Vanessa sat at the edge of her family’s front lawn, not quite in her usual place to play, but far enough from the road that her parents could be comfortable not keeping a close eye on her. As she does every other time she plays outside, she has her dolls and figurines sitting before her. Some are posed as if they are conversing with another, while others have been manipulated to simulate various actions from work, to play.
It’s chilly outside. The sky is overcast, and a light breeze is blowing down from the North, but this doesn’t stop her from playing outside. She’s quite used to the changes in the weather and has prepared adequately by wrapping herself in a warm jacket and scarf.
Behind her, her mother kneels next to some of the many Tulips she’s planted along the front of the house. She doesn’t pay close attention to her; she knows that her daughter will come to her if there is trouble and she has no reason not to trust her judgement, which is why she only looks over her shoulder when she pauses to stretch out her aching legs.
“Mommy,” she asks after one such moment.
“Can we go out for ice cream this afternoon,” she asks with a sweet smile on her face.
“Mm. That sounds like a yummy idea. Perhaps if there’s still time, we will.” She returns her daughter’s smile, briefly reflecting on how well-behaved her little girl has turned out, before going back to the bothersome task of pulling weeds.
Vanessa tilted her head back and watched the clouds for several minutes. Just as she was often found herself lost in the tea parties and other such social gatherings she had with her porcelain, or wooden, friends, she watched as celestial adventures played out before her.
From the West came a fearful dragon, angry that his land had been invaded. He swooped in with wings unfurled, smoke trailing from his nostrils, and claws open for the attack.
Directly above her were the dragon’s victims; a three-legged bunny, a knight with no legs, and about a dozen Furbies. She giggled when the knight hopped onto two of the Furbies, beneath of which the rest stacked onto one another to form make-shift legs.
As the dragon drew ever closer, so did it appear to become larger as well. It grew to over twice the size that it was when it first appeared on the horizon. Fire shone through its eyes like crimson rubies, and its mouth began to widen as it prepared to douse the heroes in fire.
The knight, who was used to the adversities that his condition presented him, refused to back down. With a determined look on his face, or so she assumed, he reached over and grabbed the bunny by the ears. The Furbies, having been attached to him long enough to have gained an understanding of his needs, stepped forward to as he struck a heroic pose. The bunny, also understanding the situation at hand, became slender, stretching out its front legs as a hilt, and its back leg into the point of what would now be the knight’s sword.
It seemed that a great battle was to take place before her very eyes. Man and beast would face the greatest serpent the world had ever seen. Blood would boil. Fur would scorch beneath the rage of the mighty drake. Scales from litter the heavens, causing the Angels to cry. Oh, this would have been a fight for the ages, had not a great magical wind from the north suddenly blown in.
More powerful than either of the mighty combatants, the wind came with a vengeance that neither could have prepared for. It slammed into the knight’s chest, lifting from his furry, many eared, feet, flinging him into the waters to the South. The Dragon, a beast built on the very forges of Hell itself, was struck a grievous wound as the enchanted gusts formed into a spear of ice at the last possible second. The spear sank into the breast of the monster, who in a desperate vie for survival, did the only thing a creature in its situation could; it used magic of its own to teleport itself to safety. Wisps of smoke remained as a subtle reminder of the dragon’s passage…
“Well hello there, Vanessa,” interrupted the voice of her new friend.
“Hi Andy,” she answered with a smile.
“Whatcha looking at,” he inquired curiously.
Several minutes later, he was chuckling behind his hands as she finished her rather animated telling of the story she had just witnessed. “That’s quite the tale you tell, my dear,” he said, bowing with his legs feet crossed at the ankle, and arms outstretched.
“Thank you,” she giggled. “Would you like to play,” she asked seriously.
“Only if it’s okay with your Mom,” he said with a grin.
“Oh sure. She doesn’t mind,” she replied. “Here. You can be Mr. Pickles. Mr. Pickles is late for dinner and…”
Andy sat across from her, taking the offered toy without so much as a complaint, and with-in minutes the two were immersed into a world that was woven from the experience of a hundred such tellings.
Not too far away, a pair of eyes watched suspiciously from the darkened window of a neighbor’s kitchen, eyes which belonged to someone who would soon have something to say about the goings on of their newest resident; Andy From Up The Hill.