Where the boxcar children meet a wizard and a dragon...
This fantasy pits a group of ordinary children against newly awakened dragons in the caverns of Washington State's Mt. Si. It's a bit like the Boxcar Children against Smaug, Tolkein's famous worm (dragon) and his flock of dragons. Or is a group of dragons more aptly called a "murder" like crows? Children with no special powers other than their keen intellect and an array of individual native capacities must awaken an entire underground city before the dragons regain full consciousness.
The wizard who froze the city thousands of years before, did so to protect his people from the evil monsters. The wizard had no choice but to suspend animation in all living things within his protected realm, which included himself. All remained asleep through the millennia, long past the age of the wizard wars and real dragons, and they waited for the the pure at heart to awaken them.
How will a small group of modern era children protect the world from an ancient maelstrom they have unwittingly released?
I'm not even sure myself, yet, but I can promise the reader that it will be exciting.
Here is a sample:
Gary relaxed in a lawn chair on Saturday morning. He reclined to let the warmth melt into his face, intertwined his fingers behind his head, and closed his eyes. “What a great day,” he said to himself and thought that summer in Seattle was the best place in the world. Green trees, blue sky, lakes, and mountains, all the rain was worth it, “Totally,” he finished.
A dog barked in the distance and Gary wondered why he noticed the subtle sounds of the neighborhood more intensely with his eyes closed. Birds twittered and another dog entered the distant chorus, perhaps warning a jogger that she was entering claimed territory. He heard cars in the distance too and remembered that this morning his family was invited to accompany the neighbors to their cabin in the mountains.
“Come on, they’re waiting! What do you mean you can’t find your shoes?” Stephany shouted. She was forced to use the same tone every time the family prepared to go somewhere. The children knew that in a moment their mother’s voice would rise even higher, including screaming threats of violence and an occasional swat. They were so accustomed to it that they didn’t really think it was time to go unless they were being scolded at high volume.
“The kids are mother deaf,” Gary mumbled.
“Scott!” Stephany screeched, causing the eleven year old to jump out of his chair. “Where’s your shirt? I can’t believe you don’t have shoes on, or a shirt, and we were supposed to leave ten minutes ago! Turn off that T.V., get a shirt on, and shoes, don’t forget socks, get your backpack, put on your glasses, and get in the car NOW!”
Across the street the Skyler children heard Stephany and went in to inform their mother, Victoria, that the Smith’s would be ready in a few minutes.
“I heard,” Victoria said as she slid the kitchen window closed. She locked it and continued, “Vida, go around and make sure everything is closed and locked. We don’t want any surprises when we get back.”
Fourteen-year-old Vida patrolled through the house with her littler sisters following close behind, making sure the job was done right. Cascading down in age by two years each from Vida, Olivia was 12; Rachel and Rebecca were ten and eight.
Taylor, the Skyler’s youngest at five, pulled open a storage cabinet in the garage and dragged his dad’s fishing waders to the Suburban. Henry, the father, was ecstatic to finally get a boy. He chuckled at Taylor’s struggles then grabbed his vest and fly rod from the same cabinet.
“Here, let me help you with that,” he said as Taylor relinquished control of the waders and trotted back to the cabinet. He grabbed his own tiny fishing pole, with a plastic fish tied to the tip, slammed the cabinet door shut, then ran back to the car where he chunked the pole into the back seat and climbed in after it.
Back across the street, 12-year-old Scott sprinted for his shirt, socks, and shoes. Dale, 14, sprang back up the stairs to change his pants at Stephany’s command. Kyle, seven, kangaroo hopped from room to room searching for his shoes, which always seemed to go missing just before he needed them.
Stephany wrestled the baby, three-year-old Ashley, into a yellow sun dress. But Ashley snatched off the matching hat as soon as Stephany put it on.
“Ok, fine,” Stephany said as she stuffed the hat into her shoulder bag.
Gary stretched and sat up in his lawn chair, “Need any help in there?” he shouted through the open window.
“I got it,” Stephany replied. “Just get the car loaded will ya’?”
Ginger, the oldest at sixteen, carried Ashley to the car and strapped her into the child seat in the back of their station wagon. The cooler full of food and drinks was already in the back, along with a wicker picnic basket full of buns, napkins, paper plates and plastic utensils.
The Skylers were ready after having gone through some similar gyrations with shoes, only with not so much anxiety or noise. Victoria was a bit more organized and orchestrated the preparation ballet without so much urgency. She knew that when the two families got together for an excursion, she had a half hour after the scheduled departure, courtesy of the Smiths. Victoria held no resentment for the delay, that wasn’t in her gentile nature. Things were just the way they were and she simply planned for the delay.
“Henry and Taylor are ready. I saw them putting their poles in,” Barry called into the house as the Scott and Kyle jumped off the front steps and climbed in the car.
Stephany shut the house door behind her and hesitated for a moment, “What did I forget? I hate that. I know I forgot something and won’t remember until we get half way up to Mt. Si.”
“Are we taking Striker,” Ginger asked. The Shetland sheepdog was already in the car, sitting in the driver’s seat. He was getting old but still had plenty of energy.
“I don’t know. Are the Skylers taking Chrissy?” Stephany asked and looked across the street where she saw Victoria getting into the front seat of the Suburban with Chrissy in her arms. “Victoria has Chrissy so I guess it’s ok.”
Victoria loved to dress her Scottish Terrier in plaid, but it was too hot for dog clothes on that Saturday.
Gary fired up the wagon and backed into the street where Henry slid by in his Suburban. Everybody was accounted for and the two families took to the road for the 45-minute ride to the foot of Mt. Si.
Perhaps they would never have left if they knew about the startling, dangerous adventure that lay before them. They were rushing into an abysmal chasm of ancient history. The parents had no way of knowing that their children would cause the rebirth of a cataclysmic battle between good and evil that had been frozen in mid-stride a thousand years before.