Jeremy is so hurt and angry, he takes his computer characters on their most dangerous mission, but then he leaves them stranded when he decides to save the friendship and sneak away to go on the trip to Disneyland.
Already disoriented by his chum's confusing map to the rendezvous, Jeremy runs when he hears something following him and falls into a steep ravine. Seriously injured, he is convinced that he will die because no one knows where he is except for the friend and he said that he would not wait.
Everything seems hopeless until a dog and a raven join him. Jeremy is sure that they are Wolf and Talon from his game and his computer characters have forgiven him. In this gripping fantasy adventure, Jeremy struggles to save his computer teammates...but can he save himself?
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.32(d)|
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Realms of Flimenia Jeremy's Journey
By Leonard W. Wilson
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2008 Leonard W. Wilson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI stood beneath the huge branches of the big old weeping willow tree, and waited. Grant continued down his street without looking back. That was the way it was with Grant, there were no long good-byes, just, "See ya," and he was gone.
A breeze stirred up the hanging vines, and they slapped at my face. They wrapped around me like the tentacles of some giant beast, and transported me to the Realms of Flimenia where I joined Wolf, Talon, Zephryus, Mittros, Beddoes and Olan, my computer game teammates. We were on a most dangerous mission to destroy the last of the Balearics ... I brushed away the hanging vines, and whispered, "You can't go there right now, dummy. You have to stay focused, and come up with some way to convince Mom."
Grant had caught me off guard with his invitation to join his family on a trip to Disneyland the first two weeks of summer holidays. For months now, I had been looking forward to my usual summer vacation on my grandparents' farm as soon as school ended. I loved it in Saskatchewan, but I knew Grant, if I didn't do what he wanted, he would quit being my friend. I knew that I would have to come up with a good plan if I hoped to get Mom to agree to let me accept his invitation.
As I walked along, rays of the sunfiltered through the leaves of walnut trees bordering my side of the street. I loved this stretch of sidewalk. On the other side of the road, huge cedar trees lined the front of Johnson's yard. It was the last big piece of undeveloped property in this area. I used to dream that someday Mom and I could buy it until I realized how much time it would take to maintain that yard. Just mowing our lawn took care of every Saturday morning for me during the spring and fall. I didn't really mind because Mom worked hard at the Mall. No matter how difficult things had become since my father had left us, she refused to lose the house.
As I crossed the street, I turned my cap, and pulled it down to shade my eyes. The sun was warm on my face. I felt a little drowsy, and again I drifted off to join my computer game teammates. Wolf was leading the others as we searched for the perfect location to set up a trap.
I shook my head, and whispering, no, I ordered my mind to stay focused. I was not going to lose Grant as my friend. I remembered about how horrible it had been at Burke Road Elementary without any friends, and I had made up mind that that was never going to happen again. Although Grant was not always the nicest person, he had made my first year at Greenwood Park Secondary a lot easier, and the last thing I intended was to enter grade nine without a friend at school.
I forced myself to concentrate on a plan. I thought about how Mom was always bugging me about cleaning up my room and doing my homework. Aha, I thought, that just might work. No, I knew that it would take something more. I knew that I would really have to surprise her, and I thought what if I cleaned the whole house. I rubbed my chin. No, I still needed to do something really special. I was almost home when I snapped my fingers and said, "Of course." Mom would have no choice but to say yes if I cleaned the house, did all my homework, and cooked her favorite dinner.
I arrived home and was pleasantly surprised at how little time the dusting and vacuuming took once I put my heart into them. Soon, I had lasagna in the oven, and in no time had my homework finished. Still with plenty of time, I turned on my computer, and entered the Realms of Flimenia.
I watched my teammates come to life, but my smile of pride quickly changed to concern as the screen darkened, and I followed them into the narrow space between two rock faces that towered above them. Wolf moved cautiously ahead of the other five. His eyes studied the ground as he carefully searched out the next location to place his foot.
A few steps behind, Zephryus, a petite Ice Elf, had to take extra long strides so that she could place her small slender foot within the long broad footprint of the Warrior.
Beddoes, a Huntress, followed the Ice Elf. Her foot was larger than that of Zephryus, but it still fit easily inside the depression. Mittros, her fellow Hunter came next. His slender leather-covered foot, larger than those of the two females still fit easily within the confines of the large indentation.
Next, Olan, a huge Thorwalian, moved along stealthily. He was taller than the others, and had no problem seeing where Wolf was leading them. I saw the questioning expression on Olan's face. Wolf had long established his position as leader, and no one ever questioned his decisions, but still, Olan's eyes turned toward me. I felt the power in those huge blue eyes that seemed to be asking, "Is this the best way to fulfill our mission?"
Each foot of Olan's landed exactly in the depression made by Wolf, and covered it by half again. He deepened it, but because all his weight came down on the balls of his feet, he made it no larger in size.
Talon came last, and although her footprint also fit easily inside the depression, she had to be especially careful. Besides not wanting to set off any hidden devices, she had to keep checking the rear for the approaching Balearics. We were determined to maintain the illusion of a single traveler.
Wolf's progression slowed, as the space between the two rock faces narrowed. His eyes not only searched the ground before each step, but now he also searched the walls for any hidden threats.
I breathed a momentary sigh of relief, as one by one my teammates stepped clear of the narrow gorge, then gasped when I saw that a wall of solid rock surrounded the open area.
Wolf glanced in my direction. I tried to think of what I could do. My team had never forfeited, and the thought of that was beyond my comprehension. I considered clicking on the 'Sleep Icon', but I decided against it because I knew it would only prolong the inevitable. I minimized the screen, and tapped the 'search icon.' It only took a few seconds to locate the Balearics' progress. They were coming fast. They ran like giant apes, using their front maulers to drag them along faster. They were in a strange formation. It was almost as if a huge monster had tossed a giant spear. A phalanx of twenty formed up into the shape of a giant arrowhead while the rest strung out behind in single file. I clicked 'maximize' and returned to my teammates. I told them that the Balearics were not far away, and coming fast.
We brainstormed until we finally came up with a plan, and I gave the signal. Wolf and the others removed coils of rope from their backpacks while Zephryus handed Olan the coil of extremely thin filament from her belt. Attached to the end of the line was a silver grappling hook. Olan stepped away from the others, and began to swing the hook and line around his head. Slowly, he let out more line until the silver hook whistled six meters away from his body in a huge circle. Suddenly, he stepped back, and allowed the thin filament to unwind. The line made a soft whispering sound as the silver hook disappeared. From far up the side of the cliff, there came back a quiet clinking sound. He pulled the thin line taut, attached the end to his belt, and leaned back.
Zephryus attached the end of a rope to her belt, and began to climb the filament that was as soft as a fine thread, yet strong enough to carry her weight.
As the first coil of rope ended, Wolf tied its end to the end of the next coil. When that coil disappeared, he tied its end to the next coil. The final coil was almost gone, when the thin line attached to Olan's belt went slack.
Wolf grasped the dangling rope, and pulled it taut. Once convinced that it would carry his weight, he passed it to Beddoes.
She quickly disappeared up the rope. When the rope went slack, Mittros grabbed it, and scampered up the rock face.
My heart was in my throat as I watched. It was almost as if everything was happening in slow motion. I wished I could get them to hurry, but I knew that Wolf was right. Too many people on the rope at once could be a disaster.
I minimized the screen, and tapped the 'search icon' to return to the Balearics. They were close now. I could see that the leaders were searching for the opening. I wondered if there was some way I could destroy the entrance, but again I hesitated. That would be the same as a forfeit, an unforgivable sin. I could only intervene as a last resort, but if I did that it would mean no reward for destroying the Balearics, and dishonor for my team. I clicked 'maximize' to return to my team's location. I watched as Talon disappeared up the rope. Seconds later, Olan began to climb. For all his size, he was surprisingly agile and quick, but still Wolf had to wait.
The grotesque sounds of grunting and growling came from the entrance.
Wolf grabbed the rope, and as he began to climb, I went with him. Soon we were on a ledge with the others.
Talon and Beddoes drew up the coils of rope, and replaced them in the backpacks.
After reattaching the filament coil to her belt, Zephryus removed a flat valise from her backpack. She opened the hinged case, and exposed numerous vials and little sacks in blue velvet cushioned compartments. She withdrew six empty receptacles from the case, and set them to one side. Her tiny hands were incredibly steady as she filled an eyedropper from the first vial, and carefully released a drop in each receptacle. She drained the eyedropper of any surplus back into its vial. Filling the eyedropper from another vial of distilled water, she rinsed it of any residue. She then went to another vial, and extracted some of its contents. Slowly and carefully, she followed this same procedure, as she gradually filled the receptacles.
I held my breath as I watched her methodically perform her task. I knew how dangerous this was. One shake of her hand, and my whole team would ...
Bang. Bang. Bang.
I almost fainted.
"Jeremy Striker, how many times do I have to call you? Dinner is ready. If I have to call you again, I'm going to come in there, and pull the plug on that thing."
I took in a huge gulp of air. I hadn't even heard my mother come home. I called out in a pleasant voice; "I'll be right there, Mom." I hated to leave my team stranded, but the last thing I wanted to do right now was upset her.
I returned to the monitor, and heard the continuous din of the growling beasts, and the stamping of huge fur-covered feet that came in waves like the sound of war drums.
Any other day, I would have stayed with my team until the very last minute, but today I knew that if I upset my mother, the automatic answer would be no. So I did the smart thing, I tapped 'Disk Options, clicked 'S,' and my six teammates instantly froze in position.
Chapter TwoI closed the bedroom door, and inhaled the wonderful aroma of the lasagna. I was still hopeful that cleaning the house and doing my homework worked to bring Mom around, but if they failed, surely she would be unable to ignore my preparing her favorite meal. I frowned with disgust as I came closer to the kitchen. Over the wonderful aroma of the lasagna, I caught the ever-present odor of cigarette smoke.
I entered the kitchen, and Mom's face brightened with a smile. It was such a nice change from the puckered bitterness she usually displayed. She said, "Thank you, Jeremy, for the wonderful surprise. It is so nice to come home to a clean house and a nice meal. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it after the kind of day ..."
I knew that I had better not wait because her mood could change so quickly. I swallowed, and interrupted: "Mom, I was wonder ..."
"We received mail from your grandparents. Yours is in the living room by the recliner."
I always loved to hear from my grandparents, but this could not be worse timing. I cursed my bad luck because I was sure that if I had asked Mom right then, she might have said yes. I felt a twinge of guilt when I saw the envelope with the familiar Swift Current, Saskatchewan postmark. I picked up the folded piece of purple notepaper, and breathed in the familiar aroma of lavender. My grandmother's letters to me are always on lavender paper. I began to read as I returned to the kitchen.
"So, what does she say?"
"Grandma says that she is counting the days until I get there, and Grandpa is so excited to see me, he has another huge surprise for me." I glanced up from the letter. "Did she tell you what it is?"
"No, but, it must be something really different," she giggled and said, "because your grandmother did tell me how excited Pops is over it."
I enjoyed hearing the sound of Mom laughing; she did it so seldom. I looked into her face, and wondered if she did know. Every summer when I went to the farm for the holidays, my grandfather always had some special surprise. The first year, he had surprised me with a Razor scooter. Every year since it was something new. A saddle when I was eleven, a pair of inline skates when I was twelve, and last year a ten speed bicycle. I rubbed my chin with anticipation. Grandpa and I always go fishing together, and this year, I hoped that it might be a new fly-casting rod and reel.
I slipped the note inside my pocket, and sat at the table. I studied Mom's face. She appeared relaxed, still smiling. I thought of trying to persuade her to tell me about Grandpa's surprise, but instead I decided to take advantage of her good mood for something else. I watched her scoop the lasagna onto our plates. I took my plate, but as I began to eat, I kept one eye on her. I hoped that her good mood would last.
She looked up from her food. "This lasagna is excellent, sweetheart. You do know the way to a mother's heart."
I decided that I would have no better opportunity. I swallowed, and asked, "Mom, I was wondering ... could I go to Disneyland with Grant and his family this summer?"
The smile disappeared, and she dropped her fork. "No, of course not! Thirteen is too young for that kind of thing." Her lips took on their familiar firm puckered shape. "Besides, you're going to your grandparents."
"I'm almost fourteen! And, it'll only be for two weeks." I swallowed again, and fought back angry tears. "I'll still have lots of time ..."
I let the words trail away, and took in a huge breath of air. Somehow, I knew that nothing would ever change. I thought back to the previous fall when I had come home from school bubbling with excitement, and told Mom all about 'my friend.' How big and strong he was. Of course, I never told her about how mean or insulting he could be, just the good things. At first, she had seemed happy that I had a friend, and said that she wanted to meet him. I persuaded Grant to go to the mall where Mom worked. She had seemed pleasant enough that afternoon, but later at home, she made it perfectly clear that she was not impressed, and suggested I find a different friend. It was the first time that I had a real friend since the divorce when I was nine, and right away, she wanted to break up the friendship.
I clutched my fork in my fist. "You just hate Grant because he's my friend."
Mom leaned back, and staring at me, whispered, "That's not true, Jeremy ..."
I threw down my fork, and screamed, "It is so. You chased Dad away, and you don't want me to have any friends." I pushed away from the table, and ran to my room.
I flopped down on my bed, and stared at the ceiling, wondering how I should tell Grant. I knew that he would make a few sarcastic comments, but I hoped that he would understand.
I lay quietly, and ignored Mom when she said goodnight. I waited for the house to become quiet, so I could join my teammates. I was confident that no one had ever selected a better team or endowed them with finer skills and talents. I always looked to Wolf and Talon first. Like all of the Warrior class, they were superb leaders, and had extraordinary survival skills. They were a striking couple with broad faces and long dark hair. He had eyes the color of amber while she had dark blue eyes. Their six-foot bodies bulged with muscles, and they carried huge broadswords that they could swing with the ease of a fencer. Wolf wore a deep-brown cloak of woven hair-like fibers that, so far, had proven impenetrable. Talon's black cloak with its layers of extremely thin tiles did little to disguise her shapely female figure.
Excerpted from Realms of Flimenia Jeremy's Journey by Leonard W. Wilson Copyright © 2008 by Leonard W. Wilson. Excerpted by permission.
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