Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?
I felt my eyelids growing heavier and heavier. It had been a long day, but I was determined to stay up and finish the last chapter. “It is such a captivating story,” I thought as I stifled a yawn. Maybe just a bit of shut-eye would do the trick of reawakening my concentration to finish the last two pages. “I’ll close my eyes for only five minutes,” I whispered to my half-conscious brain as I set my alarm clock.
I looked down at my book, and these few last words caught my eyes before I drifted off completely into dreamland, ” ‘Step into the pages, Child, for you will discover all that did not make sense during the story. You will truly taste tears, joy, pain, fear, happiness, and love as never experienced before. You will dance and waltz across the lines that were only read in times past. You, dear Josette, will embark on an adventure’ ” (A Story Never Written).
Dreamland was as usual- pink cotton-candy clouds, fluffy puppy dogs, rippling streams, smiling stars…except this time there were large houses scattered across the landscape. That is not unusual you may say, but it is…because these were not ordinary houses. These houses were gigantic books that could be entered through a front door. I looked up at the house in front of me. The words, The Cat in the Hat, were scrawled across the front. Children leaned out of upstairs windows laughing, and I was sure that I saw a cat wearing a hat pass by an open kitchen window.
I scratched my head in puzzlement at this strange addition to my dreamland. Was it possible? Could I really step into any book and meet the characters and join in on the adventures?
There was only one way to find out. I quickly set off in the direction of a blue bouse (that was the terms the locals used for the strange book houses) entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. A sign on the door stating 221b Baker Street told me that I had indeed located the right place. I rang the doorbell and waited, unsure if one just enters a bouse or waits to be admitted. As I waited, I watched the bouse next to me on the right. I heard sounds of oinking coming from inside, and a rope of hair extended out the attic window until it reached the ground. “It could only be the fairy-tale house,” I reasoned.
“Yes, hello, Dearie, may I help you?”
I was startled by a voice at the door. I turned around and came face to face with Mrs. Hudson. “Yes,” I answered, “I would like to meet Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, if you please.”
Mrs. Hudson winked with a knowing smile, “Why, yes, of course- they are investigating ‘The Hound of the Baskerville’ case. I’m sure you could watch them at work if that type of thing interests you.”
I exited as I waved goodbye to Dr. Watson. He was a jolly ole’ gent and quite glad for my company. Sherlock simply nodded his head and then turned to go back upstairs. “That really was remarkable, Mr. Holmes. Thank you for allowing me to shadow you and Dr. Watson,” I said as he left.
He waved his hand backwards over his shoulder at me, “Elementary, my dear girl, elementary.”
I was shown into the house by a maid dressed in the formal black and white servant attire.
I walked in just as Emma was saying, “And have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess? I pity you. I thought you cleverer; for depend upon it, a lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it.”― Jane Austen, Emma
I nearly skipped with joy as I realized that I had indeed danced into the pages of one of Jane Austen’s creations. Emma and I would have such a grand time together.
My heart was quite light after the adventures I had experienced so far and now felt brave enough to tackle a more unsettled bouse. I finally found the one I was looking for- after crossing quite a few streams and hills to get there. On the way I had asked the Mad Hatter for directions, but he was of little help to this particular quest; so I had to settle for my woman’s intuition. That God-given gift didn’t fail me -even in dreamland, and I arrived at last. I didn’t bother with the doorbell this time, and instead opened the door by myself. I pushed aside the furry darkness that enclosed around me until I fell out upon the wet, cold snow of winter. I had stepped through the wardrobe and into the land of Narnia.
I sat feasting with Peter, Edmund, Susan, Lucy, Aslan, and the many other Narnians in celebration of our victory, when a sudden beeping sounded. “What is that?” I asked aloud as I looked around for the cause of the irritating noise.
Aslan softly patted my hand with his paw, “…Come; I will open the door in the sky and send you to your own land. But you shall meet me (in your own world), dear one. There I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Suddenly I was pulled by a whirlwind further and further from the bouses. I flew up above the moon and looked down at the fading dreamland. I soared over the planets until I awoke back on earth in my little room. I rubbed my pasty eyes and looked around to see if Emma, Sherlock, and the Pevensies had joined me. But they hadn’t; all I saw was my beeping alarm clock, my book that had fallen to the floor in my sleep, and the normal bedroom furniture. I sighed sadly as I realized that my time in dreamland had indeed been short, but then a smile slowly spread across my face as I realized the privilege of experiencing the great adventures inside the dreamland bouses.