Chapter 7: Escape

Aeolianna came by a few minutes later and we silently walked along the corridors. Deep within the dungeon, we arrived at a wide open space. I had no idea what it was supposed to be used for, but it served our purpose well. Everyone was gathered around a large flat topped boulder in the middle of the chamber. As Aeolianna and I got closer, I noticed steps cut into the side of the rock. Without a word, Aeolianna urged me up.

“Friends,” I began, “toys, fellow prisoners, lend me your ears.” I wasn’t trying to be funny. Those were honestly the first words that popped into my head. Thanks for the Shakespeare lesson Ms. Fitzpatrick. The toys looked a little confused. One Mr. Potato Head figure pulled his ear off and offered it up to me. I smiled and shook my head.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean that literally. Anyway, I think I know how we can leave here. It will take all of our Imagination power together, but we will be successful. This book has told me so.” I briefly outlined what I’d learned from the book. “Now, in order for this to work, we’ll need everyone’s imaginating power. So, you’ll all need to picture what we need in your head.” I began to describe the details of my dream, from the beginning of the forest path to the last part I’d dreamed where I’d been talking to Garrison and Winston. I tried to include all the sights, sounds and smells I could remember. Lots of adjectives – my teacher would be proud.

“Alright then everyone. Let’s get this party started!”

All the toys sat in a circle around the stone, and I sat on top and closed my eyes. I began to imagine our breakfast break, sitting around in the sunshine in the open field. I imagined that the stone on which I sat was in the field, with all my new friends gathered around the base. I tried to remember the sweet scent of the flowers, the delicate breeze that had blown by, the melody of the birds singing in the forest. Bit by bit, instead of just imagining the smells and sounds, I began to feel them. Through my still closed eyelids, the light got brighter. A breeze blew through my hair. The sudden buzz of an insect near my ear made me open my eyes. It had worked! I was still sitting atop the oddly shaped boulder, and all the toys, most looking like human beings, were luxuriating in the feel of the grass under them. Aeolianna looked up at me, a wide grin on her face. She looked at her shoulders, at her arms and hands, and brushed her hair back from her face, looking at it in wonder.

I looked around for the other toys I had dreamed before. A figure burst out of the trees and into the clearing. It was Serlena. She did not look happy.

“What have you done?” she demanded, looking up at me.

“I had a dream, so I made it reality,” I replied.

“You’ll be sorry, Taylor Trent.” She shook a fist at me. “Once he finds out what you’re up to, it will be the end for you.”

“He? Are you talking about Garrote, your master? I’ve learned a little about you since you decided to abandon me and use me.”

She huffed and stomped away. I had a feeling I’d be seeing her again soon.

I climbed down from the rock and spied the trail a few feet away.
“Come on everyone, we’ve got to stick together and follow that trail.”

I started walking toward it and caught sight of Garrison and Winston. They were standing on the trail, exactly as they had been when I had last seen them in my dream. However, they looked frozen, like statues. A few feet behind them were Fred, Ted, Ned and Zinga, also eerily unmoving. The moment my foot touched the path, they all started walking again, as if someone had simply pressed pause and suddenly hit play. But they weren’t the same as before. After a few steps, Winston and Garrison stopped and gaped at one another. Then they ran to one another and hugged as if they hadn’t seen each other in a long time. They looked at me.

“What have you done?” asked Garrison. “How did you manage? I feel as if I’ve just woken up from a dream! It’s so odd though. I have these memories of traveling this trail all day, and yet, another part of me remembers guarding a door, and a day when she took Winston…” He glanced at his brother and his throat caught. “When Serlena took Winston away,” he finished.

“What a wondrous gift you have given to your friends. I don’t know if there is any way to make amends. You’ve freed our minds and brought us back into each others sight. No matter what this day may bring, with you I’ll stand and fight.” Winston gave me a tight hug.

I looked back at the brothers. Fred, Ted and Ned were looking around confused. Zinga was looking at me, a huge grin on his face.
“Butterfly!” he called. For a moment, I thought he was talking about Aeolianna, but then I caught a faint glimmer of deeper meaning. Just as a butterfly starts out as a caterpillar and metamorphoses into a wondrous and beautiful creature, so had the power of imagination taken a dark world and changed it into a dream land full of light and possibilities. Zinga definitely knew what was going on.

The toys I had brought from the dungeon were milling around the edge of the path, unsure. I called to them and showed them the tether ropes attached to the handrail. I turned to Aeolianna and asked her to explain. She remembered this part better than I did.

“This handrail is our guide and will help us escape Garrote’s clutches. We need to stay connected to it. Tie these tethers around your waists so that you won’t lose your way.”

Once everyone was tied on, we started forward. I caught sight of the lanky lazy guy still asleep under a tree. Mr. Bendy Bunny as I recognized him now. He was attached to his tether at least. Hopefully he’d catch up when he finished his long nap.

I was excited. I’d done it! I’d changed reality and our plan was under way. The book was carefully tucked into the backpack that I’d imaginated for myself, just like I’d had in my dream. I’d read enough to know that we were in for some difficulties ahead, but I felt reassured that in the end, everything would end up hunky dory happy. Walking along and listening to the rocks crunch under my shoes, the whooshing sound of the tethers gliding along the rail, I smiled. What an adventure I was having!

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