Path to the House


Path to the House

An Excerpt by Max Yang

A May 2024 Monthly Story Challenge Winner 

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Chapter 1:  Frightening Sister, Boo

      “There it is!” cried Joie, closing the door of the blue van.  

      “Yes, we’re here at the new house!” replied Mom. 

      Alex smiled, and muttered, "This is nicer than the small, dank, dark, smelly apartment we used to live in before Dad got the robotics job!” 

       He stepped off the van and looked over the fence. The clouds descended on either side of him. Jagged cliffs disappeared into the white. Even farther down, was a vast forest with small squiggly rivers dotting the landscape. Alex turned in another direction. Blue and red wildflowers popped up here and there. A bird chirped in a nearby tree and insects buzzed. Above him was the ring of white mountain peaks ascending the heavens.

       A cold breeze blew past. Alex shivered.

      “Aren't you coming?” came the seemingly distant voice of his mother. 

      “Yes, Mom….”

      Alex walked up the path to the garden past the koi pond and the trees through the clumps of gigantic moss and climbed up to the porch through the orange door. Creek! He stepped inside and eased the door closed. Alex looked around. The white walls were brightly lit by yellow lights. A walkway above Alex’s head connected the bedrooms to the stairs. A big hallway was to his right. The ceiling was dominated by a fan and a globe lit inside out with iridescent blues, greens, sandy yellow and icy white streaked with gray.  A flock of ivory geese hung from the tallest part of the ceiling. Most of all, a terrace looked over the foyer/"foy-YAY".  His footsteps echoed off the wooden halls as he walked through them. 

       “Mom, Dad, Joie, Anyone!?” 

       A girl about ten with blond hair screamed, “Boo!”

       “Aaaaaaaa! Joie!” 

       “HAHAHA!” Joie tried to smother the laugh but failed. 

Chapter 2:  Unsettling Bird

      “Coocoo Coocoo,” the bird by the window should have said, but instead it said in a hoarse voice, “New visitors, new visitors. The two Alex and Joie, the two Alex and Joie.” 

      “What's wrong Alex?” said Joie.

      “Didn’t you hear that?! That bird by the window just spoke!” 

       “No!? You're trying to mess with me….” Said Joie in a maddeningly disbelieving tone.

       Joie thought “What's wrong, hmmm…...” 

       That's when everything changed.

Chapter 3: First Night

        A truck, then another, drove up on the driveway and parked on the side of the road. Workers pulled furniture out of the trucks and carried them into the house. 

        Screech! The workers hauled two beds through the hall. 

        Bang Bang Bang! Another group of workers nailed pictures to the wall in rapid succession. First the one with Alex, Joie and Mom, Dad and Mochi the cat, who was now nosing Alex’s hand. The other ones were landscapes, flowers and a house. Alex suddenly realized that the house in the picture was this one he was standing in! 

       The sun was creeping over the last peak. Finally, the last ray of sunlight disappeared from sight. Sunset was upon them.

        “Time for bed!”

        Alex walked in the direction of his mom's voice. He passed a bronze statue of an eagle, beak held high. He saw a stone slab cut in half with emerald green crystals sparkling in the dimming light. It was secured to the smooth quartz wall. Suddenly, he saw Mom in the shadows fingering a moss-green pearl. “That’s weird.” 

       Then paying no more heed than that, he climbed up a flight of stairs, then to the second. In the middle of the third one, he stumbled, when Mochi ran into Alex's legs. Alex jumped. He leaned his hand against the smooth stone wall, steadying himself. 

         Scrape! Clunk! The stone beside him moved to reveal a brightly lit corridor shining warm orange light that blinded him. A moment later a blast of heat met his face, blowing his medium-brown hair into a knot. Alex fell in! He peered around. Iridescent light glowed all around, oak doors disappeared into the distance, gold plating lined the walls. The stone door started to close! Scrape! He thought, “The stone is closing on me. Save it for tomorrow.” 

        He jumped out. The stone moved back into place. He kept climbing up the flight of stairs.

At the top, he found double doors flanked by two jade griffins. Alex jumped in fright, but they were only statues. The griffin’s feathers were intricately detailed, paw pads perfectly shaped, wise eyes piercing into his soul, and head nodding with the expression “enter.” 

       “I must have imagined that," thought Alex. 

       He opened the leaf-embroidered door. Alex stepped into the pyramid-shaped bedroom, sat on the bed, and looked around. The large room’s floor and even the walls were covered with blue carpeting. 

       A red, purple and yellow chandelier shaped like a star shined, basking the room in soothing orange light, while dangling from a brass hook connected to the point where the walls converged. The supports creaked in the breeze wafting from the open window. Two big lamps dominated the top of the drawers. The clock ticked it’s tickety tick. 

        Alex tucked the cover over himself. He was about to fall asleep when his sister came crashing into the room.

        “Come look!!” 

        Alex got up, slipped into his slippers and opened the door to the balcony. The stars glowed vibrantly! One of them blinked as if to say hello. Alex looked down for the second time this day or should I say night. In the koi pond's reflection was the moon.

       “Hello, my dearest.” said the moon in a tone of the wind, light and ripples like water. “Yesss I ammm the winddd… I amm light and I amm ripples in a pond and most of all, I am the mooooon.” Suddenly the moon's reflection rippled and disappeared.

       He woke with a start! “Was that all a dream or…...” Alex thought.

Chapter 4:  Passage Way, Oh No The Books Are Telling Me Something

         Alex jumped off the bed and went into the bathroom to get dressed. A few minutes later, he slammed the door to the bathroom and ran to the place where he had stumbled the night before. Alex pressed the indentation in the brown stone wall. Scrape! The stone moved. Stomp! Stomp! His sister came running down the stairs just in time to see Alex disappearing through the wall. 

          Alex ran. He opened an oak door and walked in, closing the door behind him. Books lined the walls. One of the books had:

Read me and you will find the way to the moss green pearl.

         Another one was inscripted:

The moss green pearl you must find or the end of things it will be.

         One more said:

Seek the moon's guidance, you will find the key.

Save the Dragon you must

         Alex suddenly realized, his mom had the moss green pearl! 

         This was magic at work!

Chapter 5 Sword

          Alex touched a book. Suddenly, he felt a speeding feeling and crashed into the koi pond with a splash! The birds drinking, scattered. 

         It was still the crack of dawn when the first rays of light were just appearing.

          Alex was dripping wet and smelled of dead fish. He said, “Thanks Books!” While stomping out.

          Alex looked back. The moon's reflection was still in the koi pond. He saw a sword, barred to the hilt, glinting with a bronze light. Like a miracle he turned back and tugged the blade free. On the base of the blade was: 

”Alex Hakorthaty or Alex Login This sword is yours. You’ll need it.”

         The hilt was polished mahogany wood with silver vine shapes covering it. Electricity coursed through the Tungsten blade. Diamond encased the tip of the sword. And it was as light as a feather. He swung the sword. A sheath for the sword appeared. He sheathed his sword. Alex thought, "How will I hide this!?” Just as he was thinking that, it became a coin! Alex tossed the coin up and it was a sword again.

            He shook his head, sheathed the sword, pocketing it, and walked inside leaving wet footprints behind him.

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