Jack and Mike.
"Well, one of you can come with me to save your little pal, while the others stay here and get transported back to the cart. There they will wait for you to return."
"Alright guys. I'll go because he's my best friend, and it was my idea to come here." Jack explained.
"No, Jack! I won't let you go. If you go, I'm going with you," pleaded Mike.
"You can't and you know it Mike." Jack looked so heartbroken at the thought of leaving his little brother behind.
"Fine, he can come with you, but no one else," No Name exasperatedly sighed.
Jack and Mike went with No Name, but they first thanked Tom and Sue for helping them. Confusion Canyon was filled with a milky substance that made one lose his memory when touched. To get across the canyon, they had to jump from a weird floating rock to another rock one by one. The task was very tricky because the rocks were constantly wavering from side to side trying to throw them off. Once across, there was a bright yellow path. Soon after they began down it, they reached a majestic castle with menacing guards surrounding the entrances. Slowly, they approached the guards.
"No one may enter," the guard immediately announced.
"Sir, we must enter," Jack proclaimed in return.
"Please, sir," Mike begged with puppy dog eyes. The look could give anyone weak knees when assaulted with it. Not even Mike's stone-hearted uncle could resist saying no to the eyes.
"Very well, young fellows." The castle was gigantic; you could probably see it from outer space. The outside walls were made of stones in varying shade of dull gray, and the looming towers cast an evil shadow over the grounds. Stepping through the doorway, they entered into a main hallway. The grand staircase was made of sparkling black granite, and the walls were covered in portraits. On the other end of the hall was a different door. It was arched at the top and led into magnificent courtyard.
"Sam!" yelled Jack and Mike joyfully. There Sam was standing in the middle of a crystal pool in the center of the courtyard. The only problem was that they could not reach him from the edge of the pool, which was full of a light purple goo that would stick permanently to any surface. It kept the boys from simply walking into the pool to save Sam.
"Hello, Jack and Mike. It's good to see you," Sam said when he saw them.
"We're here to rescue you. Then you can come home with us, and we can hang out again just like old times," Mike exclaimed ecstatically.
"Great, but first you have to find a way to get me out of this pool," Sam explained. "I recommend looking for a chain of sorts that will reveal a bridge or something."
"Sure, just give us a few minutes, and we'll have you out in no time," Jack claimed nonchalantly. Jack and Mike quickly began to search for any ropes or chains around the courtyard.
"I see you have found your friend," a voice said from behind them. They froze; slowly, they turned around and saw No Name.
"You! You're the one who trapped him here, didn't you?" Jack shouted furiously.
"Of course I did. Well, I must be off. Congratulations, boys. I didn't think you'd find him." With that No Name disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"He's creepy," stated Mike. Jack and Sam chuckled in response. Then the boys went back to looking for the keys of retrieving Sam from the pool.
"Whoa!" yelled Mike as he tripped. Instantly, Jack ran over to Mike and helped his little brother up.
"What did you trip on?"
"I don't know. I didn't see anything." Carefully, Jack strode over to where Mike stumbled. He felt the rough ground, and noticed an out of place mound on the cobblestones. He picked up the mound which turned into a silver chain. Using all his strength, he tugged hard on the chain and a wooden bridge lowered itself over the pool to where Sam was standing.
"Yes!" Jack jumped for joy. Sam sprinted over to his best friend, overjoyed that he was free to finally go home.
"Thank goodness I'm finally out of that muck! Thank you so much guys. I'm ready to go home," Sam proclaimed.
"Cool, let's get going," Jack agreed with his best friend. Together they strolled out the castle's front doors and all the way back to the mist wall where Tom and Sue were waiting for them. Everyone jumped on cart and never looked back once towards the Land of Choices.