The first thing Gabrielle remembered was waking up to the the olive-green canopy, marveling the way the sun’s yellow-white glow danced among the leaves. The second thing he remembered was the sound of his own name “Gabrielle, Gabrielle” echoing through the warm breeze. How Gabrielle came about waking up at the foot of The Tree is unknown. No one was there to witness, to explain, nor to console him. So in fear of absolute solitude, he went back to sleep. And dreamt the first dream in this world.
The children sat at their table long after the men left the inn, discussing the possibility that what they heard was true. A place where people could actually dream? That seemed almost impossible to them, but naturally their childish imaginations took over and their speculations about this mysterious spot started to grow and plant the seed of adventure in their minds.
“Do you really think this place exists?” asked Simon, the youngest of the three
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out” Joy, the oldest, answered.
“And how do you plan to do that?” scoffed Paul “Walk into the forest and just stumble upon it? They don’t call it a hidden because it’s easy to find.”
“I’m aware of that, but if a place like that exists don’t you want to go find it? I mean obviously it has to be somewhere. How else would those two men have known about it?”
“Because it’s just a story. A place like that can’t actually exists. It just doesn’t make sense” Paul responded stubbornly.
The sound of soft laughter filled the air, and a voice spoke from behind the three children.
“Oh child, every story has a small grain of truth to it…”
The men were talking about something unexpected: dreams. In that land no one had dreams. They didn’t have sweet ones during the day or horrid ones at night. The people had imagination all right but it was a sort of this worldly or rather that worldly imagination. No one had thoughts of frightening figures looming out of shadows or being able to fly through the air because those sorts of things come hand in hand with dreams. Of course, people had heard of dreams in tales and stories told by old grandmothers in front of the fire and young bright-faced travelers from other places. But hearing and experiencing are two different things and since they could not picture these things in their minds they heard them and forgot them.
Fortunately, there were three particularly bright children who happened to be sitting at the very table next to the two men in the old inn. These three were intrigued by the tales of dreams and often came to the inn to eavesdrop on travelers’ conversations and catch tid-bits of information about the visions. However, they wanted not only to know more about them but to experience them for themselves. The adventurers had heard tales of a hidden place deep in the woods where people could actually dream. They meant to find it.
“It’s like heaven on earth,” she said as she gazed at the Magnificent Tree at the Center of the Forest.
“It’s not LIKE heaven on earth, it is.” And then Gabriele lowered her staff and opened the gates to the library.
The kettle was whistling on the stove as two dark figures sat whispering at a small round wooden table in the corner of the room.
There was a low rumbling below the factory floor. Lindsay looked around, hoping to find the source of the noise. Her dog barked loudly, perhaps also confused by the sound. Nobody had worked there for over twenty years.