Coming Soon: Encountering Otherworlds, Revised Edition

from “A Boy Named Forgotten”

There once was a boy born unwanted and who, therefore, was quickly forgotten.  By the time he could walk, the only person who had ever cared for him left.  Not because the child was a problem; on the contrary, the boy was sweet of temperament if not timid or shy.  She left in a huff, for her wages were unfulfilled and her virtue challenged by the very evil father. Being a moral sort, she could not bear the unsolicited advances.  Having no means of her own, she reluctantly abandoned the boy child.

Now there was no one to change his shirt and he was left to his own devices.  The boy stalked his father’s corridors, hunting for scraps from the tea trays.  The day he discovered the kitchen was so glorious a find that he nearly whooped for joy.  However fearing the stern, plump cook, he swallowed all enthusiasm and waited for his opportunity to pounce in the unsuspecting meat trays.  From then on, the boy’s life grew much simpler; he no longer needed to fear the dark, endless nights in which the distant sounds of frivolity combined with the near groans of his stomach kept him awake.

Another great day in the boy’s young life was the day he made a friend.  It had rained for several weeks and the days were finally bright and clear.  A brisk wind whipped the trees, snowing cherry blossoms.  The boy stole away up to the widow’s walk.  The walk was lined with grotesque figures of demons and gargoyles.  The boy ran his fingers over the sun-warmed stones and shivered.  They frightened him.

“They just stones,”  he said, taking comfort in the sound of his voice.

“They just stones,”  a voice quipped back.

“Who’s there?”

“Who’s there?”

At this the boy stumbled back—stopping only when a gargoyle’s horn pierced his shoulder.

“Ahhoowh”

“Ahhough…eck!”  The voice choked rather pathetically and then snickered gaily.

“Not funny!”  the boy replied sorely.

“Not funny?  Sorry.”  The voice came closer.

“Who’s you?”

“I’m me.”

“And you?”  The boy was feeling less afraid.  There was something gentle in the scratchy, little voice.

“Me!”  And the voice appeared as a tiny grey-blue lizard.  “Leviathan.”

“Lavathan?”

“Close…Le -VI – a – than.”  The lizard slunk forward and put his claws on the boy’s bare feet.  “And You?”

“I am Forgotten.”

“We should be friends.”

“Friends?” Forgotten moved, positioning himself more comfortably. “What’s that?”

“Never heard of friends?  Why that’s two pals—two of a kind talking, walking, stalking the house, grounds, woods, world…why everybody ought to have a friend.”

“Oh, I’d like that.”

And just like that, they were friends, companions, blood-brothers of a sort.  They uncovered the secrets of the basements, the treasures in the attic, and on pleasant days they studied the grounds, playing tricks on the gardeners, stealing pies out of cooling racks, and even snatching clothes off the line—only when needed.  Together they grew strong and cunning.

One day, Forgotten and Leviathan woke to the sounds of silence. Forgotten could never remember a time in which the house and grounds were so quiet.  He and Leviathan wandered through the corridors but found no tea trays going to random rooms, no maids scuttling about.  In the kitchen there was no shrewd cook barking at the scullery or sculleries to be yelled at.  Only a cold hard loaf of bread sat on the table.  Forgotten and Leviathan nibbled at it skeptically—not even the hounds yelped in the yard.  Forgotten ran to the door and flung it open.  The garden and chicken yards were empty.  Only a dusty layer of snow covered the place.  He shivered and closed the door slowly.

“They’ve gone!”

Leviathan jumped from the table.  “Gone?”

“Gone, gone!  No people, no animals…just you and me!”

“That’s the way it should be!”  Leviathan said and he stuffed the last of the crust into his mouth.

It was on this day that life became challenging. The last leg of winter was rather cold and hungry. But Forgotten considered all things to be good. He had the house, the grounds, the wood all to himself and Leviathan.  They did not have to sneak from corner to corner, room to room, hiding from the inhabitants—they were the inhabitants. He and Leviathan knew every nook and cranny and now it was theirs.  The first few weeks, Forgotten was leery of the whole situation—it seemed too good.  Leviathan assured him that they truly had gone and were not coming back.

And they did not come back. . . .

Want to know what happens to Forgotten and Leviathan? On July 15, you can! Lantern Hollow Press is releasing a revised edition of its short story anthology, Encountering Otherworlds and the Coming of Age. Read stories of children entering worlds of imagination–and find out if they can make it out alive! We cannot wait to share these wonderful tales, written by our very own Lantern Hollow Press staff. Mark you calendar today!

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Posted on June 6, 2014, in Books, Children's Literature, Encountering Otherworlds, Fairytales, Fantasy, Fiction, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, New From Lantern Hollow Press, Rachel Burkholder, Story and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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