Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Six

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Six

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan had to work quickly at this point, because he was already using his only good batteries remaining to power his flashlight.  He gave the skeleton a miss, and instead continued playing out his kite string down the middle of the chamber until it ran out.  He still hadn’t reached the end of the chamber yet, so he began lining up rocks in a straight line from the end of the kite string, pointing the way back to his lifeline if his flashlight were to die.  He swept the remaining portion of the chamber with the flashlight’s beam, trying to determine if there was anything else of interest in the chamber, before returning to the gold and silver coins and heading out of the caves.

He just couldn’t make that final decision to turn around though, and continued  lining up rocks while going the opposite direction from where the entrance into the cavern system was located.  Sammy seemed to have discovered something, and went farther ahead into the darkness of the unexplored portion of the chamber.  Jonathan tracked him with the beam of his flashlight, and was just about to call him back, when the narrow beam of light reflected something of unusual interest back towards him.  There at the very edge of his flashlight’s range, was what looked like carving in the sandstone wall of the cave!  It was unrecognizable from this distance, but it had all the marks of something carved by humans!

Despite the dwindling power of his flashlight’s batteries, Jonathan couldn’t resist taking a look.  He lined up a couple of more rocks before going over to what had appeared to him as a carving, all the while digging a channel in the dirt with his heel.  If nothing else, he would be able to feel for the depression in the dirt to make his way back to where the rocks lined up towards the end of the kite string – but his mind wasn’t focused on that at the moment.  He wanted to know if this carving helped explain the skeleton they had stumbled upon, and the treasure chest of gold and silver coins.

As he approached the carving in the sandstone rock of the cavern, his flashlight was able to take in the entire area, which explained what the carved sandstone actually was – a door frame!  His flashlight illuminated a carved door frame of about ten feet in height, with individual stones stacked like pillars up the side of a dark opening, with a number of smaller stones creating an arch and keystone over the doorway!  This was a carved door frame made by humans to reach something on the other side, but there wasn’t a door, just pitch darkness where an actual door would have been.  What was this doorway for, and where did it lead?  These questions were simply too tempting and exciting for Jonathan to not at least take a peek through it!

Once he arrived at the carved door frame itself, he ran his hands down the chiseled sandstone feeling the fine details created by a master carver from ages ago.  ‘Why had he made this door frame?’ he wondered, and shined his flashlight directly into the black void of the opening.  At first, he couldn’t make anything out, but eventually his eyes adjusted to make out more sandstone in the distance at what was a level position to his eyes.  He moved his flashlight up, to the right and then to the left, but saw nothing except more sandstone.  As he was about to turn around, he dipped his flashlight lower towards the ground – and then he saw it!

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Five

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Five

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan and Sammy started out across the cavern again, letting out the kite string behind them as they continued down the path between stalactites and stalagmites for another thirty feet of so, until they reached another narrow tunnel section within the underground chambers.  This one was only about eighteen inches wide, but as tall as a man.  Jonathan mentally added the distance to their previous total, and figured they’d traveled about 410 feet so far into the cavern system, and confirmed his guesstimate based on the amount of kite string remaining on the spool.  It was slow going within this narrow passageway, but such an adventure that Jonathan was very pleased with himself for making it this far.  Both of them were small enough to easily walk through the corridor within walls of rock, and it was only about twenty more feet or so until they reached yet another cavern.

This chamber was a long room with a reasonably high ceiling of about fifteen feet Jonathan guessed, and about twice as wide, but longer than his flashlight had the power to illuminate.  The stalactites and stalagmites were now gone, and the humidity wasn’t nearly as high in this chamber, but the stagnant air seemed to be fresher with the faint smell of salt.  The cliff drop-offs and deep pools of water were now replaced with a rather level dirt floor, and other than the fact that he calculated they must now be 430 feet underground, it wasn’t such a bad place to be in.  The chamber would have made a good hideaway, Jonathan thought, as it was plenty big enough and lacked any of the obvious pitfalls that could endanger their lives.

Sammy was able to walk free from his Master’s side now, and made his way directly into the shadows off the the left, where something seemed to have captured his attention.  At first, Jonathan thought he should call Sammy back to him, but then decided it would be better to check out what he’d found, and shined his flashlight directly in front of what his adventure companion was checking out.  It seemed that Sammy had found an old wooden chest, which was badly deteriorated and covered in dust.  The metal corners, hinges, clasp and lock were badly rusted from the damp air, and it looked like it had been there for ages upon ages.  The wood had rotted and splintered, and Jonathan thought it would fall to pieces into sawdust and splinters if he touched it.

Of course he couldn’t resist, and tried to raise the chest’s hinged top, but the lid wouldn’t budge.  The lock still held the clasp firmly in place, but once Jonathan grabbed and pulled on the lock, the entire clasp and lock broke away from the chest in one solid piece.  Once he lifted the lid, it fell back and broke into so many individual splintered boards, revealing a treasure of gold and silver coins lying in yet another box!  “This treasure must be worth a fortune!” exclaimed Jonathan to Sammy, as his voice echoed off the walls of the chamber around him.  He grabbed one of the gold pieces and looked it over in his hand, first one side and then the other.  The inscription puzzled him, as it was from no place he had ever heard of before – the Kingdom of Arwyall.  ‘Where the heck is that?’ thought Jonathan to himself.  He decided to slip the gold coin into his pocket, and filled one of the side pockets of his backpack with gold and silver coins, making sure to remember to grab the rest as they made their way back out of the cave.

It was then that he noticed Sammy had gone on to investigate something in another shadow farther down the chamber, and made his way to investigate what new treasure he had discovered.  Once he shined his flashlight on what Sammy was investigating, Jonathan realized he wasn’t eager to see it.  Bleached white bones of a human skeleton were easily recognizable to him, even from yards away.  Once he walked over to where Sammy was sniffing around the human remains, it was evident that the person died around the time the chest of gold and silver had been brought into this cave, as it seemed to have lain undisturbed for ages as well.  The clothing the person wore had mostly disintegrated over that period of time, and all that was recognizable beyond the bleached bones, were some ancient leather pieces, a few old bronze tools, and a rusted metal sword that was no good to anyone.

The entire scene gave Jonathan reason to pause and consider their own situation, as they were now some 480 feet into the cavern system, and he could see that little was left of his kite string on the spool.  This would be their last chamber to explore he decided, even as his flashlight flickered again and went out.  The pitch darkness was immediately disturbing to him, knowing that he shared it with the remains of another explorer or perhaps even a pirate, along with the treasure trove he undoubtedly brought into the cave.  But why here?  Why did he haul such a heavy chest of gold and silver coins almost 500 feet into this cavern system only to choose this cave – or was there another entrance into this underground system of caves, passageways and chambers that Jonathan didn’t know about?

As he sat there in the dirt swapping out his only two spare D-cell batteries, he hope his flashlight would power up again – and it did!  The fact that he was now on his spare batteries and at the end of his kite string, told Jonathan they had no choice but to turn around and make their way back to the land of sunshine – but first, he needed one last look around the chamber before securing the remaining coins in his backpack and leaving…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Four

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Four

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan couldn’t resist choosing the most prominent path he could find and following it through the stalactites and stalagmites, being careful at the same time to not stumble over the cliff edges that frequently occurred along the way.  It was difficult to illuminate everything while walking with a single-beam flashlight, and he had to constantly sweep it from left to right across his path, leaving the portion of the cavern he was actually walking on in partial darkness between sweeps.  If only he had a helmet mounted flashlight, he thought.  It was an unsettling feeling to be stepping forward into darkness, especially when he knew there were so many pitfalls nearby.  The only way he could manage this minefield of hazards, was to go very slowly and cautiously, all the while telling Sammy to be careful and stay right beside him.

It never occurred to him to leash Sammy, or to wonder how his adventure companion would find his way out of the caverns alone if it became necessary to summon someone to rescue him – or the fact that no one knew they were in the cave – or even where it was – in the first place.  All their eggs were in a single basket now, totally dependent on staying safe in an environment of pitch darkness and danger.  An accident at this point would be their doom.  Jonathan checked his spool to make sure it was trailing out the kite string properly, and he tried to recall the path they had taken up to this point.  The entrance tunnel was about seventy feet long, the ledge leading down into the first cave maybe the same length, and perhaps another one hundred feet more across the cavern itself.  The hallway portion perhaps another forty feet, and so far this damp cavern another hundred feet long at this point.  Mentally adding up the numbers he summed 70 + 70 +100 + 40 + 100 = 380 feet traveled into the cave so far.

The path they followed continued weaving around dripping stalactites and stalagmites, and whenever Jonathan looked over the edge of one of the cliffs, his flashlight highlighted pools of water some distance below the portion they were walking on.  The silence within the cave was eerie whenever they paused to listen, for the only sounds he heard were his feet and Sammy’s paws on the path, the swishing motion of his clothes and backpack when he moved, their breathing, and his heartbeat pounding in his chest that he could hear within his ears.  At one point his flashlight flickered, and Jonathan decided he had to have his spare batteries close at hand in case the ones in use ran out of juice.  He paused long enough to find his two D cell batteries, and moved them from his backpack into the two front pockets of his jeans where he could easily find them in the dark.

After finishing with the batteries while seated on the path, Jonathan held Sammy close to him and turned off his flashlight for a moment.  The darkness was terrifying.  Sammy started shaking, and Jonathan finally understood the gravity of his choice to enter the caverns.  He groped for the kite string in the darkness and discovered that making his way along such a thin lifeline back to the world of light above ground wouldn’t be an easy task at all.  In fact, after a minute, he couldn’t even tell which way to follow the string if he had to, as the pitch blackness caused him to lose all sense of orientation.  The only way he would know which direction to follow the kite string out in the dark, was the fact he was holding the distant end of the string and spool in his hand.  He even found it hard to sit up straight and was worried he might fall over due to a complete lack of orientation.

It was only the sensation of gravity that provided a reference point for him to know which way was was up and down, and that sensation wasn’t always reliable on its own.  Jonathan now understood that his eyes were his primary method of orientation, and in complete darkness his inner ears had a hard time of calibrating themselves without another concrete reference to go off of.  It was like his brain wanted to ’tilt’ like a pinball machine, telling him ‘game over’ if he was ever lost in perpetual darkness and silence. Worse still, the occasional drip off a stalactite created an unsettling sound like a shot without notice if it dripped into a pool of water, taking him completely by surprise and fraying his nerves.  He also realized that Sammy couldn’t easily follow the string through the darkness, and he wasn’t sure how the two of them would make it out alive if that was to become necessary.  Sammy, however, already knew what he’d do if he had to go for help, and would simply follow the scent of their trail back through the cave to the entrance.  Luckily, his flashlight switched on again when Jonathan wanted it to, and he decided he could go as far as the first set of batteries and kite string would allow them to, and at that point they had to turn around.

It was only then, that Jonathan asked himself why he hadn’t brought a whole pack of batteries and extra flashlights?  What if he dropped his sole flashlight and it rolled over a cliff?  What if the light bulb burned out?  Why didn’t he have a spare, and could he switch out the spare bulb in complete darkness?  He had to admit that he didn’t think he could.  And what about Sammy?  After all, he was responsible for his adventure companion’s safety, as he made the decision to enter this cave in the first place.  He would be responsible if something happened to his best friend.  As these thoughts rambled around in his mind, Jonathan decided he couldn’t focus on negative outcomes in the middle of this adventure.  He had made his decision, and would have to follow through for better or worse, no matter what – but if it was up to him, they’d complete this adventure with flying colors – because there was no other option…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Three

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Three

~~~~~~~~~~

The cave’s initial passageway widened in front of Jonathan, and once he arrived at the expansive broadening of the corridor, he wasn’t initially prepared for what he discovered.  The tight confines of the entrance tunnel gave way to what seemed to be an enormous underground chamber – enormous because his flashlight couldn’t illuminate either the far side, nor the bottom – however, the roof of the chamber stayed at about the same height as the tunnel he had been crawling through.  He also discovered millions of black bats lived in this cave, hanging from the ceiling of the cavern in such numbers that he only saw a sea of hanging bats, and fortunately, they didn’t seem to take any interest in him.

Jonathan didn’t expect such an underground cavern to open up before him, and thought about his initial assessment of water flowing out of the underground cave, knowing at this point that it was virtually impossible.  He now surmised that water during the rainy season must have flown ‘into’ the cavern from the gully when it flooded.  Part of him knew that at this point he should back out of the passageway, and notify scientists that he had discovered a huge underground cavern system, but the other half of him was too tempted to explore his discovery further.  His adventurous self overrode his rational self, and instead, he examined the cliff edge of this great cavern with his flashlight to see if there was a way down.

After a time investigating the cliff before him, he realized there was a narrow ledge off to the right, that seemed to create sort of a path downwards into the darkness.  The problem was, his flashlight could only illuminate for about thirty feet, before being overcome by the intense darkness.  He decided the only way to truly know if this pathway led anywhere, was to travel down it.  After instructing Sammy to wait at the cliff’s edge, Jonathan edged down the ledge on his hands and knees, being careful to spool out the kite string behind him without breaking it.  The ledge broadened after about the first twenty feet or so to about four feet wide, and he felt comfortable enough to stand up at this point, and called for Sammy to follow him.  Sammy had no problem with balance issues on the narrow portion of the ledge, and easily caught up with his Master.

Pausing to investigate the cavern with his flashlight for a second time, Jonathan discovered the underground canyon wasn’t bottomless after all, as he could now barely see the bottom of the cave with his flashlight.  They continued down the widening ledge for another five minutes or so, until reaching what was the smooth floor of the cavern.  He could see a number of bones from animals who had somehow wandered into the cavern and never found their way back, which gave him pause for reflection.  He knew he still had his string to guide him back out in an emergency, and concentrated on memorizing the route they’d taken up to that point if a problem occurred.  He also realized he’d better not drop his flashlight into the darkness, and wish he’d tied it securely with a line to his backpack.  The excitement of discovery was too great a draw on him, however, and at that point he had no inclination of turning back – not with such a grand discovery just waiting to be explored!

This chamber turned out to be perhaps one hundred feet long and fifty foot deep, with an unknown width.  At the end of the cavern, there was yet another narrow portion, like a hallway of sorts about five feet wide.  This passageway continued into a second chamber yielding stalactites and stalagmites in a very damp room.  The humidity was thick and clammy in this cavern that continued to descend in a patchwork of separate pathways and cliff faces.  Jonathan checked his string to ensure it was trailing properly behind them, and tried to commit this latest route to memory as well.  He knew it would be difficult to avoid stumbling off blind cliffs in complete darkness, but rationalized that he could crawl back on his hands and knees if necessary, while carefully following the string if it came to that.  Sammy hesitated at this point to go any farther, and spent more and more time looking back over his shoulder…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Two

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter Two, Part Two

~~~~~~~~~~

The next morning, Jonathan and Sammy made their way back towards the small entrance of the cave they had discovered the day before, but this time they came prepared as explorers.  Jonathan had his backpack loaded with lunch, snacks, dog treats for Sammy, and extra water bottles.  He also had his compass, flashlight with new batteries and spares, a section of rope, a pair of gloves, an extra hooded sweatshirt, his pocket knife, and a spool of kite string that was 500 feet long.  He knew enough to know that spelunking could be a dangerous business, and wanted to be as prepared as possible – however, his mother only knew they were heading out to explore the wood beyond the wheat field again.  He decided that telling her about exploring a cave might just be a tad too much information, which was sure to get her worried, and might even put an end to his adventuring for a while.  Of course Jonathan would be careful, he was an experienced adventurer after all!

Jonathan tied the loose end of his spool of kite string to the base of a very sturdy bush just outside the entrance to the cave, and tested it a few times to ensure it wouldn’t come loose.  He then got down on his hands and knees, and carefully made his way into the narrow and tight opening of the cave, while holding his flashlight in one hand and the the spool of kite string in the other.  It was a juggling act that took some practiced coordination, and he had to be careful to not accidentally snag and snap the string on a rock, or break the thin kite string by kneeling on it and pulling at the same time.  Sammy was anxious to pass him in the narrow tunnel-like corridor, but Jonathan wanted to make sure it would be safe for his adventure companion before letting his dog take the lead.  After all, they were perhaps the first explorers ever to enter this cave – anything could be in it…

It was possible that this cave could very well be the fox’s den, and who knows if the fox and its entire clan were home in that moment?  Jonathan continued inching his way through what continued to be a very narrow channel, as if during the spring there was a great flood of water that poured through this corridor.  The idea set him aback for a moment, until rationalizing that this was the peak of summer and not the rainy season in Southern Ohio.  He was sure the passageway would stay high and dry, at least for now.  The spool slowly played out the thin kite string as Jonathan continued on his hands and knees, happy to find a soft layer of sand beneath his knees for the first twenty feet he’d already crawled.  The rest of the tunnel was soft rock like sandstone, and it was clear that water had carved this passageway over time, when ages ago it had probably started out as a thin crack.

Ideas were never a problem for Jonathan, for his mind was always full of them, and easily conjured up new ones whenever a mystery like this cave needed explanation.  He was proud of his ability to figure things out easily, and was so confident of his deductions that he rarely took the time to explore alternatives to his initial assessments.  While he was aware that his first thoughts weren’t always the right ones, it rarely gave him pause enough to consider alternatives prior to committing himself to action based on his initial reasoning.  However, the deeper he crawled into the cave, the more he was sure of his actions at the moment.  There wasn’t any evidence of a fox’s den so far, and the tunnel continued as far ahead of him as his flashlight had power to illuminate the corridor.

After another fifty feet or so of crawling, while slowly letting out the kite string behind him and examining the way ahead with his flashlight, he finally saw evidence of the passageway widening in front of him.  He checked his compass, and saw the tunnel was leading him towards the east, or roughly the direction towards Stoney Creek beyond the corn field.  Sammy was still wanting to run ahead of him, but instead patiently listened to Jonathan’s commands to stay behind him.  Sammy had a keen awareness of knowing what his Master wanted him to do, and was happy to wait until he was given the freedom to explore on his own, like he always did when chasing fleeting scents of rabbits and squirrels during their hikes.  Adventuring was in Sammy’s blood just as much as it was in Jonathan’s, and more often than not, Sammy was the reasonable one willing to pause when things didn’t seem quite right.  His Master, on the other hand, lived by the adventurer’s motto: once he made a decision, he rarely changed his mind – because adventurers couldn’t be all wishy-washy, and needed to be able to make decisions and stick with them…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter Two, Part One – Unexpected Discoveries

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter Two, Part One – Unexpected Discoveries

~~~~~~~~~~

“Often overlooked and ignored, unexpected discoveries offer us unique opportunities to delve deeper into life’s mysteries.  For it is in these wondrous discoveries, that serendipity can and often does catch us unawares.  She offers us the possibility of pursuing new avenues, pathways and journeys that only moments before, didn’t seemingly exist ~ forever changing, our lives…” – Mark D. Jones

~~~~~~~~~~

Summer vacation was soon coming to a close, as Jonathan only had a couple of short weeks left before third grade started.  He was sad to see his grandfather depart that morning, but it was with happiness and joy that everyone said goodbye.  The understanding looks from the night before had led to a mending of fences within their family, as Jonathan’s father for the first time finally saw his father as he truly was, and not at all in the way he had imagined him to be his entire life.  The two of them talked late into the evening after dinner, joined later by Julia, and for the first time everyone really enjoyed each other’s company.  It was a happy moment in the life of the Spencer Family and the Spencer Family Farm, and Jonathan felt as if a great weight had lifted – not only from their family, but from his pursuit of adventuring as well.

After breakfast, Jonathan told his mother he would go for a hike with Sammy beyond the wheat field into the wood, and not only did his mother not protest and require he spend his morning doing chores around the farm, but she packed him lunch, and a variety of snacks and water for his outing – along with treats for Sammy.  After rounding Sammy up from chasing rabbits over by the soybean field, the two adventurers were on their way following the same path they traveled the day before with Gramps.  They paused long enough to enjoy a couple of snacks on the same fallen log they had lunched on yesterday, before continuing their trek towards the large egg-shaped boulder in the clearing.  It was there that Jonathan recalled Gramps’ process of traveling to the far side of his imagination to travel beyond space and time – focus your thoughts, enter your zone, free your thoughts to float, imagine them swirling around your mind, invite them to float free beyond your mind, and then release your consciousness or awareness to follow them – simple.

Jonathan thought about the process Gramps described, but first had other intentions for the morning.  He had seen a small gully through the trees beyond the bolder yesterday, and wanted to investigate it further and explore where it led.  This is what Jonathan loved about adventuring.  He knew there would always be unexpected discoveries found in places he’d never traveled to in the past, and often even familiar territory yielded new things he hadn’t seen before during their prior trips.  He imagined the gully formed the beginnings of a small stream, and wanted to investigate how far they would have to follow it in order to find running water.  Jonathan always had ideas, and once an idea formed in his mind he felt it had to be investigated – after all, that’s what any good explorer would do, right?

After he and Sammy had gone perhaps a hundred yards or so through thickets and brambles without finding a stream, he was about to turn back when he saw a small shadow behind some bushes.  There was a small rock face there where the gully started to deepen, as if over time erosion had uncovered the rocks.  Curious as to what the shadow might be, he fought his way through a number of brambles until discovering what caused the shadow to form.  Jonathan discovered it wasn’t a shadow at all, but a small opening like a crack between rocks, that widened at its base to a couple of feet high and wide.  He got down on his hands and knees and looked into the opening, wondering if he had finally discovered the fox’s den!

Sammy was eager to enter the den, but Jonathan held him back.  His impression was that it was a small cave, and very deep inside.  Once his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see only about ten feet into the darkness, telling Sammy, “This looks like a cave.  We didn’t bring a flashlight, so I don’t want us to go into it today, but we’ll explore it on tomorrow’s hike.  I read in one of my books that cave explorers are called ‘spelunkers.’  In order to do this right, I need to bring my kite string with us so I can tie one end of the string to this bush here, to make a trail back out of the cave if the flashlight’s batteries run out of juice.  Let’s go home now, and plan to explore the cave tomorrow.”

Jonathan was proud of his restraint in not going into the cave that morning.  He realized that exploring caves could be very dangerous business, and wanted to do it safely.  Gramps would be proud of him he thought, in trying to approach adventuring from a grownup and responsible way.  As they returned to the farmhouse for a second lunch, he didn’t want to alarm his mother about his plans for the next morning though, and decided to keep their plan for exploring the cave just between the two of them…

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter One, Part Ten

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter One, Part Ten

~~~~~~~~~~

“Now that you put it that way, Gramps – that I need to learn what they do teach me in school to create new worlds – then that’s what I’ll do!  I’ll not only learn what they teach me, but I’ll be the best student I can be!  I want to create new worlds beyond my imagination that people have never seen before, so I guess I need to learn everything I can in order to do that.  Is that right?  But, Gramps, how do I teach myself the rest of what I need to know that school doesn’t teach me?”

The farmhouse was in clear view across the wheat field as Jonathan, David and Sammy returned from their hike into the back forty.  “You’re exactly right, Jonathan,” began David.  “Your focus should be on becoming the best student you can be, in order to learn everything you can, because you never know when you’ll need something they’ll teach you to build your own worlds.  Our world is such a big place, and changing so quickly, that you can’t even imagine what the future will hold.  After all, it’s 1960 now, and before you know it everything will be invented brand new, and the world will be a completely different place.  So not only do you have to be a top student, but you need to be a student for life, because learning is so important that it should never stop over the entire course of your lifetime, Jonathan.”

“You mean, I should be a student for my whole life, Gramps?  How does that work?” asked Jonathan, not really grasping the concept.

“Why, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying, Jonathan.  You need to be a lifelong student, but not all of your learning has to take place in school.  You should try to learn from everything you do, see, hear and read – especially from other people’s experiences, both good and bad.  That way, you can try to avoid making the same mistakes they made, and you can use the positive things they’ve learned without having to repeat the same lessons.  They’re called ‘lessons learned’ – both positive and negative – which is the quickest way to learn useful knowledge.  One of the most important things you can do is to read as often as possible, and from as many different kinds of books as you can.  You never know when and where you’ll pick up useful information that you can later use to create your own worlds.  Your goal is to learn at least something about everything under the sun, in order to give yourself a very broad foundation of knowledge.  At the same time, you’ll need to actually try to do as many different things in life as you can, because experience is just as important – and sometimes more so – than knowledge is.  If you dedicate your life to learning, you’re going to be able to create new worlds beyond your imagination, and beyond space and time, that our world has never dreamed of, Jonathan!”

“Well, the next time Mom and I go to the library, I’ll check out lots of different kinds of books to read.  She’ll be surprised when I tell her I’ll be the best student ever in third grade when it starts up in a couple of weeks – she won’t believe it, Gramps!” exclaimed Jonathan proudly.

“That’s the spirit, Jonathan, you’re on the right track now!  I’ll be leaving in the morning to return to Minnesota, Lad, and it’s good to know you’re well on your way to not only traveling beyond space and time, but also to learning as much as you can to create the most amazing new worlds someday.  Remember, everything you want and desire lies on the far side of your imagination, Jonathan – everything’s possible, and I have faith that you’ll achieve all your dreams one day!”

The three adventurers finally reached the farmhouse’s back porch, and stopped for a couple of minutes to properly greet Trooper again before going into the kitchen.  Sammy decided to hang out for a while with Trooper, having spotted the fresh dog food and water prepared for them both.  As Jonathan and David entered the kitchen, Julia was preparing dinner by the sink, while discussing memories with Thomas at the kitchen table.  In that moment, as they paused to greet the two wanderers returning home from their day hike, there was a knowing look of understanding that passed between the four of them.  It was a look in their eyes that not only went beyond words – but it went beyond space and time as well…

(End of Chapter One)

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter One, Part Nine

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter One, Part Nine

~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan and David left the egg-shaped stone in the middle of the clearing and began retracing their footsteps back towards the farmhouse.  They enjoyed finishing what was left of their chocolate chip cookies along the way, and gave Sammy the rest of his dog treats.  David began the discussion saying, “You know, Jonathan, I understand your feelings about school, because I felt the same way when I was your age.”

“You did, Gramps?  I thought I was the only one who didn’t like school.  My teachers don’t understand adventuring, and don’t teach anything about imagination at all.  I’ve learned more with you here today, than in all of second grade.  Why can’t my teachers teach me what I want to learn – like traveling to the far side of imagination beyond space and time?”

“Well, it’s probably because they don’t know how, Jonathan.  We all know things that others don’t know very much about, but that’s not your teachers’ fault.  They have a difficult job to do.  They’re there to teach you the basics of learning, so you can in turn, teach yourself what you don’t learn in school.  In my day, my teachers made fun of my wanting to travel beyond space and time to create new worlds.  They ridiculed it, because they didn’t, and couldn’t understand.  It wasn’t really their fault that they were unable to grasp the concept, because they didn’t know it was possible to travel beyond space and time.  After that, I tuned out in school, and only did the minimum I needed to do to graduate.”

Gramps continued, “It was later in life, that I realized it was the wrong approach to take, Jonathan.  In my day, I managed to overcome in life what I didn’t learn and pay attention to in school, but the world has advanced so much since then, and you can’t afford to get left behind.  After all, it’s 1960 now, and they say people will travel into space one day, and maybe walk on the moon, too.  Who knows?  In my time, aviation went from the Wright Flyer to modern spaceflight, and I was lucky to get in on the ground floor and fly all over the world.  But you live in a different age, Jonathan.  The world is changing so fast, that if you don’t apply yourself in school, you’ll get left behind.”

“But how can I follow my dreams, Gramps, if they don’t teach me the things I want to learn in school?  They never teach us about adventure, and don’t understand traveling between worlds.  Why should I pay attention to my teachers if they can’t teach me anything I want to learn?” pleaded Jonathan.

“Because you need to know what they will teach you, Jonathan.  The world is too big to not learn the things they teach.  You simply have to teach yourself everything they don’t know anything about.  They’ll teach you reading, writing and mathematics – which you have to learn in order to teach yourself anything else.  They’ll later teach you biology, physics, chemistry, geography, social studies, English, foreign languages, creative writing, literature, poetry, business, government, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, astronomy, economics, music, drama, debate, choir, theater, art, physical education and sports, health, religion, history, design, psychology, vocational training and so much more, depending on what you decide to study in college.  You can’t learn everything on your own, Jonathan.”

“But how do I learn what I’m interested in the most, Gramps?”

“There’s two things, Jonathan.  First of all, you need to learn everything you can in school, in order to create your own world beyond space and time.  The reason it took me months and months of constant work to create Myllanthar, is because I had to build my new world from scratch.  I had to draw on all the skills, talents and knowledge that I’ve learned in my entire life to be able to do that.  You’re not even nine years old yet, and you still have so much to learn and to know, and much of that school will teach you.  At this point in your life, you don’t even know what you don’t know, nor the skills you’ll need to build your own world.  Secondly, you’ll need to teach yourself everything they don’t teach you in school that you desire to know.  The problem is, you need the foundation of all the education and knowledge that school will teach you, in order to be able to teach yourself what they don’t or can’t teach you.  The reason you need to pay attention and do well in school, is because they teach you the tools you’ll need to teach yourself.  It’s really true, Jonathan, and if I’d been smarter at your age, I would have known that it’s important to do well in school.”

“You mean I have to do well in school to create my own worlds, Gramps?” asked Jonathan.

“Yes, you need to work very hard in school to create most everything you want to do in life, Jonathan, even to create your own worlds beyond space and time on the far side of imagination.  Your teachers don’t have to know about your projects, but you have to know what they’ll teach you, Jonathan.  It’s not easy to build new worlds.  It’s very hard work, and you’ll need to draw from every last bit of knowledge that you can squeeze into your mind.  You need to know something about every subject under the sun, in order to travel beyond the stars – it’s that important, Jonathan!”

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter One, Part Eight

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter One, Part Eight

~~~~~~~~~~

“How can that be, Gramps?” asked Jonathan.  “Our first adventure to Myllanthar was when Sammy knocked me over on the tractor path beside the cornfield, but it seemed like I was gone for ages.  Our second adventure started after my foot went through the apple crate in the cellar and I fell over.  Again, it seemed I was gone forever.”

“It’s simple, Jonathan.  In both cases your mind was focused on adventure through the use of your imagination.  Sammy’s so connected to you and the adventures you both love, that the two of you are of the same mind in many ways.  Those two sudden and unexpected incidents caused your consciousness to leave immediately, instead of having encouraged it to depart.  Once you’ve gone beyond space and time, there’s no concept of distance or time to reference.  A single second on earth can expand into a thousand years when outside our understanding of what time is.  The same goes for distance.”

David continued, “When I first transitioned my thoughts and consciousness beyond my mind – traveling to the other side of imagination – I was initially in a dark place with only my awareness.  After a while, it seemed I was on the far side of everything there ever was.  A saw our universe like a thick sheet of glass extending into the distance, with countless stars and galaxies immersed within it.  Our entire universe was condensed two-dimensionally within what appeared to be a single sheet of glass, and I was on the outside at some distance away viewing it,” explained David.

Continuing, he said, “As I was floating outside our universe, I then imagined another world intersecting it perpendicularly, like a second plate of glass passing through it.  As I thought of this, a flat plane like glass did exactly as I had imagined – but instead of being filled with galaxies and stars like our universe was – it was transparent and empty.  It was then that I realized I would have to create this new world myself.  As I pondered how to create a new land within this sheet of empty glass, the notion came to me that ‘my-land-there’ or ‘my-lan-thar’ would first need a name, and the name ‘Myllanthar’ popped into my awareness.  This was the beginning of creating the world you visited, and the one we both love.  I recalled an adventure I once took through the idyllic land of Wales, and was inspired to write a poem about this new world I would create.”

~~~~~~~~~~

An Ode to Myllanthar

In a land so dear,

and, alas, so far…

There’s a place,

where my heart dwells…

That exists,

beyond stars…

~~~

In a distant valley,

of green fields, and dreams…

A tale of wonder,

idyllic, but true…

You may think it mere wishes,

an enchantment, it seems…

~~~

A vision beyond time,

in a land, that’s afar…

My soul aims to linger,

beside waters, so clear…

To rest while I’m able,

in the land of, Myllanthar…

~~~

A caretaker of dreams,

a weaver, of tales…

Some say I’m a dreamer,

and under, some spell…

Yet, one day I did visit,

A land, they call Wales…

~~~

For that was my pattern,

my template, of dreams…

To build on that beauty,

an enchantment of wonder…

Of green fields and valleys,

of mountains, and streams…

~~~

I’ve tried,

to remain thoughtful…

To my visions,

and dreams…

To this spirit within me,

the one named, Myllanthal.

~~~~~~~~~~

“That was the beginning of my efforts to create this new world and vision that I held in my heart, Jonathan.  I recalled a beautiful valley in Wales that was lovely beyond belief, and all my memories of that land formed the template of what I would create in Myllanthar – but it would take many, many months  to complete,” recalled David.

“Do you think I could create a world of my own someday, Gramps?  Sammy and I would love that!” Jonathan exclaimed.  “We have lots of ideas from our own adventures, it would be perfect!”

“You sure could, Jonathan, with more experience.  It took me such a long time to create Myllanthar, and I had the benefit of many more years of learning and experience to work from.  For now, I recommend visiting Myllanthar as often as you can.  You will gain lots of expertise at traveling beyond space and time, which is what you need prior to creating an entirely new world of your own – but one day you can do it.  You’ve already demonstrated the ability to travel between worlds, but first you need to practice doing it whenever you want to, because it takes lots of effort and trips to build an entire world.  Eventually, you’ll become very good at just closing your eyes to free your thoughts and release your consciousness to travel beyond space and time.  Once you can do this anytime and anywhere you want, you’re ready to create your own world!”

“I’ll start practicing right away, Gramps – can we go there now?” queried Jonathan.

“Right now your mother’s expecting us back soon, Jonathan, but while we walk back to the house we can talk about school.  You’ll have a new fondness for school before we reach the house, I promise…”

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel) – Book Three, Chapter One, Part Seven

Jonathan’s Wish (An Adventure Novel)

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

Book Three, Chapter One, Part Seven

~~~~~~~~~~

“We begin with the process of navigating through your mind, Jonathan, because for me, I’ve always followed a single path to go beyond my imagination.  You may use a similar pathway, and there could also be a different way that you’ll discover for yourself – but this is my process.  The first step is get into a mindset that I’ll call the ‘zone.’  It’s when you’re doing or thinking about something so intensely and you’re so focused on it, that you lose all awareness of time.  When you’re concentrating hard like this, time doesn’t seem to exist, and you even forget to do things like eat.  Have you ever found yourself so immersed in what you’re doing, that this has ever happened to you, Jonathan?” began David, starting his explanation of how to travel beyond and between worlds.

“I have, Gramps, lots of times!  It happens every time Sammy and I go adventuring, and we never return home on time.  We could easily go all day and not pay attention to anything except for the adventure we’re on.  Mom always has a few words to say when we return late, but I really think she understands.  She says lots of serious words about returning home on time and things like that, but then she gives us something to eat because she can’t ever stay angry with us,” replied Jonathan thoughtfully.

Gramps continued, “Good, because this zone is the beginning of traveling between worlds for me.  Once you realize you’re in this zone, you can transition into the second phase of the process.  With experience, you can go from a normal day into this mental zone almost at will.  At this point, you simply allow your thoughts to float freely.  I think of my own thoughts as floating ever higher towards the top of my head.  You may find a different technique that works better for you.  Once you recognize you’re in this zone, Jonathan, just let your thoughts float on their own.  Has this ever happened to you?”

“Well, sometimes at night when I’m thinking instead of sleeping, I’ve imagined myself floating out of my body when I’ve been very still for a long period of time.  I almost think I’m lifting off my bed, but I don’t think it really happens, it just feels that way,” explained Jonathan, trying to describe his feelings.

“That’s the same process I’m describing, Jonathan,” replied David.  “You see, we’re normally aware of our thoughts within our minds as we’re thinking them, almost like we can ‘see’ them visually.  However, when we’re thinking or imagining ideas to ourselves, these thoughts and images travel independently through our minds.  It’s like they’re swirling around inside our heads.  This second phase is the process of seeing thoughts and images within your mind.  Do you know what this is like, Jonathan?”

“Oh sure, Gramps, I have thoughts, ideas and pictures floating around in my head all the time – especially in school when I daydream and look out the windows.”

“Good, Jonathan.  We’ll talk about school on our way back to the house, but that’s another subject.  For now, we’ll concentrate on describing our thoughts.  Once you’re aware of the thoughts and images swirling around your mind, the important thing is to focus on this sensation of floating like you’ve had before.  Sometimes closing your eyes helps with this, because you can see your thoughts better when your eyes are closed and you don’t have any distractions.  Once you can mentally see your thoughts, pictures and ideas swirling around in your mind, and begin to experience a sensation of floating, you simply release your thoughts from your mind.  What this effectively does, is to free your thoughts to go beyond your imagination – and beyond space and time.”

David continued, “This is critical, because once your thoughts are independent from your mind, you can begin the final phase.  You see, once your thoughts float freely beyond your mind, your consciousness must follow them.  It’s not enough to simply free your thoughts, but what’s needed is to free your awareness to go with them in what I call a ‘release.’  This ‘release’ is just ‘letting go’ to allow your consciousness to join your thoughts.  You continue this floating sensation until you’ve joined your thoughts outside your mind.  Your thoughts will evaporate on their own if your awareness doesn’t follow along with them.  It’s all very simple in practice, Jonathan.  You find your zone, allow your thoughts to float freely first in your mind and then beyond your mind and body, and then release your consciousness to join them.  At that point, you’re free of the confines of your body to travel between worlds.”

“What happens to the rest of me once my awareness floats free, Gramps?  What about my body?” questioned Jonathan.

“Traveling beyond space and time outside our world, Jonathan, takes just a blink of an eye.  It doesn’t matter how long you’re gone for in another world – days, weeks, months or years.  You appear to anyone else in our world to be lost deep in thought or daydreaming, that’s all.  Your body here remains the same and doesn’t notice that your awareness left for a second.  It’s your awareness that travels beyond the stars, beyond the universe, and beyond space and time…”

“Is that how Sammy and I traveled to Myllanthar before, Gramps?”

“Yes, Jonathan.  It takes but a heartbeat here on earth to experience an entire adventure beyond the stars – and to create new worlds to explore.  For a moment here on earth, can be an eternity beyond time…”