The Neighbor
Chapter One
By: Timothy Law

This is a weird story. It is a story that really, truthfully happened to me. It all started when I decided one day to peer over my neighbor's fence. In the far corner of my neighbor's yard, I see a small creature. It looks like a child sized, hairy man. He looks exactly like a Brownie that I once saw in a fairy tale book.

"Oye kid!" he yells when he sees me looking over my neighbor's fence at him.

I take off at a run. I have never seen such dull eyes. His eyes have no pupils. I now think that he is not a Brownie but a demon. I know he knows I am here because he told me so. I need to hide. He has jumped the fence. I run around the corner and run into mum. She looks at me as I tell her about the neighbor's demon, but she doesn't listen. Her face is frozen in a confused look. It is a look that scares me. I feel tears welling up behind my eyes wanting to burst forth. Suddenly the world goes grey. I try shaking my mum's shoulders, but she doesn't move. I feel cold. I hear a noise behind me. I turn and see the demon again. He has a wicked smile on his face.

"I have turned your world to stone little boy and you have one day to free them and the other world," the demon says smugly. "You must follow me or else you will receive the same fate." He says all this still with a smile on his face.

"Why Demon are you doing this to us?" I scream at him. "We have done nothing to you!" Again, he smiles that fiendish smile.

"Remember," he says. "Remember, one day."

Suddenly the world around me disappears and I am lost in a courtyard. All around me are so many statues of the demon, different poses, different facial expressions but always the same demon. I spy so many exits in this place. Above one I see the words "GO THIS WAY" but beside it I read a sign that tells me "HERE ALL IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS". I can hear a clock tick but there is no clock nearby that I can see. I stumble through one archway and another. Many pits I jump over and weird statues I pass while running, then jogging and eventually walking along.

"Only one day." I tell myself over and over again.

This is no task to give a fourteen year old, let alone a ten year old child like me. I feel alone, what a frightening word, alone. I walk along but suddenly; I gasp when I see a head that speaks to me.

"Hey Jess," says the head to me.

"I am not Jess I am Sam," I tell the head.

"Hear that Yobby, the kid isn't a Jess," laughs the head like he doesn't believe me.

"Are you talking to me Gov?" a deep voice asks.

"Yeah Yobby I is talking to you." the Gov says in reply.

It is then that I see a little lion the size of an ant hanging on to the earlobe of the Gov.

The head and the little lion with a deep, booming voice then fall into an argument in a language that is unknown to me, a ten year old. I run from them and continue my stumble. I am completely lost in this maze; the clock continues to tick but I still cannot see where it is.

It feels like another hour slips through my fingers before the long passage I stumbled into finally come to a halt. I look at the sign I discover at the passage's dead end with a very puzzled expression.

"HGF DFGGGF DJ ZXKPJ"

I could read Italian, Spanish and English but this language I have never heard or seen before. "Having a little trouble Jess?"

A deep booming voice suddenly breaks the silence of my deep thought. I turn slowly and discover a walrus with great yellow tusks has waddled up behind me. He begins to tell me what to do in a situation like this. He tells me that this is the wrong way and to give up. Yet for some reason I don't think that this is a walrus after all. I run up and touch the walrus.

He gives me a funny look then turns into a fire like demon. This strange little creature that was a walrus only a moment ago suddenly screws up his wicked little face, stamps his strange feet until he explodes. I am now alone again in this dark maze. I really think it is time to give up. I hear a sound that goes tap, tap, tap, and then tap again. It is the sound of wood on stone. A blind thing in rags walks past me as though I don't exist. It walks on. I go to call out that the way is blocked by a wall but when he reaches that wall it simply hobbles through it as if it wasn't there. I follow after the blind thing, through the stone. A tingle flows through my body as I pass through the wall. The next scene is breath taking. A beautiful garden with all the plants and flowers one can imagine.

"Hey kid, what are ya doing in my garden?" a voice scowls.

"I'm not sure," I say.

There is a rustle from a rose bush, and he faces me.

"Not another one" he grumbles.

He is a frightful face to see. There are eyes, nose, and a frown, all appearing on the face of a very large rock.

I turn to run but extremely long arms and bewitched plants grab for me from every direction. I am entangled in a sweet smelling orange tree whose fragrance puts me to sleep.

When I awaken again I find myself back on the floor of the maze. I continue the walk now in search of the entrance to the magnificent garden. I turn and walk till my legs are weary and finally I come to a place with writing. This time the sign has English writing.

"The Garden of Roses"

I jump straight through the wall and receive a mouthful of sand. All about me is sand. No more roses and beautiful garden. I think it is a mistake but behind me I hear sobs. As I turn I see the large rock with its hideous face which scared me half to death. The rock face sprouts arms and legs and then gets up and looks straight at me.

"It was you!" it says. "You destroyed it."

The rock creature steps closer. There is a scrapping sound as the frown deepens.

"I do you an act of kindness and while I am gone the demons turn my home into a desert."

There is another step closer still and then the rock man whips from his belt a huge knife. "Let us see who will have the last laugh," he cries as his dull rock eyes suddenly change color to a menacing, glowing red.

This rock creature man may have scared me before but now I am beyond frightened. I don't really feel like laughing at this present moment and so like any smart person would I run for my life. This is practically speaking. I run as fast as my little legs can carry me until instead of kicking up sand I hear again the echo of feet on stone. I notice straight away that this is a different colored stone. Instead of the deep blue from before it is a light green. Now again comes the stumbling game. The blue walls of the previous maze had been warm, but these green walls are freezing to touch and be near. Always through my head a voice continues calling.

"STOP, YOU CAN'T GO THAT WAY!"

Over and over, I hear the voice, it drives me batty. I manage to crawl down a passage where I hear some strange music. I follow the melody hoping that it will clear my mind. "Oh, hallo young one, what are you doing here?"

I see a wrinkly old man in a turban, cross legged and hovering a foot above the ground. "Aren't your cold masterful guru?" I ask him.

"No, little one, meditation keeps me quite warm," he says and then disappears with a flash of light and clap of thunder.

Then all around me many flashes and claps sound as the maze walls slowly disappear. I hug myself in fear. After much flashing and clapping all of the walls and the maze floor are gone. I discover why everything has been feeling so cold. All around me I see white, as far as my eyes can see. All around me I see nothing but snow and ice.

"I got up from the ice and snow and then I began to walk," I say. "I walked for what must have been miles and miles until I reached a sheltering cave, and it is here in that cave that I met you Mr. Polar Bear."

"That must have been terrible for a nine year old," Mr. Polar Bear says.

"It was terrible," I agree. "And Mr. Polar Bear, I'm ten not nine," I say.

"That's good young one, as long as you know and always remember," Mr. Polar Bear says with a growl.

"So, what do I do now?" I ask Mr. Polar Bear. I have not yet had the chance to wonder how I managed to know that the strange bear I found in the cave was friendly. That fairly major detail I would need to think over later.

The wise eyes of Mr. Polar Bear look deeply into mine and then in his gruff voice he speaks to me

"Jess, only you know what to do and where to go. Forget the compass and follow your heart," Mr. Polar Bear says.

"Why does everyone call me Jess?" I ask, but before he can answer me he has faded away.

Now a new thought echoes through my mind. It is the quiet, gruff voice of Mr. Polar Bear whispering to me his words of wisdom

"Follow your heart Jess, follow your heart."

So, I follow my heart and at one point I think that it may have gotten me lost, but I continue up that cliff face, the one that has barred my way and I discover that it is far easier to climb than it originally looked. Over the cliff I discover the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is a township. A great, sprawling town that I hope will be full of people who can help me. I run through the snow towards it hoping it that it won't fade away like everything else has here in this strange place. As I run towards the town I see so many people coming out to greet me. To my horror I discover that these townsfolk are the most ugliest people that I have ever seen.

To Be Continued…

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