Cocovanilla and the ice.., p.1
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       Cocovanilla and The Ice Veil Book I, p.1

           Ora Munter
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Cocovanilla and The Ice Veil  Book I


  “Cocovanilla and the Ice Veil” Book One of The Ice Veil Tales

  Written & illustrated by Ora Munter

  Calligraphy by Scott Polenz

  © Copyright 2010

  ISBN: 978-1-4524

  ~.~.*.*.~.~

  Between birth and death is breath. Follow its course and feel love’s source.

  Throughout The Ice Veil Tales Cocovanilla and Crunch make many choices. When they remember to “inhale, exhale and trust the Ice Veil,” they choose what’s best.

  This simple trick can help you choose what’s best in your life too.

  Here’s how to “inhale, exhale and trust the ice veil.”

  Step One: Place your finger tips on each side of your belly button. Now gently inhale through your nose. Smell the air and fill your belly with its magic.

  Step Two: Gently exhale through your nose. Feel your breath breeze away.

  Step Three: Breathe. Feel your tummy rise and fall as each breath comes and goes. Listen to its flow and you will hear what you need to know.

  It is important to breathe through your nose, not your mouth, because tiny nose hairs trap germs to keep you healthy.

  Every time Cocovanilla and Crunch “inhale, exhale and trust the ice veil,” practice listening to the flow of your own breath. Let’s begin.

  ~.~.*.*.~.~

  CHAPTER ONE

  ‘My parents love my sister and wish I were dead,’ I thought as I skated around the ice rink. ‘She gets everything she wants. If I ask for anything, I have to work for it like Cinderella. They always tell her how pretty she is. They only tell me, this is ugly and that‘s wrong. They’re so mean. And when I cry, they hate me more. They act like I’m a big burden they‘re stuck with. But hey, what’d I ever do to get stuck with them? I’m cursed.’

  It was snowing in Manhattan. My parents and Lolly, my sister, were at one of her stupid beauty pageants. Usually, they forced me to go. But this time they let me hang in Central Park. Probably they were hoping I’d run away or get kidnapped. Whatever.

  All I knew was, I wanted to find someplace where I could be happy. I skated to the center of the rink and started to twirl. I spun as fast as I could. Faster. Faster. Faster. I was spinning so fast, I spiraled deep inside myself. And that’s when it happened.

  I saw her. She had swirls of chocolate and vanilla curls.

  “Who are you?” I asked.

  “I’m you,” she answered as a matter of fact.

  “If you’re me, then who am I?”

  “Glad you asked,” she smiled. “Come here and I’ll show you.”

  I took a step and realized I was standing on black water. I freaked and fell in.

  “Help!” I cried.

  “Breathe,” she reached out to me.

  “I’m drowning!” I couldn’t grasp her hand.

  “Breathe. Do it,” she dared me.

  I inhaled. Our hands clasped. I exhaled. She pulled me closer. I inhaled again. She pulled me closer still. I exhaled. Suddenly, I was her. She was me. We were one.

  I touched my face and hair. It felt good. I glanced into the black water. It was clear now. And I thought, ‘Hmmm. Not bad. Looks good to me. Who cares what anybody else thinks. I’m here. I’m alive. Hey, where am I?’

  Growing all around me were sundae treats and all sorts of sweets. Cotton candy clouds cloaked key lime skies beneath a rainbow sun. Flowers and flavors perfumed the air, relaxing me. I sighed the biggest sigh ever. I danced. I ate. And I yelled, “Yippee! I’m me. I’m free. I’m home. Finally home!”

  I heard sounds behind a tall gate. I sensed there was another world out there.

  “Cocovanilla,” a voice called from a hut atop a vanilla ice cream mound.

  ‘Who’s that? Is that “her” name? Uh oh. Am I busted?’

  “Cocovanilla,” he called again.

  “Later, ‘gator.” I pushed the gate open and left my garden.

  CHAPTER TWO

  Factories with big, black, smoke stacks spewed soot across sparkling ice cream mounds. People hustled and bustled about. They looked like upside down ice cream cones. They were all the colors of flavors and they wore cute cone hats. But their heads hung heavy like sacks of sad thoughts.

  A man ran into me. His hat fell off but he didn’t stop.

  I picked it up. “Hey, you dropped….” Thinking he might need it, I chased him. I dodged and darted between konesmobiles and kone-cycles. And when I finally crossed the street, he was gone.

  “Get your ice hot cream dog,” a vendor hawked.

  “Excuse me, where am I?” I asked.

  “Ice Dreamland. The greatest planet in the universe,” he boasted.

  “If it’s so great, why is everyone so sad?”

  “We used to be happy. But that was before The King of Kones came to town.” He pointed to a super wide video billboard blocking the rainbow sun. It cast a long shadow of flashing advertisements. They all featured a cigar chomping, chubby guy with a gold crown and enough bling to blind you. He was selling kone hats, kone-dominiums, and konesmobiles.

  “Is he the King of Ice Dreamland?” I asked.

  “No. He just calls himself a king because he owns a bottomless treasure chest of gold. He bought all the factories. Now he forces us to work like slaves to make him even richer. And if we don’t, he locks us up in the Popsicle Freezer.” He pointed to a distant, ice blue tower.

  “That guy’s a real buzz kill,” I said. And he hushed me.

  Suddenly, a trumpet blew. A butter yellow fellow on the video screen declared, “Hear Ye. Hear Ye. The Queen of Sorbet has an announcement.”

  “She’s our queen,” the vendor beamed.

  Ice Dreamlanders exited the factories and gathered before the video billboard. The awesome Ice Palace appeared. It glistened with marzipan flowers, ice pillars and majestic minarets.

  Then the Palace doors opened and the Queen of Sorbet entered with her entourage of Cinnamon Gorfs, furry little servants.

  Everyone cheered. They no longer hung their heads in sadness. They held them high in hope. They loved her. And when I saw her, I loved her too.

  “My dear Ice Dreamlanders,” she had the kindest voice. “I know you work hard to make your lives better. Yet, the happiness you seek eludes you. To help awaken us to our greatest joy, I’ve decided to marry the Royal Rum Raisin, Ruler of the Black Cherry Forest.”

  Everyone gasped like that was bad news.

  “You do not know him,” she admonished her subjects. “Do not judge him. Listen with an open heart. And now, may I introduce, the Amazing Royal Rum Raisin, Ruler of the Black Cherry Forest.”

  Like a stingray, a purple cape swerved across the cotton candy clouds. Then it whirled, twirled and spun like a top. And when it stopped, the Royal Rum Raisin stood in all his noble glory.

  Nobody clapped. They just stared with wide eyes and open mouths.

  “My fellow Ice Dreamlanders,” he gently began. “Although we have existed side by side since the beginning of time we’ve remained strangers.”

  Everyone nodded.

  “You think we’re mischievous and mysterious.”

  Everyone nodded again.

  “Surprising as it may seem, we of the Black Cherry Forest fear you as well. The time has come for us to realize we all want the same thing. To live in peace and harmony. Through this marriage, the Queen of Sorbet and I will unite our worlds so we can enjoy each other’s wisdom and gifts.”

  Everyone clapped and cheered.

  VAROOM! VAROOM!

  The King of Kones drove his gold konesmobile into the Palace courtyard.

  “Forget about it. Unless you marry me,” he spit and sputtered through
his cigar-socked mouth, “I’ll release the FEEFIEFOEFUM Giant. And when he’s free, he’ll stomp the countryside. Crush your bones. Drink the root beer moat and turn Ice Dreamland into an ice cream float.”

  The Queen calmly replied, “I will marry whom I choose.”

  The King of Kones went ballistic and bellowed, “Pistachio. Come hither hi ho.”

  Splish! Splash! A glittering wizard appeared in a gust of green gas. He wore emerald robes and a high cone hat encrusted with stars. He flicked his wand and mean green crystallines flew forth, latched onto the Royal Rum Raisin and carried him back to the Black Cherry Forest.

  The King of Kones chortled, then turned to the Queen of Sorbet. “Marry me or the Giant is set free. Which will it be?”

  The Queen remained dignified. “I cannot marry anyone without the dainty, delicate Ice Veil. No royal wedding is official without it.”

  “Go get it,” the King demanded.

  “Jamoca, the Ice Veil maker, hasn’t finished it yet,” she replied.

  “Have it here by three bell tolls. Or else.” And he drove off in a puff of pollution.

  “Do not fear, my dear Ice Dreamlanders. The Ice Veil never fails,” she soothed her sobbing subjects. “Remember. Inhale, exhale, trust the Ice Veil.”

  The King of Kones shoved his face into the screen and snarled, “Back to work.” He punched a button. The screen went black. Then his ads flashed on again.

  Everyone slumped back to those sordid, smoke spewing factories.

  ‘I have to save Ice Dreamland,’ I thought.

  “Cocovanilla. Cocovanilla,” the voice called again.

  ‘Is that who I am in Ice Dreamland?’ I wondered. ‘I’d better find out.’

  I hurried back to my garden.

  But the gate was shut tight.

  CHAPTER THREE

  I pushed and pushed. It wouldn’t budge. Then I remembered what the Queen said. I inhaled, exhaled, and it opened. I raced to the hut and entered.

  Inside was a small, musty room. An old mocha man wearing a sagging cone cap lay on a bed draped in a cotton candy gauze. I came close and he spoke.

  “Seven years I worked. Seven years I slaved weaving icicles into the Ice Veil.”

  ‘He must be Jamoca, the Ice Veil maker,’ I surmised.

  “But now I’m old and frail. You, my darling daughter, must deliver the Ice Veil.”

  “Daughter? Whoa! You got me all wrong. I’m Kiki Levant from New Jersey. My dad sells insurance.” But he ignored every word I said.

  “This is a mission of import. You are Ice Dreamland’s last resort,” he stated.

  “Me!” Then I remembered. Oh yeah, I wanted to save Ice Dreamland. Here was my chance. I probably had an hour to kill anyway. “Sure. I’ll help. How do I get there?”

  “Through the Black Cherry Forest,” he replied. “It’s the only way.”

  “Woods? I don’t do woods.” I shook my head. “No woods. No way.”

  “What’s your fear? Out with it. Let’s hear,” he sighed.

  “What if there’s a snake? Or the Ice Veil breaks? What if there’s a mean man? A robber man? A big black bear? A toothy tiger? Oh my. What if I die?”

  “Walk quickly but softly. Smoothly not gawky. No one will harm you unless they see they can alarm you. If they dare, be silent of your affair. And beware of Rocky Road.”

  “You mean a road with rocks?” I asked. But he didn’t hear.

  “In there.” He pointed to a tiny door across the room. “Two baskets. Take them. Hurry. Before three bell tolls.”

  And with that, a star beam burst from his chest. It danced in the sun dust then disappeared. His body melted beneath his rumpled cone cap. And Jamoca was gone.

  I knelt before the tiny door, peeked inside and saw two baskets atop a table. One with a red ribbon. One without.

  I crawled through and realized the room had no ceiling. No roof. No key lime skies or cotton candy clouds. Instead, a tall ladder reached forever into a magical universe where sparkling icicles twinkled like diamonds.

  I approached the covered baskets and sniffed one. Yech! Fishy. Must be trout. I sniffed the other. Mmmmm! The beach. I sniffed again. The country. Every time I sniffed, it smelled better. A bed of roses. A bushel of honeysuckle. I was about to look inside, when the baskets leapt into my hands, pulled me out the door, through the garden, across the bridge, over ice cream mounds, and toffee trails.

  I ran after them until I reached a sign. It read: “THE BLACK CHERRY FOREST. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.”

  I turned to run away. But Jamoca’s ghost stopped me. “If you truly wish to wash away your curse, you must remember to inhale, exhale and trust the Ice Veil.”

  Then he was gone again.

  CHAPTER FOUR

  I would do anything to cancel my curse. Breathing was no biggie. I inhaled deeply, exhaled fully and trusted the Ice Veil. It worked. I relaxed and entered.

  The lush foliage was fragrant with Peach Melba trees, peppermint plants, and parfait flowers. Everything looked delicious enough to eat. But I couldn’t stop because I had no idea how much time I had. I mean, how long did it take to ring three bell tolls? And who was ringing them anyway?

  Then suddenly, “HONK! HONK!”

  I jumped high as a giraffe’s eye and landed in a bubblegum bush. I tried to wiggle free but I was stuck.

  Goose poked out her beak from behind a tree and rolled in laughter.

  “Help me!” I pleaded.

  She could barely waddle she was laughing so hard. But she extended her wing and flipped me out in one fell swoop.

  I was still in a snip when I heard, “What’s in the baskets?”

  “Who said that?” I pretended to be tough.

  “Me, the tree. What’s in the baskets?” the nosey tree persisted.

  “Nothing,” I hurried along.

  “Then why carry them?” the tree taunted.

  “I don’t talk to talking trees.” I scurried faster.

  “Why not?” another tree quizzed me.

  “Because they don’t exist.” Or do they? After all, this was another planet. Then from the corner of my eye I saw something flash by. It ran behind another tree.

  My curiosity got the best of me. I looked behind the tree. Whomever he was, he was fast. He dashed to another tree. But I caught a glimpse of him. He wore roller skates and had marshmallows in his funky, punky, black hair. I realized Rocky Road wasn’t a road. It was him.

  “FEEFIEFOEFUM MAKE THESE CHAINS COME UNDONE,” the Giant’s booming voice thundered from the Popsicle Freezer.

  The whole planet shook. Bonbons bounced off trees.

  “Stop! You’ll shatter the Ice Veil!” I cried out and wanted to take it back.

  But it was too late.

  The shaking stopped. Everything was still. Silent.

  Then a warbling wood elf whistle filled the airwaves.

  “Oh my Gorfs!” I whimpered. “What have I done?”

  The baskets pulled me away as fast as I could run.

  Goose followed.

  CHAPTER FIVE

  Amidst a treetop canopy of flowers Rocky Road watched Rum Raisin whirl, twirl and spin to a stop. Then Rocky Road rambled, “Master, I found the Ice Veil. It’s in a basket being carried by a girl who’s being followed by a goose. Shall I destroy it?”

  “Hmmmm. Without the Ice Veil the Queen of Sorbet cannot marry the King of Kones,” he smiled.

  “But neither could you, Master,” Rocky Road reminded him.

  “Better to spare Ice Dreamland the cruel rule of that dastardly king than think of my own selfish interests,” Rum Raisin plucked a petal. “Then again, nothing is written.”

  Rocky Road rapped, “Shall I shrilly shriek and shatter that shred? Shall I budge a boulder and smolder it dead? Shall I drag up a dragon who will melt it in fire? Whatever you desire. Shall I shatter, shake or downright break the Ice Veil? Fire, quake or tidal wave? Just name the grave for the dainty and charming, but oh so alarming, dainty
, delicate Ice Veil. Let me break it.”

  Rum Raisin considered his options and decided. “We’ll keep this venture quite simple. We’ll end it like a frown ends a dimple. Go fetch the blossom from the Bermuda Bell. The blossom containing the dizzy spell. In her eye you’ll drop a trickle. That dizzy daisy will become quite fickle. She’ll bump into a tree. How funny it will be, as she goes kurplunk, kurplop. Zip, zap, zop. The Ice Veil will be ready for the mop.”

  “What a genius you are, Rum Raisin. No one is quite as clever or brazen. Without a doubt, you “da” man. But there’s a flaw in your plan. If the wedding does not come to be, the Giant will be set free. And that will be the end of you and me.”

  “No more pie a la mode is a sad thought, Rocky Road. Nevertheless, fetch the dizzy spell from the Bermuda Bell. It’ll be your last task before going to...well. Off!”

  And Rocky Road obeyed.

  CHAPTER SIX

  Goose and I reached a long, narrow, rickety bridge that looked like stretched taffy. It hung high above a hot, bubbling, caramel ripple stream. I threw a candy rock. When it finally hit bottom, it fizzled in flames then puffed in smoke. Scary.

  “Listen, Goose, I’m going across that bridge. But you mustn’t follow me.”

  Goose sadly waddled away.

  “Oh, I hurt your feelings. I’m sorry.” I ran after her.

  She angrily honked at me.

  “You can come. I want you to come. Please come,” I pleaded.

  “Honk,” she begrudgingly forgave me and nudged me to cross the bridge.

  The moment I took a step, it shook like a milkshake. I jumped back.

  “Troll toll,” Crunch the troll leapt up from beneath the bridge. He was short and shabby with lots of sharp teeth. He looked like an unwashed wild boy, feisty for a fight. His hair was every which way and his once fine clothes were tattered with dirt and time. He had big, hairy feet as if he were meant to be tall, but was stunted for some reason.

  “Two sugar cones,” Crunch barked.

 
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