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Literature
An Island in the Lake Chapter 5
V. Through the Eyes of Glass
I had been living on the island for eight days now. As comfortable as it was, I knew I would have to return to my real home sooner or later. I suspected that my host had known of this for sometime now.
As the days drew near to my departure, she summoned me too the parlor. I found this to be unlike her. Normally, she would deal with these matters gracefully and with a gesture of friendship. This seemed almost forced, as if I was meant to see her, period! I was a tad frightened by this minor display of hostility. Hugo told me not to take it so personal but how could I not? The way it was given sounded similar to my father’s brand of communication.
‘Pacifica Elise Northwest! To my study at once!’ or ‘Pacifica I like a word with you and I don’t like to be kept waiting!’ This was the way most of our talks began at the Northwest estate, and nothing good ever came out of them either.
That was what was going on inside my mind. Ha
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Literature
An Island in the Lake Chapter 4
IV. Hidden Among the Flowers
The rest of the day was far more subtle. Me and Elizabetha sat down to a nice lunch of cold sandwiches. Hugo had already eaten and was now keeping himself busy in the kitchen.
After I had finished, I decided to take a walk in the garden. I was in awe at how peaceful my surroundings were. I was stunned when I noticed that not a single weed were among the plant life. Hugo certainly knew how to keep the garden cleansed of intruding vegetation.
Many times had I watched the groundskeepers as they toiled about the property. Never once had a I offered to lend a hand. Mostly because me father forbid me to help the ‘Commoners’. People like the servants were always looked down upon. I was no more guilty of this then they were. It was one of the reasons I treated others the way I had. I despised the person I once was. I vowed to undo all the torment I placed on them. When I got back, I would make sure that my family name would stand for something other the
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Literature
An Island in the Lake Chapter 3
III. Seated for One
The suns’ rays glided into my room, caressing my face with it’s warming touch. I laid in bed cuddling Hoppsy. I heard the sound of something dragging across the ground. I’d heard a similar sound from the grounds keepers back at the mansion. I got out of bed and went to the window. From there I had a view of the garden outside. Gazing out at its beauty I caught a glimpse of Hugo digging up a patch of earth. I wondered if it was he who created everything in sight and beyond. Did he plant each seed and care for it as it grew into the lush paradise I saw before me? It seemed as if that were the case. Though my mind thought the island had done it’s part as well. True, the island held many mysteries, only a few of which I had discovered.
I went to the clock on the dresser, it read: Nine-Fifteen. It was quite earlier then I had imagined and I was certain I’d gone to bed quite late. There was little proof that time functioned normally here. Wha
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Literature
An Island in the Lake Chapter 2
II. A Witch’s Tale
As she walked with me down the hall, there was one question that kept gnawing at me. I felt nervous about asking it. I guess my curiosity got the better of me. This was by no means the only question I had, there were many more but this one came first. You could guess what it was and you’d probably be right. Where did this place come from? Was it always here? Was their some kind of magic at work in and around it? For her to answer this, she would have to explain why she was here. After all, she was the first to set foot on the island.
…..
It happened so long ago, she couldn’t remember when. What little she recalled was filled with isolation and bitter sadness. I thought my life was full of sorrow but hers was far darker.
It began when she was quite young. Born into a family of gypsies, who traveled around the world. Riding in caravans, selling their wears to anyone that would purchase them. Some of my own family had sold goods. Though I had a f
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Literature
An Island in the Lake Chapter 1
Disclaimer: Gravity Falls and all other related characters are properties of Disney and Alex Hirsch. They are used without permission.
An Island in the Lake
by FoxyRoxy
I. From Past to Present
Gravity Falls, Oregon; I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve discovered so much, and have barely scratched the surface. This town has so many secrets. Most of them have been hidden from sight.
The town is an old one, dating back to the eighteen hundreds. It’s unlike any town you’ve ever visited. Stranger still, you won’t find it on any map of Oregon. That alone is enough to keep most away. There are some that stumble upon it, either by chance or purpose. Stanford Pines was one of the later. He choice to come here, to learn all he could about the mysteries surrounding it. Yet, even he, with all his research didn’t discover everything. There was so much more and I happened to find one of them.
To understand the tale I’m about to tell you, we must go back. Befor
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 8
It was said to be the oldest building in Gravity Falls. It had once been used as City Hall and then became the police station, post office and finally was bought and became The Deer's Inn. Most of the original construction was still intact. A second level had been added making the total number of rooms ten. The main office remained untouched, though it took on a more appearance modern inside. The original stone work could still be seen on the outside, including the bronze plague that held the year: 1912 engraved on its surface.
Except for a few cars parked in the lot, the place looked totally deserted. The sign out front had the word,  'Vacancy' posted. There was a notice on the door to the office that informed people that it was open for business. A faint light shined through the blinded windows. Neither of the twins had been here before. Judging by the lack of vehicles, not many were staying there today. That made their job easier. All they had to do was go into the office, chec
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 7
The police station was a buzz of activity. What with the disappearance and supposed abduction of Pacifica Northwest.  Sheriff Blubs was trying to cope with the biggest headache he'd ever experienced. With the phone ringing constantly, reporters asking for statements and the Northwest Family breathing down his neck. It was times like this when he wondered why he got into law enforcement in the
first place.
At the moment he wanted to close up shop and go somewhere peaceful. Unfortunately, being the only one of two law enforcers in the town. He didn't have the luxury of taking a vacation. What he really needed was for everyone in his office to calm down. It hadn't been six hours since the girl went missing. Originally, he thought she had just gotten lost. He had also been at the party and he could safely say the place was a literal maze. Though her family protested. She had lived their most of her life. There was no way she could have gotten lost. As for any witnesses, none had came
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 6
McGucket walked through the crowded foyer; greeting people, shaking hands. Being a far better host then the one who original owned the property he now occupied.
Pacifica had no idea what he wanted to show her. The place had changed somewhat but most of it remained the way it was. The fireplace on the landing for instance. It had held the Northwest Family crest upon it's base. It had been their before she was even born. As she walked past the illuminated structure of warmth, it was still there. She found it odd that Fiddleford hadn't removed it.
Perhaps he felt it best to keep certain things as they were.  Maybe it was a strange way of honoring the ones who use to live there. He didn't need to keep the crest, even if it had been placed their when the manor was built. This was his home now. The Northwests owed him nothing and did nothing for him either. They called him a hobo, a hermit, a crazy old man. There was no respect for his kind within their comfortable, rich lives. So, why
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 5
Everyone in the dining room stopped what they were doing when they heard the commotion coming from the kitchen. Dipper was the first to respond. Whatever was happening didn't sound good. He'd never heard Pacifica cry out like this before. He'd seen and heard her when she was annoyed, but even he hadn't seen her when she was this upset. He'd seen her smile, laugh, cry, and even disgusted. Never had he seen her angry, not like this.
When he entered the kitchen, he could tell just how angry she was without hearing one syllable. Her body from the waist up was hunched over, her eyes were closed and a severe scowl was etched over her face. She looked tired, as if the argument had drained something deep within her. Both her arms were trembling and her hands were clenched into tiny fists.
Dipper calmly asked what was going on. None of the twins had ever heard Pacifica speak in such a manner. The temper she had displayed in that secret room that night at the party, was nothing compared to what
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 4
The Deer's Inn was the only hotel in town. It had been there for over fifty years. Many owners had come and gone but the building remained. The structure consisted of ten rooms, an outdoor pool, that was closed for maintenance, a gathering room and a small dining area. Other then that, it was your ordinary hotel, about the only thing in Gravity Falls that could be called, ordinary. It was in this same establishment that one Mitch von Gombersnatch had been residing.
The man sat in the dim lighted room but he wasn't alone. Two men stood close by as if waiting for some sort of command. The room was deathly silent until the man spoke. He asked only one question, “Did you find her?” he, of course, was referring to the Northwest girl, Pacifica.
The two looked at each other and then back at their employer. The answer was, “No”
Oh, they had looked all over town, they even tried her home but the fence and gate kept them out. Not that they would be able to enter the manor
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 3
The road from the Shack to the Northwest residence wasn't that pleasant. Each time Wendy changed gears it made a noise like a cat that had swallowed a trumpet, and made Dipper cringe every time. Then their was that one tire which kept bouncing about as if it was going to fall off any second. True, there was air in it but the tire itself had very little tread left. Whenever Wendy would brake, the two would either slide forward or it would take forever for the truck to slow down. He heard her comment on how her brother said he'd fixed the brakes. When Dipper asked her which one. She said he was the oldest of the three. That would be Kevin, who was only twelve years old.
'That's great, at least she had some machinist blood in her family', he thought. The closest thing Dipper had was a cousin named, Zeak Calmin, and he polished wind instruments for a living.
The path leading up to the Northwest estate was a bit troublesome. There were plenty of dips in the road. This caused the truck to bo
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 2
The ride to Oregon was quieter than Mabel was use to. The only sounds were that of Waddles snoring and the jingling from their luggage. The seat was able to hold both twins, yet no conversation took place. It ate at the young girl as she looked over at her sibling. Through most of the trip, Dipper stared out the window. It wasn't the most spectacular of sights either. Nothing but road signs, vast fields of grass. Occasionally one might see a bird or two flying by.
As the borders between California and Oregon opened up, the forests spread out before them like natures own gateway. The scenery was gorgeous. One might travel abroad many times over and never get use to the wonders that God's own hands had wrought. The smell of fresh pine began to flow through the iron innards of the bus. Yet even this didn't seem to phase the troubled youth. About the only movement he ever made was to shift in his seat or scratch his head;  most of which had been covered by the hat Wendy had given him.
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Literature
Combination Conundrum 1
Disclaimer: Gravity Falls and all other related characters are properties of Disney and Alex Hirsch. They are used without permission.
Combination Conundrum
by FoxyRoxy
Dipper couldn't believe it had almost been a full year since their trip to Gravity Falls.  In all honesty, he missed the place; more then he ever would've imagined. He never spoke of it but even Mabel could tell. That far off look he would get suggested he was thinking about it, daydreaming about past adventures. As spring came to a close, these flashes of memory came more frequently. He missed the Mystery Shack, the sound of the woodpeckers knocking against tree bark. The smell of pine in the fresh, morning air. Most of all, he missed his friends and Gruncles, Stanley and Stanford. He could hardly wait to hear about all their adventures. No doubt, Stanford would've written a brand new journal by now. Sadly, he would have to wait until school ended. Fortunately, he didn't have to wait to speak to his friends.
Throu
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Literature
The Little Rich Girl Chapter Eight
VIII. Shrei Got-Chya
There were many dimensions between the realms of the unreal and the Earth Realm. Many of which were inhabited by creatures from a darker time. A time in which chaos ruled and those that held it's might governed the lands. Then came the time of the human race. There clan drove these denizens of the dark back into their own dimensions. Their they waited for a time to reclaim what was theirs. Centuries had past and many of these Under-Dwellers excepted their fate and lived in their own kingdoms, deep within the fabric of all realities.
William Vascres, a nobleman of great intellect and cunning. Discovered the ancient texts that had held his hometown of Gravity Falls as an enigmatic piece of geography. Filled with codes, spells, riddles and strange, barbaric creatures that roamed the woods after dark. It was William that used his intelligence to try and solve the many mysteries that hovered over the land like an invisible fog. However, during his search, he foolishly r
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Activity


V. Through the Eyes of Glass

I had been living on the island for eight days now. As comfortable as it was, I knew I would have to return to my real home sooner or later. I suspected that my host had known of this for sometime now.

As the days drew near to my departure, she summoned me too the parlor. I found this to be unlike her. Normally, she would deal with these matters gracefully and with a gesture of friendship. This seemed almost forced, as if I was meant to see her, period! I was a tad frightened by this minor display of hostility. Hugo told me not to take it so personal but how could I not? The way it was given sounded similar to my father’s brand of communication.

‘Pacifica Elise Northwest! To my study at once!’ or ‘Pacifica I like a word with you and I don’t like to be kept waiting!’ This was the way most of our talks began at the Northwest estate, and nothing good ever came out of them either.

That was what was going on inside my mind. Had I done something wrong? Had she grown tired of my company? I know he told me not to make it personal but I couldn’t help it!

My host wished to speak in private, which had never been done before. I knew it was important, I could sense the urgency. I only wished it could’ve came too me in a more peaceful manner.

…..

I walked down those halls slower then normal. I felt lost, scared and with no one to guide me, I went alone. They all seemed longer as I trudged down them, my eyes staring at the floor. Not knowing how I would react once I got their or what she was going to say. This was far worse then a simple goodbye. It felt so formal, much like how my old life had been. The same life I was desperately trying to
depart from.

I was told to meet her in a place called: The Reflecting Dome, which was located on the third floor, a section I’d yet to explore.

Upon reaching the third floor I was shocked to see how bare it was. No pictures, statues or the simplest of plants. Nothing but a beige interior with hardly any windows. About the only difference was a single opening on the south side. The doorway was marked by a pair of purple curtains that folded over the entrance in a tent-like pattern. I knew just by looking at it that this was the entrance to the Dome. With a deep breath, I crossed over the threshold and into somewhere both strange and enlightening.

‘Hello, my dear.’, she said too me.

Her voice so soft spoken, much more then it had been. I could tell that it wasn’t coincidence that I had been brought here. There was a certain aura in this place, as if silent voices were calling out too me.

I felt uneasy in that small, circular chamber. There were no windows and only a single, full frame mirror was attached to the adjacent wall. It’s frame was made out of bronze and was etched with a leaf pattern. Along the corners were pictographs describing what I thought to be the Four Seasons. Upon closer investigation, I determined them to be something much more. They were, in fact, depictions of human life. From birth to old age, all decorated themselves along each tip of the enclosed border that surrounded the reflective surface. It was here that I was to receive my final lesson. One that all whom ventured upon the island had to endure. It was a harsh one to take but in doing so, it would help to rid one of their unwanted pain. For within the mirror lay the truth, a truth hidden from ones own sight but present nonetheless.

From it’s surface, images would be displayed, the receiver would watch as they witnessed events that had shaped their very being. Pieces of their past and present shown in the order in which they actually occurred.

You might be confused hearing such things but it is an actual fact. Everyone in their life has memories that shape their future. Some of these memories are joyful, others are filled with pain and disappointment. Still others cling within our subconscious, not wishing to see the light. Then there are those other ones, the ones we remember but for some reason are not the same. Our minds tend to retell these flashes of thought in such a way to help us overcome obstacles. The mirror would show us these pieces as they actually happened. These visions can be painful and almost blinding at times, but she assured me that it was for my own good. How could I argue? I had chosen my path, now was the time to look deep within myself, to see those parts of my past and how they really where. So, without any hesitation, I stared deep into that glassy void.

As I gazed upon that clear surface, a hole began to form, peeling away my reflection and revealed those fragments of memory as they were. Much like a stage play, I watched as I saw myself as a child, no more then eight years old. I knew this memory all too well. It was the day I lost Hoppsy.

…..

Any young child can remember their first stuffed toy. Sometimes we grow weary of our companionship for those that give us security. Other times we cling too them, never wanting to let go. Such was the relationship I had with that stuffed rabbit. I wouldn’t go anywhere without it. As I stated before, I had gone with my parents to some meaningless venture and had lost him along the way. I also thought I had simply left him in one of the hotel suites we had occupied. Sadly, the reality of it was far more darker then I had imagined.

My father was always a stern man. Since the day I wore diapers he wanted me to start potty training. The idea sounded ludicrous too me and thankfully he hesitated in doing it until I was much older. However, their were other things that got on his nerves. Practically everything I did when I was younger drove him up the wall! I was only two and just learning about that big arena called, Life. I would laugh, scream, cry and every other emotion a two year old went through, yes, even tantrums. These things every parent should be prepared for but most aren’t, which is normal. Unless your father happened to be Preston Northwest, then your childhood got a little more tense.

I wasn’t allowed to be a child, that meant no loud, obnoxious sounds, which was the primary vocabulary for such a young girl. Playing in the house was out of the question, as was playing outside, unless accompanied by a nanny and even then it was tough.

Toys, the main object of affection for any child was a touch and go thing with my father. Again, he couldn’t stand the noise that certain objects of entertainment made. I was not allowed to have any talking dolls, squeaking and rattling things were out, as were anything that had wheels or rollers. I got a Sit-n-Spin from my uncle on my sixth Birthday. I was allowed to play with on my birthday but after that, it went for a trip to the attic, that dark abyss were all my favorite toys went. Christmas was the same way. I played with my gifts while I could because after Christmas Day had gone, they went away.

So what really happened to Hoppsy I hear you ask? The true story was rather hard one to swallow.

First off, he was given too me by, Marsha. My dad didn’t like her at all because she would let me be a kid. I love my stuffed rabbit too death! Why my father would be jealous of a stuffed toy was absurd but very much fact. He hated Hoppsy and would often order the servants to hide him from me.

Try and picture this in your own mind. You have a toy that’s so dear too your heart and your parent wants to take it away for no good reason. Well, that’s exactly what the mirror was showing me. Surprisingly, most of the servants objected too such an act and many were dismissed soon after. Thus began my father’s personal war over my rabbit plush, an excursion I had never known about until now.

My father did everything he could to rid himself of that pesky plush doll. Hiding it didn’t seem to work so he took it upon himself to remove him permanently! I was eight when I discovered he was gone. I saw myself running too one of the maids, my eyes drenched in tears. I sobbed in their embrace as I asked where Hoppsy had gone, that’s when the mirror revealed too me the awful truth. My father, Preston Northwest, had gone into my room while I was away and snatched the doll right off of my bed. Sneering down at the matted face, he shock him violently, cursing the day Marsha gave him too me. Later that day, while I was crying my little eyes out, he took it down into the cellar and throw it into the furnace.

‘You...you burned Hoppsy!”, I heard myself cry out. ‘You monstrous jackass! You burned my favorite plush toy!”, I exclaimed as I fell to the floor, covering my eyes as I wept bitterly.

Elizabetha knelt down by me, placing a hand on my shoulder. She had no words of encouragement to give, even she couldn’t fathom my father’s actions. She had seen things come from that mirror that questioned the realm of sanity. So many lives changed due to some act of cruelty and they never got any better. Such was the way of my own life.

As I stated before, the images could be unbearable at times. My childhood was no exception and it only got worse as time went on. In front of me played a most horrid thought, a memory I had buried deeply. It was the origin of The Bell, an item I grew to despise! I hated the sound it made, the color of it’s frame and the hand that wielded it.

Over the course of my life I’d heard stories around school about this person or that person suffering from some form of abuse. Whether it was neglect, physical, mental or plain dysfunction within the family itself, I never patted an eye. I would turn away from these, Unfortunates as if they were invisible. I didn’t realize how shallow I had become. Looking back, I now know I was merely hiding my own abuse from the world. If I could conceal it long enough, it would vanish from my life. A foolish notion but it served a purpose, a way of keeping others at bay. What I failed to understand was how my actions affected those around me. By simply ignoring someone, who’s problems were very much like mine, I in turn caused them to lose hope.

‘They wouldn’t understand!’, a common and understandable statement when it came to such matters. How could anyone that hadn’t been through a similar situation know what it was like? Sometimes you wanted to talk about it but were afraid to open yourself up. Maybe you feel they won’t listen or even care to. Perhaps your scarfed that if you tell them you’ll get hurt or be looked down upon. I felt these things as well. All because of a stupid bell!

…..

My father wanted me to be strong and confident but for all the wrong reasons. It was like he wanted me to grow up long before I was ready. Such a thing can be detrimental to a child’s upbringing. Sadly, I don’t think he cared about how I felt, everything was about him, forget how the child felt, they will thank you for it in the long run. So much for thankfulness when it was hard enough just to look at him, let alone have a decent conversation with the guy. Because he wouldn’t acknowledge your concerns.

I told you about Marsha, the maid I was close to and how she left my family’s employment. I didn’t know the reasons behind it until I looked into that mirror.

…..

It all started with a servant bell. It was old and had been used by my ancestors to summon staff too their side. Now it would serve a different purpose, to control me. You heard right, my father controlled me by ringing a bell, just like a dog!

My mother was never present during these sessions, as I doubt she would’ve been unable to stomach them. Sadly, some of the servants would be. How they were able to stand by and watch I didn’t know but watch they did. They were given strict orders not to interfere with my, ‘Training’. What kind of training was it? How to sip tea or how to walk while balancing books on my head? I only wish it were that. Unfortunately, the truth was far more ghastly. My ‘Training’ was to instill discipline and obedience. Why did I have to go through this, you ask? Had a done something wrong? Messed up my room, broke a priceless heirloom or talked back? None of the above. In fact, I had done nothing but be myself and for that I received the ‘Training’.

I would be sent to my father’s study, a place a dreaded to this day. Once inside a servant would be called in and the door would be shut. From there I was to stand up straight and look directly at the man I called, Father. From there I was to do exactly as ordered, no matter how ridiculous or insulting. I would then do the said action and if it didn’t meet with his approval, things would get rather ugly.

One time I was told to walk up to said servant and order them to do something. I had to sound like I meant it and to get them to do the said task without question. I failed so many times and each time I did the bell would ring. If it rang three times he would…..punish me.

It started with a light smack to the back of my head, then a slap in the face, eventually it would escalated to firm spankings. If I so much as whimpered he would do it again and if I cried...I never wished to even think of it. Yet, the mirror showed me and it hurt just as much if not more to see it unfold in front of me.

‘Your a Northwest and Northwests never cry!’, I heard him shout as he struck my bottom with the palm of his hand.

I would beg him for forgiveness, as if he deserved it but the punishment would continue. Many servants were forced to bear witness to these acts of brutality, all were ordered never to speak of them to anyone under penalty of termination of their employment. Most heeded these warnings but
one, a maid named, Marsha.

I wondered if he had sent for her only to test her. By now he had known of our bond, perhaps he wished to end it. So, he summoned her to his study and their she saw the unthinkable! I watched as she cringed as my father struck me after the third ring. Stared in horror as he viciously spanked me over and over, telling me to take it and not to cry. When it was over, I literally hobbled out of the room, my bottom sore from the merciless spankings. When the door closed, she looked him right in the eyes and told him what she thought of this ‘Training’ business.

She was disgusted at my father’s actions. She demanded to know the reason behind the display of depravity she’d witnessed. And what was his response? It was none of her concern, as if watching a child get beaten didn’t really matter.

This only fueled her anger as she exclaimed, ‘It does matter! I am in charge with taking care of your daughter and I am told to come to your study only to watch you abuse her!? Are you insane!? Do you have any idea what such a thing can do too her mind, let alone her body!? How could you!?’

While she shouted, my father remained unmoved and when it was over, he asked her to leave. Which meant she was out of a job, all because she cared about me. Do you know how that feels? To finally know the answer to something you never wished for? I had my suspicions for some years about the whys and hows of certain matters. Most of them remained a mystery, of the few I received Intel on, I felt most of it was a lie. Just enough information to keep me from asking further about it. Mind you I was still young at the time of these inquiries. Knowing the truths now somehow made it almost worse than not knowing at all!

My mind was confused by all this. Did my parents refuse to tell me to protect me or simply to keep their daughter in the dark? It would’ve been easier to keep me from knowing the real reasons of certain events. It makes the subject more docile, less cumbersome when it came time to controlling them. My parents weren’t just rich sobs, they were cruel and unfeeling human beings, if one could categorize them as people. Still, after all I’d seen so far, the mirror wasn’t finished.

That small window into my thoughts moved forward as I watched my childhood fade from view. I was now twelve years old and just as selfish as ever! Looking back I shuddered to recall myself as I was. Because by gazing upon that image reminded me of them. I had been molded. Though not entirely, it was just the right amount to make me like him, like her, a selfish, unfeeling, uncaring husk! I thrived on four things: Wealth, Popularity, Self Appearence and Power.

…..

During my years in both elementary and grade school, I surrounded myself with those that matched my own ambitions. I believe the grouping was known as, Plastics, a group self centered individuals. They usually gathered in groups of three or four. Their habits were always the same: 1) Put down the unfortunate. 2) Make yourself the center of attention. 3) Find away out of doing anything that resembled work. Why do it yourself when others could be made to do it for you.

I wasn’t always like this you know. Kindergarten through second grade were the best. I was just a kid that wanted to make friends, real friends, not the ones my parents chose for me. Yep, every friend I ever had after second grade was given too me, mostly they belonged to some wealthy family. Trust me when I tell you they came in droves just to be associated with a Northwest. It was a confusing and down right embarrassing time, because it meant I had to leave my real friends behind. I guess you could say I hid inside of myself, allowed this other person to take over. Much like Jekyll became Hyde, we were total opposites and we never attracted anything but distrust and suffering.

Through third grade and up me and my ‘friends’ ruled. We were the equivalent of a Group of Thugs. Nobody was safe from us and I mean nobody! If I couldn’t intimidate them, my family's wealth and power would. Not even the teachers or principle were immune too this. Even if they fought, my parents always had their wallets ready to make changes. With these factors at my disposal, nothing could
stop me!

For instance, every year you’d get a new locker, it was the same for everyone but me. I got to keep mine every year. Nobody looked at it or dared to even touch it!

I actually bought the table by the window in the cafeteria. You heard me right, I bought a table at my school with my own money. I would higher bigger kids to protect it from anyone that tried sitting at it. If anyone did they would be taught a lesson, meaning they would get beaten up.

By now my class and those below it knew me and they feared me. They feared my company and my family. All of this I used too the fullest degree. If their was a book I wanted in the library, it was mine, if their were no stalls available in the rest room, I’d fix it so there was. Nothing and no one was safe! Computers, food, even my grades could be changed with a single snap of my fingers. I had people to carry my books, do my homework, I even had a couple students cheat for me on tests! As long as I remained in the clear, I could get away with anything. Heck, if my parents didn’t care, why should I? However, what the mirror was about to show me stunned me to my core!

…..

I had no idea how negative my actions were being received by others. I could honestly see myself not caring, there was no reason to. I was so lost back then I could barely see what was right in front of me. The respect I was receiving wasn’t genuine, it was forced. My ego had grown out of control as had my deeds. I hardly cared what others thought of me, I simply brushed it aside. I was a Northwest and we always get what we want. If I had been a bit wiser, I would’ve noticed that mutiny was about to begin.

I have no recollection of the events that transpired to produce this next vision. I would guess it to be a number of incidents at school that created the uprising. Here I believed I was untouchable because of who I was. It turns out reality is very different. Although I was protected within the school system, some parents chose the direct approach. I even heard their was a special Parent/Teacher Conference dedicated to preventing any further chaos caused by my demeanor.

These parents were so outraged that they demanded I be expelled permanently. When my father heard of this, he wasn’t pleased and had his own meeting with the school board. From what I remember, he fix it so nothing further was done about the matter. I can safely guess he either payed them off or threatened to shut down the school itself. It was quite easy to make such threats when one is part of the city counsel, not to mention all the powerful friends he’d acquired over the years. This, however, didn’t stop parents from voicing their concerns and anger, they simply changed their methods.

By this time our phone was ringing off the hook! Flustered parents would call my house and vent, sometimes for hours. Through the mirror I found out one such family was pressing legal actions against me. I shuttered when I learned they wanted to put a restraining order to prevent me from bulling their kids. That’s when it really hit me, I had gone too far. Far enough for them to seek a lawyer and this was just one call out of many. Others came pouring in through the phone lines. Dozens of enraged adults cried out in protest, demanding that something be done about me.

The lucky one to deal with this was my mother, Priscilla. This was the same person who taught me that looks were everything. Naturally, I thought she would pass the calls off to one of the servants to deal with the nuisance. You wouldn’t believe how shocked I was when I noticed how serious she was taking these events. I could tell by the look on her face that she was deeply worried.

I never knew much about my mothers’ past, only that she had been raised by a well-off family. Something about the calls struck a nerve and she immediately went to alert my father of the terrible conversations she’d been receiving.

One thing you have to know about my father, he didn’t like being disturbed, especially when he was in his study. That room was his Personal Space and any admittance was almost impossible, unless he sent for you. So, when a knock came at the door, he often ignored it, no matter how many times one rapped upon it. Sometimes he would inform the intruder to go away, other times he allowed them entry. My mother was allowed one of these oh so rare access passes.

She entered his chambers looking distressed, which wasn’t normal for her. My father would’ve noticed this had he took the time to relieve himself from the articles on his desk. Instead, he sat their with his upper body hunched over the stacks of paperwork, neatly arranged on the desk’s surface.

My mother addressed him, wishing an audience with the mighty King Preston of Northwest.

His reply was a simple yet dry, ‘Yes?’

She then proceeded to explain the situation in great detail. Everything I was accused of doing, which by the way was one hundred percent true. I was startled by the urgency in her voice. She seemed, generally concerned for both parties, which was so unlike her.

When she came to the part about legal action, my father gave out a hearty laugh. Wondering out loud where these ‘Bunglers’ would find a lawyer brave enough to step into court with Preston Northwest. He thought it completely absurd that anyone would dare challenge him in this manner. They would surly lose and then what? Where would these upset individuals go next, some talk show? He could picture it now, ‘Bleeding Heart Parents Speak Out Against Rich People’, he would tape it and have a good laugh while watching the segment over and over.

My mother didn’t take the situation so lightly. ‘Were you ever bullied in school?’, she asked.

My father sat in his leather chair and chuckled loudly, as if she’d just told the most hilarious joke.

Of course he hadn’t, if such a thing had occurred, his father would see to it that it was dealt with. There would be no need for such drastic actions anyway. Preston, like myself, was protected under his very name. No one in their right mind would dare make fun of him in any manner. He couldn’t even remember a time when he was even teased in the most friendly of circumstances. My mother knew this before she even proposed the question. Sadly, she wasn’t so lucky.

Her family wasn’t always as well off as his. In the beginning, they were an average, middle class family. She, like all her siblings, walked to school during the fall and spring months, winter was the only time she ever rode the bus. Although her face clung on to it’s natural beauty, her cloths were often hand me downs. Wearing new cloths was something like a wish list within her home. It wasn’t until her father, my grandpa, Frank, made his fortune off of buying and selling stock. Before all that, my mother was bullied almost relentlessly because of her family and the cloths she wore. She would come home sometimes in tears. Her parents eventually put a stop to it but it still was deep within her to this day. Finding out that her own daughter had become one was quite hard to bare.

My father, on the other hand, thought it was normal, just something that happens and nothing more. Everyone got so worked up over the simplest things, like teasing but this wasn’t just teasing and she knew it and she wanted to know what he was going to do about it.

‘There’s nothing to do, Priscilla. Let them fight their own battles. I’m far too busy to get involved in such outrageous accusations! Where is the proof Pacifica did anything she’s being accused of?’

He actually believed they were lying, making everything up just to cause my family trouble. I knew they weren’t and my mother felt it to. Anyone could tell just by hearing the anger and desperation in those parents’ voices. If he wanted proof, all he had to do was go to their homes and see for himself. See the damage I’d done to their children, see the anger in their parents faces and voices. There was enough proof if he cared to look, that was the problem, he didn’t care.

My mother was different, she did care, not only for those families but especially for me. She didn’t want to see me become a heartless person, an inhuman animal that preyed on the weak. If my father wasn’t going to do anything, she at least would try and talk to me. Strangely, I had no memory of such an encounter, the mirror saw otherwise.

…..

I was sitting at my desk in my room when I heard a knock at the door. I turned, telling the visitor they could enter. I was stunned to find my mother standing in the doorway, a look of concern on her face.

I was worried but not in the way you’d imagine. I figured something had happened to the family fortune or other personal matters, like the gown my mother had ordered was no longer in fashion. I had no idea it had anything to do with me personally.

She spoke so softly too me, like a real mother might do. She said she wanted to talk, I had nothing against it and turned my chair to face her.

When she spoke, she addressed me as ‘Sweety’, a name she hadn’t used in a long time. She continued, explaining that she had received several phone calls, all of which were directed towards me. I thought it had something to do with a Pageant or any number of contests. I didn’t know they were of a serious manner, that I was being accused of bulling several of my classmates. That some parents wanted to press charges, which I found to be rather silly. Why would they want to go to such lengths, unless they were jealous, which I naturally believed to be the case.

She asked me if it was true, was I being mean to the other kids in my class.

‘I wouldn’t say I was being mean. Some of them just need a nudge now and then is all.’, I heard myself say in an eerily calm voice. Had my family’s status caused me to become so shallow? Indeed it had!

She started questioning me about certain things. Like if I had been rude to some of the children, if I had bossed them around, paid them to do certain things for me; stuff like that.

‘If your referring to the table in the cafeteria, I hardly think it’s anything to get so worked up over, Mother. I own it after all.’

‘You own what?’, she asked, not fully understanding what I was saying.

I repeated what had been said, that I had purchased the table by the window in the school cafeteria. After all, my father often told me that if I wanted something, go and buy it. I obviously had no knowledge about private property or didn’t care to but my mother was more then happy to explain it too me.

The table in question belonged to the school and I had no right to buy it, nor would it have been up for purchase in the first place. What I had done was illegal and the penalty could be severe if word had gotten out about it. According to some parents, the matter had been addressed in a meeting held in my not so much honor. As for keeping the same locker every year and failure to wait for an open stall in the bathroom. All these were trivial too me, nobody was actually hurt by this, however, paying off people to hurt others as well as making certain students my slaves was. They were completely against everything within the schools’ Code of Conduct. Such actions would definitely result in suspension and even expulsion!

‘Father would never let them expel me, as for suspension. I might get a few days off, nothing to really worry about.’, I said nonchalantly.

That’s were I was wrong! It was serious, far more then I could ever conceive. If it came to suspension, nothing would really effect my education. Expulsion was all together different. If I were expelled, my chances of every graduating or going on to college were slim and this bothered my mother something fierce! How could I have fallen so far? Where she or my father done something wrong to make me like this? I must remained you that she had no clue about my ‘Training’, as she never witnessed those events. Had she been their, would she have stopped my father from continuing them? I don’t rightfully know. What I did understand was I hadn’t the heart to tell her and so I hid it, telling her I didn’t know why I was like this. Perhaps I was spoiled too much. Whatever the reasons, I had a few options
at my disposal.

I could openly apologize to all those I hurt, which I wasn’t going to do because I believed I was innocent. After all, we Northwests deserved respect and they were giving it too me, one way or another.

Secondly, I could continue at Gravity Falls Junior High but give up my favorite locker as well as the table and any other property I deemed to be, Mine. This to would’ve been impossible for me. However, the last choice open too me changed my mind.

The third one was to be sent to Private School. That meant I’d have to make new friends, I’d would be forced to wear a uniform, which I would have no choice over the colors or style. The biggest thing was that such places were much more strict in their curriculum. I would have to take a certain amount of classes, do my own homework and studying. Plus, I would have to live with other girls, ones I knew I wouldn’t get along with.

So, my choices were pretty much set for me. I would have to apologize, which my father disapproved of. Thankfully, he got me out of that embarrassing situation but I did have to relinquish my locker and the table. I also had a Tudor appointed too me by the school board to help me with my studies. I don’t need to explain how much I hated all this and that I had an absolute distrust of my mother for many months after.

Looking at those images, I didn’t realize how good I had it. I felt ashamed of whom I was. My father’s plan had actually worked. I had become just like him, a cold, heartless monster. It wasn’t the first time I’d had this realization. Some how I’ve always known, I was just so blinded by the wealth and power my name could invoke on others.

Now, as I stared into that reflective surface, watching as the portal faded away, leaving nothing more then my own image staring back at me. I dropped to my knees, the truth now flooding over me like a tidal wave. For a moment, I felt like I couldn’t breath. The mirror had showed me much more then my brain could process. As I dropped too my knees, I felt a wetness upon my cheeks. My eyes tearing as the thought of my mother confronting my father and all because she cared about me.

Here I saw her as just another rich snob. One that thought only about herself. How was I to know she  wanted me to be something other than a Northwest. She had the courage to not only stand up for me but also had the tenderness to be a mother; all because she actually loved me. With this planted firmly in my mind, I cried for her, for me and for all those terrible things I’d done. You can blame my father but I was the one that made those decisions. Though I may have been mentally and physically abused, the actions were still mine. I had chose to become that person and would have to except responsibility for my actions.

Perhaps I did feel guilty and chose to apologize, I would like to think so. Unfortunately, I went about the rest of the school year as I always had, maybe a little wiser but still very much a Northwest. I was still linked to that horrid chain. It would take a year before I broke free or had I? If I was really free, then approaching my father and his twisted sense of authority would’ve been easy. Why then did it seem like an impossible task? That’s when I was struck by an ugly, fearsome understanding that I may still be apart of that insidious chain! That was why I couldn’t face him, that was why I ran in the first place. I hadn’t the strength to face him because I never had it to begin with. It was nothing more then a ruse created by years of cleverly planned brainwashing.

‘I’m just like him.’, I heard myself utter softly. ‘I’ll never escape him. I’ll grow up to be exactly like him in every detail..’

Elizabetha grew angered by this, her voice coming down upon me like a thunder clap! She said the Dark One had taken a hold of me. His voice was whispering too me in his usual display of: Self Guilt and Self Pity. Both were equally strong when mixed with a good amount of Despair, which was what I was experiencing at that moment.

Then I heard her say that I was wrong, I was nothing like my father. Would I have wished to change if what I thought was true? Would my father except his failures and try making amends? Would he have gone so far as to free a tortured soul in order to save a friend? All of these were a resounding, No! He would never admit any fault, change his ways or even give up one minute of his life to save another. She was right, I wasn’t like him and I would never be anything remotely like him. Within that moment of clarity, that sour, lying voice left me and a weight was lifted from deep inside of me. The chain that had kept me down was now shattered and my life could begin anew.

…..

We left the confines of The Reflecting Dome but it’s lessons stayed with me.

The rest of the day went by quickly and soon it was time to sleep. With all that weight released, I slept better then I had in a long time. In the morning, I knew it was time to for me to depart.

Goodbyes were a tough thing for me, they always were and today was no different. As I walked out of the castle, I embraced my hosts with tenderness as I didn’t know if I would ever see them again.

As I walked out of the garden, the castle vanished, leaving a cottage house in it’s place. I went through the opened gate and down to the beach, a boat was waiting for me by the shore. I step aboard and rowed to the other side. Once I disembarked, I took one look back only to discover that the island was gone, even the boat had disappeared. The waters were calm as if it had never been. For moment, I wondered if it all was a dream, the feeling deep within me said otherwise.

With a smile on my face, I strode into the woods, making my way back to the manor.

…..

My father was once more in his study when I came back. One of the servants ran to inform him of my return but he didn’t sound that troubled, as it had only been an hour since my departure. Nevertheless, it was I who wished to speak with him. He waved the servant away, telling him/her to allow me entry.

I wasted no time in going up those steps too the second floor, fifth door on the left. I needn’t knock as the door was wide open, a rare moment indeed. As I went in, my father was in his usual position; back straight against the chair, head bent down over the mass of papers spread across the desk. I could tell he was in the middle of paying bills, a casual assortment of currency exchanges which never caused any stress on his person. He didn’t even look up to greet me, a typical display of the old Preston Northwest charm. Then he spoke, asking me if I had come to apologize for the rude behavior I had
displayed earlier.

By now his own attitude was enough to make even the most saintly person want to hit him. I, however, was ready for such a verbal onslaught and countered it with one of my own, one that made him look up from his desk.

‘Just a moment of your time is all I ask, Father.’, I said.

I could tell he was shocked because he kept shifting some papers in his hands. He literally had nothing to say, which was a miracle in itself.

‘Well get on with it then, I don’t have all night.’, he retorted, one that took three minutes for him to utter aloud, a new personal record on his part.

I was more then happy to say what was on my mind. For starters, I was going to change my locker this coming school year and start doing my homework and studying all on my lonesome.

He looked at me as if I had taken ill, asking why I would do that after all these years.

I simply replied by saying, ‘Just making a few changes, the kind that benefits everyone instead of just one person, that’s all.’

‘Enough with this nonsense! Tell me what you really want to talk about!’

Far enough, I thought. I began by asking whatever happened to Hoopsy, my stuffed rabbit.

He sat their staring at me as if I were a complete stranger, asking the most absurd questions imaginable. ‘You know what happened too him, he got lost on one of our trips! Now kindly stop wasting my time with this useless drivel!’

I told him I understood and then asked if it would be okay if I checked elsewhere for him, perhaps the main furnace would be a good place to start. That’s when I noticed a trickle of sweat forming on his brow, most defiantly a sign that I spoke the truth as well as his own guilt.

‘Why would you think he would down their?’, I heard him ask, his voice sounding a tad weaker.

I explained that there really wasn’t any certain reason, other then he may have gotten tossed in their by accident, a statement that really got him nervous, as he denied such an event ever happened.

“I see, oh well, children have to let go of childish things, now don’t they?’

He, of course,  agreed, only to further his supposed innocence. That he had, in fact, thrown my beloved toy away. Just as he had fired the maid who had given it too me. Which brought me to my next question. I wished to write to Marsha and find out how she was doing.

He scoffed at the idea. Since when did his daughter write to any of the past servants? Such a thought didn’t seem practical in his mind. Then again, she did mean a great deal too me and he knew it, which was why he didn’t have a forwarding address to give. I thought that to be odd, because I recalled he once gave a letter of recommendation for one of the other staff members that had quit, why didn’t he have one for her? One would think he had one for each servant employed and otherwise, which I knew he did. One doesn’t lose old habits over night and my father kept extensive records on everyone that had ever worked for him. Therefore, the information I’d asked for didn’t exist because he no longer had it. Most likely it was destroyed upon her release. A pity I thought, I so wanted to get in touch with her.

By now I could tell he was becoming agitated as his eyes kept looking away from me. His hands were trembling and his left hand kept reaching for the bell conveniently in front of him. That thing didn’t scare me anymore. He could ring it until his heart was content but I wouldn’t be moved. Oh, he would try to get me to bend to his will, he might even try and hit me. If it came to that I would ask him to invite mother in to show her how discipline is really done. I’m sure she would find the practice most interesting, it would make for a good headline in the Gravity Falls Gossiper. Nothing like a little child abuse to get the reporters knocking on your door. Speaking of my mother, I wondered if she had received any phone calls lately.

‘Phone calls!? What kind of question is that!? In fact, why are we even having this conversation!? Pacifica Elise Northwest, I’m going to count to ten and you better be gone or I’ll….’, he couldn’t finish. Oh, he could tell me what he was going to do. I could tell they would all be negative.

I knew he wanted so much to strike me at that moment. That would’ve made him feel in control, it’s what gave him power. He had used his own wealth to swoon my mother into marriage and had used force to gain my allegiance and respect but no longer. I was now in control of my own life and he sensed it. That’s when the tantrums began.

He raised his voice to the point that the walls shock from his outbursts. Accusing me of wasting his time with all manner of useless questions.

I stood their listening as he carried on like some enraged drunk. One after another he threw down accusations upon me, which didn’t phase me in the least. Marching around his desk, clutching papers in his fist, informing me who it was that had fed, clothed and kept me safe. All of this was irrelevant to any of my questions.

Luckily another overheard the shouts and came running, that person happened to be, Mother.

‘Gracious, what is all the shouting about?’, she exclaimed as she ran into the room.

He told her it was nothing, that me and him were just having an argument over some inquiries.

I explained that all I wanted to know were just a few, simple things.

‘Simple!?’, my father cried. ‘First you ask me about some stupid toy of yours, then about some old maids whereabouts and then something about phone calls!’

I looked at my mother and told her the truth. Yes, I happened to be curious about where I had lost Hoopsy, that I only wanted to write to a former maid, Marsha and the thought of those calls had been running through my mind. As had my decision to make a change for the better.

You should’ve seen the look on my mother’s face when I told her. It was the opposite of what I had expected, for she appeared to be pleased.

As for my father, he stood their looking at us both like we’d lost our minds. We weren’t acting like Northwests, we were carrying on like regular people, something he could never understand. In fact, he wanted to know what had gotten into to us, especially me. I was certainly not myself and he cared very little for this new version I had become. Wanting to blend in with others was down right insane in his mind. I was the heir of a vast fortune as well as the beginning of a financial giant! Why would I wish to mingle with the likes of Them when I could control and manipulate Them instead. It wasn’t like he didn’t use the same tactics on his own employees. This sudden change in my demeanor frightened him, not because he had lost control. However, he wasn’t going to give up so easily. He demanded I explain myself immediately!

With my mother standing their, I attempted to make him understand. He was right, I had been selfish and outspoken toward my peers, I made them act and do things that were against their own nature. Sometimes I wondered why I acted this way, sometimes I tried resisting the conditioning, like the day of the Annual Northwest Gala when I chose a dress I liked but my mother didn’t, all because it clashed with the theme of the Gala itself. More so then the choice of garment was what the vengeful spirit was doing to the people in attendance. Becoming a figure of lifeless wood is most disturbing, I couldn’t bare to see these individuals suffer. No matter what their life styles were or how they conducted themselves in public, they were still people. I had to do something, even if it meant going against my family heritage. As I said that night, our family name was broken and I wasn’t going to stand idle while innocence suffered for our wrongdoings. It was a major leap in my life to pull that lever and open the front gates to the citizens. My father didn’t understand and I never expected him to.

After seeing the vision of my mother confronting me about my attitude in school, I realized she was nothing like I thought. Although her appearance may have been a part of her life, she still cared about my well being. Knowing this strengthened me to stand up to the tyrant I knew as, Father. I finally found something worth fighting for and now that my heart wasn’t as constricted, that shallow personality felted away. True, it was going to take sometime before my peers excepted the new me, I felt I could start small, like relinquishing my old locker. As for the table I supposedly bought, I always thought those tables in the cafeteria looked shabby, I thought it would be nice to donate some money to help purchase some new ones.

My father was literally pulling his hair out upon hearing all this. Why would a Northwest waste precious currency on tables? When he heard what I wanted to do with some of my cloths he ordered me to leave his study as it was too much for him to take. Donating some of my expensive wardrobe to a local goodwill was preposterous!

My mother was a bit concerned and as we left the study, asking me if I was serious about everything I’d said.

I told her I was.

When I looked into her eyes I saw a glimmer of hope within them. She was proud of me for making such a sacrifice, even if she couldn’t bring herself to do the same. Though she did reassure me with a hug. It was the first time she ever had shown affection too me. From that moment on, things were different between me and my mother.

Later on that night I received word that my father had gotten rid of that stupid bell.

‘Tossed it into the fireplace and watched it felt.’, one of the servants was heard saying.

His control over me had been banished and I was free from that chain once and for all!

…..

Somewhere in another part of the world, resting in a vast body of water lay a single island. On that island, inside a simple cottage, a middle aged women walked among a gallery of portraits. She stopped to gaze at the newest one. As she stared, the image started to change. The young girl was now older and beside her stood a tall man with a pinkish nose, from their more people filled the frame, children and more young adults with their children. The frame enlarged until it filled a good portion of the wall. Her family had grown and was continuing to grow.

Looking up, she smiled, ‘This one is truly blessed, for her soul is now free from the darkness that had consumed it. May she fine your gifts as a blessing and may her heart grow in strength with compassion and kindness all the days of her life.’, she said softly.

With that she left the chamber, waiting for another to find refuge upon the island’s shores, waiting for another soul to be saved by The One’s loving grace.  

“If the Son has set you free
You are free indeed.” - ‘Free’ by Steven Curtis Chapman

The End
An Island in the Lake Chapter 5
Pacifica must confront her deepest memories in order to find peace within herself.
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IV. Hidden Among the Flowers

The rest of the day was far more subtle. Me and Elizabetha sat down to a nice lunch of cold sandwiches. Hugo had already eaten and was now keeping himself busy in the kitchen.

After I had finished, I decided to take a walk in the garden. I was in awe at how peaceful my surroundings were. I was stunned when I noticed that not a single weed were among the plant life. Hugo certainly knew how to keep the garden cleansed of intruding vegetation.

Many times had I watched the groundskeepers as they toiled about the property. Never once had a I offered to lend a hand. Mostly because me father forbid me to help the ‘Commoners’. People like the servants were always looked down upon. I was no more guilty of this then they were. It was one of the reasons I treated others the way I had. I despised the person I once was. I vowed to undo all the torment I placed on them. When I got back, I would make sure that my family name would stand for something other then greed and all other depravities. That meant I would have to face my parents. I had done it once before, why did it now feel like an impossible task!? I thought I had the answer too this, it turned out I was still lost.

I sat down on one of the marble benches and pondered this. As I sat their contemplating everything that had happened and where my life was going, Hugo approached me. He asked if he might sit next too me. I had no problem with it, so he sat down. He looked about, admiring the scenery.  Then it occurred too me, I had no idea how long he had been here. Not that it mattered, though I did have one question. Why did he chose to stay?

He smiled at me when I asked him. The ease in which he described his decision, made it seem as if it was the easiest thing he’d ever done. He was retired from the navy, had never gotten married, he wasn’t even sure if he had any relatives to come back for. All of this was irrelevant. From the moment he met her, it became clear that he was meant to remain on the island; possibly forever.

‘But why?’, I asked.

His smile got bigger as he gazed up at the sky. Remembering that fateful day as if it had happened just resiliently. She had found him on the beach, nursed him back too health but not for her own gain. She could’ve made him her slave but had no intention of doing so. This place wasn’t about control or desire, it was about peace.

Most of his life he silently had been asking, ‘Is this all that I am, is there nothing more for me?’ From the first time he looked upon her, he knew that he would never leave these shores.

‘You fell in love with her?’, I heard myself blurt out.

I felt ashamed of saying such a thing and wanted to cover my mouth.

He must have sensed my shamefulness and simply nodded.

I didn’t understand how someone could just find love that quickly. I’ve seen others fight for it most of their lives and never fully achieve it. How could this one man find it so fast? It didn’t make any sense. I had to know, I needed to know the answer.

‘Have you ever thought of that one, true love in your life?’, he asked me.

I never put too much thought into. Most of my life and been measure by etiquette, how ones appearance mattered too others and which side of a plate a certain spoon goes on. Meaningless rubbish but at the time it was my whole world. Fairy-tales were for children, I had no need of them. I was to be the heir of the Northwest fortune and all that came with it. A sad, lonely way for one to live. Back then it all made perfect sense, now it was more like a living nightmare that one doesn’t easily wake up from. I held back the tears, trying to suppress them, like I did all the bad things in my life. I was such a terrible person too everyone around me. How could they ever forgive me when it was so hard to forgive myself?

I sat their pushing back all those negative thoughts and feelings. I wanted to throw them all away! Just toss them into the sea. The problem was, I couldn’t throw them away, I couldn’t lock them in a box and hide it forever. These feelings needed to be set free in order to take that next step. And that’s just what I did. With this man sitting beside me, I let the tears finally flow. As my eyes slowly filled, my cheeks dampening as they ran down them, splashing against my neck. I just opened up and talked to no one in-particular. The more I said, the lighter the pain became. It was like I had been carrying a heavy weight and suddenly it was released.

He held me close as I continued to cry. For a moment he acted much like a father would. While he held me, I bared witness to something I shall never forget.

All those tears I had been crying, they all began to float. Every ounce of salt water that had rained from my eyes were gathering all about me. Swirling in mid-air like a miniature whirlpool. Suddenly it exploded into a shower of water droplets. These tear drops started to morph until they all became butterflies, each one more beautiful than the next.

‘He shall wipe away all our tears and they’re will be no more pain.’, I heard him say.

I was going to ask him what he meant but he was already getting up. As I watched him leave, stopping for a moment to wave at me. I waved back and smiled, I couldn’t stop smiling. I remained their for sometime, staring up into that blue sky. I started thinking about what Hugo had said, about finding that ‘True Love’. Apparently, he had found his on this island. As for me, I still wasn’t sure. I had feelings for this one boy, but it would never work. We were both from different worlds but so were they. Had he not given up everything to be here for all time? If Hugo could do it, why couldn’t I? I was going to say my parents would never allow it but the heck with them! I was my own person, capable of making my own decisions! So the answer to his question, ‘Did I have a true love?’ I believe I did.

…..

The afternoon slowly turned to evening. I had started to figure out some things about the nature of this island, while others remained a mystery. I had hoped that my host would shed some light on a few of them. Our relationship was enough that I didn’t feel weary about asking her. So, during dinner I decided to converse with my host about them.

The meal was exquisite! I’d never had roast duckling before, which was a surprise too me. Being a Northwest, one would think I had sampled every delicacy from around the globe. You’d be shocked to know that I hadn’t. The brandy sauce blended well with the choice of meat. The sides consisted of garlic potatoes and a blend of cauliflower and spinach.

While we dined, I decided to bring up some of my inquires. I had so much I didn’t know where to begin. The main topic was more about how the island functioned. In simpler terms, was it live? Did it actually move from place to place at will? Would this account for the times of day being different?

Elizabetha sat and listened, as did Hugo. In fact, he was the one that appeared to be more interested. I figured he also had questions, either he hadn’t gotten around to ask them or he was afraid of what he might learn. This sparked my own curiosity. Had he ever asked her anything that pertained to the structure we were in or anything else pertaining to the island?

He acted as if he were embarrassed by this, which caught my hosts’ attention. She was taken back by his seemingly lack of communication.  He’d been thier for so long and yet never took it upon himself to ask even one thing!?

‘Hugo, is this true? Did you feel you had no right to ask me about the island?’

He admitted that he had questions but felt ashamed to bring them forth. It must have sounded silly to think this way now but back then it was different. He was new to the island and dared not pester his host with such trivial curiosities. As the years went by he took a fondness too her, as I, myself had only just learned about. Too me it made sense. He was starting to have romantic feelings towards his host. Perhaps he felt unsure of these feelings, tried to keep them hidden. Tonight I could tell it was becoming increasingly difficult for him. If he did ask her what was on his mind, there was a possibility that all of his feelings might come pouring out. Whether it was fate or something much stronger, I sat their as he looked over at her. Suddenly, like a gust of wind, he told her everything. Every question he’d ever had about the island but more importantly, he confessed his love for her.

There I sat looking at both, watching their expressions, not knowing if I should stay or leave. I decided to stay out of respect, though I did feel quite out of place at the moment. Judging by Hugo’s facial features, he may have had second thoughts about the way he had gone about expressing himself. The sides of his face weren’t flushed, which was good for him. But the way he lowered his head indicated his shame. Too my astonishment, Elizabetha was taking what was said quite well, maybe a little too well. She sat their in deep thought. After all, he did spill a lot out at once. If I were in her position, I would’ve had a devil of a time trying to process it all. When I saw her get up, I figured she would take her leave and evaluate what had been said. To my surprise, she walked up too him, placing a hand on his shoulder.

‘My dear Hugo, you needn’t be ashamed of such feelings. We both have lived here for sometime. You’ve gotten to know me more than any other man. Your love is just and pure.’

I scarcely could understand what was taking place. If some boy went up too me and declared his undying love I’d probably would’ve took it as a joke. I’m certain I would’ve laughed or simply walked away. Yet, she didn’t. In fact, it would seem she had known about this for a long time. I wondered if she had such feelings towards him as well. If that were the case, she handled herself exceptionally. Taking her hand in his, she told him of her understanding. Even though they came from different worlds, it would seem they were made for each other. He had been their to help with anything he could and there was never any need to ask. She had saved his life, though his actions weren’t done out of debt. He wanted to do these things for her because he wished it.

At that moment I realized something else about the place. It held within it’s self a sense of pure, positive energies. It focused those feelings and made them stronger. I myself felt this as I looked upon these two. Their understandings were something I’ve never witnessed before. There was no resistance or argument among them, only that of honesty and respect. I watched as they embraced each other as the room began to radiate with their loving affections. I remained seated as this sensation filled the interior like a formless fog. Everything smelled, felt and looked better. There was a glow about the room the likes I’d never seen. At that moment a saw something in my mind’s eye. The image of the boy I had felt so close too. I didn’t shy away from it, instead I except it and no matter what my family might have thought about him, I knew he was the one, my true love and his name was, Dipper Pines.

Once my hosts had returned too their seats, we continued our meal.

Our conversation continued long after we’d finished. All three of us chatted for hours about our ideas as to the workings of the island. It was alive, that much we had figured, but not in the sense that we believed. This life force came from no official point, rather it generated from everywhere. As for if the island moved on it’s own accord, she knew that it had. She’d never seen it happened but had seen things that proved it. Hugo and I had also seen such proof. My watch for instance, it was keyed to Pacific Standard Time. However, my first night, when I thought it had gotten dark too early, suggested that we were in a different part of the world altogether. Hugo himself had noticed this from time to time but had grown accustom too it. I could only guess that his first few days would’ve been quite difficult. Then there were the climate changes.

I’m not talking about warm and cold air but drastic changes in the weather. For instance, one morning Elizabetha walked out to find the ground covered in snow and frost on the trees. This meant that overnight the island had moved through a cold front. Rain storms would last sometimes for days and others mere minutes. Fog one day and the next plenty of sun. All of this could’ve been due to freak weather patterns but not for the quick changes from day to night. It was impossible for this too occur unless the time zones had been switched, which meant only one thing, the island could move. I’m not talking about moving as a boat does but some sort of teleportation. In one place one minute and in another the next. If this were true, how come it was never spotted? My host had an opinion about that.

The island worked in mysterious ways, some of which she had yet to explain. One thing she was quite certain about, their was a type of barrier surrounding it. A shield that prevented anyone from seeing it. Not until they reached its shores did they realize it’s existence.

‘Only those chosen can see it and set foot upon its surface. This much I know.’, I remember her saying.

There was more. Both she and Hugo had believed that this island was one of many. That it was only one part of a whole. Don’t ask me why but I sensed this as well. Like a whisper that speaks directly too your heart. How many there were, they couldn’t say. It was like something was keeping them from knowing everything. Such was the way of life itself. Not knowing everything, only that which kept you along the right path. That’s what she told me as we left the dining room. That we all have a path set before us. There are many ways to reach the end, there is also dangers and hardships during these journeys. Through all of this, we are not to despair, for the One made Three watches over us and guides us at times. Though the journey must be made by ourselves and no others. This was the test all of us must take. Some will fall, others will stop and continue no further. Yet all walk it until they reach the end.

‘What is at the end of this road?’, I remember asking.

‘Only that what you take with you and what you leave behind.’, was her response.

That’s all she would tell me, just a riddle and nothing more. She must have sensed my confusion and told me I would eventually figure it out. I only had a lifetime of choices ahead of me. I just had to make sure that they were the right ones. It all sounded easier than it was. I’d already made a choice, to run from my problem instead of facing it. I just wished I had the courage, why I didn’t was beyond me. If I could overcome the brainwashing and do what was right at that party, why couldn’t I stand up against him now? I feared that I might not have escaped at all. That I was still under his control and would never be rid of it. The thought frightened me something furious!  I didn’t want to be like my father or mother. What I wanted was to fix the family name, make it mean something other then lies, treachery, averous and greed. How could they not understand, I wasn’t fighting against them, I was trying to save them. Then I thought of something I hadn’t. Maybe I wasn’t the one to save them after all. I couldn’t control them, just like they had failed in control me. The choices I would make were of my doing. I could change that. If they didn’t agree, I would soon be an adult, able to make my own way in this world. I could begin by telling them this. If they still wouldn’t listen, that was their problem and not mine. I felt so relieved by this new found purpose. It armored me to such a degree that I felt no worries. The fear I had melted away like snow on a hot summers day. At last I had found what I was looking for.

……

I had no idea how late I had stayed up the night before. Something deep within my mind told me I had gone to the library for some relaxation. I had no knowledge of what I had read, if I had fallen asleep their or managed to drag myself too my room. Mind you I was very exhausted, my whole body felt weightless. The surface on which I lay was very smooth and comfortable. My head was buried deep within a lump of silky softness. I didn’t know if I was still wearing the cloths from last night or if I had slipped into a nightgown. Everything was a blur, every sound a slow, muffled tone. I just laid their, allowing sleep to overtake me. Gradually I began to dream. I think I dreamed of flying across the sky. My body soaring through the clouds, the fluff of the pillow-like formations tickled the soles of my feet as they brushed past them. It was strange because normally I didn’t feel anything when I dreamed. This time I actually felt the clouds brushing against my bare soles. Then I felt it again, only this time I had already passed the clouds, nothing but blue skies ahead. I was flat out confused by this. Other then that, the dream was perfectly normal, as flying dreams are concerned. Then I began to hear a voice, a muffled voice that seemed to come from nowhere. I began to wonder if this really was a dream or the beginning of a nightmare.

…..

Back in the real world I had, in fact, gotten to my room before I fell asleep. I was still wearing most of my cloths, the only thing I had removed was my footwear. Their I was, laying horizontal on the bed. I must have been really tried as I didn’t even bother to get under the covers. The only difference was how my body was positioned. My head was buried in the comforter and my feet where lying on the pillow, with their soles up. I hadn’t slept like that since I was a child. My breathing was steady and my position hardly changed, except for the times when it jerked.

Not all of me did this mind you, just my lower extremities. Since I was still sleeping, I had no idea why they would be doing this. Nevertheless, they continued doing this from time to time. I think it might have been a nervous reaction but as I stated before, I was at peace in my restful state. There was this itching that I started to feel as I slept. I light touch that was clearly caused by an insect. I’d felt such things before. Yet, there was something about this that seemed out of place. During the time I’d spent of the island, I was privileged too many astonishing things. However, insects weren’t among them. I doubt if any of this crossed my mind in my current state. Still the itching certainly confounded me in the physical sense. The itching came and went and always centered around my naked soles.

When this first began I hardly even noticed it. Mind you I was dreaming about flying through clouds at the time. Naturally, I took these sensations to be a part of the overall experience. It only puzzled my subconscious after I had parted from them and headed into clear skies, still it continued. Back in the real world my feet would twitch whenever the itching returned. They remedied the pesky attacks by rubbing the surface with the other foot. This continued for some time until the scratching increased. First it was just a minor itch that left after a few seconds, but now they were becoming more intrusive. Something was striking those naked soles, causing them to wriggle. When this happened, the itching started to go away and a new feeling replaced it. This particular sensation was longer. It felt like something was slowly dragging across the bottoms of my feet. The reaction was a bit of itching followed by a soft, tinkling. Whatever it was made my legs twitch, causing them to pull my feet off the pillow. This went on for what I could only guess to be around three minutes. Meanwhile, my facial features were starting to show signs of change do to this bizarre incident.

I can only think that it started with a slight frowning of the brows. I remember taking in some breaths after each, soft touch too my soles. For some reason every time this happened, the colors in my dream got brighter. As for my face, I believe the frowning turned into a hint of joy. I could feel my mouth forming a smile, growing larger as it continued. As the duration of these odd attacks kept expanding, the more joy showed on my face. I can’t explain why but whatever was happening on the other side was making my happy. That’s when the giggles began.

In my dream I could hear, light giggling. I had no idea where they were coming from. I didn’t even recognize they were my own. For as I laid on that bed, I kept giggling every time the brushing attacks commenced. As for my feet, they sometimes hopped off the pillow. Other times they tried shielding the other, only to be attacked themselves. I could feel my toes scrunching up as whatever it was passed over them. Then without warning, they’d stop, only to come again once I had calmed down.

Then their was the voice, a low one that came from nowhere and everywhere. It teased me as it called out my name, ‘Pacifica!’, it said, then the same feeling would take hold of my soles. Their pink, wrinkled surface would be touched by some powerful force that rendered them helpless with merriment. That’s when a memory opened up within my mind. Somewhere within the corridors of my brain a door opened. Inside was a memory I hadn’t thought about in ages.

…...

I think I was seven at the time and my room was different back then. Pictures of horses and castles hung on the walls. The floor was littered with toys of all shapes and sizes. My bed was much smaller and had all manner plush toys strewn about it. I always had at least three with me when I went to bed. Those days were a simpler time, even though my so called ‘Training’ had already begun; I was still very much a kid. There was one problem I remember, trying to wake up. In the days when school was in session I had no problem getting up on time, summers were a different story.

It would literally take forever for my parents to get me up. They always had some ludicrous activity for me to do. Even on my own birthday they wanted me up, sometimes even earlier then the servants themselves! So naturally I took my time on those hot summer mornings. The only one that had any success with this was a maid named, Marsha.

Marsha was a young lady in her early thirties. She was one of a few that treated me like a child and not some born to be Northwest copy, like so many of them did. She was one of the few that would play with me, have lunch with me. I was the only thing close to a daughter she’d ever had. I often wished she had been my mother. I never forgot all the times she would read too me before bed. I loved her so much and my world was completely shattered when she left four years later. Of all the things we did together, I will always remember how she was able to get me up on those warm summer days.

Back then the mansion didn’t always use an air conditioner. Oh we had them all over the place but my father was quite the miser and refused to use it, especially if the weather was cool outside. That meant that every window in the house had to be left ajar. As for my room, I flung them wide open and on nights when it was nice and cool, I drifted off to sleep almost immediately. That was part of the problem, I was so comfortable I had no desire to awake the next morning. Marsha was the only one to succeed were the others ultimately had failed.

You see, on those cool nights, my feet would always get uncomfortably warm under those blankets, so I my head would switch places with them. They would take the pillow and my head would go on the opposite end. So every morning she would come in and I would be asleep in the exact position I was now. This was the perfect opportunity for her to use some playful tactics to help awaken me.

Early in the morning she would begin her rounds while me and my family still slumbered. Going from room to room, tiding up each one until they met my parents approval. It wasn’t just her that was trained but all the servants were schooled by my parents on proper house cleaning. Every part of the mansion had it’s own set of guidelines down to the last detail. If one couldn’t meet these objectives, they
were released.

Marsha was good at her job, which included being a part time nanny for me when one wasn’t available. The mornings were normally used to clean up after gatherings as well as your standard cleaning but on a much grander scale. If she ever felt the stress of the high expectancy my parents had put on her, she managed it very well and she never faltered in her duties.

When it came to the main sleeping quarters, which were located on the third floor. No servant was allowed entry without knocking. If there was no reply, they were to go elsewhere and come back fifteen minutes later. Marsha learned quickly which room belonged too whom. Mine was the second door on the right. She would always knock but unlike my parents’ room, she would knock a second time, which was against the rules. Of course, she knew I’d never tell on her. After the second knock she would slowly open the door and if I was up, she would greet me and close it again. If I wasn’t up and it was past my normal wake time, which was determined by school or summer seasons. Like I said, I had no trouble getting up for school. Summers were different but she had the perfect way to get me up.

Silently she would close the door and creep up too my bed. If my head and feet had switched places, as they often did on the occasional cooler nights; that’s when she had me! Normally she never used them but she always carried one with her, especially during the summer months. I’m referring to a feather-duster. She never used it on walls or furniture, only one place had she ever applied it too, the soles of my feet. To this day they are the most ticklish part, besides my underarms. Being exposed as they often were, it was just too tempting not to tickle them. Of course, I would be fast sleep when this happened but from what she use to tell me, I really enjoyed it.

It was game really. She would stand over my naked soles and pull out the duster. Using the tips of the feathers, she would lightly brush them against one of the pairs of soles. My feet would squirm on the pillows’ surface and settle down after a few seconds. She would do the same to the other sole, feathering it’s defenseless surface with light, tickling strokes. Sometimes my foot would rub up against the other, trying to relieve it of the itchy sensations. She would go back to the foot she started with and then to the other, back and forth in a playful pace. By this time I would giggle, my eyes shut and my eyebrows changing from frowning to happiness. No space on my soles were left untouched. Sometimes she would tickle the whole sole, while other times she would concentrate on certain areas like my arches. They were so soft and sensitive, a couple of feather strokes too them would always get me laughing. By now my toes and soles would be wriggling against the feathery attacks. All eight digits would come alive and wiggle as if trying to swat the feathers away. Tickling them caused my feet to bounce off the pillow. I guess she couldn’t resist giving them some more. By now I was in a constant fit of giggles. I was losing control of myself as she kept brushing the duster across my pinkish soles. My feet could hardly stand it, yet I adored it. It was the teasing nature that I liked. Then she would call out my name and tickle either my heel or toes. I would hear her telling me to kept up, then she would tickle some more. I would eventually awaken but not until both of my soles were rendered helpless by the dusters’ tickling.

This thought came to me whilst these familiar feelings began to plaque the soles of my feet. Once I heard my name being called I knew what was happening, even in my sleeping state, I could never forget the feeling of having my feet tickled. Those times would be locked in my memory forever.

Back in reality, Eliabetha had entered my room and was standing over me, just like Marsha had done. In her hand was a long, soft feather, which was being dragged over my right sole. From the heel up too the toes, which wiggled when the feather passed over them. ‘Time to get up my dear.’, she teased and did the same thing to my left foot. She smiled as she brushed the feathers’ tip against my arch. I heard myself squeal in my sleep as the foot lifted itself off the pillow. While that one was landing back down, the feather went after the other foot. Within minutes she had turned it into a game. Tickling one sole after the other with quick strokes. I could feel the heels of my feet being feathered. I tried rubbing them to ease the tickling but the feather would attack that foot as well. On and on it went. Playfully whisking motions glided over my soles. The wrinkled skin wriggling as the feather bushed against them. When she went after my toes I think I screamed with glee as my eyes fluttered open. I’m not sure if I told her I was up or if I just laid their taking the tickling. Either way I had enjoyed my wake up call. How she had known it would work was beyond me. Perhaps she knew about my past, perhaps the island had told her. It didn't matter, I was up and ready to face whatever this day had in-store for me.

…..

After breakfast, Hugo asked me if I might help him in the garden. I was delighted about having such an opportunity like this placed before me.

It was funny that I, Pacifica Northwest, would wish to do such a menial task. I had always hated working in dirt or even being around the likes of earth and mud.  I thought it was disgusting and dirty, a filthy job left only for commoners. Now I was interested, dare I say, even excited. To take my hands and dig into the earth, plant some seeds and watch them grow. It intrigued me so that I rushed to finish breakfast so I could join him outside.

…..

As I took my first steps out into that glorious sunshine, I allowed the rays to touch my face. It must have rained sometime at night, for the ground was partially wet. Walking down those stone steps, I followed Hugo.

He had dressed himself in some old garment that were perfect for such work. I myself had chosen a common array of clothing, nothing too fancy, as if I had half expected to be doing this all along. I hadn’t any thought as to what the day would bring me. Nevertheless, I had chose this particular apparel.  It never even occurred too me that perhaps everything had already been prepared ahead of time. The notion sounded silly, the kind of thing Mabel Pines might think up. Still, I was outside, ready and able to lend a hand.

The islands’ groundskeeper gestured too me, pointing downward at a patch of unused soil. For a moment I swore that the garden had grown and not in the normal sense. The entire garden had become larger, as if the land itself had taken up more space. Such an odd sight made me question my own eyes. How could this be? Where did all this extra land come from? It was like the whole surface of the island had changed overnight, an impossible feat, yet their I stood among it.  I heard Hugo call too me, asking if I was going to stand and admire the scenery all day. He was joking, of course, I just couldn’t seem to take it in. Something, I’m sure, my friend here had gotten quite use too over the years.

‘There’s always something new here.’, I heard him say.

Could it be that even he had not yet grown to the customs of this irregular land? Though I heard no signs of doubt in his voice, I got the impression I might have been right. When I asked him, he merely stated that it was best not to question what happens around here.

‘It does what it wishes.’, he replied.

Not wanting to push onward with anymore inquiries, I took a hoe and started digging at the ground.

The soil was moist and easy to make holes in it. As I went about digging holes, Hugo held a small bag of seeds, placing one into each crevasse and carefully covered it over with dirt. After the tenth one, I began to scan the area. There were even more vines covering the pillars and I thought I saw several more statues that weren’t their before. Then I spotted another section that seemed new too me. Mind you I hadn’t been outside for a couple days. Still this addition looked out of place, as if it hadn’t been their before. I made a note of it in my mind and decided to ask Hugo about it later.

Afternoon came earlier then I thought. The two of us took a needed break and sat down at an iron lattice table that had been painted white. The table was shaded under a willow. Their we sat and had a lunch consisting of ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches. As we ate, I asked about the addition I had spotted while we were planting. The area in question was situated on the lower level, slightly beyond a short, stone bridge which ran over a small brook. Less then a block from the bridge was a curved entryway that had been covered by foliage. The way it was situated, one would think it was trying to conceal itself. When I asked him about it, he acted as if he couldn’t see it. When I explained to him its location, he only shrugged his shoulders and continued to eat.

‘Don’t you think it’s worth checking out?’, I asked.

All he said was that certain places were best left alone. It was obvious that I wasn’t meant to go their. This only heightened my curiosity. As the day went by, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. While Hugo dug holes and I planted seeds, my eyes kept straying, like I was drawn to it. During the time that we tended too the flowers and clipped the bushes, I couldn’t take my eyes off the place. I had to know where it led too. So, I asked to be excused so I could, um-mm, relieve myself. But it wasn’t a restroom I was heading for. I only fake it when I went towards the castle entrance. Once their I double backed around, taking refuge behind some marble planters, I watched as Hugo went about his work.

Doing my best to keep from being detected, I made my way towards the bridge. Looking behind me as I crossed, I ran towards the rounded opening. There was no gate or anything that barred any attempt at entry. Why then had he told me to ignore it? If their wasn’t anything to prevent one from going through, why warn them? I had no idea, only that I wanted to see what lay ahead. So, after a quick look behind me, I ventured forth.

After crossing through the circular opening, I beheld a mini pool and several lounge chairs. It all looked so inviting I just couldn’t help myself. I was so tired from all the hard work we’d done that day. I could use a good rest. That’s when I heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Before I could turn around, two firm hands grasp my shoulders. Slowly I turned to face my abductor, only to find Hugo standing over me with a look of dismay on his face.

He told me this was Madame Elizabethas’ private pool, that no one else was welcome here. Which explained why it had appeared to blend into the scenery. I knew I had broken a law and from the sound of it, I was in deep trouble. That’s when he told me that their were rules on the island and all that disobey them would be punished. I felt my throat go dry as he held onto my shoulders, pushing me ever closer to one of the lounge chairs.

I had no desire to fight back as I was too stunned at the moment. Here was a man I had trusted, it was he that had invited me to help with the tending of the grounds. How was I to know the place was out of bounds. I suppose he had warned me somewhat, telling me it was best to stay away. One would think there aught to be a fence or locked gate at the entrance to keep others way. Having an open doorway was too inviting. My curiosity may have had a part to play in my trespassing, but could anyone truly blame me? Why hadn’t he simply told me the reason? Was it so hard to simply say it was a private part of the island, reserved for my host and no other? I surely thought so, not that my opinion would help me now. I was far more worried as to what the punishment was for disobeying the law of no trespassing. As I neared that lounger, I had a horrible notion that my actions would soon be rectified.

The soles of my shoes dug into the dirt as Hugo gently pushed me forward, slowly closing in on the chairs’ emotionless embrace. As I inched towards it,  I was spun around like a doll and placed upon the its surface. What happened next filled me with both awe and dread. I had lost the will to speak as portions of the vines that covered the wall started to move. The thin, leafy ropes crawled across the ground, slithering themselves up and around the legs of the lounger. An army of snaking tentacles wrapped around my upper body, pinning my arms against my sides. I didn’t know if I should scream or cry as they kept coming, encasing me in an intertwined layer of plant-life. I could feel them pressing my back against the seat. They did the same thing with my legs, latching themselves around my thighs and calves, keeping them snuggle against the surface of the seat. I could still move some of my exterminates but they wouldn’t allow me to leave the confines of the lounger. Fear began to flood over me as I thought I might be kept in this position until the morning. I was totally flabbergasted to learn they had yet to finish with me.

I stared down in total suspense as I watched two of these pesky vines start to tie themselves around my ankles. Before my eyes I watched as the ends began removing my shoes. On this day I had forgotten to wear socks and so baring my feet took little effort. Now that my feet had been rendered defenseless, I sat their awaiting my fate.

Hugo looked me over and chuckled, asking no person in-particular what he should do with me. His smile grew wider as his mind thought up a brilliant plan. With that he turned his back too me and walked over toward a patch of flowers. I couldn’t see what breed they were nor did I really care. All I really wanted was to get out of the predicament I had found myself in.

As Hugo went about with whatever it was he was doing, he began to talk too me. He wanted me to know if I had an interest in botany. Such an odd question to ask someone that was at the moment immobilized. I told him I didn’t think the topic fit my current situation. He acted as if I had told a joke. I assure you, this was no laughing matter. Stranger still, he began telling me about all the different types of specie of flower the garden held. Why he believed I was interested in this I wasn’t sure.

‘You’d be surprised how many kinds grow here. Each one has it’s own unique scent not to mention a variety of intriguing designs. I find it fascinating how the petals can arrange themselves into the most precious display of living art.’ He continued on about which one were his favorites, how many were common and how many were rare. Apparently a very rare one grew in this part of the garden. It happened to be Elizabethas’ personal favorite. She called it, ‘The Grinning Pulpit’, an odd name for a flower I thought.

Gently he took hold of one of these rare beauties and pick one using a special clipper. After capturing his price, he got up and walked towards me holding it in his hand.

I must admit it was a pretty, little thing. The petals were a glossy white that ended with a hint of yellow. The petals were closed which struck me as odd, for it looked as if the plant was in full bloom. What happened next I sometimes think I had dreamed it. However, the way it unfolded felt all too real.

I laid on that lounger as Hugo came up too me holding the innocent flower. He told me he wanted to test its softness on the soles of my feet. I thought he’d gone crazy but before I could give my opinion he had already started.

I’d never had a flower brushed against my naked soles before. The first thing I remember was taking a deep breath as the soft petals touched the wrinkled surface. A tiny squeal came from my mouth as he lightly rubbed the petals on my instep. My left foot batted at the flower as it dragged its fine petal tips along the sensitive surface. My toes began to scrunch up as he dragged it upwards, slowly rubbing it just below them. As he did this, I cried out the word, ‘No!’ as a way of trying to stop myself from giggling. Here I thought a feather was one of the best tickle tools but Hugo was proving me wrong.

I repeated the same word close to three more times in section as he kept brushing those petals across the bottoms of my naked feet. As it neared the ball of my left foot I sucked in some air before the giggles began.

‘You like this?’, he asked me as he stroked the flower in an up, down motion on my right arch.

I’m pretty sure I nodded as he dragged it downward towards my heel but this was only the beginning of my punishment.

As those closed petals kept brushing against my soft, pink soles, they started to open. Light tickles ran through the nerves of my feet until it reached the tip of my nose. The flower’s petals had fanned out which double the tickling too the point were I literally tried to pull my feet away. My head titled backwards as I let out a series of uncontrollable laughter. It only got worse once those petals opened, exposing the pod inside. Now the flower was in full bloom and with it came a sensation I’d
never felt before.

The extra soft filaments that surrounded the anther gently rubbed up against the tender soles as the handler gently moved the flowers’ head slightly up and down. The filaments were so soft that it made a tender, squeaking sound as it brushed against my soles. I’d never felt such sensations before. The filaments alone sent me into uncontrollable fits of hysteria. I no longer could contain myself and threw my head back against the lounger, laughing endlessly as Hugo continued the onslaught.

The light squeaking sounds commenced as wave after wave of light rubbing of the filaments assaulted my soles. My toes wouldn’t stop wriggling as my soles were abused. My breathing came in short gasps as my laughter increased in volume. My eyes began to water from being kept shut. I don’t know why but I always seemed to close them when getting tickled. I figured most people did this as well. However, in doing this, it caused them to tear up. Before long both eyes were weeping with tears of unadulterated joy. I can’t even describe how I felt at that moment. The rubbing motions as the flower’s head kissed the wrinkled soles made me cry out with giggles. No longer was I in control of myself. The tickling had full command over my nervous system. Yet I didn’t beg or plead for release, I didn’t say much of anything except through the language of laughter. Meanwhile, Hugo was starting to change
the pace.

Perhaps he felt I might get use to having my feet tickled by the flower. Honestly, I doubt I’d ever get use to this method, as it was my first time. Nevertheless, he stopped brushing the flower against the soles and went after another area, one he knew would drive me into the realm of Tickling Silliness.

As the tickling motions on my soles ceased, I was able to breath somewhat normally. My cheeks were hot and wet from the tears that had been bathing them. I laid my head back down and that’s when I felt it. Something thin and gracefully soft was moving at the base of my toes. Instinctively, they all clamped down, as if to protect themselves from whatever was causing them distress. It was to be in vane, for as they scrunched up, the flowers’ petals had already started whisking. Back and forth they went, keeping the pace steady as the tickling began anew. My teeth bit down on my lip as I could feel the laughter mounting. The tears flowed once more as my mouth quivered as it fought to keep the merriment at bay. It would never have the strength to keep them out. The more it fought, the more the giggles fought back until they could no longer be restrained.

The roaring sounds of unbridled mirth echoed throughout the garden. My toes tried to stay firm but with each pass of the petals, they grew weaker and weaker until they could no longer remain stationary. They had lost the battle and were now releasing their grip. Slowly they lifted themselves up then going down as if they still wished to fend off the petals’ ceaseless attack. My toes had lost, but some reason they kept trying to resist. I knew it was futile but they wouldn’t obey the will of my mind. It was as if there was a conflict between the two. My brain wished them to fight but the tickling had urged them to lament. This made it look as if they were doing tiny hops, which did nothing more then make the tickling stronger. Before long they were back to wriggling as the petals brushed the stalks of each toe. I, of course, couldn’t stand having my toes tickled and burst out laughing.

After several more minutes of toe tickling, Hugo went back to using the head of the flower. The filaments played with the stalks of my toes, slowly moving away from them and going after my arch. Soon both feet were introduced to the power that flower held. This time instead of dragging itself up and down as it had been doing, it changed it’s pattern to a circular motion. An array of giggles poured from my mouth as it continued. I can’t remember if I begged him to stop or not. I doubt I did as I was actually enjoying myself. Sure I was laughing like crazy but I didn’t feel any discomfort at all. The way he tickled me with the flower was so playful, I couldn’t help myself.

The tickling continued as each foot was given the exact amount. No more, no less tickling was applied. After working over my arches, the flower traveled down to my insteps. The filaments spoke to my feet with their cute, little squeaks as the constant rubbing journeyed down too my heels.

By this time I was completely under the ticklers control. No longer were my feet fighting against the tickle tool. My toes, though still dancing, where in a state of utter, ticklish calm; which meant they were in no distress and felt no threat from the flowers’ presence. I must tell you now I’ve never had this happen before. My whole being had become one with the tickling. I wasn’t numb too it, nor was I unconscious. I was simply at peace with it, which to my knowledge, had never occured.

It was a strange feeling to be laying their, bound to the lounger, my soles being tickled by a flower. The soles of my feet tinkling all over, sending sweet messages too my brain, ‘Laugh, giggle, relax and enjoy.’ These were the thoughts my mind received from them. For the next five to eight minutes I laid their laughing as the flowers’ head rubbed all about my soles. Tickling them with light, circular movements. The petals greeting my toes with heart warming brushes. The only real sad part was when it ended.

I felt the vines unwind themselves as they slithered back into their original places. Several of them couldn’t resist the temptation to tickle me as they departed. I wriggled about on the seat as the vines brushed their tips upon the soles of my feet. I squealed when I felt one of them poke my sides, then a few others decided to take a trip along my underarms, another favorite tickle spot of mine. My stomach was teased as they poked and wiggled around it. My neck was lightly tickled as I tried tucking my chin in. All the while I laid their giggling and wriggling as the vines childishly played with me. Then it was all over. I started to feel tired and gradually I drifted off, dreaming of being in a field of flowers. The flowers came alive and tickled me silly. As I laid on the lounger, I could hear myself far off in the distance. From their I could hear the faint sounds of giggling as I slept.
An Island in the Lake Chapter 4
Pacifica's journey on the mysterious island comes close to full circle as she learns even more about the mysterious terrain has in store for her.
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III. Seated for One

The suns’ rays glided into my room, caressing my face with it’s warming touch. I laid in bed cuddling Hoppsy. I heard the sound of something dragging across the ground. I’d heard a similar sound from the grounds keepers back at the mansion. I got out of bed and went to the window. From there I had a view of the garden outside. Gazing out at its beauty I caught a glimpse of Hugo digging up a patch of earth. I wondered if it was he who created everything in sight and beyond. Did he plant each seed and care for it as it grew into the lush paradise I saw before me? It seemed as if that were the case. Though my mind thought the island had done it’s part as well. True, the island held many mysteries, only a few of which I had discovered.

I went to the clock on the dresser, it read: Nine-Fifteen. It was quite earlier then I had imagined and I was certain I’d gone to bed quite late. There was little proof that time functioned normally here. What was a fact was the hunger growing inside me. I made my bed and went to get dressed but found my cloths from last night were gone. I was certain I’d changed into one of the nightgowns last night. My jacket, shirt, skit and boots I’d arrived here wearing. I was certain I laid them on the chair next to the dresser but they were not their now. I wondered if my host had taken them for cleaning. It was the only logical thing, though logic didn’t seem to exist here. Even the structure itself had changed from a mere cottage into a castle.

I tried not to think too much about it. My stomach was grumbling at me. So I wasted little time searching for something to wear. I simply opened the wardrobe and took out a light purple, sleeveless shirt, a navy jacket with a silvery design etched on it, a pair of light, short pants and some dark velvet shoes. Once I had dressed myself, I went out into the hall and headed towards the dining room.

…..

I entered and was greeted by my host. She welcomed me in her usual, friendly manner.

I replied with a cheerful, ‘Good Morning’.

After we greeted one other, she offered me a seat. It seemed Hugo had already prepared breakfast before venturing out to work in the garden. As I seated myself I asked her if he was the one responsible for the caring of the grounds. I found them to be absolutely splendid. She informed me that Hugo had done a lot of the planting but the island had helped out as well. I wasn’t the least surprised.

Without a second thought, I sat down to enjoy a meal of bacon, eggs and raspberry pancakes. As I ate, Elizabetha took a seat next too me. I had asked so many questions the other night, it was only fitting that she be allowed to inquire a few things about me. She was interested in what had brought me to this place.

I must admit I wasn’t prepared for such a question. By now she would’ve known the answer to this. Was I not seeking shelter for the night? Was that not the reason for this peculiar place to appear? What other reason was there? I couldn’t think of any. However, this wasn’t what she was really asking.

I’ve heard of people misinterpreting others words. I had even fallen under this embarrassing situation. I thought she was referring to how I came to be here. This was far from the real question that was brought forth. She had asked how I came to being out in the woods. Surely I had a place to stay. The cloths I had worn that day were not that of a poor, forgotten individual. Neither was the condition of my appearance. I knew the answer but felt ashamed to reply. She must have sensed this. Perhaps it was my facial expressions that gave it away. It might also be that she had certain powers. Could she have read my thoughts? I found it hard to dispute. Because at that moment she said something that caused me to stop what I was doing.

‘I sense you were going somewhere but a conflict had arose in your mind. You had no idea where you were going, only a thought that those woods would provide a suitable shelter.’

I was stunned! How could she have known that? For I had told her nothing about the cabins, only that I had lost my way. I hadn’t lied too her, though I kept some details from her. I figured there was no reason to say everything that took place prior to the discovery of this enchanted establishment. Nevertheless, she was curious and I had a feeling she knew more then she was asking. For she kept probing me with small questions. The kind that eventually led to the heart of the matter. I tried to hide my feelings by making small talk. This seemed to interest my host which made her probe further.

She stated that I looked unhappy when we first met. I thought I had hidden my emotions fairly well, apparently I didn’t do a good enough job.

‘Were you unhappy about something?’, she asked.

Was I unhappy? Your darn right I was! My stupid parents and their never-ending methods of control. I had grown tired of it, tired of them and more then annoyed at being nothing more then a possession of theirs. Since the day I was born my life was already planned out. They wanted an heir to the family's’ business. I doubted they ever really loved me. I was just a tool, a means to an end sort of thing and I was sick of it! I had done what I thought was right and they in turn had disagreed! Like everything I’d done was never good enough! I had to be, no needed to be perfect in every way. It was no wonder I treated others the way I did. I merely took my anger out on them. I made others do things my way. Couple that with all the spoiling I received over the years. I wasn’t just a brat, I was a Northwest brat. I started hating myself for what I was doing, for what I was turning into. That night was my last chance to convince my parents of the truth. That I didn’t want to be another link in that filthy chain!

‘I sense you wanted some reassurance or understanding from a certain party.’

She was correct. How she knew I wasn’t certain. All I could do was nod. That’s when it hit me. I opened up to this women everything that I had bottled up within me. The abuse and anger. How I wanted be someone different, to make my own way in this world without being held back by unruly laws and ambitions. I’d had it with the evil natures of my family’s name. I wanted a chance to be me, not some robotic slave to someone’s will. So, when my father refused to listen, I left. Why, I believed it was out of frustration. Elizabetha felt something much more then just pure anger. It felt more like punishment, perhaps a bit of revenge mixed in.

I had to admit I did want too hurt him. Maybe I ran away to make him feel guilt. It would be my way of lashing out at him for everything he’d done too me. The question was, would it have worked? Could I bring my own father to regret everything he’d done to me during my childhood and going forward? Sadly, I knew the answer to this and it was a resounding negative. Preston Northwest was too thick skinned and much too proud to admit any wrongs he may have done. So me running away would only cause one person further pain, me.

You couldn’t imagine how I felt, knowing she was right. It wasn’t a judgment she was placing on me or my parents.  To do something like that was beneath this women. She didn’t have too tell me, I could hear it in her voice. She had been down that road herself. All that rage mixed with heartache and guilt. It had torn her apart, just as it was doing too me. In a way, we were the same, only the circumstances were different.

I half expected her to tell me that it wasn’t necessary for me to remain here. Though she told me last night it was my choice and mine alone. I still had a sense she might bring it up but she never did. Instead, she got up and told me to finish my meal. After I had my breakfast, she wanted to
show me something.

I took my time, savoring every morsel of that delicious meal. When I was ready, she took my plate and set it aside, telling me that Hugo would take care of the dishes when he was finished outside.

…..

After leaving the dining room, Elizabetha escorted me to a section of the castle I had yet to explore. Both of us traveled down a hallway, through an arched opening that led to a winding stairwell. The stairs curved downward, ending at a single door. She pushed it open and led me into a massive, circular chamber. She called it, ‘The Hall of Memories’, a strange title, that is until one learned of it’s purpose.

This was no ordinary room, as if anything about the whole island could be labeled as, Normal. Here among the stone pillars and stain glassed ceiling were countless portraits. The painting style was new too me. I swear I saw the images move as a walked about. It was hard to believe but all these faces were of people whom had visited the island before me. Everyone of them in one way or another found themselves on it’s shore. Men, women and children alike. The one thing that alluded me was, why? Why did these images even exist? My host explained it in the most simplistic way she could.

When someone settled on it’s surface, they in a manner of speaking, became a part of it. This was the reason why I saw a castle and she had seen a cottage. It used are own memories to create something that would appeal too ones nature. Even the insides would accommodate the person’s persona. As for the portraits themselves. It was a way for her to look at all the guests, not only as they were but as they would be. I myself witnessed this phenomenon. As I gazed at the images, I saw faces change. The young grew old, a single person became a couple and a couple became a family. I was so taken back by this that I failed to see three things. Of all the pictures,  Elizabetha or Hugo weren’t among them.

‘Myself and he shall never be apart of their company.’, she told me.

When I asked why, she told me that only when a person leaves the island does their portrait appear. That would explain why I couldn’t see myself. I wanted to see how my life may turn out. She said it was for the best that such things remain hidden for the time being. It is not for one to see themselves, such a gift could turn into a deadly curse. One must choose their own destiny without the aid of such mystical objects of prediction. This room was her way of keeping in touch with them, even if they had no knowledge. Besides, it was time for us to part, for there was still more she wished to show. With that, I bid farewell to, ‘The Hall of Memories’, Our next stop she would say very little, only that it was for my benefit.

…..

I had little to no idea what to expect. I simply followed her too our next destination. As we walked, I wondered what this place had in store for me. At first I believed it was only a mere guess as to what the purpose of this place truly was. Now I was convinced that it was some kind of teaching tool. Since talking with Elizabetha about my personal problems that led me here. I sensed that I was being taught how to face these issues head on. Instead of hiding from them, I was beginning to come to terms with them. Thinking about the room we’d just left and all those people that had come before me. How many of their troubles were related too mine? Perhaps a few, maybe none. Didn’t it really matter? I honestly believed it did. Or maybe I was hoping I could relate to at least one of those other visitors. It probably was of no importance. In the end, we each have our demons that me all must face. Mine was just one of billions in the world. It just depended on how I planned to deal with them. I learned that running from a problem never helps. That’s when I realized, this was the point she was trying to get across to me. Even she had a choice. She could’ve hunted those villagers down and let vengeance rule her life but she didn’t. Just as I could’ve remained under my father’s control for all time. Never once looking at the world through unveiled eyes. I knew what I had to do but I was still unsure how.

…..

Our journey ended at yet another door. How many rooms did this place have? More importantly, what was on the other side? My host wasted no time filling my mind with suspense. As she pulled it open, I was greeted by a normal, white interior.

The walls were completely bare and devoid of any windows. A single stairwell led to the bottom floor, which was rounded. This was extremely odd as the structure of the walls were squared. How could a room go against the standard properties of common design. I was so stunned by this that I hardly noticed the room’s furnishings. There was no shame in not noticing it, not when one marveled at the pure nonsensical achievements of the rooms’ architecture. It was hardly anything to really get excited over as there was only one.

The single piece covered most of the ground level. It was a strange looking thing. I hardly knew what to make of it. It resembled a bench or one of those long chairs you take to the beach. We had such things in the indoor pool back at the mansion. Though those were far more superior. The frames were cast from pure silver and upholstered with expensive leather. This one was fitted with stained wooden poles for legs. The one supporting the front was shorter, making the seat more elevated in the back. The back section was bent slightly backwards, while the front was titled slightly towards the ground. The whole thing was covered in a leather substitute. Being from a rich family, I could tell the difference almost immediately. Then their were the arms, which were far too wide for such a reclining chair. I guess you could call it that, it definitely fit the design. There were several, I’m not sure what to call them besides attachments. The first seemed to be built into the end of what passed for a footrest. This odd feature was metal and stretched downward, nearly touching the floor. Its face was adored by two disc shaped dials. They looked like they belonged on an oven rather than a seat. In between the two dials was a rectangular panel that was shut. A single button was above this panel. What their functions were I had no clue. Then there were the slats. There were two of them on each of the armrests, the pair were fixed vertically and all made out of metal. Four more of equal size were fitted into the footrest as well, two of each equal spaced on either side, just like their cousins. It was the oddest seat I’d ever seen. Stranger still was when I was asked to try it out.

I wasn’t tired and the way it looked made me somewhat hesitant. My host assured me no harm would come to me. I’m not certain if I willing went or if some forced had taken over my body. What I do remember was walking over to it and sitting down upon its surface. My eyes kept staring at those slots, as if something might come out and attack me. She reassured me of it’s safety. Before I knew it I was laying down. The seat felt comfortable enough but what happened next shocked me.

As soon as I put my arms on the rests, these half circlets slid out of the slots! Two from either side came to together to form a single ring. Both were covered in the same material as the rest of the seat. Inside the leathery shells was some kind of hard material, no doubt it was iron or metal inside. These clamps held my wrists in place and more were starting to enclose around my angles. My eyes widened as I stared at my host in disbelief! Had all this been a ploy to entrap me in this device? Were the others done away in the same manner? I demanded answers and to my surprise, she gave me one.

‘This room, my dear, is all for you. I know you must be scared and confused but I assure you, no harm will be done too your person.’

Call me insane but I believed every word she said. Both my body and mind began to relax as she moved toward the front. Kneeling down, I heard the sound of churning. The kind one might hear when using an old egg timer. Suddenly, the footrest started to hum. Before I knew it, two gloved hands attached to robotic arms came forth. I had a feeling they must have come from the attachment on the front. The plushy fingers took hold of the sides of both my shoes. With a light tugged on the heels, the shoes slipped off. The hands took them as they disappeared from sight. Within seconds they were back and going after my socks. I felt their plush digits carefully pulling at the pink fabric. Tugging and stretching until they parted from my feet. In a single motion, my socks became one as the hands rolled them up into a tiny, pink ball. Like my shoes, they too vanished from sight. Then I heard what could only be described as a motor going in reverse. A sound like shutters closing followed and then silence.

As I laid their looking down at my feet, my host did something that I couldn’t see. Then she got up and told me to ‘Have Fun’. I had no idea what she meant or how this had anything to do with teaching me nothing except maybe, escapology. All I could do was lay their and wait. While I laid their staring up at the ceiling, I began to hear a strange sound. It was a light, clicking noise, much like an alarm clock makes. So their I was, shackled to this ridiculous seat, listening to a tickling noise coming from heaven knows where. By this time my feet were starting to get cold! I was thankful that the restraints weren’t too tight. I could still move my hands and feet, I just couldn’t left them up. Why I had to be held down in such a manner was beyond me. I didn’t really hate the bondage, though it would’ve been better to have my limbs free. It was the waiting that gradually got too me! I had no knowledge of what this contraption had planned for me. Combine this uncertainty with the endless ticking and you had something that would grade on even the most patience persons’ nerves. This undaunting suspense only increased once it stopped.

Here I thought nothing could be more irritating then hearing that simple ticking over and over, like an endless loop recording. Once the room went silent, my senses became enhanced. Even the slightest rustling of my cloths caught my attention. Then I heard another noise coming from the front. It was a peculiar sound, like someone opening one of those mail slots in a front door. It was less screechy and much faster. Next came a whirring motion, the kind large, mechanical gears made. I’ve heard this type before when I accompanied my parents to the family's’ mud flap manufacturing mill. The sound was unmistakably similar except the audio was much lower. Something was definitely going on inside the innards of the seat. Then came what I can only describe as a kind of mechanized movement, as if some sort of attachment was moving about. The steady sounds flooded my ears. I could only picture within my mind what it might be. In my imagination all manner of devices crossed my vision. Each one more intrusive than the next.  Along with these odd noises now came a snapping. It reminded me of those puzzle toys you had to put all the colors back in the same spot. I swear whatever it was was trying to form into something else.

The whole event seemed to take hours but in reality it was more like a couple of minutes. Then it happened, I heard yet another sound, one that seemed to be imitating motion through a series of robotic movements. This was accompanied by a light sensation that aimed itself upon the soles of my feet. It came in short, strategic intervals. A soft brushing motion by something I was very familiar with. The light touch of this foreign object graced around the ball and arches of my feet. I could see a white, fluttery object pass back and forth in an endless motion. The sensations this thing gave me were of the itching variety. Instead of the need to scratch the affected area it made my feet twitch. I was also beginning to feel something creeping through my body. Whatever it this thing was, it was quite clear what it’s intentions were. Judging by the tingling spreading all over me, I had a hunch as to what was happening but I needed to see for myself if I was right. So, I lifted my head up and looked downward. I could see only a glimpse of a metal appendage that looked like an arm. At the end of it was an orange colored hand. You heard right, an orange, cartoon-like hand. It’s tiny fingers were curled up as if to form a fist. Only the thumb and forefinger were outstretched, coming together in a pinching grip. I could see something sticking out from within that orange claw. I knew it all too well, for it happened to be just one of many tools I had used on myself and a few others. In all the tools used in the art of phase merriment, one ranked above the rest. I, of course, was referring to; a feather. And this one, though short in stature made up for it by utter, unabridged tenderness. It’s fibers were the softest I’d ever felt. At once I understood what my host had meant by ‘Having Fun’. She intended to test my reflexes in a most playful manner. With that I also discovered the function of this contraption and I had no doubt it was designed specifically for me. It’s purpose was now clear. It meant not to force endurance upon myself but to simply tickle me silly.

The whole preparation for the inevitable to occur took only minutes for the metal rods to form the arm. The rest was created by a power supply imitating from within the seat with the aid of an assortment of complex, mechanical parts. The elbow joint must have been fixed with a spring mechanism that caused the top part to swing back and forth. With a steady motion such as this, it wouldn’t take long for the feather to apply it’s trade. All it took to cause the tickling to start was a slight poke to the sole itself. I hadn’t realized it but when the tip of the feather touched the bottoms of my feet, my legs tried pulling them away. Thanks to the shackles, this action was rendered useless. I do recall sucking in some air when I first felt the touch of the tickle tool. Once it started to move across my naked soles I knew it was only a matter of time before I succumb to it’s teasing tortures. Even at that moment I could feel the corners of my mouth start to curve. This always happened whenever my feet were attacked in such a teasing display of foreplay.

I must tell you now that I never got aroused when tickled, sex never even crossed my mind. I’ve heard of people like this. Some would go so far as to hurt the receiver to the point of mental and physical distress. This type of tickling wasn’t anywhere near to my liking. Some light bondage, maybe if only to keep me safe. Which must have been the reason for the shackles. She only wanted me to keep from falling off the seat as the machine did it’s job. It was a harmless device that meant no injury upon
it’s user.

As the feather brushed it’s soft, tiny tip I could feel the tickling starting to take control. It started with the pulling from my legs as it told the feather, ‘No, no, no!’ Then the toes started to move. I tried my best to keep them still but those tender, whisking brushes almost hypnotized them.

Now some will tell you that this reaction is caused by the sensations one feels. I agree with this to an extent. However, I firmly believe it had more to do with the persons inner feelings then external ones. True, ones toes can wriggle and wiggle uncontrollably but couldn’t this be out of joy instead of muscular retaliation? I found that whenever I was tickled on the feet, those little guys would wiggle about and only started doing that when I was feeling the emotion of joy. It is happiness that makes them dance too the tickling. I’ve never once had the feeling of being tortured, if I did I wouldn’t be laughing, I can assure you of that! Thus, if I were the tickler, I always asked permission before starting. If my guest has any emotional outbursts other then joy, I stop right away. No one should feel threatened by tickling. After all, it can be one of the greatest feelings if done right and this machine was programmed to do just that.

During the time the tickling started, I had several moments that could only be described as playful preparation. What do I mean by that you ask? I shall try to explain the best. You see, certain people react to these sensations differently. Some might scream or cover their mouth. Others shut their eyes or look away. This doesn’t mean they hate it. It might be that their bodies are just adjusting themselves. As for me, I tend to start with a bit of bottom lip biting. I don’t bite down hard, just enough to hold it steady. I find this helps to control the quivering of the lips as the laughter slowly takes over. When I do this it makes my mouth look like I’m holding the laughter inside. I can say I’ve tried that and it never works. If I do that then the tickles get trapped in my tummy. I wouldn’t want that because something absolutely silly happens.

…..

One time, not long after the whole Northwest Curse ended. Me and Mabel Pines were at the public pool. I know what your thinking, ‘Me, Pacifica Northwest at a public pool? Never!’ Well I was and I had gone their before, mostly when it wasn’t so occupied.

On that day, we were the only ones at the pool. I’m not sure how this actually works. I think it has something to do with the climate. If it’s really hot, the place would always be packed. Anyway, I was laying on a lounger, much like the thing I was on now. I was just laying their trying to get a tan when I felt something going up my left sole. I shook my foot about, thinking it was a fly or some other pest. It turned out to be a bigger pest then I initially thought, as Mabel was bent on giving my foot some tickles. I try not to understand her as she seemed to live in her own little world. Anyway, like I said I don’t mind being tickled as long as I trusted the other person. I must have trusted her enough to go with her to the pool that day, so a few tickles wouldn’t anger me. Once she found a certain spot she went after it and I tried to hold it in, a move we both would remember.

While she graced my sole with her wiggling digits, I felt something churning in my tummy. It wasn’t me coming down with the flu. What it was was the tickles trying to escape. You see, tickles can only escape properly from the mouth. If they tried coming out of your nose it turns into a sneeze. We don’t need to talk about ones butt as it’s pretty self explanatory. So what do they do when they’re trapped in my belly? You could say they multiply and start wriggling inside me until they finally get free. What happens when they do you ask? Well, it’s kind of embarrassing but I will tell you. I hiccup and not those ordinary, let me cut you off while your talking kind either. These are the tickling kind of hiccups. What’s different you say? Besides the fact that it tickles when they come out and always makes me giggle. All those giggly laughs that get bottle up in my throat, they come out in the form of a bubble. A nice, pinkish bubble that floats low and gets carried away by the wind. Your probably wondering if they can be popped, yes they can and when they do all those giggles are let loose. I call them, Guggles. And for close to a half hour I sat their as Mabel continued tickling my foot. I would hold it in and let the bubbles come forth. We’d each take turns popping them. If you remember when I said they tickled when they came out. Well one of them was extra ticklish and it caused me not only to giggle but to hiccup several more bubbles at one time. I’ve never had that happen again and thank goodness for that. If Mable hadn’t stopped tickling I probably would’ve never stopped. Anyway, we left the pool later on and would come back quite often during the summer. We even made a game out of the whole
crazy incident.

Sometimes, late at night we’d both sneak out and got to the far side of the lake. There we’d prop up a makeshift board and I’d lay on it and she would bare my feet. We each would roll a ten sided die. Each would have a chance to gain a point, once a player succeeded in earning their count, that person would win. Basically Mabel was the tickler and she’d try and get my to hiccup. If I could keep myself in control, I would get a point, but if I hiccup a Guggle, Mabel would get a point. We’d each take turns popping them and listen as my giggles as they carried over the lake. One time we actually woke one of the people living on the lake and we had to run away before we were caught. I will miss these days when the twins leave after the summer ends.

Getting back to the present. That soft, little feather was really going to town on my soles and I was having a great time giggling and laughing my head off. My feet started to shift back and forth as if they were trying to escape its touch. Nothing I could do would halt the mechanical ticklers progress, unless! Unless I could take away it’s power that held my soles in mirthful peril. The feather was it’s strength and if I could remove it, it would cause no further ticklish torment upon my helpless soles. So, I devised a plan to rid my feet of this bristled menace. It wasn’t easy I can assure you. My feet were very ticklish and this feather had been going strong for over twenty minutes now. I couldn’t stop laughing and though I didn’t really want it to stop, I also wanted to see if my plan could work. I gathered up some strength by holding the laughter in a bit at a time. I didn’t want to let any Guggles loose. I studied the best I could from my position how the feather moved. I pulled my feet apart to allow some room between them. I had to time it just right so that when the feather passed across the opening, I might be able to snatch it. To do this I would have to use both big toes. The problem was if I was too early or too late, the feather would simply pass over them. Not only would it tickle but I would have to try again. You must understand that I was having a devil of a time keeping myself under control. I watched and waited, sucking in air as the tickling continued. I held the laughter at bay just enough to spring my trap.

My feet were in the right position, both of them spread out. All I had to do was lift my feet just slightly off the seat’ssurface, bend them forward and catch the feather between my big toes. It doesn’t sound easy and it wasn’t. A couple of times I missed but on the fourth try I managed to get that little guy and pull him out of that orange hands’ grasp. I laid back down and breathed a sigh relief. That is until I heard a voice. It was wondering my the room had gone so quiet all of a sudden. Elizabetha was back and she sounded a tad surprised. My laughter must have traveled some distance. When it stopped she must have gotten curious.

It wouldn’t take her long to find out why the laughter had ceased. When she did discover the reason, she wasn’t the least bit upset. Though she was awfully curious how I accomplished this. I told her I just reached down and plucked it, like a flower. I couldn’t stop myself from chuckling at this. I think she found it as amusing, if not more. That’s when she look at the cartoon hand, it looked lonely without it’s companion. She said it was sad and that it wanted it’s friend back. I had no intention of giving it back. She was most insistent that I do, otherwise she would have to make me, give it back. I took this a challenge and dared her to try.

Kneeling down she faced the pair of bared soles. She began talking too them, pleading with them to give back the feather. I couldn’t help but laugh at this. And when I or I should say, when they refused to give it up, she told them she would have to teach them a lesson. That’s when I felt the fingernail dragging up my left sole. I could hear the squeak escape my throat. Her nail was like a quill but ten times were effective. All I could do was try and hold on to that feather. It wasn’t going to be easy. It only got harder once she started lightly scratching the surface of the wrinkled sole. Those soft, little scratches caused me to laugh. The more she did this, the more I let loose with the giggles. About a couple of minutes went by before she brought out the big guns; Tickle Talk!

That stuff always worked with me. For some reason just hearing someone saying the word, Tickle made me giggle. When it was repeated it made it even worse. Now couple that with actual tickling, didn’t matter where it was applied, it simply made it tickle even more. And don’t get me started on the other words one used to tease me with. Coochies made me yelp with laughter, add the coos after it and I’m a bundle of chuckles. All the while, she kept using that finger against my tender sole. Then more of its family joined in. Before I knew it I had four fingers dancing about my foot. I tried so hard to keep that feather in place but the racking motions begin and I would soon loss it.

‘Give me the feather or you’ll be very sorry.’, she teased.

I knew what this meant but I was determined to win. That is until both my soles received the dread nail tickling treatment. I could feel my strength weighing as my toes trembled under the rack and scrubbing. Slowly those nails traveled up my feet. The closer they got to my toes, the more they quivered. I could feel them getting ready to dance. I squeezed my big toes tighter against the feathers’ fluffy frame. I almost screamed when several nails climbed up toward the stalks of my toes. They were extremely ticklish and I sensed she knew this was my weakness. To tell you the truth, the most ticklish part of my soles were the arches but these came in a rough second when it came to sensitivity. Nevertheless, she had targeted them for tickling analyses, the results were undeniable! She’d found my Achilles heel and exploited it. Nothing but light scratches were used on them. One by one, they all were given the same treatment. She didn’t bother to go after the two big ones. The others would be enough to break their grip. It was only a matter of time before they surrendered. I’d love to say I won the round but unfortunately, that would be a lie. After six, solid minutes of intense toe tickling, they gave in. I just couldn’t keep them together as she scratched and rubbed my wriggling toes.

Thus the battle was won and to the victor came the spoils. She was able to put the feather back into place. All it took was a simple tap on the side of the arm to get it moving again. As soon as the feather started whisking against my soles, I completely lost it. Through my laughter I started using all manner of lines to get it to end. I literally was talking too the feather, pleading for it to have mercy. Mind you I was only having fun and never once really wanted it to end. That wouldn’t stop me from crying out, ‘I can’t stand it!’ or ‘No more!’ As well as a thousand more lines I’d gotten from various cartoons. I think I used most of them as I crossed my feet to try and shield them from the small fiend that dared attack my defenseless feet.

Over the next twenty or so minutes I kept laughing as tears of joy streamed down my face. My cheeks reddening from all the laughter. As for my feet, they were having the time of their life! Every toes was wriggling and my soles kept trying to back away from the feathers’ touch. I was sad to see it all end. I guess there must have been a timing mechanism built into the machine. Slowly the feather stopped moving, the arm slid back into it’s enclosure and the manacles released their grip and slid silently back into their holes. I laid there catching my breath. After I regained my strength, I got up and put my socks and shoes back on. Together with my host, we left the room to have some lunch.
An Island in the Lake Chapter 3
Pacifica explores the castle to find even more wonders, one made just for her.
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II. A Witch’s Tale

As she walked with me down the hall, there was one question that kept gnawing at me. I felt nervous about asking it. I guess my curiosity got the better of me. This was by no means the only question I had, there were many more but this one came first. You could guess what it was and you’d probably be right. Where did this place come from? Was it always here? Was their some kind of magic at work in and around it? For her to answer this, she would have to explain why she was here. After all, she was the first to set foot on the island.

…..

It happened so long ago, she couldn’t remember when. What little she recalled was filled with isolation and bitter sadness. I thought my life was full of sorrow but hers was far darker.

It began when she was quite young. Born into a family of gypsies, who traveled around the world. Riding in caravans, selling their wears to anyone that would purchase them. Some of my own family had sold goods. Though I had a feeling most were stolen or cheaply manufactured. The price alone was most certainly more then they were worth, unlike the wears her lot sold. For theirs was a fair and humble group. Whether they sold items or read fortunes. They never cheated anyone out of their wealth.

‘So what did happen to make this tale so grim?’, I hear you ask. That was a question even I had trouble asking. She was more then willing to tell me about it.

Her family journeyed through the snowy trails of Oregon. The year had been hard for the people in the region that would eventually be known as Gravity Falls. Winter had come early and most of the crops had failed. What was gathered wouldn’t be enough to survive on.

When the Gilstiens traveled through, that was her family’s name. The villagers were in need of anything that would help them through that terrible winter. The Gilstiens helped as much as they could. Sadly, there was more then just the chilling climate that was plaguing these people. Not long after her family arrived, an epidemic struck the area. Several children were already infected. You could probably guess where this was heading.

Since the gypsies were new to the area, the villagers naturally believed they had brought the disease with them. Worse, some of her family were being accused of witchcraft. Her mother were among the accused. They tried escaping their accusers and some did. Others weren’t so lucky. They were rounded up and brought to trail. The way she told it, it didn’t sound like much of a trail. The accusations that were brought upon them were more of fear and superstition then actual proof. They pleaded for mercy but where given none. In the end, those that were captured were sentenced too death. I could see the pain in her face as she recalled these horrible memories. Her voice trembled as she spoke of the terrible sentencing. How the whole village gathered to witness their deaths in public display.

I recall reading about these supposed Witch Trials that occurred within the town all those years ago. We were told that more then half of them were innocent. And the treatment these poor souls endured was maddening. All those confessions and most rendered from tortures no human should be put through. If I were in their place, I would’ve confessed to anything. Such was the fate of her family. Though she never spoke of them receiving any physical harm. The trail in itself was torture enough. They were good people, who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She along with her older brother managed to escape during the sentencing. To this day, she recalls how it happened. With all the chaos that proceed after the trail. The two were able to flee with the help of their parents. Sadly, their mother and father were caught. As they hid, both witnessed the horror that followed. That night the very air was light by the fires. Black smoke engulfed the innocent as their bodies were set ablaze. She can still hear their cries as the fire licked at their flesh. The horrid smell of burning skin hung over them. Six were sent to the stake, killed for a crime they hadn’t committed.

‘You could never understand the emotions I felt that day.’, she said too me.

She would be right. Although I had suffered torment. I’d never watched as a loved one was killed. After all the wickedness my family had caused. Nothing was as close to what she had been through. Sadly, her tale wouldn’t end there.

Months went by as the two hid within the woods. Living in caves and holed trees. Feeding off of berries and small animals. However, they would never be truly free. The villagers, aroused by anger and hate, took up arms and haunted for any remaining members of the gypsy clan. Day and night they searched. The light of their torches could be seen within the forest. Their shouts of vengeance echoed through the land. How awful it must had been for them. Always watching, waiting, fearing they would be found.

I asked her how long the two of them lasted.

She had forgotten the exact days. One thing she would remember was the day her brother went out.

Winter had come and food was becoming scarce. They needed to eat and so her brother, Rusio, went out that day. It would be the last time she would see him alive.

He must have thought it would be safer during the day. Maybe he felt the hunters had stopped. Unfortunately, they would never stop. Though their numbers had diminished, there were still enough to mount a full search. They found her brothers gathering acorns. Rusio had no time to flee as they surrounded him. With hateful malice, they ceased him. Dragging him through the woods like an animal. She heard his screams as they hit him. Beating him mercilessly with wooden rods. His suffering ended with a single jerk from a noose. His neck cracking with the a sickening snap. After the deed was done. They left his body their to hang for all time.

Time passed and she was left alone. Fearing for her own life. She dared not venture out to retrieve her brothers remains. Instead, she remained in hiding. She was well over twenty when she came out into the sun. It had been so long she’d forgotten how good it’s rays felt. Still, she had lost the trust she once had for people. So, she ran further into the woods. It was here that she found the island. Like me, it beckoned too her. At last she had found a place where she would be safe. No harm would come to her here.

The year was 1823 when she first set foot on it’s beach. Which would make her well over two hundred, yet she didn’t look a day over twenty-four.

She explained that the island existed outside the realm of time. In fact, most know nothing of it’s origins. Many never will even catch a glimpse of it. I found this interesting and wondered how I had found it. Elizabetha had felt the same way when she came upon it’s shore.

The place seemed smaller too her back then. There were fewer trees. Stranger still, were the castle would be, she found a cottage. Much like the one she grew up in. Upon entering it she found a table with a hot meal waiting for her. It was like the island was expecting a visitor. Off to the left was a bedroom that was just her size. Unbelievable was the only word for it. Since then she had remained on the island.

Over the years stories were told about a Phantom Island where a witch lived. ‘The Water Witch’, was the name they gave her. The name nor the stories bothered Elizabetha. She had become legend and the thing about any legends is. If it is told time and time again, it becomes a Tall Tale. Many of the original ideas start to fade and new ones take it’s place. Some say that the witch leaves the island at night to stalk would be victims. Others say she carries children off, never to be seen again.

I had heard such stories when I was young but never really believed them. Now here I was and the so called ‘Water Witch’ was nothing like what the tales spoke of. Still, the whole idea of an island that calls out to some but not too others sounded preposterous. Yet, here I was. How this could be was beyond my understanding.

‘Perhaps like me, the island choose you.’, I heard her say.

But why had it chosen me? I might never know the answer. And their was much more to her story. For the moment, she felt it best that I hear no more until later. For now I was her guest and would be shown a room. I was to stay for as long as I wished. Which was reassuring as I had no immediate plan. My first course of action after leaving the mansion was to find shelter and I had done that. I would have been a fool to turn down such a generous offer. So I complied with my host and followed her down a hallway.

I was astounded at the state of the interior. I’d never seen such elegance other then within my own home. The walls were lined with all manner of fine artwork. Each painting carefully framed and hung with such care. I passed several suits of polished armor. All of them were of a different make and period. How long had she been collecting such rare pieces of decor? Even the furniture was crafted with such elegance that would make any member of royalty feel welcome.

I was brought to another section. This one was adored with many doors leading to any manner of chamber. At first I thought it was the Servant’s Quarters. I immediately learned this happened to be the guest wing. My host opened a nearby door and motioned for me to enter.

As I walked inside, I was stunned at what lay before me. This was certainly not a room for a servant girl. The floor  was decorated in marble tile and lined with silver. The ceiling had been painted with a radiant design depicting a blue sky with a patch of fluffy, white clouds. It looked so real, I could almost feel the breeze upon my face. The chandelier hanging above me resembled a sun. The outer edges appeared to turn slowly, while the inner section turned in the opposite direction. Draping curtains aligned the windows. A satin color flowed from it’s silken body. The drawers were all made of wood with polished brass handles. A single rug lay upon the floor. It’s texture matched that of the ceiling and chandelier down to the last detail. Seated against the far wall was a bed that was just my size. The pillows and sheets were dressed in a soft blue, while the spread was a marvelous maroon. Hanging above it was a beautiful canopy draped with light blue, silk curtains. It remained me of my old bed back at the mansion.

I turned toward my host as if to say, “This is all for me!?”

She responded with a simply nodded.

I wanted to thank her but before I could say anything, she was gone. The last thing I remember hearing as she disappeared, was that someone would come get me when it was time to eat.

I was far to excited to think of food. I ran too the drawers and flung each of them open. They were full of everything from socks to under garments. All neatly tucked away, awaiting a chance to be worn. I went to the wardrobe. Within it’s wooden frame held so many different outfits. I took one out and then another. When I first ran way, I had nothing but the cloths on my back. Yet, here in this room were enough to last me years!

Gleefully I danced about the place. Holding one dress and then other. I’d never felt such joy. This room and everything in it had been meant for me. Much as the room Elizabetha had found had been meant for her. I couldn’t understand how this was possible. Some how or another my prayers seemed to have been answered. I was being cared for and for once in what seemed like months. I was happy, truly happy.

By now the floor of my room was covered with an assortment of garments. I took my time placing them back in the wardrobe. After everything was neatly put away, I laid down. The bed was so comfortable, that I drifted off to sleep. The next thing I knew, there was a knock at the door. I shook the sleep from myself and got up. Walking slowly towards the door, I opened it to find the same man standing their.

He told me that dinner was about to be served.

I was stunned! Had I been sleeping that long!? I turned to face the window and noticed it was getting dark outside. Frantically I looked at my watch. It was only half past four in the afternoon. Not even during the winter did it get dark this early. Whatever the reason, I was being summoned to dinner.
Normally at the mansion, one was expected to dress accordingly. It didn’t matter if a guest was attending or not. ‘A Northwest must look the part at all times!’, I often heard my father say. I guess this practice was still enforced within me. For I began to think of what to wear. There were so many I had no clue which to choose. I rushed towards the wardrobe but stopped suddenly. There laying across the bed was the perfect dining apparel. They reminded me of the lake foam dress I had wanted to wear to the annual party. The very one my mother forbid me to wear.

It was a gorgeous light blue satin dress that flowed down into flower like petals. A pair of matching shoes lay on the floor. A put them on and glanced at myself in the mirror next to the dresser. I couldn’t believe how elegant I looked. There was just one thing that puzzled me. How did the dress get their? Had I picked it out prior to my nap? I had gone through most of the garments but couldn’t remember picking out any of them. Even if I did, I would’ve placed them over the mirror on hung them up on the wardrobe. Plus, When I got off the bed, the comforter was all matted. Now it had been tidied up as if I had never sleep on it. I started to wonder if this place might be haunted. At the moment I had no time to worry about roaming spirits. I was going to be late and as my father would say, ‘A guest must always be punctual!’

……

The dining room was smaller then I would’ve imagined. Of course, for a group of three it was just the right size. I had a strange thought that had their been more company, the room would’ve accommodated them all. I’m not sure why I thought this. All I knew was that their was something unnatural about the place. Like the building itself was in someway; alive.

Even though the space wasn’t what I expected. The room still gave off a certain appeal. On the left side was a grand fireplace that crackled with glowing light of burn amber. The smell of oak came forth from the hollowed, stone opening, which added to the pleasant feeling the room gave off. Brass candle holders hung from the walls, illuminating many of the paintings decorating it’s surface with their dim, glowing lights. There was a peace here that I couldn’t describe. Even the table, which was rounded, had a sense of family too it.

Most of my life I sat at a long, oak table. My parents sat at either end and I in the middle. There was never any conversation unless it involved the family businesses. I spent many a dull nights at that table. Not even the most exquisite meals could dampen the boredom that engulfed that place. Once one set foot inside, you could feel the drudgery begin to creep about you. When the room was filled with guests, the mindless chatter use to drive me mad! I was so young I hardly knew what anyone was talking about.  I wished I could’ve contributed to those conversations. Though I had my doubt anyone would’ve paid any attention too me. Yet in here I had a sense of acceptance. I found that my opinions would matter and that those around me were eager to listen. No more being an outcast among hierarchy. Best of all, no one would judge me or tell me my outfit wasn’t proper. I was finally a part of a real family.

My host welcomed me as I took my seat. Before me was a steaming bowl of soup. I didn’t recognize the type and I had many in my day. Taking a spoon full, I tasted it to see if I could guess what kind it was. The flavor of mushroom and sage with a hint of spice graced my taste buds. It was by far one of the best soups I’d ever had. When I inquired as to whom had cooked it, the bald headed man stood and acknowledged his handiwork on the ‘Sage Broth’.

It turned out he knew how to cook and had become a fine chef in the process. Funny thing was, he had no clue until he tried it and found he had a set of skills he’d never knew about.

During the second course which consisted of chicken with a delightful cream sauce made from Gouda and a pinch of basil, my host continued her tale:

After she discovered the island and found the cottage, which became her refuge. Many years went by and the place became her new home.

I asked her about the cottage and who had built it. I also wanted to know about the fortress and what had happened to the cottage, but felt that would be answered at another time. For now, the discussion was about her experiences on the island.

She had wondered about the creation of the cottage herself. Perhaps it had always been there, waiting for someone to find it and use it for their own..

‘This place has a power. It called too me, just as I believe it called you to.’, she said with a smile.

She had a warm smile that seemed to light up her entire face. I could see no trace of anger of hate about it. How could someone that endured such loss be so content? Clearly she had wanted justice on those that had wronged her. Which she did, for a time she thought of nothing but to seek justice for the cruelty inflicted upon her family.

‘Hatred is a powerful force, my child. It attaches itself too you and drains you of everything you hold dear. Here in this place, I have found peace with myself and with the past.’

I was overwhelmed at how much she truly was at peace. It clearly shown all about her. Her eyes sparkled with it. Her hair flowed downward until it almost touched the ground. It too seemed free of all stress. She looked so young, yet I knew not why. Even if she was free from the pain of the past. Time should’ve caught up with her. Somehow this island was beyond the effects of time.

If what she was saying held any truth, then maybe everything else that had happened to me so far was a part of this ‘Power’ Elizabetha spoke about. And if the island calls people to it, then I figured it must have called too this man.

I wasn’t too far from the truth on that one.

…..

Hugo Lapz had been a naval officer. After he was discharged after twenty-eight years in the service. He still couldn’t shake the calling of the sea. All his life he’d been drawn too water. After his retirement, he went and bought a sail boat. Every year he would go out for weeks. He hoped to discover some uncharted land. He would then name it and become one of the great explores. One year he got more then he hoped for.

The day was clear and bright. He’d never seen such a bluer sky in all his life. However, by mid day the clouds turned gray and the sky rumbled with thunder. Flashes of lighting ripped across the sky as the oceans depths began to quiver. It began with just small dips, but those dips morphed into short waves. Then the rains came down in drenching downpours. The winds picked up and tossed the boat about like a child’s toy. The waters roared like an angry beast! The tiny waves that had been slapping against the sides of the boat, grew more furious! Before he knew it, the mast started to whip and twist. The fabric of the mast torn as the sound of wood cracking could be heard. Hugo tried to control the boat but the winds were too strong. The rain came down harder, daring to flood the boat, dragging it down into the darkened depths. He heard the cry of the mast as it broke and went flying into the air. The boat tossed and turned. Massive waves played with it. Pushing it too and fro until it’s insides were completely full of salt water. Fearing for his life, Hugo tried one last effort to keep the vessel afloat. With eyes filled with terror, he gazed up at the heavens. The waters grew upwards, engulfing the boat in it’s monstrous shadow. Gravity took over and the beastly wave crashed down like a giant’s hand!

Under the might of that hellish wave, the boat was smashed to pieces! He’d been thrown into the stormy waters with no hope of survival. Perhaps it was his naval training that saved him that day. For he manged to take hold of a large piece of wooden wreckage from the remains of his mighty vessel. He kept himself afloat as the sea splashed itself upon his cold, soaked body. As the storm passed, he found himself far out in that never ending realm known as the sea.

One day he found himself on a beach. He was weak from hunger and was suffering from a variety of sea like illnesses. She found him and took him to what was a cottage had now taken the form of a small house. Their she nursed him back to health. Ever since that day, he remained on the island as a constant companion.

His story was fascinating but I found some of it impossible to believe. Gravity falls was far from any ocean. How did Hugo end up on it’s shore in the middle of the ocean? About the only thing I could think of made very little sense. Because in order for him to have arrived on the same island, it would mean it could travel. I knew for a fact that this couldn’t be. If it was, it would be the most incredible discovery of our age! An island that moves about from place too place. That has the power to challenge and defeat the parallels of time. As well as change the physical appearance of a cottage into a house. For someone that lived in a town populated by the unknown. Why was it so hard to believe that which I had already witnessed?

My host could tell I was troubled by all manner of question. She suggested that I take my mind off it. Perhaps after dinner she would show me the library. Some reading often did do me good when I was worried about things beyond my control.

…..

After the delightful meal, Elizabetha escorted me to the library while Hugo remained behind to clean up. I wondered if he minded doing such manual labor. My host told me he enjoyed helping with anything. Whether it was cleaning or working outside. Hugo was content with keeping the castle tidy, a trade he’d picked up in the navy no doubt.

Elizabetha brought me to an entrance closed by a set of double doors. She pushed one of them open to reveal a spacious area filled with every known piece of literature ever written. I poured over countless volumes that night, unaware of how tired I was becoming.  I lost all sense of time while I was reading. It wasn’t until the grandfather clock struck eleven that I realized I should take me leave. I offered my host a good evening but found she had vanished once more. I had no time to delve into the mysteries of the mystic arts of teleportation. For now I required only one thing, sleep.

I found my room with great ease, as if I was learning quickly where certain places were located. Upon opening the door and turning on the lights, I noticed an object resting upon the pillow. I blinked several times to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. However, as I opened them, the object remained in it’s place.

It’s features were as I remembered, right down to the slight fold on the right ear. It most definitely was Hoppsy, my old rabbit plush. I thought he had been lost. I was certain I’d taken him on a trip one time and misplaced him. When we got home and I realized I’d lost my friend, I was crushed. I cried for days over the loss but now he had returned. I failed to see how and felt maybe it was just a random stuffed toy. Yet, as I examined him, it became clear that it was really him! Even the crayon heart I drew on his left cheek was their. It was Hoppsy, he was back! I cared not how as I ran over and picked him up. Tears welling in my eyes as a hugged my long lost toy.

That night, with my favorite stuffed toy tucked under my arm. I slept soundly all through the night and didn’t awake until morning.
An Island in the Lake Chapter 2
Pacifica discovers the story of how her host and others found themselves on the same, mysterious island.
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shimmer_and_trixie_colored
This is the colorized version of my commission by Komori. The artist that colorized this wishes to remain anonymous.
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numbuh35
Paul Stevens
United States
Current Residence: minnesota
Favourite genre of music: contemporary christian
Favourite style of art: anime
Operating System: pc
Favourite cartoon character: nazz
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SIGNAL BOOST: HEY, PLEASE READ THIS- ITS SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT THE FATE OF YOUR INTERNET-LIFE IS AT STAKE!!!!!! APPARENTLY THERE IS A HACKER ON DEVIANTART, CALLED 'LIFE OWNER'..... TELL EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST BECAUSE IF SOMEBODY ON YOUR LIST ADDS HIM THEN YOU WILL GET HIM ON YOUR LIST. HE WILL FIGURE OUT YOUR ID COMPUTER ADDRESS, SO COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE EVEN IF YOU DON'T CARE FOR THEM AND FAST BECAUSE IF HE HACKS THEIR EMAIL HE HACKS YOUR MAIL TOO (I think what it means by that is that he could assume the identity of your friends, and FOOL you into opening the letter since you think it's your friend that's sending it )!!... Anyone using Internet mail such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and so on. This information arrived this morning, Direct from both Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who has access to the Internet. You may receive an apparently harmless e-mail titled 'Mail Server Report' If you open either file, a message will appear on your screen saying: 'It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful.' Subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC, And the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, e-mail and password. This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon. AOL has already confirmed the severity, and the anti virus software's are not capable of destroying it . The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself 'life owner'.. PLEASE SEND A COPY OF THIS TO ALL Remember, always be careful of messages you receive in email-don't open them unless you're 100% POSITIVE they're safe. If you have even the SLIGHTEST doubt, DON'T open it-DELETE it, it's the smart thing to do!
  • Reading: World's Most Haunted Places
  • Watching: Ed, Edd n Eddy
  • Playing: LOTR: Third Age
  • Drinking: diet pepsi

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