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Ninjanaria Chapter Three: Ninjanaria 😉

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  • #115163
    Beth Darlene
    @beth20

      Chapter Tree: Ninjanaria

      Tim’s eyes flashed around the room. Where am I?

      He could remember sinking, losing all sense of direction, then all of a sudden emerging into… somewhere. He didn’t remember much.

      There was a window looking out over a vast lake, a dresser stood on his left and a bookshelf, full of old leather-bound books to his right.

      Just then a middle-aged woman entered the room. She had long black hair and a pleasant face.

      She smiled. “Aw, your awake.” Her voice was smooth and low. “We’ve been waiting. Throden is eager to see you.”

      Tim frowned. He didn’t understand what she was talking about. Should I know this person? “Um, who are you again?”

      She laughed. “I’m Sringard, and you’ll meet Throden in a moment,” she answered. “He found you by the pond unconscious and brought you here so I could take care of you.”

      Tim was confused. Where’s Jered, and Keren, and…and, Ana!? “Where is my family?” he asked anxiously.

      She smiled kindly. “You must have a lot of questions. I’ll send Throden up and he can answer them. I have to finish dinner.”Then she turned and walked out closing the door softly.

      Tim lay there for a minute, lost in thought. Maybe I floated downstream when I fell into the pond? But the pond didn’t have any stream to float down.

      He climbed stiffly out of bed and walked to the window. His head hurt, but not terribly. He realized his clothes had been taken from his body and in their place, was a long white robe.

      The sun was setting and it took his breath away at how beautiful the water was.

      There was a light knocking at the door then a man entered. He was tall and very fit. His face was stern but not unkind.

      Must be the thing, knock, and enter without permission. He thought dryly. “Are you Throden?” he asked.

      The man smiled. “Yes, that’s me. And you are?”

      Tim smiled back. “I’m Tim.” He held out his hand.

      Throden reached out, as if to shake Tim’s hand, but instead grabbed his forearm. “Nice to meet you.” Turning around, Throden grabbed a chair and sat down. “You probably have a lot of questions.”

      Tim took a deep breath. In fact, he had so many questions he didn’t know where to start.“Yeah, so I guess first off, where am I?”

      “Oh, another outsider I see.” Throden smiled. You are in the great town of Urit,” he answered.

      Tim racked his brain, he conjured up all the geography lessons he had ever taken, but Urit, didn’t ring any bells. “I’m sorry, could you be more specific? My geography was never very good.”

      Throden laughed. “Sure, we’re just south of the town of Brarlock.”

      Brarlock? Still didn’t ring any bells. He laughed nervously. “Which country?” He asked.

      Throden shrugged. “We mostly go by towns here. You won’t find any countries until you head further north.”

      That just made him more confused. No countries? He laughed. He must be messing with me! “No, but for reals, where am I?”

      Throden frowned. “I am being real. The countries are further north! I’m not sure what you mean.”

      Tim could feel the color rising in his cheeks. He was becoming angry. “Please stop messing with me,” he said calmly.

      “For the last time, I’m not messing with you! Your in the world Ninjanaria, if that helps.” He said sarcastically.

      Tim studied his face. He really isn’t joking! “Wait you’re literally not messing with me!” Inside he felt a sinking feeling. Ninjanaria? How the heck did I get here?

      Throden frowned again. “You mean you aren’t from here?” he said. “Like your seriously not from this world?!”

      Tim didn’t know what to say. He felt like this was all a hoax, but Throden… Either he was really good at lying, or he was sincere. Both theories were possible, but something inside of Tim told him Throden was telling the truth.

      Somehow he was in another world.

      “Do you have siblings? Throden asked.

      Tim was shocked, he hadn’t expected that. “Uh yeah, I have three. Why?”

      Throden’s face suddenly changed. “Three? What are their names?”

      “Karen, Jered and Ana,” he answered. “But why is this important?”

      Throden stared out the window as if trying to remember something. “Get dressed and meet me downstairs. There are some clothes in the drawer over there,” he said pointing to the dresser. Then he ran out of the room leaving the door wide open.

      Tim stood there trying to take in all Throden had said. His mind reeled with all the things he had told him.

      He got up and walked to the dresser. Opening the doors he found, deerskin pants and tunic. He quickly traded the nightgown he was wearing for them and peeked his head out the door.

      The hall was empty, but he could hear voices coming from below. He stepped into the hall and walked toward what he thought were the stairs. He was right, and he stopped to listen. But he could hear only their voices and not their actual words. He sighed and walked down the stairs.

      He emerged into what must have been the kitchen. Sringard had her back to him, and was just taking hot golden-brown biscuits out if the oven. He could just see Throden sitting at a little table in the other room. “Am I in time for dinner?”

      Sringard jumped, startled and almost dropped her plate of biscuits. “My, child you nearly gave me a heart attack!” she exclaimed.

      Throden looked up from polishing his staff and smiled.

      Tim laughed nervously before responding. “I’m sorry ma’am.”

      Sringard laughed. “Don’t apologize, and your dinner is on the table.”

      Tim walked over to the table and sat across from Throden, mumbling a greeting.

      “Aw, finally. I’ve been starving down here while you snoozed away!” Throden said. Then more loudly, “Come on Sringard I’m starving!”

      “Coming!” she called back. And very soon came bustling out of the kitchen with a hot plate of steaming biscuits. Setting them on the table, she reached over and lifted the lid off a ginormous cast iron pot, revealing a pot roast with carrots and potatoes.

      Tim sighed with pleasure. It felt like forever since he’d eaten.

      ***

      Jered slowly opened the letter. He almost didn’t read it. He still hadn’t forgiven his dad for leaving.

      Why did you go? The question haunted him.

      He wondered why his mom had had the letter. Was she hiding something?

      The letter dated, November 19th, 2019.

      Just a week before he died, Jered realized. He took a deep breath. I can do this!

       

      Dear Jered,

      I’m being hunted. So I had to write you this letter before I died. I was once from…..well…..from a different world, called Ninjanaria. Don’t laugh Jered, I’d never lie to you. Where I come from, there was a prophecy concerning you, your siblings, your cousin and something else called a Murry. It was said you would save Ninjanaria from a terrible darkness. When I first heard about the prophecy I had no idea it was about my own children you see. I was sent from the Council of Ninjas to find you.. but I found your dear mother first and staid on earth. Then, when we started having children, I forgot about the prophecy, pushing it to the back of my mind. Only recently did I start thinking about it again. And only recently did the Graylick start hunting me. So I had to leave my dear family behind. I could never go back to Ninjanaria and give up my children. Nor could I stay with you and put you all in danger. Please understand I did what I did to protect you and not to hurt you. I love you so much!

      Love, Your Dad

      Jered gasped. How is this possible? Thinking about it made him sick to his stomach.

      Then it hit him.

      That’s where Tim is! He’s stuck in a different world, just like I thought. I have to go find him, he’s in danger!

      Putting the note in his back pocket he grabbed his backpack and started stuffing his clothes into it. He was angry at his mom for not telling him sooner. Walking down the hall towards the stairs he stopped in front of Karen’s bedroom. Should I tell her? Should I take her?

      He knew Keren would want to come, but he wasn’t sure if she should. She has to stay here to help mom and look after Ana. He finally made up his mind to tell her, but not let her come.

      ***

      Jered stood on the highway, his thumb in the air. He was trying to flag a ride to his cousin’s house. He had decided to tell him, and if he was willing, to take him with him.

      Keren took that pretty hard. He sighed.

      He had knocked on her door softly at first but harder when she still didn’t wake up. Finally, he just pushed open her door and woke her up himself. He had felt pretty stupid telling her. But when she read the note she just burst into tears. It felt weird comforting her. Often times he would be the one crying on her shoulder, in the weeks following his dad dying. He had never seen her cry, mostly in support of his mom. He guessed she must have cried before but he had never witnessed it. She would often hide places where she felt comforted not by any human but by nature and the things she knew so well.

      After that, he had written a note to his mom and Ana explaining things. Taking some food from the pantry he had headed out.

      Jered shook himself out of his thoughts, noticing an old, beat up, pickup stopping on the side of the road.

      “Need a lift son?” The person asked.

      The face looked familiar. Then he remembered, it was an old friend of his dad’s. “Yeah thanks, McCain!” he answered climbing in.

      “Where you headed son?”

      “Up to my aunt’s house,” he said.

      McCain brightened up but tried not to show it. “Really? That woman sure is a fine cook!”

      Jered laughed. “Yeah she sure is,” he agreed.

      “So what brings you out here all alone, without a ride and backpacking?” he asked curiously.

      Jered tensed. “Nothing, just thought I’d visit my cousin.” Well, I’m not lying.

      “At four o’clock in the morning?” McCain asked skeptically.

      Jered tried to laugh it off and changed the subject. “So where are you heading?”

      McCain looked sideways at him. “Son are you in trouble?”

      Jered stiffened. Should I tell him? After all, he was a friend of dads…

      Finally coming to a decision, he said. “McCain, you knew my dad really well, right?”

      McCain smiled. “That I did, a good man he was too. You remind me a lot of him, a very handsome face.”

      Jered shrugged the compliment off. “Okay, then read this letter.” he handed it to him.

      “I would be glad to,” he said. “But I can’t when I’m driving, here you read it to me.” and he handed it back.

      Jered swallowed and started to read.

      When he was done, he looked at McCain’s face. It was wrinkled in concern and sympathy.

      “Well,” he said. “I already knew about all that, I didn’t think he would have told you about it though.”

      Jered was confused. “You already knew about Ninjanaria?” he asked.

      “Yes I did, and I also swore to him I would never tell any of you about it,” he said.

      “McCain, my brothers in there.”

      McCain gasped. “What!?”

      “That’s why I’m going to my cousin’s house. I need his help finding him,” he said.

      “Well, in that case, we need to hurry,” he said and he stepped on the gas.

      ***

      15-year-old Jaylin Storm, laid in bed thinking to himself. What am I doing here? Why haven’t I run away yet? He was angry at himself and confused. Those were the question he asked himself every night just before drifting off to sleep. My dad hates me, my mothers gone! Why do I stay here? But even as he asked himself those questions he knew the answers. He’s stayed in that little house at the edge of Brarlock for one reason.

      His brother.

      Through all the years of hardship and pain, Hougen had always been there for him and he knew he couldn’t leave him there alone.

      Why won’t Hougen come with me? He asked himself angrily.

      Jaylin tossed and turned in his bed trying to fall asleep, but thoughts of his life and what his life could be, kept him awake gnawing at him like a hungry lion devouring its prey. He tried to imagine his mother. What would life be like with her? Would she love him, would she care for him like he had always dreamed she would? His mother had died at his birth, and his dad had blamed him ever since.

      Jaylin could feel the tears creeping up and tried to push them back. He didn’t want to cry, but he couldn’t stop himself. Soon hot tears were streaming down his cheeks, touching his lips with their salty moister. Throwing back the covers, he grabbed his cloak off the bedpost and ran out the door heading outside.

      He was openly sobbing now. He was running, dodging trees, jumping ditches. He didn’t know where he was going, but anywhere as long as he was going away from his home.

      Jaylin couldn’t run anymore, stumbling to a stop he leaned against a tree gasping for breath. He slid down the tree suddenly too tired to hold himself up. He didn’t care about himself anymore, if he died right then, right there he wouldn’t have cared. “Just finish me off!” he screamed. Then he sunk into a fitful sleep.

      His dreams were filled with monsters, demons, and hungry creatures. Even in his dreams, he couldn’t escape the feeling of being hunted. And in his dreams, he realized he needed to leave

      with or without Hougen.

      Jaylin’s eyes flew open. Something had awoken him but he wasn’t sure what. Then crack a twig snapped. I’m being watched by something, or someone, he realized.

      Early morning sunshine shone through the dense canopy above him, dappling the ground with patterns of gold and yellow.

      Jaylin spun around, confronting the thing that was watching him.

      There stood Hougen, only a few yards away. “The heckl man you nearly gave me a heart attack!”

      Hougen laughed “Yeah, well…..why are you out here anyway? I heard you leave last night.”

      Jaylin’s smile faded. “Um…yeah…I don’t really want to talk about it.” He mumbled. He pushed past Hougen and headed in the direction of the house.

      “Whoa, dude,” Hougen said, stepping around Jaylin and blocking his way. “I know you don’t want to talk about it.” He said. “But sometimes you need to. Even I sometimes need to,” he added.

      Jaylin sat down. “Alright,” he grumbled, glaring at him.

      “Is it a girl?”Hougen asked.

      Jaylin spat on the ground. “Absolutely not! You know how I feel about girls,” he said.

      Hougen laughed again. “Yes, I know. I was only teasing. But for real, what’s on your mind?” he asked seriously.

      Jaylin sighed. “Well, it’s a little hard to explain,” he began. “But I feel trapped, I feel like I’m prey being devoured by a giant beast. But slowly like it’s letting me bleed out.” He stopped. “Does that make sense?”

      Hougen looked at him concerned. “It…does,” he said slowly. “Why do you feel this way?” he asked. Jaylin tensed, then after a long pause, “Because of dad.” He answered softly, not daring to look into Hougen’s eyes.

      Hougen exhaled slowly. “You need to leave,” he said after a little while.

      “Wha…?” Jaylin was confused.

      “You need to leave,” he repeated himself. “Go, get out of here, you can’t stay here.”

      Jaylin looked his brother in his eyes and only saw regret and sadness there. “But…” he stammered. “What about you?”

      This was what he had wanted, Hougen to want him to leave. But now that it was actually happening he started to doubt himself.

      Could he even make it by himself? Where would he go?

      “Jaylin!” Hougen’s voice snapped him back to the present. “Wait here I’ll go pack a backpack for you. It would be best if you didn’t come back to the house,” he said.

      Jaylin nodded. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll be here.”

      Jaylin sat there waiting. It had been about 40 minutes since Hougen had left, and Jaylin was getting worried. Suddenly Hougen appeared, carrying his backpack and a steaming plate of eggs and bacon. “I thought you might need these,” he said, handing him the plate.

      Jaylin took the plate gratefully. “I hoped you’d be smart enough to do that,” he said and laughed.

      Hougen smiled. “I’ll miss you, you know,” he said.

      Jaylin looked up. “I know. I’ll miss you too.”

      When Jaylin was done with the eggs, he set the plate on a stump and grabbed his backpack.

      They stood there in silence for a moment just looking at each other. Then Hougen stepped forward and gripped Jaylin in a bear hug. “Stay safe,” he chocked out. Then grabbing the plate he walked off towards the house.

      Jaylin watched his brother, who had become his best friend over the years, leave.

      Will I ever see him again?

      ***

       

      Marrill stood, looking at the ruckus going on in the schoolyard. She was glad she was not caught up in the middle of it all like she usually was. No, not this time, this time another kid was all the trouble. Marrill laughed, happy the next day was not a school day. She rushed through the plans of tomorrow in her head. Tomorrow, she was free.

      Just then, she heard the familiar sound of the school bell ringing out over the yard.

      End of lunch, she told herself and started to trudge down the little dirt path. She pushed thoughts of tomorrow out of her mind and prepared herself for her afternoon classes.

      When she got to the schoolhouse door, she was the last person in.

       

      Marrill walked home, happy she didn’t have to stay in detention like she normally had to. She could just walk home straight from school.

      A group of kids stood in front of her blocking the sidewalk. “Hey guys,” she said spying some of her friends in the group. She also spied Ricky in the group and decided not to stay and chat, she didn’t want to talk to him.

      “Hey,” a couple of them said and stepped out of her way. But Ricky fell in step beside

      her.

      She sighed. “What are you doing.”

      Ricky shrugged. “Nothing,” he said. “Just thought I’d see what you were doing.”

      “Ricky, I already said I don’t like boys and don’t want to go out with you,” she said trying to be as nice as she could.

      Ricky stopped. “Why Marrill?” he asked. “Why don’t you like boys? Not all boys are selfish, grimy, hotheaded, pigs like Steven!”

      She laughed at his impression of Steven. “I know Ricky, but my parents would never allow me to go out with a boy, I’m only 13.”

      Ricky sighed. “Oh,” he said and shuffled his feet awkwardly.

      “Plus we might be moving,” she added. She didn’t really believe they were actually going to move but she used it as another excuse.

      Ricky looked up startled. “What!?” he said. “Your moving?”

      She nodded. “Probably.”

      He slumped his shoulders in defeat. “I see,” he said. He started to walk off, then stopped and looked over his shoulder at her. “Do you want to write to each other when you move?” he asked.

      Marrill had not expected that. “Um…sure why not?” she said and laughed awkwardly.

      Ricky brightened up instantly. “Cool, I’ll bring you my address tomorrow,” he said.

      “Okay,” she said. “See ya.”

      Walking home she wondered, why did I just agree to that?

      Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

      #115164
      Beth Darlene
      @beth20

        @eitan @purpleturtle @claire-h @kristiana-hasseman @olivia @katja-r @kimlikesart @melodyjoy @shiningscribe

        Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

        #115165
        Beth Darlene
        @beth20

          oops @kristianne-hassman

          Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

          #115166
          Gracie
          @kimlikesart

            @beth20

            It’s really good! It makes me want to just keep reading and reading…

            There were a few typos but still really good. (:

            Then I have a question. When Tim came down the stairs, Throden was so calm after the realization that a child, from a(the) prophecy, from another world, had just appeared? Why? Then again, you might elaborate more over the meal…which is fine and one reason why someone like me might want to keep reading. 🙂

            And another,.. What stories, or what have they (Jared, Karan) been told to where they believe that there’s another world so easily? Or do they just trust their dad that much? I mean, if my dad told me that he’d come from another world, I’d first think he was joking, then, on finding he was serious truly think it was a possibility. (He’s a really logical, satire humor type guy.) Just wondering. (:

            It was really good. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

            Jominkreesa

            Passion means to be willing to suffer.

            #115182
            Beth Darlene
            @beth20

              @kimlikesart

              Thanks!

              So yeah… Throden will do more stuff or whatever lol, in the next chapter. And Jered and Karen, already kinda thought it was magic in chapter two, bc they couldn’t find Tim. And then the letter from their dad reinforced that thought.

              I’ll try to be faster with posting chapter four lol!!

              Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

              #115208
              Kristianne Hassman
              @kristianne-hassman

                @beth20

                Yay, another chapter! I’ll come back soon and give you some thoughts on it 😉

                #115210
                Eitan
                @eitan

                  @beth20

                  Ooh, that’s really good. Your writing is so… flowing. It makes you want just to continue reading! Great job!

                   

                  There were some problems with punctuation, but it seems like an accident. Maybe you should go over the chapter before posting it?

                   

                  I agree to Gracie’s note. We humans aren’t machines of pure logic and rationalism, and we’ll rarely change our mind just because new facts were revealed to us, especially when it comes to things we view as basic and important – that’s why the Flat Earth Society exist 😉

                  Tim will probably be sure he have sunk, and now he’s dreaming or something. Jered will probably believe, Karen – maybe, but it’s not unlikely that she’ll just be sure Jered is trying to prank her.

                   

                  It’s strange that the Ninjanarians call their world Ninjanaria, since we creatively call our world ”The World”…

                   

                  Something that seemed somewhat unrealistic to me, is the depiction of boys crying. I don’t know how correct I am, and will be thankful for correction if I’m wrong, but generally – I think Ravi Zacharias stated it correctly:

                  Both are equal cerebrally, but women are more consistent in willing to let the thought be connected to the emotion. Men like to hide from the emotional ramifications of the thought.

                  From what I’ve seen and experienced, boys, unlike girls, will rarely express sadness. We usually will pretend we’re okay. We may feel meaningless, forsaken and heartbroken, but we will hardly cry, even when nobody sees. We tend to run away from the emotion, and to be more ”psychologically tired”, if you understand what I mean, than to cry. Or, another common thing I’ve seen, we just express anger instead of dealing with our sorrow and sadness.

                  Now, I don’t know how much of what I’ve said apply to men in general, but that’s what I know.

                   

                  In general, an excellent chapter, great job! Waiting for the next chapter 🙂

                  • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Eitan.

                  You don't need to see the wind itself in order to hear the rustling leaves.

                  #115213
                  Beth Darlene
                  @beth20

                    @kristianne-hassman

                    Okay!


                    @eitan

                    Thanks! I’ll try to post chapter four today!

                    Okay, I’ll try to find those…

                    Yeah…I’ll try to change their reactions to more of unbelieving.

                    It’s strange that the Ninjanarians call their world Ninjanaria, since we creatively call our world ”The World”…

                    Not exactly sure what that means…could you elaborate?

                    Something that seemed somewhat unrealistic to me, is the depiction of boys crying.

                    Yeah…your right! I should change that lol!!

                    Thanks for the critique!! 🙂

                    Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

                    #115214
                    Beth Darlene
                    @beth20

                      Wow!! I figured out how to quote people!!! XD

                      Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

                      #115215
                      Eitan
                      @eitan

                        @beth20

                        Congrats!! 😉

                        Not exactly sure what that means…could you elaborate?

                        We call the worlds we live in ”The World”. Why do the inhabitants of Ninjanaria don’t do the same?

                        You don't need to see the wind itself in order to hear the rustling leaves.

                        #115216
                        Beth Darlene
                        @beth20

                          @eitan

                          Ohhh….! Yeah, makes sense…I’ll look into trying to fix that!

                          Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

                          #115277
                          PurpleTurtle
                          @purpleturtle

                            @beth20
                            Keep up the good work! Really enjoyed reading it and I am looking forward to the next chapter!

                            "It is not the strength of the body that counts but the strength of the spirit" ~ J.R.R. Tolkein

                            #115280
                            Beth Darlene
                            @beth20

                              @purpleturtle

                              Thanks! Will post the forth one maybe later today!

                              Jominkreesa, for the weirdos who know what it means! 😉

                              #115298
                              PurpleTurtle
                              @purpleturtle

                                @beth20
                                I eagerly await it!

                                "It is not the strength of the body that counts but the strength of the spirit" ~ J.R.R. Tolkein

                                #115351
                                Kristianne Hassman
                                @kristianne-hassman

                                  Here’s my critique:

                                  Tim’s eyes flashed around the room. Where am I? He could remember sinking, losing all sense of direction, then all of a sudden emerging into… somewhere. He didn’t remember much. (Just to be clear, maybe you should change it to, “He didn’t remember much else.”)

                                  There was a window looking out over a vast lake, a dresser stood on his left and a bookshelf, full of old leather-bound books to his right. Just then a middle-aged woman entered the room. She had long black hair and a pleasant face. She smiled. “Aw (I think you mean “Ah”), your awake.” Her voice was smooth and low. “We’ve been waiting. Throden is eager to see you.”–Why is Throden eager to see him? Maybe clarify.

                                  Tim frowned. He didn’t understand what she was talking about. Should I know this person? “Um, who are you again?”

                                  She laughed. “I’m Sringard, and you’ll meet Throden in a moment,” she answered. “He found you by the pond unconscious and brought you here so I could take care of you.” Tim was confused. Where’s Jered, and Keren, and…and, Ana!?

                                  “Where is my family?” he asked anxiously. She smiled kindly. “You must have a lot of questions. I’ll send Throden up and he can answer them. I have to finish dinner.”Then she turned and walked out closing the door softly. Tim lay there for a minute, lost in thought. Maybe I floated downstream when I fell into the pond? But the pond didn’t have any stream to float down. (Maybe change to “But the pond didn’t have any streams flowing out of it”) He climbed stiffly out of bed and walked to the window. His head hurt, but not terribly. He realized his clothes had been taken from his body and in their place, was a long white robe. The sun was setting and it took his breath away at how beautiful the water was. There was a light knocking at the door then a man entered. He was tall and very fit. –The word “fit” feels a little obscure. Maybe use something more specific like “muscular” or “lean.”

                                  His face was stern but not unkind. Must be the thing, knock, and enter without permission. He (replace with “Tim” to clarify who’s thinking) thought dryly. “Are you Throden?” he asked. The man smiled. “Yes, that’s me. And you are?”

                                  Tim smiled back. “I’m Tim.” He held out his hand. Throden reached out, as if to shake Tim’s hand, but instead grabbed his forearm. (Ooh, nice detail!)

                                  “Nice to meet you.” Turning around, Throden grabbed a chair and sat down. “You probably have a lot of questions.”–Why would Throden assume Tim has lots of questions if he doesn’t know yet that Tim isn’t from Ninjanaria? And wouldn’t Throden want to know first who Tim is and how he got here?

                                  Tim took a deep breath. In fact, he had so many questions he didn’t know where to start.“Yeah, so I guess first off, where am I?” “Oh, another outsider I see.” Throden smiled. You are in the great town of Urit,” he answered.

                                  Tim racked his brain, he conjured up all the geography lessons he had ever taken, but Urit, didn’t ring any bells. “I’m sorry, could you be more specific? My geography was never very good.” Throden laughed. “Sure, we’re just south of the town of Brarlock.” Brarlock? Still didn’t ring any bells.

                                  He laughed nervously. “Which country?” He asked. Throden shrugged. “We mostly go by towns here. You won’t find any countries until you head further north.” That just made him more confused. No countries? He laughed. He must be messing with me! “No, but for reals, where am I?” Throden frowned. “I am being real. The countries are further north! I’m not sure what you mean.” Tim could feel the color rising in his cheeks. He was becoming angry. “Please stop messing with me,” he said calmly. “For the last time, I’m not messing with you! Your in the world Ninjanaria, if that helps.” He said sarcastically. –To me, this doesn’t feel sarcastic the way he says it. Maybe use another adverb to describe how he says it.

                                  Tim studied his face. He really isn’t joking! “Wait you’re literally not messing with me!” Inside he felt a sinking feeling. Ninjanaria? How the heck did I get here? Throden frowned again. “You mean you aren’t from here?” he said. “Like your seriously not from this world?!” –Tim hasn’t yet said that he isn’t from Ninjanaria, so why would Throden assume that he’s not? 

                                  Tim didn’t know what to say. He felt like this was all a hoax, but Throden… Either he was really good at lying, or he was sincere. Both theories were possible, but something inside of Tim told him Throden was telling the truth. Somehow he was in another world.

                                  “Do you have siblings? Throden asked. –Why would this be the next question he asks Tim? I would think he would want to know more about how Tim got here than about his family. Maybe he’s thinking of the prophecy, but to me it just feels like he’s being conversational. 

                                  Tim was shocked, he hadn’t expected that. –“Shocked” feels a little strong. And why wasn’t he expecting this question?

                                  “Uh yeah, I have three. Why?” Throden’s face suddenly changed. “Three? What are their names?” “Karen, Jered and Ana,” he answered. “But why is this important?” Throden stared out the window as if trying to remember something. “Get dressed and meet me downstairs. There are some clothes in the drawer over there,” he said pointing to the dresser. Then he ran out of the room leaving the door wide open. Tim stood there trying to take in all Throden had said. His mind reeled with all the things he had told him. He got up and walked to the dresser. Opening the doors he found, deerskin pants and tunic. He quickly traded the nightgown he was wearing for them and peeked his head out the door. The hall was empty, but he could hear voices coming from below. He stepped into the hall and walked toward what he thought were the stairs. He was right, and he stopped to listen. But he could hear only their voices and not their actual words. He sighed and walked down the stairs. He emerged into what must have been the kitchen. Sringard had her back to him, and was just taking hot golden-brown biscuits out if the oven. He could just see Throden sitting at a little table in the other room. “Am I in time for dinner?”

                                  Sringard jumped, startled and almost dropped her plate of biscuits. “My, child you nearly gave me a heart attack!” she exclaimed.

                                  Throden looked up from polishing his staff and smiled. Tim laughed nervously before responding. “I’m sorry ma’am.” Sringard laughed. “Don’t apologize, and your dinner is on the table.” Tim walked over to the table and sat across from Throden, mumbling a greeting. “Aw, finally. I’ve been starving down here while you snoozed away!” Throden said. Then more loudly, “Come on Sringard I’m starving!” “Coming!” she called back. And very soon came bustling out of the kitchen with a hot plate of steaming biscuits. Setting them on the table, she reached over and lifted the lid off a ginormous (“enormous”) cast iron pot, revealing a pot roast with carrots and potatoes. Tim sighed with pleasure. It felt like forever since he’d eaten.

                                  ***

                                  Jered slowly opened the letter. He almost didn’t read it. He still hadn’t forgiven his dad for leaving. Why did you go? The question haunted him. He wondered why his mom had had the letter. Was she hiding something? The letter dated, November 19th, 2019. Just a week before he died, Jered realized. He took a deep breath. I can do this!

                                  Dear Jered, I’m being hunted. So I had to write you this letter before I died. I was once from…..well…..from a different world, called Ninjanaria. Don’t laugh Jered, I’d never lie to you. Where I come from, there was a prophecy concerning you, your siblings, your cousin and something else called a Murry. It was said you would save Ninjanaria from a terrible darkness. When I first heard about the prophecy I had no idea it was about my own children you see. I was sent from the Council of Ninjas to find you.. but I found your dear mother first and staid on earth. Then, when we started having children, I forgot about the prophecy, pushing it to the back of my mind. Only recently did I start thinking about it again. And only recently did the Graylick start hunting me. So I had to leave my dear family behind. I could never go back to Ninjanaria and give up my children. Nor could I stay with you and put you all in danger. Please understand I did what I did to protect you and not to hurt you. I love you so much! Love, Your Dad

                                  Jered gasped. How is this possible? Thinking about it made him sick to his stomach. Then it hit him. That’s where Tim is! He’s stuck in a different world, just like I thought. Why did he think Tim was stuck in another world? Maybe I missed something from an earlier chapter? And why would he immediately assume from his dad’s letter that Tim went to this world? This feels a little unrealistic unless you give something beforehand that is convincing enough for Jered to connect the dots.

                                  I have to go find him, he’s in danger! Putting the note in his back pocket he grabbed his backpack and started stuffing his clothes into it. He was angry at his mom for not telling him sooner. Walking down the hall towards the stairs he stopped in front of Karen’s bedroom. Should I tell her? Should I take her? He knew Keren would want to come, but he wasn’t sure if she should. She has to stay here to help mom and look after Ana. He finally made up his mind to tell her, but not let her come.

                                  ***

                                  Jered stood on the highway, his thumb in the air. He was trying to flag a ride to his cousin’s house. He had decided to tell him, and if he was willing, to take him with him. Keren took that pretty hard. He sighed. He had knocked on her door softly at first but harder when she still didn’t wake up. Finally, he just pushed open her door and woke her up himself. He had felt pretty stupid telling her. But when she read the note she just burst into tears. It felt weird comforting her. Often times he would be the one crying on her shoulder, in the weeks following his dad dying. –This seems a little uncharacteristic of a boy Jered’s age.

                                  He had never seen her cry, mostly in support of his mom. He guessed she must have cried before but he had never witnessed it. She would often hide places where she felt comforted not by any human but by nature and the things she knew so well. After that, he had written a note to his mom and Ana explaining things. Taking some food from the pantry he had headed out. Jered shook himself out of his thoughts, noticing an old, beat up, pickup stopping on the side of the road. “Need a lift son?” The person asked. The face looked familiar. Then he remembered, it was an old friend of his dad’s. “Yeah thanks, McCain!” he answered climbing in. –Is there a reason he calls him “McCain” and not “Mr. McCain” or his first name? It feels a little too casual and maybe even disrespectful for Jered to call an old friend of his father’s just by his last name.

                                  “Where you headed son?” “Up to my aunt’s house,” he said. McCain brightened up but tried not to show it. –This feels like head hopping. You want your POV to be consistent. Maybe change it to “McCain brightened up a little, but it seemed to Jered like he was trying to hide it.”

                                  “Really? That woman sure is a fine cook!” Jered laughed. “Yeah she sure is,” he agreed. “So what brings you out here all alone, without a ride and backpacking?” he asked curiously. Jered tensed. “Nothing, just thought I’d visit my cousin.” Well, I’m not lying. “At four o’clock in the morning?” McCain asked skeptically. Jered tried to laugh it off and changed the subject. “So where are you heading?” McCain looked sideways at him. “Son are you in trouble?” Jered stiffened. Should I tell him? After all, he was a friend of dads… Finally coming to a decision, he said. “McCain, you knew my dad really well, right?” McCain smiled. “That I did, a good man he was too. You remind me a lot of him, a very handsome face.” Jered shrugged the compliment off. “Okay, then read this letter.” he handed it to him. “I would be glad to,” he said. “But I can’t when I’m driving, here you read it to me.” and he handed it back. Jered swallowed and started to read. When he was done, he looked at McCain’s face. It was wrinkled in concern and sympathy. “Well,” he said. “I already knew about all that, I didn’t think he would have told you about it though.” –It feels a little too convenient that McCain would just happen to pick Jered up as he’s going to his cousin’s house and then that he knows about Ninjanaria too. I would suggest introducing us earlier on to McCain so that it doesn’t feel too convenient for him to be here at this time.

                                  Jered was confused. “You already knew about Ninjanaria?” he asked. “Yes I did, and I also swore to him I would never tell any of you about it,” he said. “McCain, my brothers in there.” McCain gasped. “What!?” –It feels a little uncharacteristic of McCain to gasp and exclaim like that. I would show his surprise in another, more subtle way. Also, why would he immediately believe Jered? After all, Jered doesn’t know for sure that his brother is there. And honestly, it’s a wild idea! 😉 It would feel more realistic if he questioned Jered about it and tried to propose some other explanation.

                                  “That’s why I’m going to my cousin’s house. I need his help finding him,” he said. “Well, in that case, we need to hurry,” he said and he stepped on the gas.

                                  ***

                                  15-year-old Jaylin Storm, laid in bed thinking to himself. What am I doing here? Why haven’t I run away yet? He was angry at himself and confused. Those were the question he asked himself every night just before drifting off to sleep. My dad hates me, my mothers gone! Why do I stay here? 

                                  But even as he asked himself those questions he knew the answers. He’s stayed in that little house at the edge of Brarlock for one reason. His brother. Through all the years of hardship and pain, Hougen had always been there for him and he knew he couldn’t leave him there alone. –Show us why he’s running away now. Why has he not run away before? What has happened this time that makes him decide to run away? Show us how his dad hates him. Show us his nightmares.

                                  Why won’t Hougen come with me? He asked himself angrily. Jaylin tossed and turned in his bed trying to fall asleep, but thoughts of his life and what his life could be, kept him awake gnawing at him like a hungry lion devouring its prey. He tried to imagine his mother. What would life be like with her? Would she love him, would she care for him like he had always dreamed she would? His mother had died at his birth, and his dad had blamed him ever since. Jaylin could feel the tears creeping up and tried to push them back. He didn’t want to cry, but he couldn’t stop himself. Soon hot tears were streaming down his cheeks, touching his lips with their salty moister. Throwing back the covers, he grabbed his cloak off the bedpost and ran out the door heading outside. He was openly sobbing now. He was running, dodging trees, jumping ditches. He didn’t know where he was going, but anywhere as long as he was going away from his home. Jaylin couldn’t run anymore, stumbling to a stop he leaned against a tree gasping for breath. He slid down the tree suddenly too tired to hold himself up. He didn’t care about himself anymore, if he died right then, right there he wouldn’t have cared. “Just finish me off!” he screamed. Then he sunk into a fitful sleep. His dreams were filled with monsters, demons, and hungry creatures. Even in his dreams, he couldn’t escape the feeling of being hunted. And in his dreams, he realized he needed to leave with or without Hougen. Jaylin’s eyes flew open. Something had awoken him but he wasn’t sure what. Then crack a twig snapped. I’m being watched by something, or someone, he realized. Early morning sunshine shone through the dense canopy above him, dappling the ground with patterns of gold and yellow.–This sentence doesn’t fit with the tone of the scene. It feels too warm and happy. You want to build the intensity and suspense as much as possible.

                                  Jaylin spun around, confronting the thing that was watching him. There stood Hougen, only a few yards away. “The heckl man you nearly gave me a heart attack!” Hougen laughed “Yeah, well…..why are you out here anyway? I heard you leave last night.” Jaylin’s smile faded. “Um…yeah…I don’t really want to talk about it.” He mumbled. He pushed past Hougen and headed in the direction of the house. “Whoa, dude,” Hougen said, stepping around Jaylin and blocking his way. “I know you don’t want to talk about it.” He said. “But sometimes you need to. Even I sometimes need to,” he added. Jaylin sat down. “Alright,” he grumbled, glaring at him. “Is it a girl?”Hougen asked. Jaylin spat on the ground. “Absolutely not! You know how I feel about girls,” he said. Hougen laughed again. “Yes, I know. I was only teasing. But for real, what’s on your mind?” he asked seriously. Jaylin sighed. “Well, it’s a little hard to explain,” he began. “But I feel trapped, I feel like I’m prey being devoured by a giant beast. But slowly like it’s letting me bleed out.” He stopped. “Does that make sense?” Hougen looked at him concerned. “It…does,” he said slowly. “Why do you feel this way?” he asked. Jaylin tensed, then after a long pause, “Because of dad.” He answered softly, not daring to look into Hougen’s eyes. Hougen exhaled slowly. “You need to leave,” he said after a little while. “Wha…?” Jaylin was confused. “You need to leave,” he repeated himself. “Go, get out of here, you can’t stay here.” Jaylin looked his brother in his eyes and only saw regret and sadness there. “But…” he stammered. “What about you?” This was what he had wanted, Hougen to want him to leave. But now that it was actually happening he started to doubt himself. Could he even make it by himself? Where would he go? “Jaylin!” Hougen’s voice snapped him back to the present. “Wait here I’ll go pack a backpack for you. It would be best if you didn’t come back to the house,” he said. Jaylin nodded. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll be here.” –Why wouldn’t he question Hougen more about why he’s suddenly demanding that he leave?

                                  Jaylin sat there waiting. It had been about 40 minutes since Hougen had left, and Jaylin was getting worried. Suddenly Hougen appeared, carrying his backpack and a steaming plate of eggs and bacon. “I thought you might need these,” he said, handing him the plate. Jaylin took the plate gratefully. “I hoped you’d be smart enough to do that,” he said and laughed. Hougen smiled. “I’ll miss you, you know,” he said. Jaylin looked up. “I know. I’ll miss you too.” When Jaylin was done with the eggs, he set the plate on a stump and grabbed his backpack. They stood there in silence for a moment just looking at each other. Then Hougen stepped forward and gripped Jaylin in a bear hug. “Stay safe,” he chocked out. Then grabbing the plate he walked off towards the house. Jaylin watched his brother, who had become his best friend over the years, leave. Will I ever see him again?

                                  ***

                                  Marrill stood, looking at the ruckus going on in the schoolyard. She was glad she was not caught up in the middle of it all like she usually was. No, not this time, this time another kid was all the trouble. Marrill laughed, happy the next day was not a school day. She rushed through the plans of tomorrow in her head. Tomorrow, she was free. Just then, she heard the familiar sound of the school bell ringing out over the yard. End of lunch, she told herself and started to trudge down the little dirt path. She pushed thoughts of tomorrow out of her mind and prepared herself for her afternoon classes. When she got to the schoolhouse door, she was the last person in. Marrill walked home, happy she didn’t have to stay in detention like she normally had to. She could just walk home straight from school. A group of kids stood in front of her blocking the sidewalk. “Hey guys,” she said spying some of her friends in the group. She also spied Ricky in the group and decided not to stay and chat, she didn’t want to talk to him. “Hey,” a couple of them said and stepped out of her way. But Ricky fell in step beside her. She sighed. “What are you doing.” Ricky shrugged. “Nothing,” he said. “Just thought I’d see what you were doing.” “Ricky, I already said I don’t like boys and don’t want to go out with you,” she said trying to be as nice as she could. Ricky stopped. “Why Marrill?” he asked. “Why don’t you like boys? Not all boys are selfish, grimy, hotheaded, pigs like Steven!” She laughed at his impression of Steven. “I know Ricky, but my parents would never allow me to go out with a boy, I’m only 13.” Ricky sighed. “Oh,” he said and shuffled his feet awkwardly. “Plus we might be moving,” she added. She didn’t really believe they were actually going to move but she used it as another excuse. Ricky looked up startled. “What!?” he said. “Your moving?” She nodded. “Probably.” He slumped his shoulders in defeat. “I see,” he said. He started to walk off, then stopped and looked over his shoulder at her. “Do you want to write to each other when you move?” he asked. Marrill had not expected that. “Um…sure why not?” she said and laughed awkwardly. Ricky brightened up instantly. “Cool, I’ll bring you my address tomorrow,” he said. “Okay,” she said. “See ya.” Walking home she wondered, why did I just agree to that?

                                  Just one thing I want to mention: Four POV shifts in one chapter is a little confusing. Maybe you should consider putting only one or two different POVs in a chapter. That would make it less confusing.

                                  Other than that, great job! I’m really intrigued to find out what happens next. 😉

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