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 2016© 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.


ISBN: 9780997468106


Library of Congress: TXu 1-994-391


Cover by Rene Cournoyer Copyright © 2016

Second Edition

Edited and Formatted 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 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. Located deep in the woods near Avondale. 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, Pennsylvania, 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 autumn, 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 the quest she was on. 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 enough 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.

Footnotes are scattered throughout the books to help explain a few historical facts. These are by no means, history books. Most of these are in the last book and they have reached 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. They 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. Start with Avondale, PA, look northeast to Willowdale, east to Chadds Ford, east and a little north (known as east-northeast) to Chester Heights, northeast to Elwyn, northeast to Springfield, east and a little south (known as east-southeast) to Darby, and northeast to Philly.



Chapter 1

Shendale



Sticky’s home is in the middle tree.

Robyn’s home is in the right 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.

His bed was made from the downy feathers of the white geese which frequented the crystal blue lake, on the other side of Shendale.

However, 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 were simply going 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 residents of Shendale 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 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 or a queen. 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 was capable of bouncing 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.

“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? 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 older than 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.”



Chapter 2

Sticky




Sticky had a lot of responsibilities. He had to help his older sister, Faylin, watch their little brother Castien. Their parents passed away a few years earlier. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time during the war. He certainly wasn’t bringing the little elf on the long journey to Philly.

“You have a funny name. Where’d you get a name like Sticky?” Jimmy wondered.

“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 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!”

“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 was capable of doing. It 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 palm 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. After I tasted it, I put a piece in my mouth. 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 it all out of my mouth.

“My friend Dumbley can eat anything. I gave him a piece and he was able to 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 shoot it at a branch and it sticks. Then I use the bubblegum as a rope and climb up. The stuf…”

He was interrupted by a woman screaming. “Help me! My daughter is stuck in this tree.”

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

“I see her,” said Sticky. He stuck his arm out and shot bubble gum rope at the branch next to the girl. “Grab onto the rope and climb down.”

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

“I’ll go up and get her,” Sticky offered. “I love climbing trees.”

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 on tight. All the knuckles in her hand were a whitish green. Her breathing was rapid. He knew he had to distract her.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

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

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

He got halfway between the tree and her and she was now shaking uncontrollably. Sticky moved in fast. He grabbed one of her arms and pulled it off the tree branch. He then brought it over his shoulder and down the front of his body. He did the same with the other hand. He put her hands together and put a glob of bubblegum around them to stick them together. He then pushed the 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.

“Alright Dana,” You did a super job letting me help you. Now I’m going to 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.”

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

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

“We do have to climb down now.” Sticky looked at the end of his gum rope and thought to himself. “My gum is turning to a darker color which usually 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 hand over hand as fast as he could. Dana screamed in his ear the whole way down. Luckily Sticky was fast when he needed to be and was 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.

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

“What, what did you say?” said Sticky. “I can’t hear right now. 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 talk with Jimmy.

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

“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.”

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.



Chapter 3

Dumbley



“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 heavy supplies.”

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

“I know you’re worried about Faylin not coming home. It doesn’t excuse you from helping me out.”

“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 am adding them to the pile over there. All the boxes will get divided amongst the three of us.”

Sticky considered this. He noticed the boxes were baked and tasty items. 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 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 or not?”

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

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 back through the air, and Sticky grabbed it.

“Nice save, Sticky, thank you so much. I think 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 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. 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 was adding 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 shooting containers at him. He enjoyed watching the pockets form, one after another.

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 his 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? Wow, it's blinding me!”

“Yes, I call it ‘hello yellow.’ It goes with my black pants. I like to dress in fancy clothes in which 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, which allowed them to blend in with the trees if enemies—such as trolls or house cats were close by. Elves, especially, hated those pesky house cats which roamed the area.

Sticky grinned. “If I wore my brown forester’s outfit, like the one you have on, then we would be twins. You wouldn’t want anything to do with it, would you?”

“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.”

“How can you, when you’re always sleeping?”

“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.”

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



Chapter 4

Robyn




Sticky turned and smiled. Robyn, the last member of their traveling 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.”

“Oh, you forget something.” Robyn took her backpack off and set it on the ground with a giggle. “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 or you can choose to use these. She pulled out two back-backs from hers. “These are for you guys.”

“Hey, your pack appeared out of nowhere!” 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 in quiet amazement. “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, we’re not napping now,” Robyn replied with a sigh.

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

“We just started our adventure.” She chuckled and led the way. “How could you possibly 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 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.”

“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. “Look!” He pointed behind them to their village.

The other two 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. Nearly all 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, but not for me,” said Sticky. “I love adventuring, wherever it takes me.”

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

“I’ll miss it,” said Dumbley, patting his stomach. “All those 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. “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.

“Hey, I think I see something up ahead,” said Sticky. “Someone’s on the side of the path.”



Chapter 5

Chris




“I think it’s 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.

“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. He looked 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.”

“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.”

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 looked perfectly normal once again.

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

Sticky and Dumbley bowed in acceptance.

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

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 small adventure and it can also be part of our fantastic adventure. I can’t believe how great this is.”

“Wow,” said Dumbley. “Two adventures in one. These will keep me from getting homesick.”

“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 for the dog.”

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.

Robyn turned and trotted after Sticky.



Chapter 6

The Search Is On




“Sticky!” she called out. “I can 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 your sister.”

“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. “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, perfect for holding an afternoon picnic.

“Hey,” said Robyn. “Look at the dog in the cage, there on the island. I think it’s Spotalot.”

“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 near the cage, using long sticks to tease the dog. “It doesn’t matter which dog it is, we have to rescue him from those meanies! Let’s go. We have to move quickly. We have to take those sticks away from them, so they can’t hurt the dog 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 the boat.”

Meanwhile, Sticky had reached the opposite side of the lake where 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 so he could get 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 moving.

Sticky looked to the center of the island. With his keen eyesight, he too saw a dog 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 barely makes out two young dwarves, one with long, braided, red hair and the other with long, tangled, black hair, teasing the dog.

“Hey, stop it!” he yelled When he realized they didn’t hear him, he jumped into a rowboat on his side of the lake and rowed toward the island. Upon arrival, he leaped from the boat and headed 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.

“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 to make sure he’s okay.”

“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.”

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.

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

“Hold onto him tightly,” 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.

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,” said Robyn. “Lucky for you, he’s calming down.”

“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’re going to leave you tied up to teach you a lesson about cruelty to animals.”



Chapter 7

Leaky Boat


Illustration by Chris Putnam



“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.”

“We should all head back now, and 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 our boat!” In a panic, she cupped her hands together and scooped the water up, and 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, are you going to help bail us out?” asked Robyn with a firm persistence. “We can’t do this alone.”

Dumbley stood up in the boat, 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 in the boat is too big. Let’s jump out and swim to the shore.”

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

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

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

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.” 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 slow with his belly being full of water.

Once they were safely on dry land, Robyn laughed. “Dumbley, you are 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 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’s only a small rowboat.”

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

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

“Here you go,” said Robyn, putting Spotalot on the ground. The dog ran to his beloved Chris’ waiting arms and licked his face. It tickled and made him giggle. 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 do know, it’s the memories we hold dear in our hearts can make our loved ones live forever and ever.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right,” Chris agreed. “How’d 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 should be 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 all this stuff.”

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

“Speaking of time, we should be on our way,” Dumbley said. “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.”

“Thank you all,” said Chris to the three adventurers. “Thanks for healing my bruises and telling me about the dogs and our hearts.”

Robyn said, “There’s no need to thank me. This is what I love to do. 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 discovering the different towns, as we make our way through the world of humans.”

The three travelers waved goodbye 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. He has such a strong love 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 continue on their way with a simple thank you. I think we strengthened his faith in elf-kind.”

“In dwarf-kind too,” said Dumbley with a smile.

“We’ve already had an adventure, and we haven’t reached the first town yet,” said Robyn.

“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 batch 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 I’m 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?”



Chapter 8

Emerald



“I did. It’s time to go,” Robyn declared. “You can sleep tonight like everyone else does.”

“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.

“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’m going to drag you. It’s not easy being an elf these days. Don’t forget, I was born a lost, tired and a not easy to wake up little elf. No one understands how much an elf like me needs to nap. It helps me think clearer.”

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

“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,” replied the young elf.

“Why do you think it’s so funny?” Robyn inquired.

“Well, I t-tried crying and it didn’t work, 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 well.”

“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 name. I hear a lot of strange and weird names these days.”

“My voice gets 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 bubblegum stickiness. Over there’s 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.



Chapter 9

Trouble




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

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

“Emerald,” said Robyn, “please let me know if you recognize anyone around here.”

They came across a few young dwarves, and Robyn asked again, “Do you recognize this little elf? 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 elf? 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 want five Spanish coins for information about where Emerald and her parents live.”

“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’re going to take your money.” He put his hands on his hips, and glared at them with the hope of scaring 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. He fell and hit his head on the ground.

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

Dumbley yelled, “I’ll get you for hurting my friend! Nobody gets away with hurting my buddy.” He charged toward the teenaged dwarves. He screamed as he ran at full speed. Dumbley’s yell could scare large animals away.

“Let’s get out of here. He’s 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 beside the road, rubbing the back of his head and moaning like a little 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 as they sparkled. 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.

Emerald’s mouth dropped open. “Um, your hands are sparkling. Why do they do 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.

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 not necessary.”

“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.”

“There’s no need to thank me,” said Robyn. “This is what I love to do. 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 head and made the pain go away.”

“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 to help us get out of those difficult situations.”

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’re missing her.”



Chapter 10

Napping Again




“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 the road 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.

Sticky ran ahead a little and spotted a comfortable looking tree. He put his two hands on the tree and said, “Hello my friend.” After the greeting, he sat down for a nap.

“Wow,” said Robyn. “You wasted no time getting to sleep. However, this is not the time to nap.” She leaned over and shook him. “Wake up, you silly elf. It’s too early for another nap time.”

“Leave me alone,” said Sticky. “I need a nap.”

Robyn tugged on one of his pointy ears.

“No, no, no! It’s not long enough.” He stubbornly crossed his arms. “I’m not ready yet.”

“You can nap later. Now we have work to do. We have to help Emerald get home, and we still need to make our way to Philly.”

Robyn tugged again on Sticky’s ears, first his right ear, then his left. It’s a well-known fact, pulling on an elf’s big toe will wake them up. Robyn had found by tugging on the pointy part of his ears…well, it certainly gets his attention.

Grumpily, he stood up and rubbed at his ears. “All right, let’s go,” he grumbled, as he kicked a pebble on the ground and sent it flying.

“Don’t be cranky,” Dumbley said. “You should always look at the bright side of things.”

“What bright side is there?” asked Sticky.

Dumbley dug around in his travel sack and found a brown paper bag. “In here, I have red and white mint cookies made with real mint grown right in Shendale. Here, have a piece. I brought enough for everyone to enjoy.”

The mint cookies made them all feel much brighter as they walked along, chewing on their cookies, and enjoying the scenery. Birds chirped in the trees and a ladybug landed right on Robyn’s nose.

“We must be close,” she said.

After walking for what seemed like forever, Robyn realized the road was much longer than she expected.

“Looks like it’s your lucky day, Sticky,” Robyn declared. “You’ll get to rest.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Sticky said with a note of relief. He ran to the closest tree, “Hello my friend, you must be a cousin to the other tree.” He sat down, leaned against it, and fell instantly into a deep sleep. He was dreaming the good dream.

Robyn opened her backpack and handed out peaches. She put one on Sticky’s lap for later. She also passed around a canteen filled with green tea flavored with orange honey.

“Boy, do I love this heavenly fruit,” exclaimed Robyn. They’re juicy and it tastes like summer bursting on my tongue. I like to nibble on them so they last forever.”

“Me too,” said Emerald. “I like it one itsy bitsy piece at a time, so it lasts forever and ever.”


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