Champion of the light, p.2
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       Champion of the Light, p.2

           David Castleton

  Chapter One


  When would the day come. When would he be free of the endless dungeons of boring schoolwork, of mindless repetitiveness. When would he rise above it all to something higher, to truly be free. Would the day ever come.


  Andrew slogged through the first half of the school day, his mind barely there. At lunch he spotted Katy Giordano and went to sit with her, as they had recently started to hang out together.

  Katy brushed a strand of her dark blond hair out of her eyes. "How's your day so far, Andrew?"

  "B plus in Literature, A minus in Social Sciences. Not bad."

  "You got an A minus from the Creep?! That's amazing! He's sooo stingy with his grades. Even Natalie Wesner can't manage an A in his class." She was referring to their grumpy teacher, Mr. Creed. Flip the 'd' around and you got 'Creep.'

  "Well, I had some help from Phoenix with that report," Andrew admitted.

  "Oh, that explains it. How's your painting coming along?"

  "The one of the dolphins and the ocean? I needed to restock on my blue paints twice for that one. I spent an hour last night trying to fix the shade of blue just right."

  "Listen, my older brother Jay was telling me about this secret waterfall that he and his friends discovered in Arbori Park. It's hidden deep in the woods. He told me how to get to it. Do you want to go later and check it out?"

  "I don't know, Kyle has been bugging me for ages to play this new game he got, Call of Warfare Five...."

  "Please, I'm dying to get out after the long winter."

  "Okay. The game will have to wait. I'll tell Kyle that we're on for Wednesday instead. But first I need to pick up a book from the library for my geology report. Lithosphere Basics, by Larry Coopersmith. So we'll meet an hour after school near the library, on Beldon Lane, and go to Arbori from there, okay?"

  "Great. See you then."

  The bell rang and they went to their afternoon classes.

  Andrew made it through the rest of the dull school day and biked right afterwards to the nearby public library to get the geology book he needed.

  He enjoyed his life; school, family, judo, friends, painting. But sometimes he got the feeling that he was meant for something more, for something bigger than an ordinary life. That adventure would one day find him, or that he would find adventure. Whichever came first.

  Andrew entered the library and started towards the science section to retrieve the book he needed. But then something unbelievable happened. His feet turned on their own accord and led him towards the fiction section. He felt strangely drawn, as if by an invisible power, to the fantasy books. His hand reached out without him consciously controlling it and pulled a small, thin book with a colorful cover from the shelf. Its title was written in large wavy, silver letters: The Kingdom of the Light, by Lumendo.

  Then the strange force vanished. Andrew could barely remember the last couple of minutes of his life. It was very hazy. What was he was doing in the fiction section, when he had wanted to get a science book?

  But for some inexplicable reason it felt right to be there.

  He took a closer look at the small book that was now in his hand. Strange. It had no barcode or card, and nothing to indicate that it belonged to the library. Yet here it was, on a shelf in the library.

  'I'll show it to the librarian,' he thought to himself. 'They forgot to put a barcode on this book, whatever it's about. By Lumendo? Funny name.'

  Andrew was finally free to get the geology book he needed. He found it easily and went to the counter to check out.

  He handed Lithosphere Basics and his library card over to the librarian, a large woman with frizzy brown hair and oversized glasses. She scanned them, and gave them back. "Next!"

  "Hang on a second please. I found a book that's missing its barcode. Here it is."

  Andrew pulled The Kingdom of the Light out of his pocket to show to the librarian.

  "Next!" called the librarian again. "Excuse me young man, you are holding up the line. Move along!"

  Andrew could only wonder why she would not acknowledge the book that he was trying to show her. It was as if it didn't exist.

  After two more tries the librarian threatened to call security, so Andrew just gave up and walked away, shoving The Kingdom of the Light into his pocket. But first he took a quick look at the first page. "You have been chosen." They were the only words on the entire page. Intriguing.

  Andrew had no time to dwell on the strange occurrences that had just happened. Katy would be waiting. He hurried out of the library and started off towards Beldon Lane, four blocks away. He would peruse The Kingdom of the Light when he had the time, and perhaps try to find a clue to its real owner, since it seemed that it did not belong to the library.

  Andrew made it to the meeting spot on Beldon Lane just in time. Katy was already there. "Hi Andrew."

  "Hello Katy. Guess I just made it. Sorry, I was held up in the library."

  They set off towards Arbori Park, a fifteen minute bike ride away.

  As they rode, Katy described how to get to the falls. "Bikes aren't allowed on the path that goes close to the hidden waterfall, so we will walk for about forty-five minutes. When we see a fallen oak tree, we leave the trail and head through the forest due north for another twenty minutes. I brought a compass to guide us. To get back, we simply reverse those steps."

  "Sounds easy enough," said Andrew. "I could use a hike through the woods after being cooped up for the cold New York winter."

  Andrew told Katy the story of how he came across The Kingdom of the Light. The book with no owner. He omitted the part where his feet moved on their own will, and where the librarian wouldn't acknowledge the book's existence. Katy might be concerned that he was seeing or hearing things. It was all very strange, to say the least.

  They reached the park and locked up their bikes. The walk along the quiet wooded path was pleasant. Andrew found his hand entwined with Katy's. It felt good to be in her company.

  They reached the fallen oak tree right on schedule, left the path, and set off through the forest due north, towards the hidden waterfall.

  At last they reached the secret falls.

  "Isn't it pretty?" said Katy.

  "Yes, it is beautiful," said Andrew. "And sure worth the long hike."

  It was fairly large, as waterfalls go, fed by a brook that ran through the woods. Andrew estimated it to be more than twenty feet tall, and about seven or eight feet wide. The water roared down the rocky face of the falls.

  Katy stretched out her hand. "Ooh, look. A rainbow!" And then, Andrew's world turned inside out, and upside down. Everything spun around and around, faster and faster, until it was all just one big blur of color, light, and shadow, all blended together with each other….


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