Excerpt for The Fantastic Adventures of Sticky - Book 1 of The Fantastic Adventures Series by , available in its entirety at Smashwords




The Fantastic

Adventures of

Sticky


Book One of the

Fantastic Adventure Series


By Rene Cournoyer




Copyright 2018© Rene Cournoyer

Published in the United States of America

Worldwide Electronic & Digital Rights

Worldwide English Language Print Rights


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form, including digital and electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the Publisher, except for brief quotes for use in reviews.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


Library of Congress: TXu 1-994-391


Cover by Rene Cournoyer



Dedication


I dedicate this book

to my daughter

Sabrina Dawn



Prologue


In this exciting and adventurous tale, the world of fantasy collides with reality and real-world events. This four-book series takes place in Pennsylvania (PA) in 1776—the year America declared its independence from England, on July 4th.

Sticky and his friends start their journey in the village of Shendale which is located deep in the woods near Avondale, PA. This quaint little village is inhabited by elves, dwarves and a few dogs. It’s the only fictitious town in this Fantastic Adventure.

Sticky, Robyn (both elves) and Dumbley (a dwarf) are on their way to Philadelphia, PA, better known as Philly.

It’s not because Sticky didn’t love his home in Shendale, he did. He loved everything about it. From its tall trees and the cool winds which would blow through the pines. These winds would whisper to him in his dreams. Shendale was a quaint village with its sun-dappled orange and gold leaves of fall, to its icicle diamonds shining in winter. Nonetheless, he was ready to see the world, especially the humans who lived in Philly.

The adventurers will travel through eight towns on their way to Philly. Sticky is going to search for his sister Faylin, who never came home from her own quest.

Her quest was to study humans in their day-to-day functions. Faylin had always been the most curious of elves, not to mention Shendale’s top student.

The towns they come to in their travels have real names in Pennsylvania. Some elves and dwarves like to keep to their own village. However, it’s not uncommon to see them mingling in the human towns.

The three races get along and can live together as they do in some towns. Elven villages are nestled deep in the woods and surrounded by mushrooms. They blend in to keep them hidden from the human eye.

Humans are at least twice the height of Sticky. Robyn is one head shorter than Sticky, and Dumbley, being the shortest of all, is a head shorter than Robyn. Sticky is tall for an elf and he stands at three feet tall.

There’s a map at the back of each book to show where they’ve journeyed so far.

Historical facts are scattered throughout the books to help explain a few parts of history. They will be in (*) and italicized. These are not history books. Most of the facts are in the last book when they reach Philly.

Elves and dwarves are short and hard to see. If you focus hard enough and long enough, you might catch a glimpse of them hiding in their hidey-holes amongst the trees. So, keep your eyes open and stay focused.

I’ll add a ‘memory lane’ section to each book following this one. Each book will start with this section. It’s a brief update of the previous volumes in the series. This will help you recall the main points of the story. It will help if you spend too much time in between books. You don’t have to re-read any of them. Simply take a walk down memory lane.

I invite you all to expand your imagination and travel with Sticky, Robyn and Dumbley, as they embark on their Fantastic Adventures.

For you adventurous ones, you can have fun with the map in the back of the book.

Shendale is a fictitious town, and it won’t show up on any maps of Pennsylvania.

To have fun with the map, you can find these places for yourself. Google the town of Avondale, PA, then look northeast to Willowdale. Now look east to Chadds Ford, and then look east and a little north (known as east-northeast) to Chester Heights. Now go northeast to Elwyn, and then northeast to Springfield. Now look east and a little south (known as east-southeast) to Darby, and finally northeast to Philly.



Chapter 1

Shendale




Sticky’s home is in the tall tree.

Robyn’s home is in the shorter tree.

Dumbley’s little cave is on the left.



Sticky burst awake. Today was the day! He was setting off on a Fantastic Adventure with his best friends, and it was time to get going.

He threw back the well-loved quilt his mother had stitched for him and leaped from his soft bed and on to the floor. His bed was made from the soft downy feathers of the white geese which frequented the crystal blue lake, on the other side of Shendale.

In this early morning moment, he had no idea this would be the first of many great adventures he’d have with his friends. They were destined to become much more than adventurers who simply went to Philly.

He and his friends were off to the big city to find Faylin and make sure she was safe. Sticky was trying very hard not to worry about her.

He wanted to see the world outside of Shendale and this adventure was his chance.

He checked and rechecked his travel sack and he was ready. There was a bubbling in his stomach. It wasn’t the butterfly feeling, so much as the tingling he got when he drank the nectar soda his grandfather brewed.

It was made from the honey the Shendale bees made. He scented it with lavender and wild strawberries and it tickled his insides, all the way from his tummy to his nose.

Soon, he had eaten his breakfast of strawberries, and then washed them down with thistle juice.

Afterward, he set off for the clearing in the center of town where the pines grew the tallest. This is where all the Shendalians had gathered to say goodbye to Sticky and his best friends, Dumbley and Robyn.

Sticky smiled as he looked around at all the Shendalians who came to wish them well on their Fantastic Adventure to Philly.

Green-skinned, pointy-eared elven-folk and round-bellied dwarves, along with a few trusty dogs, had lived hidden in Shendale for generations.

They were known for their elven crafts, nimbly weaving grasses into fancy pitchers and nice baskets, with intricate designs. The dwarves among them were the finest foragers in the entire world.

They crafted small swords with jeweled hilts and fancy pewter goblets, not to mention the tiniest and most elegant tiaras and crowns fit for a king. They were cherished by humans, dwarves and elves throughout the world.

Two young elves, one of them Sticky’s younger brother, Castien, were playing catch with a silver ball made from the silken threads of ancient caterpillars. The ball could bounce high above their heads.

Castien missed his catch and had to chase after the ball. It rolled into the mosses growing near the woods. The other elf walked over to talk with Sticky. As he approached him, he asked, “Hey Sticky, are you guys leaving for the big city of Philly today?” asked the young elf.

“Yes we are, Jimmy,” replied Sticky.

“Can I come? Please! Can I? Can I?”

“No, you can’t,” said Castien. “You’re too young to go on a trip like this. You need to be as old as I am.”

Sticky laughed—an elven laugh, which sounded like a cross between a giggle and the tinkling of bells. “You’re not old enough either, Castien. As I told you before, you’ll be staying with Faylin and my friend, Shendoah. You can play with his dog, Spencer. They’ll help keep you busy while I’m away.”

Sticky had a lot of responsibilities. He helped his older sister, Faylin, take care of their little brother Castien. Their parents passed away a few years earlier. It was war-time and they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He certainly wasn’t bringing the little elf on the long journey to Philly.



Chapter 2

Sticky



“My mom gave it to me,” replied Sticky. “The same as your mom gave you your name.”

“Why in the world would she call you Sticky and not a normal Elven name?”

“The name was easy. I was born sticky. If you touched me, my skin felt sticky.” It’s known in Shendale, for every child, either an elf or dwarf must discover their own special gift. Some will be weavers while others will be blacksmiths. Some will collect the morning dew for our special recipes while others will lasso the butterflies and train them as messengers of the sky.

However, for me, my parents had no idea what my talents were. They observed me and tried to figure out what I was best suited to do. It wasn’t till I was three years old when I found my gift by accident while I was playing.

“One day, I was playing with a ball and it rolled away from me. When I reached for it, this stuff came out of my hand. It stuck to the ball and brought it back. My whole family stopped breathing for a moment. They were shocked at what they had witnessed.”


“Then what happened? Please tell me, tell me now! I really want to know.”

“Okay, okay, settle down. First, they checked to make sure I was all right. I was, of course. I thought it was fun. Then they asked me to do it again, which I did. I stuck out my hand and shot this stuff towards Faylin’s head. The sticky stuff stuck to her head.”

“When I pulled on the sticky rope, it yanked her off her stool. I was shocked. It was an accident. I didn’t know what this stuff could do. This was all new to me.”

“It’s so cool to hear this. Tell me more.”

“Everyone laughed. Except for Faylin, she was not happy. By age four, my skin was no longer sticky. I was left with this special talent to use my hand to shoot out this sticky gooey stuff. My parents were happy they named me Sticky because now it fits who I am.”

“One day, I tasted the stuff and found out it tasted like bubblegum.”

“Wow, what a great story. Can you eat it?”

“It’s funny you should ask. I put a piece in my mouth to I tasted it,. I bit down and then I couldn’t open my mouth. The gum was too sticky to chew. I had to use a stick and pick at it. It took a while to get my mouth open again.

“My friend Dumbley can eat anything. I gave him a piece and he could chew the gum with no problems. Every now and then I shoot a small piece in the air and he’d catch it in his mouth. He doesn’t like to touch it though. It’s too sticky for him.”

“I also found I can stick it to the ceiling and climb up. It’s also great for climbing trees. I shot it at a branch and it sticks. Then I use it as a rope and climb up. The stuf…”

He was interrupted by a woman screaming. “Help me! My daughter’s stuck in a tree and she can’t get down. Please help me!”

Sticky’s instincts always kicked in when someone needed help. He ran right over and saw the little girl near the top of a tall tree.

“I see her,” said Sticky. He stuck his arm out and shot a bubble gum rope at the branch next to the girl. “Grab onto the rope and climb down. It’s safe. You don’t have to be scared.”

“No! I can’t let go! I’ll fall if I do!” she said in a panicky voice. “Help me!”

“Let me go up there and get her,” Sticky offered. “I love climbing trees. Wait here.”

Sticky tied his end of the bubblegum rope to a small tree near him. He climbed hand over hand and reached the branch the girl was holding on to.

She was hanging as tight as she could. All the knuckles in her hand were a whitish green. Her breathing was rapid. He knew he had to distract her in some way.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“I-It’s D-Dana,” she murmured. Her whole body was shaking uncontrollably now.

“Okay Dana, I need you to take a few deep breaths. Lucky for you I happen to be really skinny. I’ll use some bubblegum rope to attach us together. This way you can’t fall. Then I’ll slide my super thin body in between you and the tree. Here I go.”

He got halfway between the tree and her. Sticky moved in fast. He grabbed one of her arms and pulled it free from the tree branch. He brought it over his shoulder and down the front of his body. Then he did the same with the other arm. He held them together and put a glob of bubblegum around them to stick them together. He then pushed her hands against his chest to spread the gum out. She was now stuck to him.

Now she was in the piggyback position and secured with the gum.

“All right Dana. You did a super job when you let me help you. Now I’ll climb down and I don’t want you to worry, you can’t fall. You can’t be any safer than being stuck to Sticky. I’m the stickiest thing around.”

“We can’t do this, I’m too scared. I want my mommy. Please get my mommy.”

Sticky grabbed the bubblegum rope and climbed on. Her grip tightened around his neck. He sat for a while waiting for her to relax so she could see it was going to be okay.

“We have to climb down now.” Sticky looked at the end of his gummy rope and thought to himself. “My gum is turning to a darker color which means it’s drying up. I have to move quicker, this rope is going to break.”

Sticky said to Dana, “Hang on tight. We have to go now. Okay, here we go.”

Sticky climbed down as fast as he could. Dana screamed in his ear the whole way down. Sticky was fast when he needed to be and he was back on the ground in no time at all. He un-stuck her from his chest and set her on the ground. She ran straight to her mommy’s arms. Tears of joy covered her little face.

The mother approached Sticky with Dana in her arms. “Thank you so much. You saved my little girl.”

“What, what did you say?” yelled Sticky. “I can’t hear you right now. My ears aren’t working right. Dana has a high pitch scream.”

The mom reached over and did a three-way hug with Sticky and Dana. When they parted, Sticky bowed and went back to talking with Jimmy.

“Wow, I can’t believe what you did,” said Jimmy. “Do you have to do a lot of rescues?”



Chapter 3

Dumbley




“Not really,” Sticky replied. “Thankfully, this is a small village. It leaves me more time for napping. My favorite pastime is sleeping. Nothing makes me feel better than a good long snooze while leaning against a tree.”

Jimmy thanked him for the story and returned to playing catch with Castien. Sticky walked over and propped himself against a tree and watched Dumbley bringing all these supplies out on his front lawn.

“Hey, Sticky!” yelled Dumbley. “I don’t mean to trouble you while you sit and watch, little buddy. Being a tall, skinny elf doesn’t mean you can’t lend a hand with these boxes.”

“You’re a strong dwarf,” said Sticky with simple directness. “Why are you asking for help from a skinny elf like me?”

“I know you’re worried about Faylin not coming home. It doesn’t excuse you from helping me out. Come on, give me a hand.”

“Why are you carrying so many supplies?”

“This journey is taking us all the way to Philly. We’ll be gone a long time. These supplies are not all mine, I’m adding them to the pile over there. All of the boxes will get divided amongst the three of us. All of the cookie boxes will be going to me.”

Sticky considered this. He noticed the boxes were baked cookies. Dumbley loved his baked snacks. He could eat them all day.

“Hey Dumbley, are you wearing your magical shirt, the one which creates pockets when you hold an item up against it?”

“Yes, I love having extra pockets. These are my new traveling clothes. You never know when you might need the pockets this shirt can make. Now, all I need is a hat to create the same pockets and I’ll be all set.”

“Do your boots make pockets?”

Dumbley snorted. “Will you stop with the pocket questions? Are you going to help me or not? We’re a team you know.”

Sticky knew dwarves were not known for their grace or balance. One of the boxes Dumbley was carrying teetered, wobbled and fell toward the ground.

Sticky shouted, “I’ll get it!” He whipped his hand out and shot a long string of bubblegum-stickiness which stuck to the box. The box flew through the air, and Sticky grabbed it.

“What a great save, Sticky, thank you so much. I’m pretty sure it has cookies in it, and I hate broken cookies.”

“There, I helped you. I saved the box, are you happy now?”

Dumbley put down the other boxes. “I guess it’s the best you can do. You couldn’t carry any of these boxes, anyway. They’re heavy enough to crush you.”

“I can still help.” He zapped a box from the pile and shot it at Dumbley. When it hit his shirt, it created a pocket for the box. Finding this amusing, he continued to shoot more packages at him. Dumbley’s legs shook and rattled from the added weight.

He turned to avoid the boxes, now the back of his shirt and the arms were busy making pockets for the cartons flying at him. The weight of the boxes started to add up.

“Stop!” he yelled. “I can’t take any more.”

Dumbley’s voice was muffled by the cases which filled his shirt. He couldn’t move the boxes faster than they were piling up on him. Sticky couldn’t hear him and continued having fun shooting containers at him.

He enjoyed watching the pockets form, one after another. As long as there was room for more, Sticky kept firing away.

Dumbley couldn’t take the extra weight. His knees gave way and he crumpled to the ground. Sticky, who was rolling on the ground laughing, got up and helped his friend empty his pockets, so he could get up again. They both enjoyed a good laugh together. Sticky got him good. They loved fooling around like this, it made their friendship stronger.

Dumbley, wanting to get Sticky back for burying him in boxes said, “Hey Sticky, you’re so skinny that if you turned sideways and stuck out your tongue, you would look like a zipper. And the shirt you’re wearing is so bright? Wow, it's blinding me!”

“Yes, I call it ‘hello yellow.’ It goes with my black pants. I like to dress in fancy clothes so people will notice me.”

“It certainly screams, ‘Hello!’ It’s more like, ‘Hello and wake up.’”

He gestured to the crowd around them in the clearing. Little elves darted between adults, and dwarves were whispering among themselves. They all wore plain greens and browns. This allowed them to blend in with the trees in case some enemies—such as trolls or house cats were close by. Elves, especially, hated those pesky house cats who roamed the area. Cat’s loved to chase elves.

Sticky grinned. “If I wore my brown forester’s outfit, like the one you have on, then we would be twins.”

“I don’t think we could ever be twins. You’re a tall, skinny elf, and I’m a short, wide dwarf. I love to eat, and you love to sleep. I like hard work, you prefer to snooze. I like to help people, you love to nap.”

“I like to help people, sometimes.”

“How can you help anyone if you’re always dreaming the big dream in dreamland?”

“Hey, I helped you with the falling box.” Sticky snickered. “I also helped with a few extra boxes. So, you see, I can help people when I have to. I prefer a nap before helping.”

Dumbley sighed. “I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right. I was born lost, tired and a napping kind of elf. So, I always have to nap whenever I can. Life gets better when I can lie up against a tree and sleep.”

Sticky glanced at their supplies. “Dumbley, we can’t fit all this stuff into our travel bags, there’s way too much food here.”



Chapter 4

Robyn




“Sure we can,” a happy voice chimed from behind them. “We can fit it all,” said the elf.

Sticky turned and smiled. Robyn, the last member of their party, had arrived. She wore a white shirt with a brown swirly design. Her bouncy, reddish hair reached below her shoulders, and blew lightly in the breeze.

“No offense, Robyn,” said Sticky, “even if you helped us carry all of this, there’s no way we can fit it all. Dumbley’s brought too much food and snacks for him to eat.”

“Oh, you’re forgetting something.” Robyn said as she giggled and took her backpack off. She set it down on the ground. “My backpack is magical. It stays the same size and weight, even when you fill it with many things. You guys can pack a few supplies in your travel bags, or your pockets, Dumbley. What you should do is use these.” She pulled out two back-backs from hers own. “These are for you guys to use on our adventure.”

“Hey, your pack appeared out of nowhere! How did you make it appear like that?” gasped Sticky. “I didn’t see it when you arrived.”

“It’s magical,” said Robyn. “It disappears as soon as I get it on my back.”

“Once again, Robyn, you are a lifesaver,” said Sticky as he patted her on the back. “I see why you’re my dearest friend. I think you should be the leader of this group. You’re better at leading than Dumbley or me.”

“I agree,” said Dumbley, swatting back a few hairs hanging down in front of his eyes. He had thick, long brown hair. Dwarf hair was heavy, coarse and sometimes needed tying down to control. “You’re the one who should lead us on this adventure. You’ve done more traveling than we have and you’re the smartest one here.”

“I would love to,” said Robyn. “I’d be happy to lead the group. Shall we get this Fantastic Adventure underway?”

“We’re ready to go,” replied Sticky.

“Then let’s get going.”

Sticky paused. “Wait, shouldn’t we have a nap first? We’re going on a long journey, and we’ll need our strength.”

“No, there’s no way you’re napping now,” Robyn replied with a sigh.

“Okay, if you say so. When I turn into an angry little elf, it will be your fault.”

“We just started our adventure.” She chuckled and led the way. “How could you be tired? We’ve only taken a few steps.”

“I can’t wait to see more of the world during our adventure,” said Dumbley, while clapping his stubby hands together.

Sticky leaped on top of a tree stump and yelled to the crowd, “My dear friends of Shendale, we’re ready to leave for Philly! We will not return without finding Faylin. Wish us luck.” Then he yelled louder,

“I declare, at this moment

in the year of 1776 that we are off

on our Fantastic Adventure!”

The crowd cheered. Several young elves raced to their side and hugged each of them. One of the dwarven grandmas handed them a loaf of freshly baked bread and a jar of lavender honey.

The mayor of Shendale, a dwarf who was almost as wide as he was tall, toddled up to the friends, and handed Sticky a brass compass on a chain.

“I offer you this, my friends, Sticky, Dumbley, and Robyn,” said the mayor as he handed it to Sticky. “This compass will help you along the way. It’s important to know which direction you are going, so you don’t get lost. And look here,” he continued as he pointed. There, on the face of the compass, in between the line marked North and the one marked West, was painted, in the fine dwarven script, the word ‘HOME’.

“All you have to do is raise this compass toward the sky and the arrow will point you back home to Shendale. This way, you’ll be sure to return home to us. Good luck and safe travels on your journey.”

After they thanked the mayor, they waved goodbye to their friends and the three travelers started their adventure.

“Where should we go first?” asked Sticky. “I heard of several ways to get to Philly.”



“We’ll be going first to the town of Avondale,” said Robyn. “So, we’ll stay on this road and it’ll take us right to it.”

“There’s not much in Avondale,” Dumbley grumbled. “It has only two small supply stores and about a dozen farms and homes.”

“With two supply stores, you won’t have to worry about food around there,” said Sticky as he chuckled.

“Very amusing,” said Dumbley. As they reached the first bend in the road, he stopped and said, “Look!” He pointed behind them to their village in the distance.

They turned to look at what he was pointing at. It was a beautiful view of Shendale. It was to be their last look for quite some time.

Several of Shendale’s dogs had run toward them and now stood, wagging their tails. All of the small elven and dwarven children followed them to the edge of Shendale and waved goodbye.

Robyn sighed. “It’s difficult for me to leave the comforts of Shendale for the open road.”

“Maybe for you,” said Sticky. “Not for me. I love adventuring wherever it takes me.”

“It’ll be awhile before we return to the love and warmth of our families,” Robyn said.

“I’ll miss it,” said Dumbley, patting his stomach. “All of the home-cooked meals. My tummy is growling already and what about my soft and comfy bed? And the roof over my head to keep me dry? On rainy nights, I love the sound of the raindrops drip-drop-dripping on the straw thatch. It helps me sleep.”

“Oh no, I can’t believe it,” laughed Sticky. “Dumbley’s getting homesick already.”

“I’ll be okay,” Dumbley said with a gloomy sigh. “Once we start this adventuring, I’ll forget all about home—well, maybe not forget so much as get it off my mind.” He held out the loaf of bread the old grandma had given them.



Chapter 5

Chris




“I suppose this will help me stop thinking about my home, and my grumbly tummy.”

“Simply focus on where you’re going, instead of where you’ve been,” advised Robyn. “After all, when you look to the future, anything is possible.”

Dumbley thought for a moment, scratched his head and said, “I like it. I’ll keep my focus on the prize–our arrival in Philly.”

“You’re sounding better already,” said Robyn. “You’ll be okay with us around.”

“Hey, I think I see something up ahead,” said Sticky. “Someone’s on the side of the path. I wonder what they’re doing there.”

“It looks a little elf and he looks sad,” Dumbley said. “I wonder what’s wrong.”

Robyn approached the elf with pointy ears and brown hair. He had a smattering of freckles scattered across his nose and cheeks like the Milky Way stars across the sky. “Why are you crying?”

“I…I fell and hurt my knee, while I was searching for my lost d-dog,” said the tiny elf.

“We almost didn’t see you with the forester’s outfit on,” said Robyn. “It blends in with the woods. We like to blend in as well, except for Sticky over there. He loves to get noticed whenever he can.”

“What’s your name?” asked Sticky.

“I-I’m C-Chris,” sniffled the young elf, crying into his kerchief, which slipped out of his hand and floated toward the ground.

“I’ll get it!” Sticky insisted. He shot his special bubblegum-formula from his hand which stuck to the kerchief. He pulled it back in the wink of an eye and handed it back to Chris. “Here you go. I believe this is yours.”

“T-Thank you, I think.” His eyes were wide with amazement. “How did you do it? Where did the stuff come from?”

“I’m a little special,” said Sticky.

“I can help fix your knee,” Robyn offered. “Sticky’s special talent is stickiness. Mine is healing with my hands.” She held her hands out as they sparkled pink and blue and asked, “Chris, may I try to heal you?”

“Y-Yes, you may,” said Chris in quiet amazement, looking confused and fascinated at the same time. “You guys are so sweet to do this for me. I don’t even know who you are and you’re helping me.”

“We love to help when we can, we don’t need to know someone to help them. I’ll put my hands over your bruised knee. I’ll ask my friends to put their hands a few inches over your leg, and then we’ll think happy thoughts. Our happy thoughts will bring everyone’s invisible energy into your body to help heal your bruise and take away the pain.”

The three adventurers took their places around Chris. Thought bubbles appeared over their heads. Dumbley’s happy thoughts were of eating three bowls of stew with extra biscuits and a side dish of honey, followed by peaches for dessert. Sticky dreamed of a piece of bubblegum as big as he was. Robyn focused on the healing energy and putting a smile on Chris’s tearful face.

After a few moments, Chris said as he sniffled, “The pain is going away. I can’t believe it. Thanks, guys, for your help.”

Robyn held up her hands as the sparkles faded. They were returning to their perfectly normal green skinned hands.

“There’s no need to thank me,” she said. “I love to help others feel better.”

Sticky and Dumbley bowed in acceptance of the thanks they received.

“It’s good,” said Sticky. “I don’t like to see anyone in pain, especially a young elf. If the pain is gone, then why aren’t you smiling?”

Robyn looked at Sticky. “He can’t smile yet. We have to help him find his dog.”

“Yes, we do!” Sticky exclaimed. “An elf in need is an elf…, well, you know what I mean. Our Fantastic Adventure can wait for a little while longer.”

The dwarves and elves of Shendale, for generations, have been taught to be helpful, honest and kind. So, the adventurers set out to help their new friend find his dog.

Robyn asked Chris, “Can you tell us what your dog looks like? Is he large or small?”

“He’s a small dog with short hair,” replied Chris. “Here’s the tricky part, it depends on what part of him you’re looking at, he’s black with large white spots or white with large black spots.”

“Sounds like you gave him the perfect name then—Spotalot,” said Robyn. “We’ll help you find him. You should stay here, so we know where to bring him when we find him.”

“Hey!” yelled Sticky. “This can be a part of our Fantastic Adventure. I can’t believe how great this is turning out to be.”

“Wow,” said Dumbley. “Two adventures in one trip. I hope these will keep me from getting homesick. I still miss my Shendale.”

“We should separate, so we can cover more ground and find Spotalot quicker. Dumbley will come with me and we’ll follow this path,” Robyn said, pointing straight ahead.

“You got it,” said Sticky with a grin. “I’ll turn right and check along this road.”

Robyn caught his sly grin out of the corner of her eye. “This can’t be good,” she whispered to Dumbley. “He’s up to something.”

As soon as Sticky turned to embark on his part of their small adventure, he spotted a place to rest. “Oh my, what have we got here, will you look at this, a napping tree,” he whispered to himself. “No self-respecting elf could pass by a perfect napping tree like this one. I think I’ll try it out for size.”

Such trees were tall, with thick branches, perfect for climbing on and nestling against. They had wide expanses of leaves to shade the elves from the sun. They had sturdy trunks, the better to stand strong against any sudden winds which might shake an elf loose from his stance. It was perfect for Sticky.

Robyn turned and trotted after Sticky.

“Sticky!” she called out. “I see you. How can you even think of sleeping at a time like this? We’re here to find Spotalot, not take a nap.”

“I was born lost, tired and needing a nap, so I’m taking one. All I need is five minutes against this tree right here, and I’ll be a new elf when I wake up,” said Sticky as he yawned.

“No! Get up now, you lost and lazy elf. We have to find Spotalot and then your sister.”



Chapter 6

The Search




“Okay, I’m getting up.” He patted the trunk of the tree and whispered to it, “Maybe next time, my friend.” Then he stomped off down the path to search for Spotalot. Missing his nap made him a little grumpy.

Robyn returned to Dumbley. “I have him searching for the dog again. Let’s go back to where we were, so we can continue our search from there.”

After a short walk, they came to a lake with a small, hilly island at its center. It had a grassy patch in the center, perfect for holding an afternoon picnic.

“Hey,” said Robyn. “Look at the dog over there on the island, he’s in a cage. It sure looks like it might be Spotalot. He’s got the right spots.”

“I know you have good eyes, Robyn, are you certain it’s the right dog?”

“The dog is black with white spots or white with black spots. There can only be one dog like it, so it must be Spotalot.”

She pointed at two young male dwarves who were near the cage. They were using long sticks to tease the dog. “It doesn’t matter which dog it is, we have to rescue him from those meanies! We have to move quickly. We have to take those sticks away from them, so they can’t hurt the Spotalot anymore.”

Dumbley scratched his head and said, “How are we going to get to the island?”

“There’s a boat over there on the shore.” They quietly raced over to the rowboat and tried not to attract the boys’ attention.

“Come on,” she instructed. “Climb in and we can paddle over there.”

Meanwhile, Sticky had reached the opposite side of the lake while his friends had climbed into their boat. When left alone, Sticky was a fast walker for a lost and tired elf. All he needed now was to use the rowboat he found and row to the island.

Sticky had more of a fleeting mind than most elves. He was distracted by things like ladybugs, rainbows, turtles crossing the road, the smell of warm apple pie set on the windowsill to cool, fluffy dogs, lunar moths, and well—just about anything.

Sticky looked to the center of the island. With his keen eyesight, he too saw a dog with spots being held in a cage.

“Let’s see,” he said aloud. “Black, white, white, black—yup, must be Spotalot.” Then he realized he was talking to himself. There was nobody around to hear him.

He could barely makes out two young dwarves, one with long, braided, red hair and the other with long, tangled, black hair. They were teasing the poor defenseless dog.

“Hey, stop it!” he yelled When he realized they didn’t hear him, he jumped into a rowboat that was on his side of the lake and rowed toward the island. Upon arrival, he leaped from the boat and made a mad dash up the hill. The island’s hill kept him from seeing what was on the other side.

Robyn and Dumbley landed their boat on the island, right next to the one the young dwarves used. They didn’t know Sticky was on the other side of the island and already heading toward Spotalot.

“Hey, you!” yelled Dumbley, as he ran toward the boys. “Stop hurting the dog.”

“Run!” yelled one dwarf. He and the other dwarf dropped their sticks and ran. They stopped short when one of them saw Sticky coming toward them.

“This way,” shouted the red-haired dwarf to his friend, as he tried to avoid Sticky.

“Stop right there,” demanded Sticky. He raised his hand and shot bubblegum at the bullies’ feet, slowing them down. “If you try to get away, I’ll keep shooting bubblegum at you until you can no longer move.”

Robyn walked over and picked up their sticks. “How would you like it if I teased you both with a stick?” She gently poked the stick in their direction. It wouldn’t be fun, would it?

“No, please don’t,” cried the red-haired dwarf. “We’re sorry, we won’t do it again.”

Robyn put down the sticks. “You’re lucky I’m not as mean as you are, or you would both be sore right now. Don’t you dare move a muscle? I need to check on Spotalot.”

“You better hope he’s not hurt,” said Dumbley. “I will check and see if he’s okay.”

Dumbley leaned over the cage and opened it. “You must be Spotalot. Look how beautiful you are. Come here boy, you’re safe with us, now. Nobody’s going to hurt you.”

Spotalot darted out of his prison and past Dumbley’s outstretched hands. His black and white fluffy tail waved like a flag in a strong breeze. He knew they were friends.

“Where do you think you’re going?” asked Sticky. He reached down and picked the dog up. “Easy boy, you’ll be fine, Spotalot. We won’t hurt you. Easy there.”

“Hold on to him,” Dumbley told Sticky, as the dog squirmed and tried to break free.

“I’ll take him,” said Robyn. She held out her arms and Spotalot leaped from his arms into hers without a moment’s notice.

Surprised, Robyn laughed. “All right, Spotalot, let’s calm down now.” She patted and soothed the dog with gentle strokes. “You don’t seem to be hurt. I guess it’s lucky for the two little dwarves I know.” She shot a quick and angry glance at the dwarves bound in bubblegum stickiness.

“We’re sorry,” said the red-haired boy. “We really are and we wish we could take it back.”

“Spotalot isn’t as jumpy now as he was earlier,” said Robyn. “Lucky for you, he’s calming down. He’ll be okay.”

“You have a way with animals,” said Dumbley. “I’m surprised you don’t own one.”

Robyn turned to the bullies. “You should be ashamed of yourselves, picking on a harmless dog. We’ll leave you tied up to teach you a lesson about cruelty to animals. You can think about what you did.”

“You should be able to get loose in a few hours,” said Sticky. “You had better hope I never see you teasing an animal again, or we won’t be as nice as we were today. Consider yourselves lucky it wasn’t Dumbley who got to you first. He’s not as nice as I am.”

“We should head back now, so we can return Spotalot to Chris,” said Dumbley.

Robyn, Dumbley and Spotalot climbed into their boat, while Sticky climbed back into his.

On the way back to shore, Robyn asked, “Hey, how come my feet are getting wet? I didn’t step in the water.” She glanced down and gasped. “We’ve sprung a leak!” In a panic, she cupped her hands together and scooped the water up, and then tossed it over the side of the rowboat.

Spotalot also helped by lapping the water with his long pink tongue. His tummy was filling up fast. As the lapping slowed, you could tell he was running out of room.

“Well Dumbley, are you going to help bail us bail us out?” asked Robyn with a firm persistence. “We can’t do this alone.”

Dumbley stood up and placed a hand on his forehead in a salute, and he announced, “A Captain must go down with his ship.”

“Stop fooling around and help us. Besides, you shouldn’t be standing in a boat.”

Dumbley kept saluting and repeated, “A Captain must go down with his ship.”

“The hole is too big. Let’s jump out and swim to the shore.”

Robyn and Spotalot leaped out of the sinking vessel and splashed into the water. She looked back to see if Dumbley had leaped out of the boat when they did. She learned to always make sure you never leave your friends behind.



Chapter 7

Leaky Boat


Illustration by Chris Putnam



“Dumbley,” called Robyn. “Why are you still in the sinking boat? Get out of there you crazy dwarf before you drown.”

Dumbley repeated, “A Captain must go down with his ship,” while he continued his salute and stoic stance.

When the boat finally sank, and the water had risen to Dumbley’s chin, he gurgled, “Wait, I changed my mind. I don’t want to go down with the ship anymore.” He swam in breast strokes to shore with Robyn and Spotalot, who was doing what dogs do best, the doggie paddle. He was a little slower than usual with his belly being full of water.

Once they were safely on dry land, Robyn laughed. “Dumbley, you’re one crazy dwarf.”

Spotalot shook and danced about, getting them wetter as he sprayed them with the water shooting off his soggy fur. He enjoyed his little shaky dance.

After landing his boat, Sticky joined them and said, “Hey, you guys are all wet. I didn’t know we were going swimming today.”

“Our boat sprung a leak and sank,” Robyn explained. “Captain Dumbley over there almost drowned. He wanted to be the Captain who went down with his ship even though it was only a rowboat.”

Dumbley smiled, and they all headed back to where Chris was waiting patiently.

“Spotalot!” yelled Chris. “It’s you. I can’t believe it. You guys really found him.”

“Here you go,” said Robyn as she put Spotalot on the ground. The dog ran to his beloved Chris’ waiting arms and licked his face repeatedly. It tickled and made him giggle a lot. He hugged Spotalot tighter than he’d ever hugged him before.

“Chris,” Robyn said. “You’re lucky to own a dog like Spotalot, who loves you so much.”

“Spotalot has loved every member of my family for as long as anyone can remember,” said Chris as he fought off a few more tears.

“I’ve heard dogs can live forever. Is there any truth to this notion?” Sticky inquired.

“I don’t know what can live forever,” answered Robyn. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s the memories we hold dear in our hearts that can make our loved ones live forever and ever.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right,” Chris agreed. “How did you get to be so smart?”

“Robyn is one of my best friends,” said Sticky. “She’s also one of the smartest elves in all of Shendale. Why, at Elf school, they say she was smarter than the teachers, and she should've been teaching the class.”

Robyn patted Chris on the shoulder. “You’ll understand more when you get older.”

“It’s what my mommy keeps telling me,” he said, scratching his head. “Except, I’ve gotten older, and I still don’t understand what this stuff is all about.”

“All in good time, my friend,” said Robyn. “All understanding comes in time.”

“Speaking of time, we should be on our way,” said Dumbley. “Before you know it, we’ll have missed supper time and dessert time. A dwarf should never miss those things. I would act like Sticky without a nap if I skipped a meal. It’s just not thinkable or possible.”

“Thank you all,” said Chris to the three adventurers. “Thanks for healing my bruises and telling me about the dogs and especially about our hearts. I’ll always remember that.”

Robyn said, “There’s no need to thank me. This is what I love, to help others feel better.”

Dumbley and Sticky each bowed their heads to acknowledge the thanks.

“Let’s get going,” said Robyn. “We have to get back to our own adventure.”

Dumbley added, “It’ll be an extra adventure for us when we discover all the different towns, as we make our way through the world of humans.”

The three travelers waved their goodbye’s to Chris and Spotalot and continued on their way along the road.

“I am so glad we found Spotalot for Chris,” said Robyn. “Those two were meant to be together. His love is strong for his dog.”

“Can you imagine what he was thinking?” asked Sticky. “A bunch of strangers walked up and offered to heal his sore knee, and to find his dog. Then these same people continued on their way with a simple thank you. I think we strengthened his faith in elf-kind.”

“In dwarf-kind too,” said Dumbley.

“We’ve already had an adventure, and we haven’t reached the first town yet,” said Robyn. “I’m getting a good feeling about this trip and the people we’ll meet.”

“I need a break,” Sticky announced. “I need a nap before I turn into a lost, tired and grumpy little elf.”

“And don’t forget a snack. We have to allow time for a snack,” said Dumbley with simple directness. His stomach gave a loud gurgle. Dwarves were well-known for having grumbly tummies when it was eating time. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, the tummy always knew when it was time to eat.

“Yes,” Robyn said. “It’s time for a break.” She turned to hand Sticky a peach and noticed he was already sleeping against a tree and lost in his everlasting dream world.

“I’ll take his peach,” Dumbley suggested.

“Oh no, you won’t. I’ll save it for him for when he wakes up later.”

Dumbley frowned and reached into his sack to pull out a biscuit and said, “I can eat this when I finish eating my peach. My mom made me a nice batch of these before we left.”

After a short rest, Robyn said, “Okay, everyone, it’s time to continue our journey.”

Sticky didn’t budge. Robyn walked over to him and raised her voice a little louder. “Let’s go, Sticky! We can’t sleep all day!”

“Yes, I can. I’m not going. I’m not done napping, so the first thing I’m doing is going back to sleep and dream the good dream.”

Robyn reached down, took off one of Sticky’s elven boots and squeezed his big toe.

Sticky jumped and yelled, “Ouch! What’s going on here? Who squeezed my toe?”

“I did. It’s time to go,” Robyn declared. “You can sleep tonight like the rest of us.”

“I’m not like everyone else. I was born lost, tired and needing more naps than other elves.” He looked over at Dumbley. “I need more sleep than dwarves do,”

“Come on, Sticky,” said Dumbley. “Let’s get moving. If you don’t come with us now, I’ll drag you along the road, all the way to Philly.”

“You wouldn’t dare drag me,” he said with determination.



Chapter 8

Emerald




“Oh yes, I would.” He reached down and grabbed one of Sticky’s legs and dragged him helplessly along the road.

“Hey! All right already! You win. Let me go. I can walk. Leave me alone.”

“Now you’re acting better,” said Dumbley as he smiled. “I didn’t want to drag you through all the towns. Dragging you would wear you down and make you skinnier. The last thing you need is to be thinner. Don’t get me wrong, if it meant we’d get to Philly and find Faylin, then I’d drag you all the way there and back again.”

Sticky mimicked them. “Wake up. Let’s go. Come on. I will drag you. It’s not easy being an elf these days. Don’t forget, I was born a lost, tired and a not so easy to wake up little elf. No one knows how much I need to nap. It helps me to think clearer.”

The adventurers continued walking toward Avondale when Sticky stopped dead in his tracks. “Quiet, did you hear that?”

“I didn’t hear anything, what do you think you heard?” Dumbley wondered.

“I thought I heard someone laughing,” said Sticky, as he pointed toward the woods. “It’s coming from behind the tree over there. I wonder who it is.”

“Let’s check it out,” said Dumbley.

They walked closer to the tree, their footfalls causing the leaves beneath them to crunch. They found a young elf. She was standing next to a tree, laughing.

Robyn asked the young elf, “What’s so funny, why are you laughing?”

“I-I’m lost,” he replied.

“I don’t understand why do you think it’s so funny?” Robyn inquired.

“Well, I t-tried crying and it didn’t work too well, so now I’m l-laughing.”

“So, tell me, is laughing working better for you than the crying did?”

“It got your attention and brought you here, didn’t it? So yes, it worked pretty good.”

“I guess you’re right,” Sticky admitted.

“What’s your name?” asked Robyn.

“I’m E-Emerald,” stuttered the young elf.

“Okay, E-Emerald. Do...”

“No!” snapped Emerald, as she interrupted Robyn. “My name is Emerald, not E-Emerald. Please say it right.”

“Sorry,” said Robyn. “I was going by what you told me, I thought it was your actual name. I hear a lot of strange and weird names these days. You never can tell.”

“My voice gets a little shaky when I’m upset,” Emerald explained. “So, I stutter and stammer a little.”

“We can relate,” said Dumbley. “Our friend Sticky stutters and stammers all the time.”

Everyone shared a good laugh.

“I thought you were making fun of my stuttering,” said Emerald, still sniffling.

“We wouldn’t do anything so cruel,” said Sticky. “We want to make new friends, not bully them. You should always be kind to others and not tease them.”

“I’m still lost,” said Emerald, as a single tear rolled down her green cheek.

“Don’t worry, we’ll help you find your way home to your parents,” Robyn said.

“Straight ahead is a place called Avondale,” said Dumbley. “We can start looking there. Maybe someone will recognize her.”

“Avondale is small,” said Robyn. “There won’t be many people walking the streets. Even Sticky couldn’t get lost.”

They all burst out in laughter again.

“Do you get lost a lot?” asked Emerald.

“No, they’re kidding,” said Sticky.

“No, we weren’t kidding,” said Dumbley. “He was born lost, tired and a few other things. We helped find this dog named Spotalot. So now I think we should give Sticky the name Lost-a-Lot.”

They all enjoyed another laugh, this time, it was a deep belly laugh which made you tighten your tummy because you’re laughing so hard. They had to force themselves to laugh normally to ease the pain, followed by a few giggles and finally, a few deep breaths.

After they gathered themselves from the laughing fit, Robyn said, “He was also born with this bubblegum stickiness. Over there is Sticky, I’m Robyn and the little one over there is Dumbley. Though, I’m thinking they should have called him Snack-a-lot, for his non-stop eating and snacking.”

“Can you believe it?” asked Sticky. “First, we find a lost dog and now a lost elf. It’s as if we went on this adventure, so we could meet new friends and help them.”

As they walked a little further, they saw signs for the town of Avondale.

Sticky yelled, “We are off on our Fantastic Adventure!”



Chapter 9

Trouble




When they reached the town, Robyn approached the first person she saw, and asked, “Do you recognize this young girl?”

“No, I’m sorry, I don’t,” replied the elf.

“Emerald,” said Robyn, “please let me know if you see someone you know.”

They came across a few young dwarves, and Robyn asked again, “Do you know this little girl? Her name is Emerald, and she’s lost.”

“Yes,” said the biggest dwarf, “I know her.”

“Where does she live?” asked Robyn.

“Around here, it’s going to cost you to find out any information about her.”

“Isn’t gratitude enough payment for helping this lost child? It should be.”

“Um…, let me think.” He scratched under his chin. “Ah, nope, it’s not enough. We want more for our information.”

“How much do you want?” She knew they had little money to spare and needed it to last until they got to Philly.

“We each want five Spanish coins for any information about where Emerald and where her parents live.”

(The Spanish dollar was the coin upon which the original United States dollar was based, and it remained the type of money used in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857.)

“No, I won’t pay for information,” said Robyn. “I thought you would do the right thing and help this elf find her way home.”

“Well,” said the dwarf, “you thought wrong. Instead of you paying us, we’ll take your money.” He put his hands on his hips, and glared at them hoping to scare them.

“You may want to rethink whatever it is you’re thinking,” warned Dumbley.

When Dumbley finished talking, one of the big dwarves caught Sticky off guard and pushed him down. He fell and hit his head on the ground. You could hear the crack.

“Ouch!” cried Sticky. “Why did you push me, it hurts? I didn’t do anything wrong you big meanie. Dumbley, help me!”

Dumbley yelled, “I’ll get you for hurting my friend! Nobody gets away with hurting my little buddy.” He charged toward the teenage dwarves. He screamed as he ran at full speed. Dumbley’s yell could scare large animals away and they wouldn’t dare return.

“Let’s get out of here. This dwarf is crazy!” cried the dwarf. He turned to run away with his friends.

“Stop right there!” yelled Sticky, as he jumped to his feet. He extended his arm and a big wad of bubblegum shot out from his hand. The bubblegum wrapped around one of the teen’s legs and made him trip, banging his head on the ground.

Robyn called out to Sticky, “Let him go. There’s no harm done. They’ll think twice before doing harm to another person again. I hope they learned their lesson.”

Sticky stopped shooting the bubblegum. The teenager untied himself from the sticky stuff, and ran after his friends, as fast as his legs would take him.

Sticky watched them, as they rounded the bend in the road and he thought to himself, “Why can’t everyone be nicer and helpful to others like—well, my friends and me?”

“Are you okay?” asked Emerald, looking very concerned about his fall and how hard he banged his head.

“It’s my head, it hurts,” cried Sticky. He sat down on a tree stump on the side of the road, rubbing the back of his head and moaning like a baby elf.

Robyn asked, “Is it okay if I heal the bump you have on your head?”

“Yes, please, stop the pain.”

As Robyn held her hands out, they began to sparkle. She placed her healing hands above Sticky’s head and asked the others to join her. The others knelt beside him and got ready for the healing. They knew what to do.

Emerald’s mouth dropped open. “Um, your hands are sparkling. Why do they look so cool? I wish my hands would twinkle.”

“This is healing energy,” replied Robyn.

“Emerald, copy what I do,” Dumbley instructed. He put his hands a few inches over Sticky’s legs and thought good thoughts.

Emerald, who had no idea what was going on, did the same as Dumbley. She put her hands over his leg. “Shouldn’t we be putting our hands over his head where the pain is?”

“What a great question. Energy can enter anywhere in the body and the body knows where it should go. I personally like to work where the pain is, however, it’s unnecessary. The energy always knows.”

“I’ve heard of energy healing elves before. Never in a million years did I think I’d ever meet one,” she said in total awe of Robin.

“Now, everyone needs to concentrate and think happy thoughts,” said Robyn.

Again, the little thought bubbles appeared over everyone’s head. Dumbley’s happy thought was eating three bowls of stew, followed by a few biscuits. Emerald’s happy thought was to jump into her mommy’s arms. Robyn was thinking of putting a smile on Sticky’s face.

After a few moments, Sticky said, “I’m feeling better. Thank you, everyone, for healing me. Whacking my head really hurt.”

“There’s no need to thank me,” said Robyn. “I love to help others feel better.”

“You’re welcome, I think,” said Emerald. “Even though I have no idea what we did.”

“Invisible energy went from your body into Sticky’s. All you had to do is think good thoughts,” Robyn explained. “You helped heal Sticky’s sore head, and you helped make the pain go away. You should be proud.”

“Wow, I did? It’s so exciting!” cried Emerald. “I can’t wait to tell my mommy.”

“I hope I never get this close to danger ever again,” said Robyn. “It’s a good thing we have Dumbley around to help us get out of those difficult situations we seem to find.”

Dumbley beamed with dwarven pride. Dumbley’s special gift was his strength. He was as strong as an ox. Although some may argue his eating was his greatest talent.

“We should continue,” said Sticky.

Dumbley approached a lady-dwarf with kind eyes and asked, “Do you know this little girl? Her name is Emerald and I believe she lives here in Avondale. We need to get her home to her parents. I’m sure they miss her.”

“Yes, I know her,” replied the lady. “I’m so glad you found her. She had us all worried. Her family lives on the other side of town. Take a left at the next turn and then follow it to the end. Emerald’s home is on the right.”

The travelers followed the road. “You’ll be home with your parents in no time,” Robyn reassured the young elf.



Chapter 10

Napping Again




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