Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel) – Chapter One, Part Five

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Chapter One, Part Five

Sammy and Jonathan looked at each other as they lay in the leaves.  Jonathan wasn’t sure what to make of it.  He had seen riders on horseback before and in fact, he was a pretty good rider himself.  His father owned three horses and a pony, which was Jonathan’s.  But he hadn’t seen anything like those two riders before.  They were hard to see in the dark shadows of the forest, but he knew they hadn’t come from Hampton – or anywhere nearby – that he was sure of.

It was time for another chocolate chip cookie and Sammy got one too.  Jonathan lay there and thought about what to do next.  The riders were no doubt a long ways away by now and if they returned he was bound to hear them before they saw him.  He could hear the creek again and decided to continue on.  Besides, he was thirsty and had forgotten to bring anything to drink.

It wasn’t hard to find the creek, but finding the fallen tree was another thing altogether.  The water roared down the narrow gully with a speed and force that amazed Jonathan.  The creek wasn’t very wide – normally only about ten feet at most – but it was wider and deeper this time of year and the large rocks were below water level. Any other time of the year he might have been able to find a couple of rocks to use as stepping stones to jump across in a zigzag fashion, but now it was impossible.  Most of the large rocks either under water or creating the treacherous rapids.  There were also dead tree branches and other things that the water had swept away, only to be caught up on the rocks.  It looked a lot different now than when he had seen it before.  Jonathan was glad it hadn’t been this deep when he had fallen in the last time, or he wouldn’t have made it out for sure.  It was looking impossible to cross today, since the fallen tree was nowhere to be seen.

Jonathan paused at the edge of the creek and took his gloves off in order to scoop up some water for a drink, before deciding to go downstream in hopes of finding a way across it.  He decided that it should be called Stony Creek, because of all the large stones and rocks in it.  Jonathan and Sammy had a hard time working their way through all of the bushes and undergrowth along the creek bank as they searched for a way across.

Sammy had gone out in front, since it was easier for him to make his way through the bushes.  Jonathan heard a soft bark and worked his way up to see what Sammy had found.  They had just about forgotten all about the crows and riders and were having fun again on their adventure.  Jonathan pushed aside a branch to see the fallen tree – exactly as he had remembered it!  There it was, a tree trunk without any branches for the most part.  The top of the tree had broken off and was lying on the ground nearby, probably the result of a lightning strike.  The rest of the trunk leaned out across the river and was resting against the trunk of a tree on the other side – about ten feet above the far creek bank.  The problem was that he wouldn’t be able to climb down the tree it was leaning against on the other side, since it was too smooth and big around for him to just shimmy down.  Jonathan sat down on the creek bank beside the exposed roots of the fallen tree for a while to think things over, as Sammy played in the woods nearby.

It finally came to him.  There was a small branch on the tree that the trunk was leaning against on the other side of the creek, that Jonathan could tie his rope to and climb down to the ground with. Once it was time to return from his adventure on the other side of Stony Creek, Jonathan would simply climb up the rope and make his way back home.  He thought it was a great idea and broke out in a big smile as he congratulated himself on his ingenuity.  Jonathan prided himself on having great ideas.  He was good with ropes and a good tree climber, too.  This wouldn’t be any problem at all – a piece of cake.  Jonathan even tied knots in the rope about every foot or so to help him climb down and back up again.

What he hadn’t thought about yet was what to do about Sammy.  Sammy couldn’t climb ropes or trees and would surely want to continue along with his master.  Jonathan coiled up his rope and looked at it again.  Gramps had given it to him.  He said it was an original, braided rope made by an Indian tribe out in Arizona.  It was dark colored and stiff and about as big around as Jonathan’s biggest finger.  He had no idea how old it was.  It wasn’t very long either, but it would make the distance from the small branch to the ground easily enough.  Perhaps it was originally used as reins while bareback riding.  It was impossible to really know, but Jonathan thought it would work well on a painted Indian pony.

Sammy was still off playing in the woods when Jonathan started out across the log.  He was careful not to slip and fall into the raging water below.  He had figured out a long time ago that the secret to climbing trees was never to look down.  If you looked down, it gave you a reason to get scared.  Jonathan just looked at the log as he made his way slowly out across the water – scooting a foot at a time as he straddled the log as if he was a bareback rider and the tree was a painted Indian pony.  He always had a vivid imagination – it was just who he was.  When Jonathan got to the other side, he carefully tied the rope to the small branch and tested it to make sure it wouldn’t come loose.  If the knot came undone and he got stuck on the other side of the creek, he would really be in trouble – up a creek without a paddle so to speak – since he wouldn’t have a way back over to the other side.

With his backpack on his back, Jonathan put his gloves on again and started slowly down the rope.  He wrapped his legs around the rope for balance, and kept a tight grip.  The knots he made helped him keep a firm hold on the rope as he made his way down.  He made good progress, but didn’t want to go too fast because he might get rope burns on his hands.  The gloves helped out, too.  All of a sudden, there was a loud crack and Jonathan was falling.  He landed in a bush and rolled down the bank towards the swift current, reaching out just in time to grab a hold of something to keep him from rolling into the turbulent water.  He was dazed but alright – and amazed in the fact that nothing seemed to be broken.

Sammy had been busy chasing butterflies and other things when he heard the crack of the branch breaking.  He raced back to the creek and ran up the tree trunk that Jonathan had just used to cross the raging water with.  Sammy barked from his perch high above the creek, as he looked down and saw Jonathan lying at the water’s edge, not moving a muscle.  “Sammy, it’s okay.  I’m not hurt.  The branch broke and I fell, but I’m alright.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get back across, but I think I’ll just rest here for a while and think about it first.”

Jonathan tried to be reassuring again, but this time it didn’t work.  Sammy paced back and forth on the log not knowing what to do next.  Jonathan knew he was in big trouble.  Trouble with a capital ‘T’ that is.  This might not be River City, but it might as well have been as far as he was concerned.  Jonathan took inventory of his situation.  He had with him the backpack and its contents, his gloves – and the rope was still in one piece.  He took out a chocolate chip cookie and tried to come up with another bright idea, but was at a complete loss to think of one.  There wasn’t another way back across the creek that he knew of and he didn’t dare try to wade or swim across the rapids.  He’d be swept away and might not be as lucky this time as he was before.

Just then, in the middle of his indecision, a blur from the sky came down and caught Sammy by surprise – knocking him off balance.  He made a heroic effort but was unable to keep his balance and stay on the log, falling into the swift current below.  It happened so suddenly that Jonathan didn’t have time to react.  He could only cry out to Sammy as he watched him hit the water and was immediately swept away by the rapids.  In  a blink of an eye, Sammy was gone!  In fact, he had not even been able to see any sign that Sammy had fought his way back up to the surface.  Sammy was nowhere to be seen.  Jonathan was only able to yell at the crow as it filled the air with its sharp cries and flapped slowly higher before circling high above the tree tops.  Jonathan picked up the rope and quickly began his search downstream for Sammy.  He couldn’t leave him to drown – but there was also little hope that he could ever help him – or even find Sammy again!

Jonathan finally sat on the ground holding his head in his hands.  He couldn’t remember how long he had searched for Sammy, or how far along the creek bank he had traveled.  The realization of just how serious the situation that he now found himself in had only just started to sink in.  The tears in his eyes caused everything he looked at to be out of focus.  Sammy was his best friend ever and now he was gone!  Jonathan couldn’t believe it.  For the first time ever he started feeling really, really scared.  It was after lunchtime.  He looked at his watch.  It was two o’clock and Jonathan wasn’t sure where he was.  The sun felt warm on the creek bank as he wondered what to do next.  He lay there for a long time thinking about Sammy, who was now lost forever.

A shadow moved across the ground as Jonathan lay there chewing on a long blade of grass.  Startled, he looked up just in time to see the crow diving down toward his face on an attack.  He managed to get his hand up just in time to catch the brunt of the blow and protect his face.  The large crow cried out sharply as it flew off behind the trees, spoiled in his attack.  Jonathan’s sweatshirt was ripped, but other than that he was unscathed.

Jonathan had to do something; he couldn’t stay out in the open with the crows around.  He scooped up another drink of water, grabbed his backpack and made his way deeper into the woods.  He was now on the far side of the creek and going further away from home.  There really wasn’t any other choice for him, as there was no way to cross back over the creek – and the crows could see him out in the open on the creek bank.  The only thing he could think of was to find another farm and call his dad to come and pick him up.  His mother would be upset with him, but at least he wouldn’t miss dinner.  He had already missed lunch and doing his chores, and this adventure was not turning out at all like he had planned.  Funny thing, adventures.  They seem to have a mind of their own – and you can’t ever predict what will happen!

The large, black crows.  Jonathan couldn’t figure them out.  Why did they want to hurt him and why did they want to get rid of Sammy?  He missed Sammy already.  Sammy was the best dog and friend a boy could ever have.  Now he was gone and it was all the crow’s fault.  He’d get even someday, he said to himself.

Jonathan wandered through the woods, dazed at all that had happened to him.  It didn’t take long before he had forgotten completely which way he had come from, because he really hadn’t been paying any attention.  The woods all looked the same to him now.  The trees were very tall and there wasn’t any high ground from which to look out across the land in order to get his bearings.  The sun was low on the horizon now and too low in the sky to see it through the trees.  It was starting to get dark and Jonathan was getting worried.  He had hoped to find a farm relatively easily, but there weren’t any plowed fields around here and there wasn’t any sign of civilization so far at all.  There was a farm every mile or so along the road his family lived on – but Jonathan had never been here before.  In fact, he had never been in a place like this before.  Jonathan sensed that this place was very different from Ohio.  He wasn’t sure how different, but there was something strange about this place.  He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something was wrong – very wrong indeed.

Jonathan continued wandering for quite some time, until he just got too tired to keep going.  After a while he came to the edge of a clearing, but it was getting too dark to see very much, for the sun had already set and dusk was setting in.  Jonathan decided to stop here for the night and go to sleep.  Tomorrow would be another day and he was sure that everything would turn out fine in the morning.  It had been a long time now since his last chocolate chip cookie, so he ate two more and sat down in the leaves.  There were five cookies and the orange remaining in his backpack.  He was sure to find someone to help him out soon enough, he thought to himself.

Finishing his dinner of cookies, Jonathan climbed deep into a thicket of bushes to find a place to sleep.  He knew no one would see him there while he slept – especially the crows.  Inside the thicket there was just enough room for him to lie down.  He gathered up all the leaves that he could find and pushed them into a pile in the middle to sleep on.  He took his backpack and rolled it up to make a pillow and tightened the draw strings on his hood to help stay warm.  It was already getting cold and he tried hard not to shiver – but it was a losing battle in the end.

Jonathan didn’t worry about the cold, too much, though.  He had slept out in the hay loft before and had a tent that he would set up behind their farmhouse every now and then.  In fact, he once made a snow cave during the winter and slept in it.  A smile came across his face as he recalled his efforts.  So one night out in the forest didn’t bother him too much – he was on an adventure after all!  But deep inside, Jonathan was scared and had no idea how to get out of this predicament.  “What to do next?” he kept repeating quietly to himself.

What a story he would be able to tell once he got home, though.  He’d make sure not to tell his mother very many details, because moms get scared easily – but his friends at school would be able to hear the whole story – plus some!  This was almost like going to Africa or someplace Gramps might go.  Jonathan wasn’t thinking about that now though.  There would be time enough for tall tales later on, but now he was bone tired.  He lay down on his bed of leaves and quickly drifted off to sleep.  He would face tomorrow when it came.

(End of Chapter One)

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel) – Chapter One, Part Four

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Chapter One, Part Four

Jonathan had originally gotten Sammy completely by accident.  One day in town while Jonathan was sitting in the bed of the pickup truck with the tailgate down, waiting for his father to purchase a few supplies at the hardware store for the farm, Jonathan saw Sammy in a field beside the parking lot.  Sammy ran over to the pickup and Jonathan jumped out to play with him.  Although Sammy was just a mutt and not much to look at, he was a very smart dog and had a way of figuring things out for himself.  Little more than a puppy with short brown hair and a lean muscular frame, Sammy would one day grow up to be a fine dog and companion.

Sammy jumped into the bed of the pickup while they were playing in the parking lot and was still there when Jonathan’s father returned from the store.  It must have just slipped Jonathan’s mind to say something to his father.  Jonathan and Sammy moved up behind the cab to stay out of the wind and before Jonathan remembered to say anything they were heading for home.  Once they arrived home his father didn’t want to drive all the way back into Hampton to return the dog that evening and told Jonathan they would return Sammy the next day.  Somehow it just never got done – so by default – Sammy was Jonathan’s dog.  Besides, Jonathan needed a new playmate since old Trooper wasn’t up to long walks and adventures anymore.

Jonathan picked up a stick and threw it down the tractor path.  It was their favorite game.  Sammy went racing across the dirt and flew the last few feet in the air before pouncing on top of the stick.  Unfortunately for Sammy, he hadn’t learned how to stop very well and went tumbling head over heels in the dirt in his exuberance.  It didn’t take him long to recover though and grabbing the stick in his mouth he went racing back to Jonathan to return it to him.

“One of these days you’re going to learn how to pick up that stick on the run, Sammy.  Then we’ll teach you how to catch it in the air.   But now we’ve got to get going.  We have a new adventure for today.  We’re going to cross the creek and play on the other side this morning, so let’s get going.”

Sammy wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but for some reason he suddenly became very still and lost all of his previous enthusiasm.  Jonathan had never been across the creek before – but Sammy had.  Sammy seemed to sense what was going to happen and lowered his head as he followed behind his master with his tail tucked low between his legs.

Sammy began sniffing the air and looking from side to side as they walked along the path.  They were coming up to the woods now and the corn field had come to an end.  The tractor path became a single, narrow path overgrown with tall grass and weeds.  Thickets of bushes were growing in a tangled maze leading up to the edge of the forest. Jonathan and Sammy stopped for a minute to look around and get their bearings.  In front of them the path all but disappeared into the darkness of the woods.  Sammy’s ears were standing straight up and he didn’t move a muscle – straining to see or hear the presence he sensed.

“What do you think it is, Sammy?” Jonathan asked in a whisper.  He felt it too.  The cold, numbing sensation made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck.  All of a sudden, a crow screeched and abruptly launched itself into the air behind them.  Sammy barked and jumped towards it and  Jonathan was just able to duck as it glanced his head and flew off noisily.  It continued crying out and circling for a minute, until another crow joined it and then they disappeared.  The crows were very large, unfriendly and certainly up to no good – Jonathan was sure of that – but why?

Jonathan and Sammy were stunned.  They both sat there for a moment looking at each other and scanned the skies for any sign the crows were returning.  Jonathan thought the crow tried to peck him with its beak as it flew by.  If he hadn’t ducked in time and covered his face with his hands, the bird may have actually hurt him.  Jonathan was just now catching his breath from all of the excitement.  He took off his backpack and took out the ham sandwich and shared it with Sammy – all the while pondering what had just happened.

“You know Sammy, I think we just startled the crow and it didn’t mean us any harm.  We don’t have anything to worry about from a couple of birds.”

Jonathan didn’t even sound very convincing to himself – let alone to Sammy.  In fact, Jonathan didn’t even believe what he just said – but he knew he was the leader of this adventure and had to try to be brave for Sammy.  Sammy let out a soft whimper and turned his head back to lick a small scar that Jonathan hadn’t noticed before and didn’t notice now.  It was mostly covered up by Sammy’s fur, but if Jonathan would have looked at it closely he would have seen a small, round scar – that almost looked like a puncture wound of some sort.

They stood up after finishing the sandwich, dusted themselves off and headed into the forest.  The first thing they noticed was the temperature change.  It felt warm sitting in the morning sun, but in the woods it was much cooler now.  It was a damp chill, the kind that seemed to go right through Jonathan’s clothes.  Sammy felt it too and let out another soft whimper.  It was also darker in the forest – much darker – and it took a few minutes for Jonathan’s eyes to adjust to the dim lighting.  There were glimpses of sunlight through the forest canopy, but they diminished as Jonathan and Sammy went deeper into the woods.  It was a mixed forest of hardwoods and softwood pine, with just enough sunlight at the forest’s edge to fuel the undergrowth of bushes and small trees.  The path disappeared entirely as the underbrush grew thicker and denser.  They had to push limbs and dead branches out of their way in order to move forward.  It was as if no one had entered these woods in the past two hundred years.

Jonathan paused for a moment to put on his gloves and put up the hood of his sweatshirt.  Then he reached into his backpack for a chocolate chip cookie or two and also gave one to Sammy.  They made him feel better already.  He patted Sammy on the head and continued off into the woods.  Sammy hesitated for a moment, with a questioning and almost pleading look in his brown eyes before continuing off after Jonathan as they plunged ever deeper into the forest.

It wasn’t long before they heard running water off in the distance.  At first it was very soft, but as they got closer it kept growing louder and louder.  Jonathan hadn’t remembered it being that loud before and was getting a little concerned.  Sammy was having a good time again, running off a short way into the woods on either side of Jonathan looking for rabbits, squirrels and anything else he could stir up.

Suddenly, Sammy came bounding through the bushes and charged into Jonathan, pushing him to the ground.  Jonathan was just about to scold Sammy for doing it when he heard the sound, too.  It quickly became a loud, crashing noise that came very close to them.  They were hidden on the ground by bushes and shadows as Jonathan strained to see what it was.  Sammy pushed his head into the pocket of Jonathan’s sweatshirt and didn’t move a muscle.  As the sound got louder and closer, Jonathan could make out the vague forms of horses in the shadows of the dim, shrouded light.  There were two horses with riders wearing dark cloaks that suddenly turned and went racing off into the darkness beyond.  Soon the noise faded and disappeared entirely, leaving only the crashing sound of the creek’s rapids in the distance.

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel) – Chapter One, Part Three

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Chapter One, Part Three

The kitchen door led to the back yard.  Actually, it wasn’t much of a backyard as farms don’t really have one.  There was a dirt driveway alongside the farmhouse that led to the barn for the horses, tractors and hay, a separate barn for the milking cows, and a couple of other outbuildings for the pigs and the laying hens.  An old tractor was parked in the grass, along with the pick-up truck and the family Oldsmobile. Jonathan could see the new tractor in the distance over by the wheat field where his parents were checking on the crop – which meant they were already done milking the cows this morning.

Jonathan stopped for a moment to listen.  The hens were making a soft, cackling noise and the cows were beginning to get restless in the barn.  Every now and then a low rumble would come from the barn and he could hear their hooves shuffling in the stalls.  Soon they would be led out to pasture for the day.  The sun was on the horizon now – bigger than a basketball hanging in the sky – and it felt warm in the chill of the early morning air.

All of a sudden, Jonathan felt a nudge on the back of his leg and turned quickly to see what it was.  He saw that it was only Trooper, his dog.  Actually Trooper didn’t live up to his name much anymore.  Trooper was a black Lab that was getting along in age, with a gray shadow on his muzzle and a bit of a limp.  Old Trooper spent as much time sleeping as doing anything else these days.  He was a good dog and had often gone on adventures with Jonathan, but today he was content with a pat on the head and a hug before slowly walking over to his spot by the back porch to lie down in the dirt.  Jonathan took a quick look around for Sammy but couldn’t see him.  Sammy was little more than a puppy and a mutt at that – but he was Jonathan’s favorite.  He wondered where Sammy might be.  They nearly always went on adventures together, with Sammy usually spending most of the time chasing rabbits.

Jonathan thought that Sammy would be along in due time, so he started off towards the barn.  He stuck his head in the door to look for his favorite cow, Lucy.  He could always find her because she was the one without very many black markings.  She was mostly white, which made her stand out in the herd.  There she was over by the middle post, quietly munching hay and swatting flies with her long tail.  With that, Jonathan left the barn and started heading down the tractor path that led to the cornfields.  The fields were already planted and starlings were circling overhead, occasionally landing to walk along the neatly tilled rows for stray kernels or something else to eat.  As soon as they saw him they took to the air in a loud burst of chatter, before landing in nearby trees.

The tractor path had two deep ruts and Jonathan chose to walk in the grass between them.  Every now and then, there was standing water in the ruts as it had been a wet spring with lots of rain.  For a moment Jonathan thought about the creek.  It would be higher than usual due to all the rain.  He really didn’t want to think about that and kicked a stone into a puddle and quickly forgot about it.  The ripples in the puddle quickly faded and as the water became still the reflection returned.  It was the reflection of a large, black bird – a crow – sitting above the tractor path in a tree, watching Jonathan walking off down the path.  After a minute, it launched itself in a burst of fury with a sharp caw cry – startling Jonathan – and flew low across the field towards the woods beyond.  It took Jonathan a moment to overcome his startled reaction and then he continued walking – kicking stones as he went along and quietly humming a tune to himself.  Meanwhile, he noticed the crow’s caws were echoed by another cry off in the distance.

Jonathan felt good about this morning’s adventure as he wandered down the tractor path.  Looking out across the cornfield, he thought about the path ahead and his plans.  His plan was to continue to the creek, cross it using the fallen tree and then spend the morning in the woods on the other side.  When it was close to lunchtime he would head back home and then do his chores after lunch.  This was too nice a morning to spend it working on the farm, he thought to himself as he walked down the path.

The leaves on the trees were green and full, blowing gently in the light breeze.  Jonathan could see he was now approaching the woods at the far end of the corn fields.  He had only ventured into them once before – when he fell into the creek – and reminded himself not to make the same mistake again.  This was going to be a good day, he said quietly to himself, as if trying to convince himself that it couldn’t turn out otherwise.

Just then, he heard a rustling sound in the high grass along the tree line to his right.  He stood still for a moment, not knowing what it was.  Once he had seen a fox out in the fields and he wasn’t looking forward to meeting one again.  He crouched low and slipped his backpack off his shoulders.  Slowly he reached for the tribal knife he carried.  If it was the fox again, he would at least be prepared to defend himself.  Jonathan wasn’t about to become anyone’s lunch.  Bracing himself on one knee, Jonathan looked out towards the high grass.  He could see the grass being pushed down in front of whatever was moving in it.  It sounded as if the animal was jumping as it tried to make its way through the tall, wild grasses.  Soon it would come to the edge and find Jonathan out in the open on the tractor path.  He tightened his grip on the knife and got ready to defend himself.  Actually if the truth was known, Jonathan was getting ready to run.

The last thing that he wanted to do was tangle with that fox.  He remembered the last time he saw it.  He had surprised it back behind the hen house.  Jonathan had thrown stones at it, but the fox wasn’t too afraid of Jonathan.  It just jumped out of the way of the stones and circled at a distance, never taking his eyes off the chickens.  His tail would stand at length, twitching side to side and his ears were standing straight up, pointing forward.  The hens, of course, were running wildly about clucking and screeching and running into each other while trying to get back inside the hen house.

Jonathan remembered that day well.  He also remembered standing up against that fox – when he really wanted to run – just like the chickens.  It was a brave deed for a young boy.  But now the fox was back and this time there wasn’t any hen house to run into.  This was the fox’s territory and it wouldn’t be so easy on Jonathan this time as it had been the time before.  So now Jonathan crouched even lower, getting ready to do battle against his arch-enemy with his knife.  The movement in the tall grass was now at the edge of the tractor path – this was it, Jonathan thought – now or never!

Suddenly there was a dark form that sprang out of the grass, landing right in front of Jonathan.  It took one more leap and landed square against Jonathan’s shoulder, knocking him to the ground.  Jonathan’s mind was spinning and he didn’t know how to react, as everything had happened so fast.  Too fast.  The blow had knocked the knife out of his hand and kicked dust into his eyes so that he wasn’t able to see what was going on for a moment.  It was all over for him now – the fox had him at a disadvantage, with no way to defend himself.  He was a goner, Jonathan thought, as he blinked his eyes trying to regain his focus again.

As he scrambled to his knees, trying to get his balance and his feet under him so he could run, Jonathan felt a wet muzzle on his face.  Clearing his eyes finally, he recognized his foe immediately and cried out, “Sammy!”  I thought you were the fox!  You sure had me fooled for a while and besides, you were pretty lucky that I dropped the knife.  Don’t sneak up on me like that again – you hear?”

Of course Sammy didn’t understand what had just happened.  Like any other puppy at heart, Sammy thought life was just one big game!  He wagged his tail and jumped up at Jonathan’s side, until Jonathan had no choice but to wrestle with him in the grass for a while.

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel) – Chapter One, Part Two

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Chapter One, Part Two

It was dark when Jonathan opened his eyes and at first he didn’t recognize anything that looked familiar.  Slowly, his eyes adjusted and he realized that he was in his own bed, looking across the room at his favorite poster.  He had been dreaming.  There had been snow all around him.  The arctic twilight had a mystical glow that shimmered and danced across the sky.  He tried to remember more, but the dream was slipping away.  What he couldn’t remember though, was whether or not it had been friend or foe.  He did remember running.  The snow was so deep that he had a hard time lifting his feet above the drifts.  There was a loud, sudden crack and the last thing he remembered was falling into icy cold water.  That’s when he woke up.

Across the room his eyes fixed themselves on the poster again.  It was a dog on a doghouse.  Actually, it was Snoopy fighting the Red Baron in a WWI dogfight above the plains of Germany.  It was his favorite cartoon.  He often dreamed of flying and imagined what it would be like to look down on everything like a bird.  Jonathan Spencer liked to dream.  After all, he was a dreamer.  Sometimes it worried his mother when he would tell her the stories of where he had gone and the things that he did.  It had gotten to the point that he didn’t tell her the details anymore, but simplified it to his adventure. That satisfied his need to tell someone what happened without upsetting his mother.  He didn’t want her to tell him that it wasn’t true – when actually, he really knew better – because he was there.

After lying in bed for a while, Jonathan decided that it was time to get up.   The clock by his bed said 4:50 a.m.  His mother and father would be busy milking the cows over in the barn.  Today was Saturday, Jonathan’s favorite day of the week.  He didn’t have to go to school and could get up early to chase rabbits.  That’s what he would tell his mother when he returned.  There were rabbits in the fields around his farm and sometimes he did play with them.  But most of the time he simply went on adventures on his Saturdays.  Usually, he was home in time for lunch and then had to help his father with some sort of project around the farm.  His father always had something for him to do.  So to avoid having to do the work, he would just slip out of the house before they would notice he was gone.  Sometimes it didn’t work – but at least he tried.

Jonathan had lots of plans.  It seemed as if he dreamed up a new one every other day.  His plan this morning was to go back to the creek.  It had been a while now since he fell into the water and almost drowned.  He had told the story enough times to his friends by now, that even he had begun to believe he had mastered the creek.  His mother hadn’t heard that story though.  She was told that he was playing with the hose in the barn.  After all, he did have to water the cows and there was no reason to let her worry.  That would be the end of his exploring.  Today he was going back to the creek.  Even as he lay there, something inside him was trying to talk him out of it.

Jonathan wasn’t afraid though.  He had swam the creek before, hadn’t he?  Besides, he knew where there was a fallen tree across the water.  If he could only find a way to get down from the tree trunk on the other side of the stream – then he would be all set.  The only problem was, he wasn’t sure how he would get back across the creek once he was on the other side.  That was only a minor problem to Jonathan.  Problems were made to be solved and he would tackle that one when the time came.

It was time to get up.  The sun was yet to rise above the horizon and the eastern sky was beginning to take on a predawn glow.  Jonathan put on his blue jeans and tennis shoes and a gray sweat shirt.  He liked the sweat shirt because it had a hood with a drawstring.  It was a little chilly early in the morning and he didn’t want to get cold.  Besides, it was his favorite thing to wear on adventures.  It had a pocket in front to carry things and he could hide in the woods easier with it on.  All of his other clothes were too brightly colored.

The room was still dark, but the predawn glow through his window allowed him to see enough to get ready.  He looked out the window to just catch the beginning of dawn through the far tree line.  Jonathan liked watching the sunrise.  It was a special time, when everything was calm and brand new.  Turning towards his bedroom door, he picked up a small backpack that he normally carried his books to school in.  He had to take the bus to school, but he didn’t like it very much.  The bus took him into Hampton, which was about about 5 miles away.  He was still in second grade, but school would be out in three weeks.  The summer would be spent working on the farm and helping out with the chores.  His family was supposed to take a vacation in August to visit Jonathan’s grandparents in Minnesota.  Minnesota seemed like it was a long way from southern Ohio.  His father had shown him where Minnesota was on the map one time.  There were lots on lakes to go fishing on.

Jonathan’s grandfather was quite a guy.  Dave Spencer had seen the world and was Jonathan’s idol.  It seemed as if he had been everywhere, seen everything and done whatever else was left over after that.  Jonathan hadn’t been to Minnesota before, but he had heard many stories in front of the fireplace told by Mr. Spencer himself.  He would visit the farm every now and then – always arriving from somewhere exotic – with a new tale of adventure to tell.  Jonathan didn’t know what his grandfather did for a living, but that didn’t matter.  He was always just Gramps to him.

David Alexander Spencer was his full name.  It was true that he had seen the world.  Safaris to Africa, river boat travels through the Amazon, mountain climbing in the four corners of the world, mysterious travels through the Orient and tales of Old World cobblestone streets throughout the cities of Europe – were just some of the tales and stories that Gramps would tell Jonathan.  He had flown bi-planes as a crop duster in the Midwest and had been a bush pilot in Alaska, as well as, spending time in the merchant marine and as a lumberjack in the forests of the northwest.  It seemed to Jonathan there wasn’t anything that he hadn’t done before – and that was pretty close to the truth.  Dave had always taken a liking to Jonathan and went out of his way to stop in for a visit.  He also sent Jonathan presents from faraway places.  Nothing expensive mind you, but they were Jonathan’s personal treasures.

Jonathan was looking at them now, sitting on his shelf in the predawn glow:  a lion’s tooth, a small tribal knife, a small coil of rope that had been made by an Indian tribe, a compass, a flashlight and a watch.  He picked up the watch and started to put it on.  The rest of the things he put into the backpack, along with a pair of cotton gloves and a handkerchief.  His mother would be glad that he was taking the handkerchief along – probably so  he could blow his nose or something.  Now he was all set.  After all, an adventurer had to be prepared.  He opened the door to his room ever so slowly, quietly and carefully – so he wouldn’t make any noise to attract attention to himself.  The hallway was still dark as he made his way into the kitchen.  One last stop to make.  Opening the refrigerator, the light blinded him for a minute.  The orange and cookies would be a good snack for breakfast later on the trail.  Just for good measure, he took some bread and sliced ham from last night’s dinner.  Exploring could be hard work.  He reached for another handful of cookies and quietly closed the refrigerator door.  Chocolate chip cookies were Jonathan’s favorites!

Putting everything into a plastic bag and then into his backpack, Jonathan walked tip-toe over to the kitchen door.  The door was an old, heavy wooden door that was hard to open as it got stuck easily.  Jonathan had to pull hard to open the door and his backpack fell on the floor with a soft thud.  He was sure the dogs would hear it and start barking, but they didn’t.  Stopping very still for a moment, Jonathan listened but couldn’t hear anything – so he very quietly picked up his backpack and slid out the kitchen door.

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel) – Chapter One, Part One – Unexplored Territory

Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel)

(Copyright 1984, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved)

Chapter One, Part One – Unexplored Territory

~~~~~~~~~~

This story is a work of fiction, originating in my imagination and any reference to persons, characters, settings, places and/or events is purely fictious and reflects no actual person – living or deceased – nor any business, village, city, county, territory, state or country.  

~~~~~~~~~~

“Some dream of adventure in places far away, while others live their lives filled with the adventure of each new day closer to home.”

– Mark D. Jones

~~~~~~~~~~

The chatter of two crows suddenly broke the stillness of the morning.  From their lofty, treetop perch they screeched a final warning before launching themselves into the wind and quickly disappearing from view.  Sunlight was glistening on the dew covered grass sprinkled with wildflowers.  The sound of rustling leaves swept through the woods with each passing gust as the wind rushed in from the nearby meadow.

This was but a small corner of the Spencer Farm, but Jonathan didn’t know that at the time.  In fact, he really wasn’t sure of much of anything at all.  For you see, poor Jonathan, being only eight years old – eight and a half if you were to ask him yourself – was lost.  Oh, he wasn’t lost in the usual sense, as if he had wandered too far afield chasing rabbits, as he often had a habit of doing.  His mother had gone looking for him many times before after he had gone off adventuring in the fields, but this time was different and he knew it.

The leaves underneath him made a scrunching noise as he shifted his position slightly in the morning stillness.  The birds were finally gone.  Jonathan wasn’t sure whether they had seen him or not, but he wasn’t taking any chances.  Pushing aside two branches in front of his face, he peered out from the bushes across the meadow.  The sun was rising above the far ridge line and in the distance he saw three birds slowly circling over the pond.  Rolling over onto his back, Jonathan closed his eyes and tried to remember.

It was only yesterday that he had first seen the bird.  Or was it really yesterday?  It could have been two days ago.  Jonathan couldn’t remember now.  All he knew was that he was in a bush, lying on his back in the leaves with his eyes closed.  The truth of the matter, if one really wanted to know, was that he didn’t want to remember.  All he wanted to do was run, but what direction to go?  The crows would see him – of that, he was sure.

It was only yesterday that he had set out on his latest adventure, not knowing that it would be different from all the rest.  He used to play and wander for hours on the farm in his own world of grand dreams and schemes.  He was at times a king, imagining the entire farm as his kingdom.  Walking through his lands he would call out to his subjects, but the rabbits would only look his way and continue nibbling on the new spring grasses.  On other occasions Jonathan was an intrepid explorer, visiting strange lands and discovering new worlds.  He always enjoyed the wondrous stories that he and his mother read from the many library books they brought home.  They seemed so very real and afterwards he would close his eyes and relive the story they just read, lost in his dreams and imagination.

Jonathan had never visited this corner of his father’s farm before though.  In fact, he had never even been beyond the creek.  Truth be told, he had always been afraid of the creek before.  The water was very cold and once he had even fallen in.  The creek was deceptively deep and the current had quickly swept him away.  If it hadn’t been for the branch he was able to grab hold of, he wasn’t sure if he would have ever gotten out.  That was definitely an adventure Jonathan didn’t wish to remember.  He was scared then, but this time it was worse – much worse.

He wasn’t really sure how much worse, but he knew that he would rather be back in the creek like the last time than where he was now – that, he was sure of.  At least then he would know how to find his way home and he wouldn’t have to hide from the crows.  The crows.  Now he slowly began to remember what had happened, but he didn’t want to remember it too quickly.  Jonathan covered his eyes as he recalled this latest adventure.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t over yet and his mother wasn’t there to warn him about straying too far from the house and getting lost in the woods.

But lost he was and he knew it.  In fact, he was also hungry and a little cold too, but the warmth of the sun was quickly making him forget about that.  He still had to deal with these problems though, as well as the crows.  He had, for a moment, forgotten about them.  Rolling over onto his stomach again, he looked out over the field.  The crows were nowhere to be seen.  He was still unsure though.  For he realized they could see very well from their lofty perches in the tree branches, or while slowly circling in the sky overhead.

Jonathan couldn’t remember whether he had crossed the field yesterday or not, or if he had come in from the other side of the woods instead.  Was the creek behind him or in front of him beyond the ridge?  He couldn’t be sure.  Jonathan did remember crossing the creek though, because it had taken all the courage that he was able to muster.  And courage it was indeed!  After his previous mishap involving the creek it was all he could do just to look at it.  Of course, that wasn’t what he had told his friends.  To hear the story as he told it, his swim in the creek was the bravest feat since Marco Polo traveled to China!  But his friends weren’t around now.  Neither were his parents.  Deep inside he longed to run to his mother, but just the simple fact of being lost in the woods wouldn’t make him admit that – not even to himself.

He had to have a plan – and quickly.  Knowing it wouldn’t be long before the birds came back, he realized the bush he was hiding in didn’t give him enough cover from above.  He had to hide where he couldn’t be seen and wait until it was safe.  But safe from what and from whom, he wasn’t sure.  The only thing he knew for certain was that he couldn’t stay where he was.

Looking around slowly he took in his surroundings.  He was hiding in a rather large bush with enough leaves around the sides to conceal his position, but above him the leaves had thinned out.  If it hadn’t been for the old oak tree nearby the crow might have seen him.  Its branches spread out over the whole area, even into the edge of the field.  In fact, there were trees surrounding the entire field, except for the pond to the left of the forested hills beyond.  Jonathan was sure the pond was connected to the creek, but he didn’t know if the creek flowed into or out of the pond.  Perhaps the pond wasn’t even connected to the creek at all for that matter.  He couldn’t risk crossing the field to find out.  The crows would see him for sure.

Behind him, the woods got thicker and darker.  The sun wasn’t able to shine through the dense canopy overhead.  That was the way he would go – deeper into the woods.  It wasn’t a very hard decision to make, as it was his only choice.  He knew the birds wouldn’t see him there.  Besides, hadn’t he explored other woods many times before?  And he did swim the creek one time.  This would just be another adventure and he would be home in time for lunch.  Actually, he really wouldn’t mind his mother scolding him for being away so long.  He would just tell her he had been on an adventure.  But first he had to get home and he wasn’t sure how to go about doing that.  First things first though.  Jonathan decided it was time to move farther back into the woods.  An adventurer has to be able to make decisions and he just made his.