by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated May 13, 2022
Chapter Description: Allie meets up with an adventurous person.
It was a blustery
day, a day of sunshine and winds that came from every direction. They
brought cool northern breezes signaling to those observant, the inevitable coming of fall.
Curled green leaves on the hardwood trees were another sign, but all were missed by young Allie as she longed for the presence of her cousin, Edie.
The two had a very special summer together. One that others would look back at in their sunset years with fondness and nostalgic remembrance.
She walked through the forest and idly picked at things that she and Edie would have normally torn through with their childish curiosity.
Once, upon finding a green dragonfly, she turned to Edie to bring her attention to it, but Edie, of course, wasn’t there.
Parting with others and moving on is a fact of life that everyone experiences. It was the newness and the inexperience of her years that made it so hard for her.
She continued to walk aimlessly through the forest until she came upon a small cave. She remembered how she’d gone into a similar one and ended up in the land of wonder.
With her interest peaked, she decided to explore it.
She walked for a long time before determining that this wasn’t the cave. It just continued to go down into the earth. Stalactites dripped and stalagmites grew from the ground beneath them at a slow and steady rate as she continued her walk.
The brave little adventurer was just getting the feeling that it was time to turn back. She heard the dim sounds of explosions further ahead.
She advanced carefully towards the noise as her curiosity had gotten the better of her. Artificial light illuminated the small cavern cubby that she came up to. The gunfire had already stopped as she looked upon an odd tableau.
An ancient American Indian idol sat on a dais. A middle-aged woman wearing dark, circular sunglasses stood over the unmoving body of a man dressed up in jungle fatigues. She kept one eye on him while she checked to see that her weapon had an ample supply of ammo in it.
Julia Grange, aged 49, was getting too old for the adventure business; her fight with the greedy treasure hunter that she just had came back in the form of an older person's aches and pains.
She sat down heavily on a nearby outcropping while still watching the still body on the ground. Her back hurt, her feet hurt, but most of all, she felt nearly exhausted from her exertions. At a lesser age, she’d have done what she did three times before breakfast!
She was getting sloppy about personal awareness, too!
“You there! I see you behind that rock! Come out here with your arms up slowly!” she yelled to the hidden Allie.
Allie didn’t know whether to turn around and run or do as she said. Her curiosity decided that she would come out and see what all the fuss was about.
She slowly stood up and came out of the rock she was hiding behind with her hands up as instructed.
“What is this? You’re a little girl! What are you doing here?”
With a small voice, Allie replied, “Um, please, ma’am! I just heard the noise and wanted to see what was going on.”
“Come closer to me, child, I can’t hear you very well!”
Allie approached the older woman. She had shoulder-length gray hair streaked with chestnut brown covering her head. She looked and moved a little bit like her grandma and that reassured Allie.
“That’s close enough! What’s your name?”
“Um, I’m Allie!” she responded.
“Okay, Allie, what are you doing here?” asked Julia as a muscle made a spasm in her back. The pain caused her to flinch involuntarily.
“Um, I live here! Well, not 'here, here', but nearby anyway! Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Allie! I’m just experiencing the pains of old age. My name’s Julia Grange, by the way.”
“Okay! What happened here? Why is that man lying on the ground? Is he hurt?” She asked in quick staccato. She had so many questions!
“Oh, I and young Thaddeus were having a physical discussion about who would get the treasure and I won,” answered Julia sardonically.
“What’s a ‘physical discussion’?”
“That’s when you settle things with your fists. I knocked him out with a boot sweep and he hit his head on a rock when he fell.”
Allie got a vision of a broom attached to a boot. She didn’t know how it would make the grown man fall, but she’d figure it out later, she told herself.
“Um, you said you were arguing over treasure?”
“Oh, yes!” said Julia as she painfully got up and walked over to the dais, “This little idol was put here by a long-lost tribe, it’s said to have magical properties!
Allie’s age magic had been getting stronger by the day as a result of her training sessions in mirror land. She saw a strange pinkish glow coming from the idol.
It wasn’t a very friendly-looking one!
“Don’t touch it! It’s dangerous!” She cried out before Julia could do so.
“How do you know that? Do you know what the legend of this idol is?” asked Julia.
“Um, no I don’t. But it’s got an aging curse on it!”
Bemused, Julia put her weapon away. Thaddeus would be out for quite some time and she needed both hands free.
“What would you know of curses?” she said with doubt in her voice as she put her hands on her hips.
“Not a lot, but this idol will mess with your age if you touch it!” said Allie with full certainty.
“Actually, that’s what I’m hoping for, Allie. The legend says that eternal youth is granted to those who possess it.”
Allie looked at Julia up and down and applied another one of her many lessons in age-craft.
“Okay, how about this? You’re physically 49, but your body is about 60 in real time.”
Julia looked at the little girl and muttered, “Out of the mouths of babes…”
“I’m not a baby! I just have some magic of my own, okay?” replied Allie indignantly.
“Sorry, Allie, it’s just an expression. So if I were to pick this up…” she moved towards the idol.
“Don’t do it or you’ll be a baby or worse!” shouted Allie.
Julia was just about at the end of her rope. She had deciphered the ancient bark maps, flown out to this small little plot of land in remote America, fought Thaddeus off for the umpteenth time, and now, just as she was ready to receive her reward from all that hard work, a little girl was telling her to not do it.
“Are you sure that’s what will happen?” she asked Allie. She moved back to her handy outcropping and sat down again painfully as her back muscle twinged again.
She wasn’t stupid and she could wait a little longer. The little girl was at the age where imagination could make her believe anything. Yet, she was earnest and didn’t appear to be acting or lying.
Julia had seen some things while adventuring that defied logic. She needed more information.
“Tell me about your magic, Allie,” she said as she gave the girl her full attention.
Allie explained it the best she could. Julia asked a few questions to clarify and eventually concluded.
“Well, your story is fantastical, there’s no doubt about that! Now can you prove that you have this, what did you call it, ‘age-magic’?” she asked skeptically.
“Oh, sure!” said Allie. She aged herself up to 18; her outfit changed from a jumper and t-shirt into a 1930’s set of khakis that she remembered from watching movies on the TV.
“How’s that for proof, Julia?” She asked with a little twirl to show off her curves in the relaxed fitting outfit.
Julia was dumbstruck.
Thaddeus Bushwhacker woke up with stabbing pain in his head. Groggily, he looked around and didn’t see anyone. He was just about to curse his luck when he spotted the idol still sitting on its dais.
He went to get up and a note that had been put on his chest fluttered off to the ground.
The idol is yours, I’m through with adventuring and I’m off to find a nice college to become a tenured professor.
PS: Be careful what you wish for!
He couldn’t believe his luck! He got back up on his feet and walked unsteadily to the idol. He picked it up and admired it for a few moments before the magic it possessed regressed him back to an egg cell and sperm. The clothing left lying on the ground was the only thing left of him.
The idol fell and landed in the same position as it had been found atop the dais.
After Allie, now 18 and more knowledgeable had explained to Julia that the idol had been made by a trickster, Julia was horrified.
“He went to all that trouble just for a revenge joke on the neighboring tribe for taking over his land?” she asked.
Julia was left shaking her head in disbelief as they walked to Allie's grandma's house.
“Hold up, young lady, I’m not as spry as I used to be!” shouted Julia as she leaned up against a tree with one arm and panted for breath.
“Okay, Julia!” said Allie as she headed back to her while holding down her pith helmet to stop errant breezes from blowing it away.
“So, you’re just going to give me back my youth for free, right? No strings attached?” said Julia, hoping that the price wouldn’t be too dear.
“Julia, nothing is free! All I want is a playmate for the next week and for you to never tell a soul about how it happened.”
“I want to be young again, but I don’t want to be that young!” she said having second thoughts about the deal.
She pictured herself as an 8-year-old, running around a yard footloose and carefree.
She thought some more, and then came up with another reason to not want the deal.
“What about your grandma? Will she welcome me to spend the week at her house as your playmate?”
“No problem! Of course, we’ll ask her first, just to make sure!”
“I don’t know…” said Julia still expecting a trick and half expecting Allie's information to not be accurate.
“Look, you’re famous, right? I’m sure that grandma will love hosting a celebrity while she’s on vacation!”
“Hmm. A little downtime would be nice for a change."
After a while, she made up her mind and said, "Let’s go!”
A new adventure awaited her and she still wanted to explore!
Betty, age 16 looked out her kitchen window and watched as two little girls, aged 8 and 9, ran around the backyard.
One little girl with her long chestnut hair in a pair of braids was wearing a Racerback tank top, short Ponte pocket shorts, fingerless gloves, a belt, and motorcycle boots. Her leg strap gun holder and pistol were safely locked away for the week.
A few moments later, their boundless energy found them running through a sprinkler in the front yard. Betty was about ready to join in with them at the same age they were when a timer went off and reminded her that she was cooking dinner.
She clucked to herself and readied a meal of chicken fingers and tater tots.
"Maybe I'll join them tomorrow," she thought to herself.
Allie's adventure in the land of wonder.
by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated May 13, 2022