Queen of sky island, p.1
Queen of Sky Island, p.1J Powers
Queen of Sky Island
Adapted from Sky Island by L. Frank Baum
Queen of Sky Island
Copyright © 2014 J-Powers
All Rights Reserved
Cover design by PowerPlayz Publishing
Cover illustration by Nicole Sloan
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013922406
Table of Contents
Chapter One - Baloney Hash
Chapter Two - Flight Risk
Chapter Three - The Boolooroo
Chapter Four - Snubnosed Princesses
Chapter Five - Patched Men
Chapter Six - Blue City
Chapter Seven - Animal Magnetism
Chapter Eight - Shoo, Boy
Chapter Nine - Fog Run
Chapter Ten- -Royally Poor
Chapter Eleven - Regime Change
Chapter Twelve - War Maneuvers
Chapter Thirteen - Attack, Attack!
Chapter Fourteen - Captured Commander
Chapter Fifteen - Desperate Rescue
Chapter Sixteen - Billy Goat
Chapter Seventeen - Metal Bands
Chapter Eighteen - Justice Served
Chapter Nineteen - Elephant Charge
Chapter Twenty - Homeward Bound
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Once upon a time, there was a young girl whose name was Tara. And every day Tara would sit on a cliff near her family's small cottage waiting for her military father to return home from service. One day…
A flock of gulls flies low above the waves of a slow, rolling sea. Nearing a cliff, the flock rises high above where the sea meets a rocky beach. The flock circles above an open space on the cliff's edge. After a moment the flock lands in the open space.
Torn up pieces of bread are strewn about the dry grass of the open space. The leader of the gulls eyes the bread from a distance. The flock hovers close by, squawking loudly. The lead gull moves in cautiously, head and eyes moving continually. It pecks at a piece of bread and devours it. The lead gull squawks loudly.
With that as their signal, the gulls swarm in over the strewn bread and begin to peck and swallow.
Tara, a girl with short-cropped dark hair, lies flat in the tall dry grass looking forward. Dressed in a silver-colored hoodie and charcoal gray tights, she stealthily rises to her knees. Tara grips a javelin in her hand.
The lead gull lifts its head and scans in Tara's direction. It shrieks a warning. The other gulls instantly flap their wings to take flight.
Tara rises and hurls the javelin in the direction of the gulls. As the javelin sails, it pulls a cord lifting a triangular-shaped net that has two corners secured to the ground. The gulls rise quickly from the open space of dry grass. The javelin flies through the flock pulling the expanding net behind. Some gulls fly aloft. Some gulls fly into the net, trapped and helplessly flapping, as the net begins its descent. The javelin stabs into the ground with the collapsed net trapping six gulls that violently struggle underneath.
Tara, her face streaked with dirt, throws her fists above her head exultingly.
Tara, carrying a wire cage, runs up to the gulls trapped under the net. A gull shrieks, as Tara reaches under the net to pull it out. One of the gull's wings is broken. Tara, without a care, tosses the gull aside. She reaches under the net for a second shrieking gull. This gull's leg hangs broken and limp. Tara tosses this second gull aside.
In quick succession, Tara grabs the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth gull, finds them damaged, and tosses each one aside. Tara, sitting on her butt, surrounded by the flapping, shrieking, wounded gulls, pounds her fists on the ground.
"Damn! Damn, damn, DAMN!
As Tara sits among the gulls on the open space of the sea cliff, a large shadow circles the area around her. Gradually, Tara notices the shadow circling her and growing darker. She turns her face upward.
Above Tara, a large, dark, saucer-like shape drops from the sky. Tara covers her head with her arms, as the object hits the ground inches away from her. Tara uncovers and turns her head. She sees a pair of small boots leading to the exposed legs, then shorts, then shirt, then the face of Bobo, a boy who folds up a large umbrella.
"Hello," says the boy.
Tara jumps to her feet. "What the hell…?"
"I didn't mean to scare you."
"Where did you come from?"
"A long way away," says Bobo.
"Don't be stupid! I mean, how did you fly?"
"This umbrella," notes Bobo, holding up the old, black umbrella with a curved handle shaped like an elephant's head with red stones for its eyes.
"You almost broke my neck," barks Tara. "Tell the truth, before I bust your nose."
"I'm sorry. And I am telling you the truth." Bobo glances around. "What's with the birds?"
"Never mind." Tara steps close to examine the umbrella. "You mean this umbrella flies?" she asks as she moves to touch it.
Bobo pulls away. "Yes."
"Can I see it?"
"You can look, but you can't have it. It's a…" Bobo searches for the right word, "family heirloom."
"Yeah, right. Some piece of junk you had in the attic along with…" Tara makes a fast grab for the umbrella, but Bobo steps back, avoiding her reach.
"I said, no!" asserts Bobo fiercely.
Tara smiles. "Tough for your size."
"What is wrong with you?"
"When I figure it out," says Tara, shrugging her shoulders, "I'll let you know."
Suddenly, from behind Tara and Bobo, a man's shocked voice pierces the moment. "Tara! Have you gone nuts?"
Tara and Bobo turn, as Sgt. Rik storms up to them.
"I'm just trying to send him a message," says Tara.
"I told you he's not out there!"
"But I had a dream that he is!"
"And what message are you sending by maiming these birds?" asks Sgt. Rik.
Tara reaches into a pocket of her hoodie and pulls out small glass vials each suspended from a strand of string and containing a rolled piece of paper marked with handwriting. "This!" She shoves the vials back into her pocket. "Stupid birds. If they didn't fight, they'd be okay."
"And what are you going to do with these birds now?" asks Sgt. Rik.
"Get rid of them. They can't survive."
"What if someone had said that about me?" asks Sgt. Rik, who stands on two prosthetic legs. "'Poor Sgt. Rik. Lost his legs. Can't survive.'"
"That's different, you're a soldier."
"And you're a soldier's daughter."
"I just want him home. I need to get that message to him."
"He's not out on that island."
"Then where is he?" demands Tara.
"He's on a mission. That's all we know."
"Then he could be out there. And in my dream he is!"
"Fine," says Sgt. Rik. "Whatever gets you through the night, girl. But no more trapping birds. And these we're taking to Animal Rescue." Sgt. Rik finally turns to Bobo. "Who are you?"
"You in on this, Bobo, or just passing through?"
"Says he flew in on the umbrella," adds Tara.
Sgt. Rik gives Bobo a long, hard look. "Nothing surprises me anymore." Sgt. Rik picks up the wire cage. "Start grabbing those birds, Tara. And go easy with them."
Tara picks up one of the injured gulls and places it in the wire cage that Sgt. Rik holds open.
Meanwhile, Bobo opens his umbrella.
Tara smirks at Bobo, as
Bobo glances confidently at the umbrella. "Fly me above Tara and Sgt. Rik!" Instantly, the umbrella, with Bobo holding tight to the handle, soars into the sky high above Tara and Sgt. Rik.
Tara looks upward with her mouth agape. Sgt. Rik, still holding the cage, uses his free hand to shield his eyes from the sun, as he follows the umbrella. With Bobo holding fast to its elephant-head handle, the umbrella rapidly spirals downward until it nearly crashes into the ground then pulls up at the last moment forcing Tara and Sgt. Rik to dive for cover. The umbrella gently descends and lands Bobo on his feet. Tara's face, now covered with more dirt, lifts up from the ground.
That night, Tara, Bobo, and Sgt. Rik sit meekly around the cramped kitchen table in the family's small cottage, as Tara's Mother tosses paper plates on the small table.
"One…simple…task," Mother slowly draws out. "That's all I asked you to do to make my day a little easier." She leans over the table toward Tara. "But, no. You couldn't do that!"
Tara steals a quick glance at Bobo beside her and Sgt. Rik just beyond.
"Go to the fabric store. Pick up ten yards of leopard print chintz."
"I thought you said netting," offers Tara weakly.
From a pot, Mother scoops a dollop of cubed potatoes and bologna and drops it on Tara's plate. "Leopard…print…chintz."
"I made a mistake."
Mother scoops a dollop on Bobo's plate. "I'm making pillows for sale so we can have a little extra money while your father's away."
"I'll take the netting back tomorrow."
Mother scoops a dollop on Sgt. Rik's plate. "And where were you when all this was going on?"
"I…uh…" stammers Sgt. Rik.
"I…uh…what?" questions Mother mockingly.
Bobo eyes his plate of cubed potatoes and bologna. "Excuse me."
"What?" barks Mother.
"What is this?"
Mother looks at Bobo as if seeing him for the first time. "Who is this?"
Tara moves close to Bobo. "He's my friend Bobo."
Mother turns from looking at Tara and Bobo and pierces Sgt. Rik with her stare. Sgt. Rik smiles meekly. Mother turns to Bobo. "It's baloney hash, and if you don't like it…"
"Oh, no! I like it. I was just…curious."
"Where's your family, Bobo?" interrogates Mother.
"He's going to help me return the netting tomorrow," Tara interjects quickly.
"My family lives in…" Bobo starts to answer missing Tara's cue.
Tara cuts him off sharply. "For the leopard print chintz."
Mother eyes Bobo closely.
"So, is it okay if he spends the night?"
Mother gives Bobo a second dollop of baloney hash. "It's the specialty of the house."
The following morning on the open space outside of the cottage, Bobo watches as Tara attaches cord and a wooden seat to the handle of the umbrella.
"What's this?" asks Bobo.
"For us to sit on…for the flight."
"We're just going to town, aren't we?"
"That's for later," answers Tara.
"But your mom…"
"I said, That's for later!"
"Then where are we going?" inquires Bobo.
Tara looks out to the sea from her family's cottage on the cliff's edge. In the far distance, an island hovers on the horizon. Bobo turns from looking at the island to Tara.
"What is that?" he asks.
"It's where my father is at. He's on a secret mission for the military."
"If it's a secret," asks Bobo, "how do you know about it?"
"I told you, I had a dream. Now, let's go!" says Tara as she sits on one side of the wooden seat.
"I don't know," says Bobo. "I don't want to get your mom mad at me. Even when she's friendly, she's kind of scary."
"It's 'cause of my dad. We're all going a little crazy missing him."
"And Sgt. Rik?"
"I don't need to tell that big baby sitter everything," says Tara.
"And why not?" barks Sgt. Rik.
Tara and Bobo turn to see Sgt. Rik walk up behind them carrying something under his arm. "Great," mutters Tara to herself.
"Where are you going?" asks Sgt. Rik.
"To the store," answers Tara.
"Fibber!" says Sgt. Rik.
"Then why did you ask?"
"Your father gave me a mission." Sgt. Rik strides up and swiftly attaches his own wooden seat with cords to the umbrella's handle. "And I always fulfill my mission." He sits on the seat and looks to Bobo standing beside the umbrella. "Well, what are we waiting for?"
Bobo looks from Sgt. Rik to Tara then back to Sgt. Rik. He shakes his head slightly and sits beside Tara on the other wooden seat. "So, what is it called?"
"It's got an awful hard name to pronounce," says Tara. "We just call it Sky Island."
Bobo clasps the handle and commands the umbrella. "I want to go to Sky Island." The umbrella instantly lifts up hoisting first Bobo's and Tara's seat, and then Sgt. Rik's seat below them.
"Holy moly!" exclaims Sgt. Rik. With the umbrella and its trio of passengers quickly ascending, the family cottage and the cliff edge grow distant below. "Tara, hang on!"
"Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! OH, MY GOSH," shouts Tara excitedly.
Bobo's face is relaxed, as the umbrella climbs high into the sky and moves out over the sea. In contrast, Sgt. Rik is grim-faced, while Tara's eyes are wide with excitement. Sgt. Rik looks down between his prosthetic legs and sees gulls and the low, rolling waves of the sea far below. He glances upward. "Bobo, do you know what you're doing?"
"Hang on, Sgt. Rik."
Sgt. Rik mouths the words, "What the…?"
The umbrella and its trailing trio of passengers soar across the sky hundreds of feet above the water toward the island on the horizon. The island grows larger, while at the same time it drops farther and farther below. And in a matter of a few minutes, the umbrella and the trio pass above the island with its cliffs, canyons, and dry brush.
Sgt. Rik looks down. "Uh, Bobo," he utters with some concern.
"Yes, I know," says Bobo, as the trio suspended on their seats from the umbrella handle looks downward at the island growing distant.
"Why aren't we going down?" asks Tara.
"Perhaps I didn't say it right," says Bobo. He looks up at the umbrella. "I said I wanted to go to Sky Island! Sky Island, don't you understand?"
The umbrella and the trio rise higher in the sky and farther away from the island. The trio turns to one another.
"There any way to stop it?" asks Sgt. Rik.
"Not that I know of," answers Bobo.
"Maybe Sky Island isn't the name," offers Tara.
"We know it isn't the name!" barks Sgt. Rik. "We just called it that."
"That's the trouble," says Bobo. "Somewhere in the world there's a real Sky Island, and having told the umbrella to take us there, it's going to do it."
The umbrella and the trio of passengers ascend steadily toward large, dark clouds. Within moments, they are enveloped by the clouds that are filled with moisture. The trio gets wet with rain, and each one tightly clutches the cords suspended from the handle. Soon, the umbrella soars out of the dark clouds and into a misty, billowy bank of white clouds. And from these white clouds the umbrella continues to rise and fly toward a rainbow in the distance.
The trio gazes on clouds shaped as forest trees, sailing ships, and turreted castles. Looking below, Tara notices a change. "I think we're going down," she says.
Bobo and Sgt. Rik turn and look down. "Down where?" asks Sgt. Rik.
"Who knows," answers Bobo.
The umbrella and the trio descend through mist and enter a clear space of exquisite blue color. "Oh, look!" says Sgt. Rik. "There's land below."
Tara and Bobo lean over. "Is it an island?" asks Tara.
"Seems so," says Sgt. Rik.
"Then it must be Sky Island," exclaims
"There's blue on one side and pink on the other," observes Sgt. Rik.
"I knew the umbrella wouldn't make a mistake," says Bobo.
The umbrella descends toward an island-shaped mass colored blue on one side and pink on the other with low, dense clouds separating the two. Sgt. Rik looks downward. "We're going down on the blue part," he shouts.
Sgt. Rik looks between his prosthetic legs at trees, ponds, and houses growing closer and closer below. "Hold tight, Tara. Hang on, Bobo!"
The umbrella descends fast through blue mist. The trio holds fast to the cords, as dense blue mist rushes past. Sgt. Rik, on the lower wooden seat, is the first to slice through the blue mist, and he comes to a sudden stop. Tara and Bobo, on their wooden seat, land on top of Sgt. Rik with the umbrella lightly settling on them all.
Suddenly, out from the blue mist, an angry voice shouts. "Get off! Get off, I say! What in the Sky do you mean by sitting on me?"
Sgt. Rik looks up from the tangle of cords and legs around his head and shoulders. Bobo unfastens the umbrella handle from the cords and folds it up. Tara rolls off to one side and looks around. Suddenly, her gaze goes from the ground to above her head.
From under Sgt. Rik's prosthetic legs rises the Boolooroo, a man with two long legs, a body as round as a ball, a neck like an ostrich, and a little head on top of it. His skin is a sky-blue tint, and his hair, trained straight up and ending in a curl at the top, is likewise blue in color. He wears tight fitting clothes of blue silk with a broad blue ruffle around his neck, and on his breast glitters a magnificent jewel in the form of a star set with bright blue stones.
Lying on their backs in a garden of blue vegetation, Sgt. Rik, Tara, and Bobo look upward. The Boolooroo struts around in a pompous manner and wags his head contemptuously.
"You apes!" shouts the Boolooroo. "You brutes! You miserable creatures! How dare you come into my garden and knock me on my head and cause me pain and suffering? Don't you know the Boolooroo of the Blues will have his revenge? I can have you patched for this insult, and I will--just as sure as I'm the Royal Boolooroo of Sky Island!"
"Oh, is this Sky Island, then?" asks Tara.
"Of course, it's Sky Island," barks the Boolooroo. "What else could it be? And I'm its ruler, its King, its sole Royal Potentate and Dictator. Behold in the Personage you have injured the Mighty Quitey Righty Boolooroo of the Blues!"
Queen of Sky Island by J Powers / History & Fiction have rating 3.1 out of 5 / Based on40 votes