Running away from his bullies one day Tom stumbles into another world. He is befriended by a beautiful young girl who tells him about the opression her people are under and reveals to him a dark secret.


3. The Dream

I don’t know how I’d worked out that this was the jungle, never having actually been anywhere remotely like it. Maybe it was the lushness of the vegetation, maybe it was the humidity that was stifling or maybe it was the exotic animal and bird noises that build a wall of sound in every direction. They weren’t your usual animals as well. Somewhere in the distance I heard the roar of a large cat, not the domestic variety but the big wild tiger like ones.


I stood transfixed at the sights getting my bearings and trying to fathom out exactly where in the world I was and how I’d got here. It seemed inconceivable to me that I could one minute be under a bridge and now in a jungle. Turning around I examined the rock face that I’d emerged from. It wasn’t a natural face as I’d first thought but a wall, most of it made of large stone blocks that the undergrowth was slowly but surely claiming as it’s own. Putting my hand against the wall I pushed and was surprised to see I was able to somehow push the stone like it was a balloon. It gave way for a good half a metre before stopping.


Pulling my hand back I watched to fall come back to it’s normal state. I wondered if I would be able to get back to my world or if I would be stuck. Gulping I wondered what would happen to me if I didn’t make it back, would people notice I was gone? What would happen to me if I stayed here ? Most likely I’d be eaten by one of these large cats that I could occasionally hear. I had to make sure I could get beck, shutting my eyes I moved slowly towards the wall. As before I could feel the coolness of the stone and then a feeling that I was pushing against a piece of rubber, the tension building up on my face and body until the blackness came. I paused and looked around, unable to see anything but darkness. I turned round and faced where I thought the wall was. In a panic I just felt hard stone, no give but then realised that I was slightly out. Feeling around I felt the now familiar rubberiness and pushed through. In my panic, I realised I’d been holding my breath, I exploded through the wall and into the river, the cold wet water soaking my shoes again. The clones was instantly recognisable. I was back.


It was dark now, obviously time wasn’t the same in the jungle or the process of transferring to it somehow took longer than I realised at the time. George and his gang were long gone. I stood on a rock and contemplated what had happened. I could feel that the wall was still rubbery and so maybe I could go back. I was intrigued by the whole idea. Had I found a new world to explore ? Was this an unexplored world or some sort of portal that opened to a new world or an alternative universe ? I have to say my interest was stirred by these thoughts. 


Thinking on my feet wasn’t new to me, making quick decisions was though. Should I plunge headlong back into the portal or should I go home and think about it a bit more? I hesitated, all the while the cold water seeped through my shoes. I stepped towards the wall and then stopped. It was no good going back as I was. If I went home I could come back tomorrow or the next day when I was more prepared.


I went to bed that night, my mind set on maybe leaving it a few days, my usual indecisive phase. However I dreamt the strangest dream. Usually my dreams are patches of comprehension mixed up with weirdness. I barely understand what is happening sometimes, snatched images, feelings and emotions. Lately there had been loads of people lurking in the shadows taunting me, murky images of black mumbling and making me feel low. Sometimes they got bad and I’d wake with a panic, cold sweat poring down my back whilst I saw the shadows cackling there way into the corners of the room, ready to pounce out and scare me later.


This time though the dream was like being at the cinema. The images flicker free and vivid, almost as if I was sat watching the events unfold in my mind. It started at the jungle, the scene fading in, the lushness of the surroundings evident. I could even smell the moistness of the area in my nostrils, feel the warm dampness to the air. I wandered off down the path, glancing back at the wall behind me. I journeyed through the undergrowth and then it cut to the next scene. 


In front of me was a girl, about my age but nothing like I’d ever seen before. She was a total stranger but yet I saw in her something familiar, a sense that somehow I knew her. I have to tell you readers, that she was the most beautiful person I’d ever set my eyes on. Even though it was a dream, I was entranced by her beauty. Her long black hair shone in the sunlight sparkling and shimmering. Her skin was darker than european, a sort of dusky brown. She stood just over five feet tall as far as I could tell and wore a read and yellow sari type dress which came down to around her ankles. However it was the smile that got me breathless, a wonderful smile that made me melt inside. Her face was daubed with paint in splashes but it couldn’t disguise the beauty that was underneath. I was entranced for ages just looking, almost swooning at her beauty. 


After a while I started to sense she was talking. She spoke english with a weak accent. She was arguing with people who referred to her as Princess, although I couldn’t quite catch the name. I slowly tuned into what was being said.


‘You highness’ one was saying to the girl, ‘you must leave now, your mother and father have been captured by the Prime Minister Cam. If we move quickly you can escape his clutches. He plans to take control of your kingdom.’


‘I will not leave them,’ the girl said forcefully.


‘You must Princess,’ another man said ,’the people will need someone to rally around’


There was a disturbance somewhere out of my view and then I saw them push the princess out of the door. It was at that time I woke up. I lay thinking about the dream wondering how my overactive imagination could have come up with such a plot. I pondered writing it down for a story later but fell back into sleep.


‘Tom, help us’ I heard a voice in my dream say.


‘Help us Tom’, the voice insisted. I recognised the voice from my dream of the princess.


‘Tom we need your help’ again the voice almost pleading, ‘it’s your destiny.’


I woke again. Sitting bolt upright I thought about it. My mind was made up, I would return to the portal, if only to see the Princess and work out if this was all a big dream or true. I got changed, packing a small bag with items I thought I would need. 


‘Off for an adventure, cover for me’ I smiled as I texted Sinead wondering what she would make of it all and crept out of the house. I took a look back at the house, wondering if I’d ever see it again before heading down to the river. Maybe it was a dream and I’d walk right into the stone, but maybe, just maybe I’d get back to the jungle and this strange world.

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