“No. I don’t want fries with that!” Kallista’s own voice woke her from the dream she was having.
Sitting up with a start she rubbed her head and looked around. No. She was not at McDonald’s. She was still on the strange island and she was still hungry though not as cold as before. A remnant of her dream stayed with her, so real she could smell the aroma of a warm cooked meal. She looked down at her hands just willing the object she was holding to be a hamburger. Instead of food in her hand she held a small piece of driftwood and judging by the teeth marks and odd taste in her mouth, she must have been chewing on it too.
“Oh well, at least I’m dry again.” She mumbled as she got to her feet and tossed the driftwood aside.
With food and something purple still on her mind she trudged slowly towards the forest, looking around cautiously for anything that might attack her again. Out of the corner of her eye something flashed and sparkled. Turning to see what it was she saw a bright glowing light that hovered high in the air just outside of the forest. Kallista’s big lovely blue eyes widened in pleasure.
“SO BEAUTIFUL!” She breathed in awe.
Hastily she changed her direction and headed for the warm inviting glow of the small orb. As she drew closer she could feel the power radiating from it. She began to run feeling a sense of urgency to grab it before it disappeared.
Then she stopped just short of her goal. Something else has caught her attention. The ground beneath her feet shook and rumbled as the sound of heavy footsteps echoed in her ears. Something big was headed her way. The trees ahead of her shook violently and were bent backwards as the big something passed through them.
“Oh crap! That can’t be good.” Kallista mumbled as she backed away quickly.
A strangled scream escaped her lips as she tumbled backwards into a deep hole.
“SURPRISE!” A loud booming voice sounded just as she landed with a thud.
Terrified but unhurt she pressed herself against the sandy wall of the hole.
Above her she heard the voice speaking again.
“Where did she go?” The giant’s voice sounded irritated. “My big entrance was ruined!”
With her heart pounding she listened in silence as the voice continued to rant. It seemed as if it was talking to some one else. Thunder rumbled gently from a distance as if in reply. She was only slightly curious about that but not enough to poke her head out and investigate. Instead she hoped desperately that whoever that big voice belonged too, that it would go away fast.
But there was no such luck. She whimpered as she heard what the voice said next.
“What? You say she fell down in the hole? But I had placed a warning sign right NEXT to it.”
The thunder rumbled again.
Had there been a sign? Kallista had not seen one. Then she spotted something across from her half buried. Digging it out she saw a smallish sign with the words written on it: Beware of hole. Don’t fall in.
Well, that’s nice. She thought sarcastically as she picked it up.
Then suddenly something huge reached down and grabbed her by the belt loop on the back of her pants.
Shrieking wildly she covered her eyes with one hand and made crazy jabbing motions with the stick part of the sign in what she hoped was the right direction of the thing that now held her.
“Oh good! You found the sign!” The beast cheered as it easily plucked the sign from her hand.
Now she dangled uselessly high in the air. Fearfully she peaked between her fingers and saw a giant…
“MONKEY!” She shrieked again and flailed her arms and feet futilely.
The giant beast sighed and looked at her exasperated. “I am NOT a monkey. I am a gorilla. There IS a difference though you know. Will you PLEASE stop screaming!”
“I’m sorry.” She said tearfully. “I am afraid of heights and…..and…BIG THINGS!”
She covered her eyes and pointed to ground far below her.
“If I put you down will you promise not to scream or run away?” The giant gorilla asked her.
“Yeah, okay. I promise.” She mumbled.
As he put her down her fear began to leave. She then realized with astonishment that the big Gorilla had been speaking with a proper English accent this entire time.
“For a person in uniform you are oddly cowardly.” He spoke mildly with an air of disappointment.
She merely shrugged, not remembering how she came to be in a military uniform in the first place.
“I bet is has something to do with my good friend, Lizzy.” She mused suspiciously with narrowed eyes as she was lowered.
Once on the ground she staggered for a few minutes as her legs found strength again to stand upright.
The gorilla watched her somberly as she found her bearings. “I am Edward, guardian of this part of the island and also Keeper of the Ring you see here before you.”
“Well hi there, Eddie!” She greeted in a dreamlike way.
It was all so fantastic she could feel her mind threatening to explode. Once again Edward looked exasperated and raised his eyes to the sky, beseechingly.
“Why, oh why did you HAVE to place me with HER?”
The thunder rumbled back as Kallista looked on with astonishment.
“Are you speaking to the Thunder?”
“Yes I am.” Edward replied trying to be patient. “The thunder is..”
“COOL!” Kallista shouted as she interrupted him and looked up into the sky crazily.
“HEY! YOU! BUSTER IN THE SKY! Take a look at THIS!”
She whirled around and mooned the sky. She laughed wildly then screamed a moment later as lightning flashed and struck her. To Edward is sounded like some sort of demented yodel.
“Mypantsareonfiremypantsareonfire!”She screamed as she dashed madly back and forth in front of Edward with a small flame on her backside.
Edward sighed and flicked at the small human with his large finger sending her flying backwards in the sand. Immediately the fire was out leaving behind a thin smoky trail.
“I really wish you would not do that.” Edward spoke. “You must not anger the King of this island.”
“King?” Kallista roared as she got over her predicament easily. She jumped up and stood in a noble pose. “ I am an AMERICAN. No king or queen rules over ME!”
Immediately she was stuck again by another bolt of lightning. This time it left what was left of her long black hair in a sort of weird afro.
“Ok maybe I will.” She spoke meekly in a high squeaky voice as she collapsed in the sand again.
“I really wish you would not do that” Edward said again. “Now if I can please continue?”
Kallista only managed to nod with her blackened face set in a frozen shocked sort of smile.
“Good.” Edward nodded finally satisfied. “As I was saying, I am the keeper of this ring. You desire this ring. Am I correct?”
Kallista nodded dumbly again but briefly wondered where one would go to learn the fine language of thunderese.
“Then let me continue. This ring is called Rüya Veren, the giver of dreams. Whatever is your dream, the ring will make it come true for you if you are the bearer.”
Edward stopped for a moment as he saw the little human’s expression turn from a dopey grin to that of wonder.
“I had a dream once where I was at school giving a speech and I was naked!” Kallista smiled happily.
“Uh….er….not THAT sort of dream.” Edward said dourly.
“Oh.” Kallista looked slightly disappointed, then brightened. “I would like to see you in a pink tutu! You would look SO adorable.”
Edward facepalmed. He guessed that most people did when around this exasperating human.
“That is a wish, not a dream.” He responded trying to keep his temper down. “Is there nothing you aspire to? Something that you long for but is beyond your reach?”
Kallista eyed the beautiful glowing ring again.
“There is something.” She admitted. “Something…..purple.”
“Then you will want this ring.” He said, stopping her from reaching for it. “But there are three tasks you must do first.”
“Really?” Kallista frowned in annoyance. “Can’t you just hand me the ring and be done with it? I mean, it will be so simple.”
A burst of flame and Kallista was struck by yet another bolt of lightning. Edward sighed and waited for her to stop jerking about and screaming then continued. “As you may have noticed, you HAVE to complete the three tasks. It is required.”
“Yeah, OK.” She stood there with a stunned look on her blackened face. “So tell me, what do I have to do?”
“Your first task is to carry me over a pit of hot coals.” Edward said calmly, silently daring her to protest again. He liked seeing the small human get electrocuted.
“Aww…” Kallista began, a protest almost out of her mouth. Quickly she closed her mouth and eyed the sky nervously as the thunder rumbled ominously.
There was a whooshing noise as a long stretch of burning coals appeared before her.
“How……?” Kallista started but was interrupted by Edward.
“Turn around.” He said simply.
Mystified she did as he asked then squeak with surprise as he turned and set on her back.
“Go on now human. Carry me across.”
Grunting with exertion she started across the hot coals.
“Oh! By the way. No shoes or boots or any foot wear of any kind.” Edward admonished her.
Magically her boots disappeared and she screamed in agony as the heat seared her feet.
“ I suggest you hurry across.” Edward said as he made him self comfortable one her back.
Hastily she did as he suggested and staggered across the hot coals with a panicked expression.
“Ow! Oh! Oh! OUCH!”
Finally she was across and sagged to the ground Edward still on her back. She disappeared under his brown fir. The thunder rumbled again and Edward spoke grumpily.
“OK. Fine I’ll get off her!”
He got off her to find she was laying spread eagle buried halfway in the sand.
“Oh get up you!” He said somewhat irritated. “The King says I have to let you live so you can complete the other two tasks.”
He plucked her out leaving a Kal print behind.
“Second task is…” He broke off as she groaned a long prolonged groan.
“Are you quite finished?” He asked her mildly offended.
She waved him on wearily.
“Fine then. Next task is a game of….BUMBLE BALL!”
“Bumble ball?” She squeaked out.
“Like dodge ball but only played with coconuts and there is a goal. “ Edward explained. “You know, because the island doesn’t really have any balls. Just coconuts.”
“Of course.” Kallista responded cantankerously.
“Your duty is to act as a goalie and to keep the coconuts from passing by you.” Edward continued, ignoring her outburst.
A moment later she found herself in between two tall coconut trees that were aligned but far apart from one another.
“This is a big goal area.” She muttered under her breath, wondering how she was going to achieve this.
“What was that?” Edward asked her.
“Oh, nothing!’ She called back with false exuberance.
For the next hour she endured a plethora of coconuts being lobed at her with the velocity of a speeding train. With a valiancy that even noble Edward admired, she tried to block every coconut that was thrown at her. In the end, she was buried again. This time under a pile of coconuts.
“I win!” Edward called out happily.
He sat himself down and waited for Kallista to rise up from her pile of coconuts. It took a while. When she finally did emerge, she was sporting two black eyes, a bloody nose, split lips along with her fried afro hair, tattered clothing sloppily arrayed, and smoldering slightly.
“I’m still beautiful.” She groaned out hoarsely, her voice breaking.
Neither one of them knew exactly what happened next. One minute Kallista was on the ground, staggering forward as seemed to be her custom. The next thing Edward knew, she was airborne and flying through the air. He looked down at the stick he had just stepped on. She has just stepped on the one end of the stick when he had moved forward and stepped on the raised end. The simple act had sent her flying high into the air screaming crazily across the sky towards….…NO!
Edward saw her as if in slow motion as he lunged forwards. Her mouth was wide open in a scream as she once again was flailing all her limbs uselessly.
All his efforts to save the ring was lost. Kallista, blind with terror swallowed it mid scream and choked. Now the ring lay in the bottom of Kallista’s stomach.
Due to its magic nature, Kallista did not plummet to the ground. She hovered instead.
“Now you have gone and done it.” Edward closed his eyes in irritation. “I USED that glowing ring as a night light when I read during the evenings!”
“Uh…sorry?” Kallista apologized sheepishly as she hovered by his large face. “Look on the bright side! I’m not hungry or cold anymore!”
Edward did a double take as Kallista began to glow just like the ring had done.
“I’m looking at something bright now.” He replied to her as an idea formed in his head. “I now know what your third task will be.”
A short time later Kallista found herself bound to a particularly tall thick coconut tree that Edward was leaning up against as he read from his book. It was dusk now and Kallista provided the only glow as she hung from the top of the tree, tied to its rough bark.
“Soooo…” She ventured in the silence. “Once I’m done being your nightlight, I get the ring?”
“Yes.“ Edward replied without looking up and shuddered. “Believe me, I don’t WANT to have that ring anymore! It’s yours! Now be a good nightlight and shut up before I gag you too!”
Kallista could not help it. She cheered. “YAY!”
A moment later she found her mouth gagged with a banana peel and for the rest of the night, Edward read happily in silence.