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 Adventures in the Wood Between Worlds
Chloe O'Malley
Chapter One
Many decades have passed since the last goings-on in Narnia, and the house that had once belonged to the late Mr. and Mrs. Ketterley, had, by now, been bought and sold several times undergoing unique transformations with each seperate ownership. To be quite frank, it looked nothing like it had when Digory and Polly had gone on their grand adventure into Narnia. And, nearly as different from when Peter and Edmund, dressed as workmen, snuck into the backyard to find a set of very special rings, that were never used, for Eustace and Jill to return to Narnia. In fact, it even looked different then the way it had eleven years ago when Mr. and Mrs. Summerston bought it as a retirement home for themselves, but this story is not about the house in which the adventures into Narnia had originated. It, in fact, begins across an ocean in a town much different than London...

"Timothy! Take my bra off your head!" Amy O'Malley shouted at her little brother as he pranced around in her underwear as though, it were a crown. "Mom!" she yelled at her mother, who seemed to be the only person that could control 'the little brat', as she liked to call him, "tell him to take off my bra!"

"Tim!" Gala called to him using his abbreviated name. "Give that back to Amy."
Taking it off his head with a pout he came over and held out her bra. Snatching it away from him, she began scolding him for stealing it from her in the first place. But before she could continue the door bell rang. "We'll continue this later," she said as she passed him heading for her bedroom.

"Amy! Can you get the door, Sweety?" Mom said as she practically ran into Amy in the hall. The door is in the opposite direction of the way I'm going and yet, I need to get the door.

"Sure," Amy responded, making it sound as sarcastic as she could, as she turned in the direction of the door. Tightening her bathrobe around herself as she jogged down the stairs, not paying any attention to where her feet were going and she tripped down to last two steps, busting her butt on the bottom step. Standing up, she rubbed her bum, and grumbled at how klutzy she was. The doorbell rang again, startling her as she remembered why she had come down stairs in the first place. "Coming!" she yelled turning the door handle. Looking up, the first thing Amy noticed was the uniform. Obviously the mail man... with a box! she thought with a moment of excitement as she saw a brown wrapped package under his arm. Wait a minute... it's Sunday, she remembered, looking up. "Good Morning," he said joyously, a smile gracing his plain features.

"Good Morning," Amy responded in the ritual greeting that now flowed off her lips almost naturally, as though it really was. Amy's life was a mess, especially on days like today. "Isn't it Sunday?" she asked out of curiousity.

"Yes it is ma'am," he replied, without going in depth into the reason he was out delievering packages on Sunday. Normally Amy, like anyone in their right mind, would have been a little weirded out, but she didn't have the time. It was almost time to go to church and she wasn't dressed.

"Who is it for?" she asked quickly. Realizing that Amy was in a hurry, he handed her the package. It was small and didn't weigh much, yet for some reason, Amy had a feeling that it's weight would be heavier on the soul.

"It's for a Ms. Amy O'Malley," he replied as she flipped the box in her hands looking for a return address, but was unable to find it, her address or even her name. "Sir..." she said looking up to question him, but he wasn't on the doorstep anymore. "Sir?" she repeated stepping out onto the porch she looked up and down the driveway and street. There was no sign of him. Strange, she thought to herself, but before she could continue to think about his strange disappearance, a call from inside the house shocked her back to the present and her tardiness. Turning back into the house she closed the door behind her and jogged back up the stairs, running immediatly into her bedroom, shutting her bedroom door. She dropped the package on her bed as she slipped into her skirt, top, and shoes.

"Amy! Are you ready to go?!" Dad shouted from downstairs, as she ran out of her bedroom and into the bathroom checking out her appearance in the mirror. Having momentarily forgotten about the weird package that sat on her bed she grabbed a hair band, and pushed back her now straight blonde hair, out of her face. "Yes!" she replied back running out of the bathroom, and down the stairs. Arriving there, she grabbed her jacket, and ran out the door.
It was several hours before they arrived home from church, laughing and discussing the wonderful church lessons they had just learned. For Amy it had been an interesting lesson, that God doesn't just use people who are perfect. He also used people like Jonah. It was really interesting to hear how Jonah had repeatedly disobeyed God, and hated God for his grace and kindness. It was bizarre. Leaving the discussion, she headed towards her room, having completely forgotten about the package. In her room she slipped off her skirt and blouse and hung them up in her closet, and changed into a pair of well-worn jeans and her favorite sweater. Falling back onto her bed, she closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. She was tired, and wanted to take a nap. Relaxing, she listen to her family talking and laughing downstairs. They won't miss me for a while, I could take a quick nap... Moving her hand from above her head to her stomache, she felt her fingertips brush something. Sitting up she picked up the forgotten package.

Hmm.... she thought turning the package over in her hands again, searching for an address, a name, but there was nothing. Not even a stamp. Really bizarre... Gently peeling the brown paper around the box off, she opened the box. In the box she found another ornate box, much like a jewelry box. It was beautiful. Running her finger along the surface, she stared at the design, an apple tree. It appeared to be made of several different kinds of trees. Paleing and darkening with the different parts of the tree. Turning the box, she noticed a key hole in the box, but no key. Placing the box on her lap she looked inside the box that the jewelry box had come in. Finding nothing, she turned back to the box on her lap. "I wonder..." she whispered outloud as she gently tried to lift the lid, and was suprised to find that it came up easily. Opening it all the way she found that there was a journal made of dark brown leather. The paper inside it looked old, and frail, so frail that she almost didn't want to touch it. But out of curiousity, she gently lifted it out of the box. Leaving the box on her lap, she slowly began to undo the latch. Stopping, because she noticed a strange humming noise, a beautiful and quiet sound, she moved the journal to look back down at the box, on her lap. In the box she noticed what looked like a handkerchief. What had once been a white handkerchief was now slightly yellow, tinted with age. Where is the noise coming from? Still holding the journal in her hand, she reached down and began to lift the handkerchief, she noticed that when it moved the humming noise grew a little louder, but the gentle sound could not sound anymore beautiful. Peeling the handkerchief off she found several sets of yellow and green rings. They were beautiful and bright. Leaning forward she noticed that the sound became louder, picking up the box she pulled it closer to her face, immercing herself in the beautiful, soft sounds that apparently the rings were making. It's almost as though they are singing, she thought as she placed the box back on her lap. Reaching forward she wanted to touch them. To hold them, yet there was a pressing on her heart to read the journal first. Ignoring the premonition she reached forward and recklessly touched a yellow ring...

The world faded around her, yet she didn't notice... At least at first, then there was a feeling of weightlessness, startled she took her eyes off the rings only to see darkness, then a green light from above, rippling. There was a moment when she felt absolutly nothing, then the sudden realization hit her... I'm under water! Fear, unlike any she had felt before gripped her as she tried to move, to swim, to reach the surface. She felt herself rising with such speed, and she felt herself rise up out of the water. Kneeling down at the edge of the puddle she had apparently come out of, she was in a state of utter confusion. Why am I not gasping for air, and why am I not wet? Looking up, another more pressing question entered her thoughts, "Where am I...?" She said outloud. She was apparently deep within a forest. Looking around, she couldn't see a piece of sky anywhere, all she could see were trees, leaves, and puddles. There was a feeling that nothing ever happened here, nothing but growth and sleep. It was quiet, so quiet... "Where am I?" she repeated.

"You are here." A gentle voice cut through the silence. Turning, Amy stood. The box of rings falling to the ground at her feet. Before her stood a man. He was not, hansome, or strong, he was average and plain some would say, but when Amy's eyes met his, she could not help but feel the love and compassion that they held, along with shame and guilt. He was dressed in a white robe, his hair was brown as were his eyes, his skin was tanned with the sun, and he had the air of love around him. The moment their eyes met she had to look away. She felt ashamed. The silence that surrounded them was not cruel but kind and quite lovely. Suddenly Amy felt a hand on her shoulder, calloused, well used, and scarred. Looking up, but unable to meet his eyes, she stared at his forehead. It was scared at several places, as though punctured over and over again. "Amy..." Meeting his eyes finally, she felt the forgiveness and love they held flow through her body and suddenly recognized her Christ.

"Jesus..." the word came out before she could stop herself. A laugh cut the silence, his smile was contagious. He pulled her close into his arms. "Hello Daughter! Yes, it is I. I have been waiting for you to arrive!"

"Am I dead?" Amy said. Thoughts seemed to come out through her mouth instead of through her head, but that didn't aggrivate her today.

Holding her at arms length, he looked at her, his smile even wider. "No, no. You are not dead, you are in the Wood Between Worlds. This is were you're journey begins! You are truly blessed!" His smile spread throughout her body. But the seriousness of the realization soon hit her. Looking into his eyes, she felt the burden on her body pressing her to ask...

"I know that there will be pain and suffering on my path as on many paths, but will-" Amy began, fear filling her heart.

Leaning down, Jesus picked up the rings one by one, placing them back into the box which had dropped at her feet. Amy could feel how humble he was. Him. The Holy One. The Lamb of God. Picking up something at her feet. Standing back up, he gently placed the box in her hands, inside he placed the journal she should have read, and the handkerchief that had once wrapped the rings, before gently closing the lid.

"Do not worry about tomorrow, today is enough," he said gently, turning and walking away, from where she stood. Amy who felt the pull of curiousity hit her, followed just a few steps behind. They walked in silence for several minutes, before he stopped before a puddle, much like the one they had just left. Suddenly another realization hit her. Wood Between Worlds! The puddle I just left was Earth, every puddle we just past... They were planets exactly like my own. Oh no! I just left my puddle! My World! It isn't marked! Before she could turn to run back, Jesus spoke, well you couldn't call it spoke more like told her heart that she would go home someday, and he quelled her fear. A picture of a bronze ring hanging on a tree at her puddle flashed in her mind. This key marks your home... Jesus told her heart. Opening her eyes, she looked at the puddle before her. She stared at the reflection in the water, she saw the trees above her. But there was something else too. It was almost as though she could see the world on the other side. It was another forest she saw, not as beautiful and serene as this one, but still beautiful.

"Is this where..." Amy asked looking up to see Jesus looking at her. "Yes," he replied, "this is where your journey begins..." Taking her empty hand he gently placed two rings. A yellow and a green. "Yellow will bring you back here, and Green will take to you the world you wish to journey," he said simply. "You will not remember anything when you arrive there-"

"But-" Amy began in shock, looking up from her hand which was holding the rings.

"No buts..." Jesus replied catching her eyes. "You will be useful to everyone and everywhere you go. Be joyful. For I am with you always. Sometimes I will be a person on the street, the breeze in the summer, the flowers of fragrance at your feet, and the comfort and light in the darkness." Turning her eyes back to the rings that were in her hand she was suprised to see that they were sinking into her skin, blending with her body. Her hand glowed for several moments before fading. Looking up at him, she felt no fear of what would happen ahead. "That's my girl," he said with a smile, and a kiss on the forhead. Gently he turned her toward the puddle. As she took a step, her first step, forward, into the new world, she felt a tingling sensation from the spot on her hands were the rings had been absorbed...
"Where am I?" Amy asked in shock. Everything known to her had melted away before her eyes, her room, her bed, her world. Fear filled her hear. Standing quickly she dropped everything that was in her hands and left them there. She was terrified, she turned in a circle. The trees were huge! Taller than any tree she had ever seen, and somehow she new she was not on Earth any more...

Turning around again, this time looking for a sign, something that told her which way she needed to go, she noticed a path, cutting through the trees. She began to walk, there was nothing else she could do, she wanted to scream, she wanted to cry, but she new she had to relax and keep her emotions together, if she wanted to get out of this. Walking forward, following the time worn path, she pulled her sweater closer to her body, it was now the only thing that told her she was still sane.

After a few moments of walking along the path she began to notice strange markings on the trees, almost like a series of red X's all the way around the tree. She couldn't understand what they stood for, so she came up will all sorts of ideas. Keeping her mind busy was the only thing that would help her keep her sanity. People don't just disappear, and reappear in different worlds. I must be dreaming... she told herself everytime her mind wandered back to how she had gotten here.

Turning around the trunk of one of the smaller of the larger trees here she found herself on the outer rim of a meadow, and for the first time she could see the sky. Looking at the position of the sun told her that it would be setting in a few hours. So she needed to pick up the pace to get where she needed to go. Where ever that is that she needed to go... Looking across the meadow as she walked, she figured out that it must be early spring, the chill in the air, seemed to prove it. About halfway across the meadow she stopped. Something was missing. But what was it... There are no birds... Not a sound... Almost like there are no animals in this area, she thought as she shivered slightly. She hadn't seen or heard an animal since she had been there. Then there was the sudden feeling like she was being watched. Fear spread through her body, all the way down to her toes. Continuing her walk, hoping the feeling would go away, she wrapped her arms around her body. By the time she reached the other side of the field, the feeling had gotten so strong, she had begun to shake. Stopping before turning behind the first tree, she turned and looked back, there was nothing, not a soul, not an animal in that field, and not a bird in the sky. She felt like she was in no man's land. Yet, something told her that not much farther and she would be safer. Not much farther... she told herself.

Suddenly there was a crack behind her. Afraid to turn around and look, she just continued walking, yet she knew she needed to run... Three... Two... One... She counted down. Taking off as quickly as she could along the trail, she could hear the padded footsteps of something large... She could tell that it was right behind her. Run... Run... Don't look back just keep running... Turning around a tree she found herself face to face with a what appeared to be a bear in a wolf costume. It was huge! It's nose was shorter than a wolf's should be, yet it still shared a resemblance to a wolf... So a wolf is what she called it....

Stopping, she began backing up until she was flush against the tree. When there was no where left to go, she did the only thing she could do, she let out the most ear peircing, blood curling scream that she could muster. Suprised at the intensity of her scream the creature, backed up a shook it's head. This gave Amy the advantage she need to get out of there. And she took it. Running as fast as she could she ran back to the trail and took off. The creature was not startled enough to not want to continue it's hunt for dinner, and apparently Amy was the main course in it's mind. Hiding behind a tree hoping to confuse the animal, just enough so that he would run in the wrong direction, but the creature, of course, was not as easily fooled, he swiped at her from the other side of the tree. She felt the claws cut into her flesh, the searing pain of the wound as the blood flowed from the three gashes that marked her right side. Luckily, the force of his swipe had also deeply inplanted his claws into the tree, holding him there giving Amy the time she needed to cover the wound with her hand and run in the direction she wanted to go. She got a several second head start before she heard the monster behind her growling with pleasure at the game it had began. As she ran, tears blurred her vision and with every step her body became weaker, she could feel it.

Suddenly she turned another corner, and tripped over a stump. As she tried to get up she found herself trapped by the beast that growled as it stood over her. Its head only inches away from her body. God, is this how it will end? Give me something, anything please. Suddenly she realized that her right hand was laying on a rock, it was a good sized rock. Grabbing it, she realized that she was going to do something she had only seen done in movies. Using all the force she could muster she swung the rock full force and heard a sickening crack as the rock made contact with the wolf's skull, stunning it, causing it to stumble backwards. Amy forced herself off the ground she ran around another corner, more carefully this time, as not to fall over again. This time she found her faced with several young girls with children, sitting together washing clothes near on the shore of the lake. They seem to see her only as she just saw them... Terrified, they screamed in fright, picking up the smaller children. One of the older girls, who couldn't be any older than her pulled a spear out and thrust it at her, as if going to stab her, speaking to her in a strange language, but all Amy saw was the spear. With a sudden boost of bravery, her mind began to work, It will work I'm sure...

She could hear the monster coming, as could the girls apparently as she saw fear fill their eyes as well. The spear girl was distracted by the sound, when Amy snatched the spear out of her had. Suprised the girl looked at Amy in confusion, but Amy didn't see her. Her full attention was on the spear and the creature coming around that corner. When she realized that the girls hadn't left, she yelled, "What are you waiting for? Get out of here!" She pointed to the trail that headed away from the lake, and in to opposite direction of where the monster was coming from. Apparently getting the idea, the girls began to run in opposite direction, yelling strange words into the air.

Holding the spear in her hands, she knew she would have to be very quick if she wanted this to work. It would have to go through it's heart. Standing firm, she waited. It seemed to take forever, but in reality, this entire thing had taken no more than a few minutes. Finally the creature was facing her, it was determind to get it's dinner, just as she was as determind to protect herself and the girls behind her... "Bring it!" she yelled, smiling at the irony... Growling the creature dove at her, as quickly as she could, she crouched down placing the staff into the ground, she felt the pressure as the creature fell directly on top of the spear. Closing her eyes she waited to see if it had worked. Quite suddenly she found herself trapped beneath several hundred pounds of fur. Unable to breath, she could only feel the sticky feeling of warmth as it's blood mixed with her own and flowed around her body. She could taste the copper taste of her blood or maybe it was his. She was tired. She wanted to sleep right there. Pushing with all the energy she had left, she managed to crawl out from under the creature. Rolling onto her back when she was free, she turned her face towards the creature she had somehow managed to kill. It's eyes still shown with hate as they slowly faded unto death. Suddenly, the creature seemed to be shrinking. Gasping was all Amy could do as she watch in horror as the creature she had killed transformed into a human, a young man. A human! Oh, God, what have I done? Reaching out with a hand, she touched the slack face of the man she had just killed, leaving strips of blood to mark his darkly tanned face. Staring into to his empty emotionless eyes, she noticed what looked like a tatoo on his right cheek.

She was in shock. She didn't feel the pain from the wound, or see the figures that surrounded her. Most wanting to kill her, because they did not understand her. All but two. A young man and woman. She didn't even hear the arguments that carried on over her head, or feel the gentle touch of a man who felt compassion for her, a strange being to them. She was unconcious because of blood loss before he even picked her up and gently took her to a place where an older woman would heal her wounds, and let her rest...

© 2006 Chloe O'Malley

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