A story commission. After graduating high school, a young man stumbles upon a strange new world when looking for a job.
Chapter Description: A recent high school graduate accidentally stumbles into a new world filled with magic..and teddy bears?
Ryan had just graduated from high school and was eager to strike out on his own. He wasn't sure if he should go to college or not, since he had an interest in working at the post office. Riding around, delivering mail, and getting to see more people and places appealed to him. Since he lived in a small town, he wasn't sure how easy it would be to get a job there.
One day after waking up and getting a shower, he dressed in his favorite blue sweater and red scarf, along with some gray pants, socks, and white sneakers. He looked in the mirror and brushed his dark brown hair. It was getting a bit long and unkempt, but he kind of liked it that way. He said good bye to his parents and left their home, walking into town. It was a bright, sunshiny day as he walked down the cement sidewalk into town. He didn't live far from town, which made it easy to go and get things from the store since he didn't have a car. The buildings were mostly brick and most stores were locally owned and operated.
He walked into the post office and said greeted the workers behind the desk. They were nice and talked with him often, so they knew why he was there. They gave him some work forms to fill out, and he took them to the park to fill out. It was a small park with dirt walk ways, freshly cut grass, and a few tall trees near a pond where geese and ducks would sometimes gather. As he filled out the forms, the wind began to blow, and some of the papers blew away. Ryan chased them around the park, trying to catch them all, when suddenly a strange portal appeared in front of him. Unable to stop in time, he ran into it, and there was a flash of light.
Ryan squinted his eyes and looked around. He was no longer at the park, but some sort of colorful fantasy land. The grass was more of a blue-green color, and the tress had red and purple leaves and blue and purple striped trunks. Strange small creatures were running around that looked like stuffed plush toys. When he looked back, the portal was gone. He was stuck.
“Um, hello?” came a soft voice.
Ryan turned and looked, seeing a three-food-tall living brown teddy bear wearing a blue tunic and wielding a wooden magic staff with a rainbow colored orb set in it. “Ah!” he yelled in surprise. “W-what are you? What is this place? What happened?” He backed away, confused and somewhat frightened.
“Oh I'm sorry!” said the teddy bear. “I was practicing magic and accidentally summoned you!”
“Magic?” asked Ryan. “Summoned? Where am I? Who are you?”
“This is the kingdom of Athane!” said the teddy bear. “My name is Kuma. I'm an apprentice mage.”
“Kuma?” asked Ryan, still a bit confused. “I'm Ryan. I was about to apply for a job when I fell into a portal and found myself here. Why does everyone look like a plush toy?”
“Plush? Asked Kuma. “What is plush?”
Ryan tiptoed forward and pressed his hand on the teddy bear's head. It was soft and squishy, like a plush toy. “You are a plush!” he said. “Where I come from, we have toys for children that look like you, but they don't move or speak. They are just dolls.”
“How strange.” said Kuma. He began circling around Ryan, inspecting him. “You're very tall. How old are you?”
“Um, seventeen.” said Ryan. “Almost eighteen! I just graduated high school.”
“Really?” asked Kuma. “I'm seventeen too! What is high school? Is that where you learn magic?”
“We don't have magic where I come from.” said Ryan. “It's just education on the basics like reading, math, and history.”
“We have schools too, but many of them teach about different kinds of magic.” said Kuma. “Right now I'm learning from Hedwig, the wise old owl.”
“An owl?” asked Ryan. “I have to see this.”
“I'll take you to him!” said Kuma with a smile. He began walking with Ryan. “So does everyone in your world look as strange as you?”
“Strange?” asked Ryan. “You're the strange ones to me. People from my world are called humans. We share similarities but our skin, hair, and eye colors vary. We have other creatures that live in our world we call animals. We often make plush toys that look like them for children to play with.”
“So you have animals that look like me in your world?” asked Kuma.
“Yes, but they grow to be even bigger than me!” said Ryan. “Plus they're sometimes scary and dangerous, with sharp teeth and claws.”
“Oh my, I don't like the sound of that.” said Kuma. “We have monsters in this world that threaten us sometimes. They can be big and scary, but we learn magic to help combat them.”
“What kind of monsters?” asked Ryan.
“Oh, there are small ones like slimes and gremlins, but also big ones like trolls and orcs.” Kuma explained.
“Those are just fantasy creatures in my world.” said Ryan. “Only in stories and video games.”
“What are video games?” asked Kuma.
“Uh, kind of hard to explain.” said Ryan. “They are like stories that you can interact with.”
“Interesting.” said Kuma. “Maybe Hedwig will know more about your world. It was one of his spells I was messing with anyway.”
“I just hope he can get me back home.” said Ryan. “I have a life and family to get back to.”
“Oh yes, I am so sorry I took you from your world.” said Kuma. “It was an accident, but that is no excuse. I'm just so terribly sorry.”
“I guess it's not so bad.” said Ryan. “I'm still alive, and I get to visit a whole new world that no human has ever been to before.”
“Well, I hope you enjoy your visit.” said Kuma. “I promise we will do all we can to get you back home.”
The two walked on, and Kuma showed Ryan the village he lived in. All the houses were small, and seemed to fit people of around the size of human children. There were a variety of plush villagers, including some that looked like calico cats, blue wolves, spotted dogs, rainbow colored birds, skunks, rabbits, and more. They were various sizes, ranging from three to five feet tall, and all wore clothing that appeared to be out of the middle ages, like robes and leather garments. Most houses were made of stone and wood, and the roads were made of cobbled rock. There seemed to be vehicles powered by steam that were made of wood and metal, so there was a degree of technology here.
Finally they made it to the home of Hedwig the wise owl. It was a larger home that looked a bit nicer than the other homes, having gilded windows and doors, and flowers growing in front. Would this wise old owl be able to help Ryan get back home? Soon they would find out.