Dreams: Part Two
The Jungle Clouds
I took the key from under a fake patch of grass in the
front yard and unlocked the front door. I pushed the door open and ran inside.
I closed the door, but left it unlocked so Ranea could come in.
The front door led to the kitchen, which was
also the dining room. I put the shopping bags on the table and put my things
in my room. When I came back, I started putting the food we'd bought on shelves,
in the fridge, and wherever there was room. I picked up all the clothes and
brought them to the closet.
I was still putting them on hangers when Ranea
came in. She looked around, impressed.
"Thanks for helping, Milana!" she said, putting
her bags down on the table, like I did before. I beamed. "You can go play in
your room if you want. I can finish putting up the rest of the things," she
said, as I finished hanging the clothes.
I shook my head. "I want to help!"
"Ok then, here," she said, handing me another
bag. "You can put these up."
We spent the next twenty minutes putting up clothes,
food, and a few other things. As I walked over to grab the last shopping bag,
I stumbled and the neopoints in my pocket jingled. I froze.
"What was that?" Ranea asked, turning to me.
"Umm, yes," I said, thinking quickly. "I found
a few on the ground in the bazaar. Can I keep them?" I asked, with pleading
"Sure. You've certainly earned them, what with
helping me with the shopping bags."
I sighed in relief and started putting some cans
of food in the cupboard. Soon we were done. "Can I go play outside?" I asked
eagerly. By 'playing', I meant working on a new project. I didn't usually go
outside to play, but that's what I always told Ranea, or else she would worry.
She considered it. "I don't know. I guess you
can since it's still nowhere near nighttime. Make sure you come back before
I nodded and ran to my room. I changed into my
jeans and shirt, then folded my dress so it didn't get wrinkled. I put on my
jacket and ran back to the dining room. I waved goodbye to Ranea, who was making
herself some coffee, and ran outside.
I had a dozen friends who were nearby. I immediately
decided to go to where we usually stayed when we were bored: the apple tree.
The apple tree was made by a decision of all the kids in the neighborhood, including
me. We called it Operation A, for 'apple tree'.
It all started when Nulono, an island Acara,
went to Meridell for a vacation. He had the chance to meet Illusen there and
she gave him a seed. She told him that what will grow from it depends on how
you treat it. When he came back, he showed it to all the other kids and we decided
to plant it. We watered it, gave it sunlight, and made sure no harm came to
Then, a few days after it was planted, we found
that it had grown an incredible amount in a single night. It had small holes
just big enough for little kids to climb as far as they wanted up the tree.
The leaves were so soft they were like beds and the bark never gave anyone splinters.
Only the kids on the island knew about the tree because they thought that if
people or pets other than kids knew about it, they might tear it down. And the
island natives aren't usually very fond of things that aren't originally from
I took the secret path to the tree. It was covered
with vines, thorns, and poison ivy. The poison ivy was actually fake. It was
bought from a joke store a long time ago and placed there so no one would go
near the path. However, the vines and thorns were real. But there was a certain
way to get around them. I grabbed one of the vines and used it to push the thorns
out of the way. Doing so, more vines with thorns fell in place of it. But the
thorns were all pointing towards the ground, so I leapt over them without getting
a single cut. Once past the front of the path, I let go of the vine and the
thorns moved back in place.
I walked along the path for a few minutes and
finally came to the clearing where the apple tree stood. All of my friends were
playing on the tree. One of them; Michael, a little blue Lupe; spotted me.
"Milana's back!" he yelled excitedly, pointing
at me so the others could see.
Everyone cheered and started to climb down the
tree. The rules of Operations were that everyone who agreed on starting them
had to work on it together. If one kid was missing, they couldn't continue until
he or she returned. Since I had left for shopping, they couldn't continue the
project. I was as happy as them to start the new Operation.
"Let's start Operation C!" I yelled, when everyone
had finished climbing down.
"Yes, ma'am!" they yelled back.
I wasn't just a member of the group starting
on Operation C, I was the leader. There are many groups of kids in Mystery Island.
Each group got to pick its leader and I got to be the leader of the group known
as 'Jungle Clouds'. The name, of course, was suggested by me because of my adoration
of clouds and the rest for obvious reasons.
"Do we have wood?" I asked.
"Check," replied Katera, a spotted Usul. She
was in charge of the things needed for each Operation.
"Saws, hammers, and furniture?"
"Tape measure, paint, and paste?"
"Then let's get started! Finally, Operation Clubhouse
can now begin!"
Everyone cheered and ran to their assigned places
for their jobs. I watched for a few moments as the members of Jungle Clouds
all started working. They were very organized. They must've been practicing
when I was gone, I thought.
They all spread out into four groups of two and
one group of four. The first group picked up long, rectangular bars of wood
and brought them to the second group. Group two measured how long the wood should
be and, with red paint, marked where it should be sawed. Then they brought it
to the next group.
Group three cut the wood at the red marks and
put the extra wood that was cut off in a pile. Then they moved the wood to the
next group. Group four put paste on the bottom of the wood and put it on the
piece put there before it. The paste was made up of certain wild berries on
the island smashed together and then mixed with water and a drop of sap from
the magical apple tree. The mixture was simple, but surprisingly, it worked
The problem was that it only kept things stuck
together for a few minutes, so it was the next group's job to keep it in place
before it stopped sticking. This group's job was the hardest so there were four
in the group instead of the usual two. Using hammers, they hit the nails in
place so the wood would stay.
I ran over to start helping whoever was having
trouble with their jobs. Despite all the work they were doing, everyone was
having a good time. Hours later, I called everyone to come to the apple tree
to take a break.
Tim, a striped Shoyru, was the smartest kid in
our group. After buying a robo-Quiggle, he programmed it to search for edible
fruits on the island, pick them, and store it in a basket Tim gave to it. The
first few times Tim tried it out, it didn't quite work right. But finally, he
got it to function correctly.
When Tim walked over to the tree, I handed him
the remote control for his robo-Quiggle which he now called Quig. He nodded
and pressed a series of buttons on it. A few moments later, Quig emerged from
the bushes, carrying a basket overflowing with assorted fruits. All the members
of the Jungle Cloud, including me, picked a fruit from the basket until nothing
was left in it except for a few twigs and leaves.
"Status report," I asked.
Michael was in charge of the status reports.
"It's going very well," he said. "Over a quarter of the clubhouse is completed
and we should be one hundred percent finished in a few days."
I nodded, pleased. I took a bite out of the fruit
I picked out. It spewed out juice all over my face. Sputtering and wiping juice
away from my eyes, I studied the fruit. I realized it was a super juicy berry.
I started to giggle at my mistake of not looking at which berry I picked. My
giggle turned into laughter. The others turned around and noticed what happened
and started laughing along with me.
A few minutes later, I remembered what Ranea
said and climbed up the apple tree. The view I had allowed me to see over the
other trees and towards the sun. Half of it had already disappeared into the
ocean. I slid back down to the other members of the Jungle Clouds.
"Time to get going. We'll continue tomorrow.
Have a good night's rest and come back tomorrow at noon."
With that, I ran back to secret path and then
to my neohome. The sun had almost set by the time I opened the front door. I
said hello to Ranea as I passed her in the dining room and then headed to the
bathroom. I brushed my teeth and went to my bedroom where I changed into my
nightdress and jumped onto my bed. I pulled the covers up and fell asleep. Moments
later, I smiled as I slipped away into a new dream.
To be continued...