|The Isle of Shadows - Fantasy Faire (SL) 2020|
by Judith Cullen
A gentle creak as the door opens, finding a light that should not be on, and a small head which should be asleep - her face turned up in surprise.
"Hey there. What are you doing up, little one?"
The bed sighs with the added weight as two dark, curly heads come together. Two pairs of brown eyes, so much alike, gaze at each other with love and concern.
"I had a dream"
"Oh Honey, I'm so sorry."
A swift hug muffles the reply, "Not that kind of dream, Mommy."
Bedclothes rustle as they shift. A drawing pad with the beginning of a childlike work of art is revealed, with two crayons worn affectionately to roundness - one purple, one pink.
"This kind of dream."
"What is this?"
"It's where the bunnies are. That was my dream. I went to Bunny Camp."
"Bunny Camp? What happens there?"
"It's a special place. A story place," the small voice says with the wise confidence of seven years. "Surely, everyone knows about this," her tone seems to suggest.
"I'd like to know more," her Mother assures her, ready to receive the precious gift of her daughter's vision.
The small head rests on the convenient shoulder, and she explains ...
"It all starts with a story. It has to, you know. You start your own story when the lights go out, and if you are very lucky you find your way to the camp. Not everyone can do it."
"That must be part of what makes it special."
"Uh-huh. 'Cause the path to Bunny Camp is made of stories - lots and lots of them. And the biggest bunnies, the ones who have been there for ever and ever, they guard all the stories."
"That sounds like a big job."
"They are big bunnies!"
Arms wrap for comfort, as the shifting cuddle makes soft sounds in the night."
"And they know everything about every story. You follow the stories into their camp, and you are safe there, 'cause none of the stories are scary. If any of 'um did become too scary, the bunnies are so big they would chase those stories away."
"They sound fierce."
"Just big. And pink. A little purple, maybe. They are the gar ... garrr.."
"Yeah, that's it. They are guardians. They make a safe place where you can meet the stories. There's all kinds of good stuff at Bunny Camp. There's comfy blankets, and cushy purple pillows, and soft grass, and flowers, and kid-sized bunnies to be your friend. And there's marshmallows, and cinnamon buns, and ice cream sammiches ..."
"That doesn't sound like bunny food!"
"Silly! It's not bunny food, it's story food!"
"Oh! Of course it is. My mistake."
"And there's all kindsa flowers, and the trees sparkle. It's the bestest place."
"It sounds great - like a somewhere that you might want go and stay. I would miss you."
"Oh no, Mommy," she replies solemnly, "Only the bunnies stay there all the time. See, they protect the stories, and the stories protect you. They has a beginning, and a middle, and an end. They have to. Because the end of the story means it's time to go home, and that you can go home, 'cause there's no more story. See?"
"Wow. Bunny Camp sounds great. I want to go."
A gurgle of childish laughter. Grown-ups can be so clueless, can't they?
"But Mommy, we just did."
(written for recent events, and for Fantasy Faire 2020)