Chapter 4: Monsters

Love has no limit. That is what my mother had taught me since I was a child. The more love you give away, the more you get back. For some reason, all the logical laws of physics didn’t seem to apply to love. Love was a power unlike any other. And because love has no limits, its power can overcome any obstacle. However, sometimes, it is very difficult to love someone, especially if that someone has done something to hurt you. Yet the Law of Love still applies. Love has no limit and therefore, you can love anyone. It can take some doing, but if you look at someone through the eyes of love, and try to see who they really are, what makes them tick, and walk a mile or two in their shoes, suddenly, love makes it all easier. Love makes the world go round.

Love is a rainbow

Of feelings that brilliantly

Shine over the world.

Deep inside me, I knew this. I really did believe what my mom taught me. But sometimes, putting theory into practice doesn’t work out the way you think it should. Actually doing something is so very different from planning it out in your head. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to do something worth doing unless you plan it out in your head first. But sometimes, your head and your heart don’t agree. Then you have a struggle.

I woke up from my dream again and found myself still in the damp dungeon. I was really starting to get angry with Serlena. How dare she do this to me! The least she could have done was warned me before dragging me down here. I still wasn’t sure where I stood with the task she had given me. I didn’t know if I really even trusted Serlena. I needed more information. I walked over to the bars and called out the Butterfly.

“Hello there? Can we talk? I need to explain a few things.” Suddenly, I felt a hot breath on my cheek. I turned to look and immediately wished I hadn’t. I stumbled backwards, deeper into my cell, terrified by the apparition outside my cell.

“She ain’t talkin’ to the likes of you, boy. She’s done listenin’ to lies. And she done told us what you is doin’ here. We knows that the Princess sent ya to spy on us. So, be warned and know that you ain’t gonna get nothin’ from nobody down here. You is all alone, and you ain’t got a single friend in the world. Maybe that’ll teach ya to mind your own business and not go spyin’ on the likes of us. Or on anyone.” The speaker was a clown. I hated clowns. His poofy orange hair stuck out from two sides of his head and the top of his head was bald and shiny. He had a big red nose and big red lips painted around his mouth. His eyes had black lines going from his eyelids down to below his eyes and his eyes were black. His white face looked sickly and ghost-like in the dim light. His garish outfit of orange with purple polka dots did nothing to help me feel better. I might have been able to handle him if it had just been him though. But no, he was surrounded be a posse of mean, dirty, tattered toys, all glaring menacingly at me. My Butterfly shimmered faintly behind them. For a moment, I was glad I was locked in this cell, because then they couldn’t get to me. They I realized that none of them were in their cells. How had they gotten out? And if they didn’t stay in their cells, why on earth didn’t they try to escape this dungeon? If only I could talk to them, help them understand.

“My name is Taylor. If I could just explain…” The clown cut me off.

“No need for you to do any explainin’. We all knows your story likely enough. And we ain’t about to put up with more lyin’ from a nobody like you. You had better be grateful we doesn’t have the key to your cell, or we would be in there pulling the stuffing out of you, just for the fun of it.” I shuddered.

“I didn’t know she was… I won’t say anything…” I had to make them see.

“Of course you won’t be saying nothin’. You ain’t got nothin’ to tell. And not a single one of us is gonna be talkin’ to you.” And with that, he signaled to his companions and they all turned their backs to me. And then they started whispering to each other. No one turned around to look at me, although  I caught whispers of my name every once in a while. Suddenly, everyone was laughing. I knew they were laughing at me too. Little by little, the group members wandered off, down the long corridor to wherever they were going to break out of here, still chatting and laughing as if they’d just had the best time of their lives. The clown turned to talk to me one more time before leaving.

“Good thing we found out about you before we all decided to leave. We was planning on taking you with us, but not now. We’ve got lots of friends in this place, even some that ain’t down here, and we is getting’ out of here. You remember that. You came to spy on us and betray us, so you is gonna be here all alone, with no friends. ‘Cause you ain’t got any.” And he walked away.

I wanted to shout and make myself heard. I wanted to yell and scream. So I did. Not that it made any difference. I tried to explain myself, but I don’t think anyone was listening. And so I did the only thing I could, I sat down and cried.

Now, I know, tough guys aren’t supposed to cry. But hey, what would you have done, all alone, in a cold dungeon, having the world’s freakiest clown just tell you you’re completely alone, have no friends, and that everyone hates you? I was kind of used to being important and popular. I wasn’t the most popular kid at school by any means, but I never lacked for friends. I had my group. We would hang out at each others houses after school, we’d roam the playground during recess, showing off all our cool tricks and stunts, playing wall ball, searching for bugs, all the good stuff. I’d always had friends, and I’d always been a part of something. For the first time in my life, I found myself completely and utterly alone. Somehow I knew Serlena wasn’t my friend. She was just using me for whatever she was planning. And now, everyone around me who might have been my friend wouldn’t even listen to me. How had everything gotten so messed up? Where had I gone wrong? I hadn’t come down here to be a spy. I hadn’t done anything to hurt anyone, had I? I’d just done what I was told and followed orders. I guess maybe I’d forgotten to think for myself a little along the way.

After I’d cried myself out, I felt the teensiest bit better. At least I’d gotten it out of my system and there had been no witnesses to my utter lack of manliness. But I realized I had a serious problem. I didn’t know how long I’d been in this dungeon, but I hadn’t been given any food or water in the whole time I’d been here, and my stomach was grumbling. All the crying left me rather thirsty as well. And then there was the fact that I had eaten a nice big lunch before getting trapped in this monkey. I had to go. I really had to go.

I looked around my cell trying to figure out what to do. Did toys ever have to use the bathroom? Probably not. They didn’t really eat, they weren’t real, so why would they have to go? There was nothing in my cell – not so much as an indent in the floor. So, I did what any kid in my desperate situation would do. I went to the furthest, darkest corner of my cell and relieved myself. There wasn’t much I could do about anything else, so I snuggled up to the bars (to be as far away from the dark corner as possible) and started talking to myself. At least I still had me to talk to. I was still my friend. I guess I just needed some verbal reassurance that somehow, everything would be alright, even if I had to be the one to reassure myself.

“So, Taylor, how are you doing? It’s been a rough day, hasn’t it? First, you get swallowed by a stuffed monkey, then you get thrown in a dungeon, and now, you have no friends and everyone hates you.”

“Yep, that about sums it up. I’ve never been this lonely. I’m so alone I’m reduced to talking to you.”

“Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked, right? I mean, we’re always talking to each other, although usually it’s silently in your head.”

“I know. I know. I just feel so… afraid, right now.”

“Afraid of what, exactly?”

“I guess of being alone. I’ve never been alone.”

“But you aren’t really alone. There are others around. They just don’t like you or want to talk to you or have anything to do with you.”

“But that’s just it. I’m not talking about being physically alone. I’m talking about being alone and friendless. I don’t have anyone to talk to, except myself, and no one is even listening.”

“How do you know that? They are all probably listening, or at least hearing you insanely talking to yourself. They may not be actually paying any attention.”

“Exactly. How am I supposed to be me if no one cares? If no one even knows I’m here, that I’m unhappy, that I’m hungry and thirsty and… If no one is listening, if no one cares, then I feel like I don’t even exist. I have no purpose, no reason for being here. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going to end up?”

“You’re you. As for why you’re here, that’s a toughie. Maybe it will all make sense later. Wherever it is you end up. You don’t need a fortuneteller to help you with that one. You can’t very well stay here forever, can you? I mean, Serlena has to come back sooner or later and you can tell her you failed.”

“I don’t want her! I’m glad I failed her. I don’t think she is who she wants me to think she is. If spying on these toys that she says are monsters is going to leave me friendless, forget it! And it’s not like she was all that friendly either. She stuck me down here without even a word of warning. And she wanted me to spy on others that she brought here, and told me lies about them, and who knows what other lies she told me, and why should I care what she thinks anyways, and…”

At this point, I ran out of breath for a minute or two and stopped talking to calm down.

“What I’m trying to say is, I’m afraid of being alone, afraid of being lonely, afraid no one cares, and I don’t have any idea what to do about any of it!”

If I hadn’t already cried all my tears out, I may have started crying again. But I didn’t have anything left in me. So I sniffled, tried to get comfortable on the cold floor, and restlessly drifted off to sleep.


We were still hiking along our little pathway in the woods. I figured I needed to be more social and get to know the rest of our little group. I looked around. The tall lazy guy still hadn’t caught up. I looked at Zinga and his brothers. Zinga was still looking off into the woods in awe. There were some twins. They looked identical except that one was a red head dressed all in red and the other one was blond all dressed in yellow. I walked on over.

“Hi, I’m Taylor,” I introduced myself.

“My name is Garrison, and this here is Winston,” said the yellow one.

“Yes, Winston is my name, rhyming is my game. If you speak it, I can rhyme it, and from whence is my fame.”

I had no idea what he was talking about, but he could rhyme pretty well.

“Well, nice to meet you Garrison and Winston.”

“Don’t mind my brother, Taylor,” said Garrison, as if he’d read my mind. “He’s always like this. He loves words and he especially loves words that rhyme. It’s just kind of his thing. He doesn’t always make sense,” Winston nudged his brother in the ribs with his elbow and shot him a brief glare, “but it’s always fun to hear him.” Garrison gave his brother an innocent smile.

“My brother knows not of what he speaks. He thinks he’s helping when he critiques. I have learned that words, big, small, fat and tall, are of more worth than many recall. Each configuration of letters, when freed from ignorant fetters, can show, can conceal, can bestow and ultimately reveal the highest ideal. Words are more than mere sounds, and where wisdom abounds, can be used as a tool to confound many a fool. They express joy and peace, can raise and expand, can destroy or decrease, can praise or command. Each simple word is a work of art. And using them well is work of heart.”

“Wow,” I said. “That is very impressive Winston. My teacher at school, uh… would think you’re really cool!” I grimaced slightly at my attempt to rhyme. I didn’t want Winston to think I was making fun of him or anything.

He applauded my effort.

“Wonderful attempt my new friend. Do not let this beginning be the end. Keep up the good work, it’s more than just a quirk, it takes real power to speak hour after hour making words rhyme most of the time.”

“Yeah, thanks.” I turned to Garrison. “So, have you discovered anything interesting on our journey so far?”

“Well, we have discovered that somewhere in this forest exist two sisters. One is green,” Garrison giggled slightly, “and the other is blue.” At this Winston’s red cheeks darkened almost imperceptibly. “We are trying to find them so we can get married.”

“Well, congratulations guys! How did you find out about them?” I asked.

“There is one of great knowledge who never did go to college, who speaks on the wind, and is a great friend, who told us the truth of these ladies we seek, now we must act the sleuth and find them this week. Then we will be wed, and may our happiness spread, to all those who yearn for love in return from one whose candle with theirs shall burn.” Winston intoned.

The slightly puzzled look on my face prompted Garrison to interpret.

“Basically, Winston here has a really smart friend who heard about them from a bird, and told us to go look for them.”

“Your friend can talk to birds?” I asked.

“Yeah, haven’t you met Zinga? I saw you talking to him over there. Looked like you two were getting along great!” said Garrison.

“Zinga can talk to birds?” I thought about it for a few seconds. “I guess that makes sense. How do you guys talk to him? This might seem odd, but I can feel him talking to me more than I can actually hear him. His brothers don’t seem to get it though. They think he’s just dumb.”

“Zinga is no ordinary chap. His mind holds details like a steel trap. Only those of heart so true can understand him like we do. To talk to him, one must truly hear the words unsaid. Those most dear to our friend do not know of things to them you cannot show.”

“So, basically, you guys can feel his words too, right?” I thought I understood Winston’s prose this time.

“Exactly,” said Garrison. “Winston is better at it than I am, probably because he’s so good with words and meanings hidden in words. But I can usually get a basic idea. And when Zinga told us about the ladies, well, I got a pretty clear picture on that one.” Garrison grinned at his brother.

“Well, good luck guys! I’m trying to get to know everyone, so I’m going to work my way around the group. But feel free to come over and chat whenever you want. And definitely keep me posted about your girls. I’ll keep my eyes open for them too.”

“A good friend is heaven sent, a gift of soul to you is meant.”


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