I wanted to post part of my book here. This is chapter one and I would be happy for anyone/everyone to read it, but a request also, read it to a child… see what their reaction is and if they are interested to hear more 🙂
1 The Map
She grabbed the new bottle of soap with the red clearance sticker slapped across the label. The thick liquid poured out dark almost black into the filling tub. Bitty wrinkled her nose at the gloppy soap and wondered if she should even use it. It was just like her mother to buy something off the clearance rack, even something weird like bath soap. A Tie-dye rainbow of bubbles began to dance across the top of the water. Her eyes followed the mesmerizing bubbles. Around and around, thick here, thin there, she began to feel very relaxed in the colorful foam. She let her eyes flutter shut and in her mind the image of a golden medallion flashed. Bitty felt drowsy and let her eyes flip open. As she looked down at the bubbles, they weren’t colored anymore. Adrift on the top of the water, swirling in the mass of white foam was the formation of a map. Bitty smirked at her imagination, and swiped her right hand through the islands of bubbles in front of her. She lifted them and let them drip off her fingertips. She watched them land, splat. The froth shifted. In front of her in the mess of bubbles, was clearly the same image of a map she had just seen. Her mouth was dry. Bitty tried to swallow. She could hear her heartbeat in her ears. She sat up, reached both hands into the middle of the suds and smeared them back and forth vigorously. The water became calm and the map was gone. Bitty let out a sigh of relief.
“Whew, that was weird.” She grabbed up her washrag and began to wash her cheeks and forehead. She closed her eyes and saw the map, only this time it wasn’t made of bath bubbles, it was on paper, and it was a real map. Her eyes flew open and down. There it was again, plain as day, the same exact map made of clumps of bubbles only clearer this time. Bitty decided then that she was clean enough and jumped out of the bathtub. As she dried off, the map was still there swaying back and forth ever so slightly, how things do when they ride on the top of water. Bitty grabbed up the bottle of soap. On it the label said:
Its not just imagination you may find
A world in space and time
Look and see what you might
To save him is to endure the fight
Travel to win a must
Chosen three the ultimate trust
Bitty’s eyes grew large and she sucked her breath in. Her head was reeling. What did it mean, and what weirdo company made this map-making bottle of bath bubbles. She glanced back down at the tub and it was still there. This time it was clearer. And the space where she had sat was covered with more of the map and she could see shapes that resembled letters. The frothy letters weren’t quite clear enough to form words she could read yet. Her heart was racing. She looked around the bathroom. She wanted to find something that she could copy the map with. She thought maybe she could draw it, but knew she wasn’t that good. Then it came to her. Take a picture and print it out, but how could she go down and sneak her mom’s camera without being seen. Then she heard footsteps in the hallway, Mother’s footsteps.
“Bitty.” Her mother called through the door.
“Yes Mom.” Bitty said frozen.
“If you’re alright, I am going outside to water the flowers. It is so hot and dry that if I don’t they won’t make it another day.”
“Yeah, okay.” Bitty silently let out a sigh of relief. Now she knew she could sneak down and get the camera and get away with it. Excitement ran through her, and she knew she had to hurry. There were words formed across the map when she returned. Bitty took four pictures. She had begun to wonder how she could print them without her mother knowing too. This was going to be a little tricky. If her mother found out Bitty was using her camera and printer without permission, she surely would ground her and take the pictures too. Bitty hurried and dressed in her pajamas. She looked out at the yard on her way downstairs. It was getting later, but in the middle of summer the sun was still high in the sky. Bitty watched her mother swat a bug away as she watered petunias in a hanging basket. She could tell that her mother had not gotten far in watering and she would be outside at least another fifteen to twenty minutes. There wasn’t much time to spare.
Bitty ran into her mother’s office. The camera cord to the computer was already plugged into the computer. She had never done it herself but had seen her mother do it many times before. Her heart was racing. She didn’t want to be caught and be grounded. She found the cord and plugged it in. She glanced into the eyes of her father’s photo on the desk as the camera uploaded. They were her own mirrored in the man she had not met from the time she was an infant. Then, on the monitor popped the four photos of the map. Bitty squinted and leaned closer to the screen. One looked good. The other three were a little blurry. Bitty hit the delete button for the three bad pictures and hit print for the best picture. The printer chugged to life. Then she remembered that she should check the paper tray, but it was too late. The printer had already snatched up the first paper in the tray and was laying down the ink. She noticed that the paper was different than regular white paper. It was off white in color and had what looked like little threads of the same color running different directions through it.
Bitty ran to the window of the office and peeked through the blinds. She fell backwards a little as she saw her mother standing right next to the window watering rows of violets next to the house. Right then the printer spit the map out into the tray. Bitty picked it up with a smile on her face. It was perfectly clear. She hurried and rolled it up and grabbed the camera to unplug it and erase the photos. She wasn’t sure which button to push so she pushed several. After hearing the camera beep three times, Bitty placed it back where she got it hoping all the photos were erased.
She smiled back at the dark haired father picture as she opened the door and her mother walked in the back door at the same time. Bitty thought quickly.
“Mom, can I get a few sheets of white paper from your office?” Bitty could feel her heart beginning to beat against her ribcage.
“Only a few, I need those for work.” Her mother didn’t even glance at her as Bitty pulled herself back into the office and held her right hand over her heart.
After standing there for a moment, Bitty grabbed a sheet of plain paper, used it to cover the curled up map, and headed for her room. As she reached the bottom step her mother called out to her. Bitty stopped in her tracks, closed her eyes and said, “Yeah Mom.”
“I was just thinking since it is Friday night, why don’t we pop some popcorn and settle in to watch a movie. Something like Pirates of the Caribbean?” Her mother stuck her head around the corner of the kitchen smiling at Bitty.
Bitty smiled and slowly took another step.
“I don’t know. Um, I think I am going to draw in my room for a little while, if I’m done soon maybe. I’ve kind of got some good ideas and I want to try to get them on paper.” Bitty took two more steps towards her room.
“Oh, well okay. Just let me know then.” Bitty’s mother turned with a solemn look on her face.
Bitty felt bad. She knew her mother was lonely sometimes and she did want to spend time with her, but she just had to be able to look at the map in secretive quiet.