Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter 7: What the others found out.

Chapter 7: What the others found out.

Lea came with Cindy, and lot of other friends from our world, did come with their Homelander friends.
Some of them had books with them, with and without pictures.

Others had small models with them, and explained: “this are small models, of what we are learning about at school. Scale models, our teacher tell us it is called.”

Petra looked astonished: how could a kind of windmill help?
Or something that looked very much like a mirror, only a different color and not silvery like the ones they used to travel?

The counsel did ask everybody with a book to come in one pow-wow circle.
Others with the windmills got their own circle too, like those with the shiny mirror-like things.

After that there were more people left, but like always in Homeland: there was enough place for everyone, just like it had to be that way.

Petra did smile a bit, and when Cindy lifted one eye brow in a question like gesture, she said: “That lesson I did not forget from last time. Here in Homeland always is enough place to do what need to be done!”

After that both started to laugh, but soon they had to concentrate.
Very quick, at least Petra did think so, each group had put together what they knew.

So each group, pointed out by the Lady, told what they were knowing or learning about the environment.
The group, who did take books with them, all had copied what they had laying around, but told there was much more at their school or library.

The groups with the scale models told, they were doing projects at school about that, while the scientist and the environmentalists were worried.
Petra and the others did not have to ask what that was, for the new friends told, that that was a group of people, who were very worried about nature and what was going on.

That made Purple look a bit less concerned.
Still she had to ask: “Do you think, that all is enough to make the world clean again? And very special, the Oceans, on which our climate does depend?"

Petra softly asked: “Climate?” and Cindy whispered back: “the zone in which it is very hot, very cold or in between. On that also depends how much, and where it does rain. Now first listen.”

The Lady decided, after a quick deliberation with the counsel: “Let each group make a suggestion how we can use this all.
Than we give our friend out the world a month time, to find out more.
The adults will do so too, even try to go to the universities, to look, if there is any progress. Than we all do meet here and talk again.
A problem, that has grown for such a long time, we cannot solve in one day.”

Again Petra softly asked: “I did learn about university, but what is progress?”

“A kind of improvement, making things better and doing the best you can to do so,” Cindy answered.

Now all the other groups did know, where to go, Cindy had to go to the group, Lea did belong to, the ones with the books.
That left Petra with the Lady and Purple.

“And what do you think I can do?” Petra asked the Lady, while she also did look at Purple.

Purple answered: “I do know Billy, the little goodhearted rascal very good.
And also his parents.
But I am not sure, if they do believe me, when I or Petra do tell them from Homeland and the bound that does exist for so many hundreds of years between our worlds.
What do you think, Lady?
What is the best for all, but also for Billy and them?”

Both looked as they were thinking very hard.
Purple did have more questions, and all Petra could do was listening in ah, while before now, she never was with the Lady, or had talked to her about something so very important.

Besides, she still did not know that much about her friend, and the place he lived in.

Purple went on: “And do you think we should involve the Atlantians?
They do have very much knowledge, but I do know, they do think the time to come out is not there.
Their ancient predictions tell about more years to come before that should be all right.”

“Than for sure they will not, for they mostly are right, the old tales about them tell in Homeland,” the Lady answered.

After that she looked at Petra: “Do you know Billy good enough to be sure, he can keep his mouth shut about things, he is not allowed to tell?"

Petra looked at her feet, turning circles in the mud of the embankment.
“I really do not know. I only do know him so shortly, in his world only about a week.
This week had so many other important things for him.
He does not know half about Homeland, my mother told your friend has to know, before you can take him with you.
He is only eight years of age in his own world, and we have learned much more when we are that big.”

“That’s true,” the Lady said. “May be we will have to leave a lot of this things to more adult people, or mermaids,” she said with a smile.
“Although there is enough to do for the kids!”she assured.

“Purple, can you find out, if Nemo can see Petra?
Atlantians are known for their secretive but honest ways, so may be he can, and only did not tell.
Nemo will believe about Homeland, for you did tell he is the keeper of their library. There can be a record about us. That will make our possibilities larger.
But remember, careful please.
We do not want to make the friendship between Billy and Petra difficult.”

“Oh thank you, Lady. I do like it to discover what we are going to do when we really are friends,” Petra said.
“I do think, that when I am back, I can tell what happened, can I?

And I also do think, I’ll have to wait to take him here, until his mom and dad did tell about what they call: ‘dry land’.

I am not so sure he is old enough not to tell, or see the difference between our lands and the laws of nature in his world.”

Lady smiled: “I do see, you mother and grandmother did tell you well.
And at school you must have paid attention to all!”

Petra blushed with this compliment.
It was difficult not to show, how she had longed for a worldly friend like Cindy, and some of her other friends.
She would do nothing to loose that again.

No, she should not make it more difficult for Billy, by going to fast.

“Only… eh… eh… Lady, I do not know how to tell him, he cannot come here very soon, but better wait a bit and…”

Here she made a pause, “not let me tell how he slowly must go up to what he calls dry land before his teacher does.”

The lady and Purple looked at each other.
Both nodded the same time, as if they did think the same.

“I will tell Billy, and explain about the water-pressure. Than I will tell him, he has to wait a bit, until he does know more about Homeland, and has made more preparations.” Purple said.
“I do have to wait what comes from this pow wow between all those Homelanders and people of the World.
A sigh of relieve Petra gave. That did make things a bit easier for her, and it gave her more time to learn, who her new friend was.

“But what kind of preparations?” she did ask.

“What Cindy did, was let Lea draw a lot of places, where they could go.
That cannot be, while Billy does not know how the world above water does look.

But I do remember something my grandmother told about the Atlantians.
They did know a lot of the power of crystals.
And in the secret box also is a purple crystal.
It does like to much of a coincidence for me, that both are found around the same time: the mermaid Purple, and lately the purple crystal.”

Petra called attention of the Lady, by touching her: “What is coincidence”?

“Things, that seemingly by accident happen about the same time.” Lady answered.
“Let’s find out what all together means, before we do important things.

So go home to Billy and tell him, Purple will come soon, and than we see, what is going to happen.”

© Nan van Daalen, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chapter 6: Petra goes to Homeland.

Chapter 6: Petra goes to Homeland.

Petra landed at the House of the Lady. There was a spot, everyone could land, but she had to get of immediately, while this was a ‘visitors spot’.
All Homelanders were allowed to use this, when they did need the advise of the Lady or her counsel.

Quickly Petra went outside the ribbons, that marked the spot.
The first one she did see, was Cindy, her friend.
About that she wondered, but Cindy laughed at her and said: “You do forget two things. I am a red curly hear girl, and with the Lady lives Amany, the girl that can dream things, that are going to happen.
She did warn me, you were coming. So let’s go to the big pond. There you do find the Lady, the counsel and Purple waiting for you.”

Petra, just new in having a friend from outside Homeland, had to adjust a bit.
A lot was new for her too, finding her friend finally, and going to there, to find out, who he was.

Cindy did see it on her face, and said: “Never mind, you get used to that very soon. Lea, my friend and I also took some time to do so. Let’s go”

They walked quietly to the pond in the garden of the lady, and Petra just found time to ask Cindy: “how is the “anti-gang-bang-club” working?
Are Lea, and that other girl still involved?”

Cindy nodded and answered: “That will take more time, and Lea will come over very soon for another night to help out with things, we do not know about yet.
About that Amany did dream too.”

They could not talk more, for they did reach the others, waiting for them.
All were sitting on something on the bank, the Lady, being of an older age in a chair, the rest just as they did like to sit.
Purple preferred to sit in the water, so she sometimes could go under, while there breading was easier for her.

Like always, there was something to eat and drink standing ready, for most Homelanders did not eat nor drink in the world.
Only when they were curious or when they stayed there for a long period of time they did . But here, in their own Homeland, they had to.

“Billy knows, you are here, mermaid Purple, and he was very stressed you had been weeping”, Petra said, after she did greet the others and had a bite and drink.

“Does he know, why I am here?”Purple asked.
“And does he know, he cannot come to the dry land in the world he is living, before he slowly is adjusted to less and less water-pressure?
He is not a mermaid, nor a Homelander, but a normal human boy, that is born there, while I did save his parents from drowning by bringing them there.”

“His mom and dad yesterday did tell the story about your saving, but all do think he does not know enough to understand that water pressure thing.
So do I! I do wonder, can I take him here, to Homeland?
Is that not dangerous for him too?”

The Lady did laugh, and so did the older people, who had friends in our world before or a longer time already.

“You do forget the first line, your mom every night started her bedtime story with: here in Homeland, where all paper things live, and were the great secrets of life are saved, and maintained…”
At that point Petra started to laugh with the others, and when she had wiped out the laughing tears from her eyes, said: “Of course, but how do I explain to Billy?”

There the Lady pointed to Cindy: “will you go to Lea, and ask her, what she does know about the worlds environment.
The other members of counsel, who do have an older kid, or an adult friend, are going to do the same.
In about one hour Homelander time, I do expect you all back.”

Petra wondered: “will one hour be enough, Lady? It would be nice, for I did promise Billy to be back in the morning, when he wakes up.”

“Remember the cave, where the grannies were with the babies, during our our last adventure?
That is one of the lessons, not to forget that time in our world, and that of your friends, have a different pace.”

Petra blushed, put a hand for her mouth in a gesture of ‘how could I forget’, and nodded yes.
She really should not have forgotten…

But for hér there was a lot new too, even when her mom did prepare her for having a friend in the world, as did her teacher.
All Homeland kids were told from very young. She also.

But really getting out, and do, as each Homelander kid wished for, was an honor, even when she had to do more to find her friend.
But now Petra did hear something, her mom never told about, while she was sure, her friend Billy would ask about.

“Lady, may I ask something, I do not understand. What is envir.. oh, such a difficult word!” she said with a sigh of impatience for her not knowing.

The Lady smiled. “I did not know either, until recently.
We in Homeland do not need this word, while we care about nature, and the things that grow, and live in that.
The People of Lea’s world, the dry-landers, as you call them, have very much need of this word: environment.

It does mean that all what lives and grows forms one big thing, in which each and everything has its own value.

When you take out one part of it, other parts are suffering from that, while it is not entirely whole anymore.
And if you take out more parts, even more other parts are suffering.

There also is more, dry-landers, or a lot of humans, do not care what will end up in their waters.

You can compare that with when you would put Poison Ivy in the salad, and after that become blisters in your mouth and a sick belly when you eat this!

What Purple did tell us was, people did throw in the sea so much rubbish, that the animals, who do live there, are suffering as if they have eaten that Poison Ivy.”

“Why, cannot they see, it is noting good to eat?” Petra asked.

“No, some of the plastics do look a lot like seaweed, the lines are so fine, and you hardly see them, they got entangled in them before the animal is aware of this.

That is, what Purple made decide, to come to us and have a pow-wow or deliberation, if there was something we could help her with.

She otherwise have to do as her great, great, great aunt did, drink the potion of the sea-witch and become human, what would make every footstep painful and does not guarantee success.

Or she has to let herself ‘catch’ by scientists, act if she does not speak like a human, before she can tell about this disaster.

The twist is, that they will not believe she is not the only mermaid, what is true, so they will keep looking in all nooks and crannies to find more, and her mermaid society has no more rest, like happened when somebody did see the big beasts of the Big lakes and Loch Ness.
You do understand that is a dilemma?”

“What’s a dilemma?” Petra asked, knowing Billy would ask the same, and could not ask about new words of Nemo, without telling, who used that word.

“A dilemma is a choice between two or more possibilities, who all are as good or bad as the others, so it is very difficult to decide, what to do,” the Lady answered.

“Ah, there the others are back, that hour went by fast. Let’s hear what they have to tell.”

© Nan van Daalen, all rights reserved.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chapter 5: Some things get more clear.

Chapter 5: Some things get more clear.

After supper, and some playing with Lilo and Violet, Billy went to his room as soon as he could.
He did not like to change nappies, like Lilo, or being dribbled over, while Violet had to burp after her meal.
That was girly stuff, he thought.

Daddy laughed: “When it is your own son or daughter, you will be more interested. But you, being a big brother now, better get used to this. You did so yourself too!” Mommy only could laugh about it.

In his room, Billy took the slates with the drawings of his room.
The one with the floor-map ánd also the one, where you could see, on which place all things in his room stood.
“Is this what you wanted me to draw?” he asked.

Petra nodded yes, and before she could go on, Billy asked impatiently: “Can you please now tell me why I have to make them?
You still did not tell me all I wanted to know.
And yes, I do know I am impatient, but, but,” stammered he, knowing that patience was the first lesson.

“Everybody always does say, I am not old enough for things.
I have to grow, or learn more before I can.
But, but, you are my friend, you said, so…”

Petra laughed, knowing nobody could hear her in this room.
“You are right, but there were some things I had to find out first. For that I do have to tell two stories.”

“Two? Why, I just want to know about Homeland and how you got here!” Billy interrupted.

“That are already 2 questions, and there is also another story important.
So let me start with asking one promise: If your mom does tell about how she once did live on dry land, and we could have gone to Homeland, you are not allowed to tell, that you do know, how it looks, while there is much the same!”

“That will be very hard to do,” said Billy, “while I always tell mom and dad everything I am doing.”
“I still want that promise, otherwise we only can meet here. Tonight I will go back home, and tomorrow I will be back with the answer, if it is possible, you can come with me.”

“Will you travel through my treasure, daddy calls a mirror, again?” Billy asked.

“Yes, now I can, for I can take with me the drawing of your room, and in which place all things are, therefore I can use that to come back.
Unless you put the shiny side of the mirror against the wall, so please, do not do so,” was Petra’s answer.

“So that made it possible, you came through the mirror, while I did find it, ánd while I was drawing before it?”

Petra nodded again: “that is the way it mostly works.
You only can use the mirror of your friend to come to the place where he does live the first time.
Than you have to trust each other without a doubt, before you can travel together.

At least, that way it is with people, who do live on dry land. You are the first in the memory of the people from Homeland, that lives under water.

And the Atlantians, who had Homelander friends, were living on dry land too, not in a bubble. It is that long ago, an Atlantian had a Homelander friend.”

“Soooo, that makes me very special,” Billy concluded a bit proud.
He made a nice bow to Petra and said, just like in mommy’s tales one would do to a queen: “I am very honored to be your friend,” and burst out in laughing.

“SSSSTTT, you are supposed to be alone, remember!
Now lay down on your bed, and pick up something to read. But lay down that way, I can sit besides you to tell, for it is a long story.”

When they were settled, Petra started telling: “Homeland is very special. It is a place, were only people can come, who do believe, what their eyes see.
But also people who are curious and faithful to their word.
Because Homeland, the land were all paper things live, is the keeper of all valuable things. And you do have to believe it is there, to come in.”

“Is it something like in the Peter Pan story, mommy did tell us once before bedtime?” Billy interrupted.

“Yes, it is, and I am glad you do know this tales, for that makes it more easy to explain.
Shortly we had, together with others, a big adventure on dry land. All started with Cindy and her friend Lea, and a lot of Homelanders were involved.
This made that the Lady, the oldest and wisest of us, came together with Cindy and Lea. They had to make a list with all names of possible friends, while we needed all of them.
All friends were found but you. That was curious.”

“Had that never happened before than?” Billy asked.

“No, that had not. So I was send to travel through Homeland, until I should find my doorway, and that was strange too, while mostly a grandmother or mother can tell, about where you can find yours.

I traveled many days, and finally came in the part that was called Waterland, the part were Captain Hook and his ship are too.
There I found your friend Purple, crying on the border of the lake.”

This made Billy look very concerned: “But mermaids never cry, I hardly can believe that, But you sound, like you really did see so. Why was she crying?”

“To answer that, I do have to know: can you keep your mouth shut, and tell nobody about what I tell you, until I do tell you can?”

Billy nodded yes, and said so several times, eager to hear more.

“And what do you want to hear first: how Homeland looks, and what is going on there, or what made Purple cry?”

“Purple is my friend, that I will hear first please,” Billy said.
“Friends are very important, and she always makes time to play with us or bring us some nice shells or a special pet like the seahorses, she made a nice home for in one of the moats, so we can see them, when we lay on our belly,” he told enthusiastic. “But we cannot, like she, talk with them.”

Petra went on: “Well, Purple did cry, while she can hear what the other sea creatures talk.
And more and more there were some cries for help among the things, she did hear.
She decided to try and rectify the wrong, the sea creatures were complaining about, but that did ask for something very difficult to do.

And she could not really decide, what was the right way, so she came to us for advise, while in Homeland all secrets of life are saved.”

“What was the wrong and what is rectify,” Billy asked.

“Not so quick, we come to that now.
Rectifying is making right the things that went wrong, find a solution to do that. And the wrong has to do with the behavior of the humans, living on dry land.

They do behave, like all in the world belongs to them alone, and not to all creatures, that live on this world.
So they not only are taking all fish they can catch out of the oceans, they also are polluting the waters, and in polluted water nothing can live.”

“Polluting, how do you do that?” Billy wondered.

“Well, you do live in this bubble. When you put everything, you have used, in a heap and leave it there, and make new while the others were still useable, on top of that throw some poisoned things in the water,that together is pollution,”Petra did answer.

“Than Purple must be very sad, for in all the oceans she has friends, and lots of other mermaids live there too, although they do not come here much.
Now I begin to understand,” Billy said.

“And did you, or one of the Homelanders find something to help her?”
“Until now we did not, but when she told, she had friends in this bubble, we did not know about, the Lady decided, I had to go with my hand over your name.

And suddenly the word: Atlantian Bubble appeared and fitted with your name.
So the Lady was eager to know, what was here.
And I wanted finally to see my friend and learn all about you. Than behind your name came a date too. I do think, that was the day, you did find the mirror, we needed to go pass the doorway.”

“But why is it only NOW you tell all? And not straight away?” Billy said a bit piqued, “I was supposed to become your friend the papers said.”

“Of course, but being a friend is one thing.
Being allowed to come to Homeland, that you have to deserve.
That is a totally different thing. And helping us out when something has to be righted even more special!”

“Oh” Billy was flabbergasted, even could not find words to ask more.
All was so much, and so different from what he on normal days was doing or learning.

Petra told just one other thing: ”I have to go” and there she stopped, while mom came in to tell it was bedtime.

“Do you read 5 more minutes till the lights go out, of do I tell a story after you washed and brushed?” mom asked. Billy choose to read, so Petra could finish her story.

So when he was ready to sleep, and they had put the mirror with the right side front, Petra told the rest of her sentence: ”I have to go home tonight, to ask the Lady for advice, and tell the wise people in the counsel about all I did find out. That I can do now, while we are becoming good friends.“

She held her hands up, and said too: “Not good enough for you to be able to come with me this time.
But I can come and go now.
Because you found your mirror, and made those 2 drawings, I will take with me, so I can come back before you wake up again.
Do you trust me enough to believe that?”

Billy had seen and heard so much new and strange things, he could wholeheartedly nod yes. In this new, strange situation all seemed possible, he just had to wait and see, and be patient.

So Petra took the 2 slates, carefully wrapped them in a cloth, waved with her hand and disappeared though the mirror.
That went so fast, Billy almost missed it.

It did feel lonely without her.
But he had to trust, she was his friend and would keep her word.
Therefore he tried to fall asleep very soon, so it would be tomorrow fast too.
And all they talked about, he also did dream about. Like he did write the things in his mind.

© Nan van Daalen, all rights reserved.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chapter 4: Lessons and curiosity.

Chapter 4: lessons and curiosity.

Next morning all went like a normal morning.
There was quiet time for breakfast and Billy could walk on an easy pace to Nemo’s place for the next lessons.
Besides him was, now becoming to feel ‘normal’, Petra. So they talked.

Billy asked: “Why do you seldom eat something?
We all do have to eat to grow, don’t we?”
Petra answered: “I did tell you, I am from Homeland. That is, what makes the difference.
Homeland is a very special place, where all paper things live and…”

Here interrupted Billy her story: “But you do not feel like paper, you do feel like Lilo, or mom, or me!”

“Still I do tell the truth.
Some day, when we are good friends, and some other things are done, I will take you there, so you can see.
But paper does not need to eat, although for us, when we live in Homeland, time goes like on dry land, and we do everything all people do, so eating too.
But when we are with our friends, we do need very little, and do live for the friendship of our friends.”

“So if I do understand you well, when we are friends, you do not need to eat? But can, while you are curious how our food does taste?”

"That is true.
By the way, Homeland does look more like what you mom did call ‘dry land’.
So I really do hope we can go there in a short time, but not now!”

On Billy’s face disappointment and eagerness did struggle to get first place.
Thát would be an adventure…

“But why not now?”
“While we have to learn a lot more about each other, make a lot of preparations before we can go.”
“What are preparations again? These days there is so much new, I did forget”, Billy answered.

“Preparations are the things, you have to do, to be ready to go and do something.
One of them is keeping awake in this lesson, for the better you listen, the more we can answer all we need to know, to go on an adventure to Homeland.”

At that moment they stepped into Nemo’s house, so the conversation was over.
Nemo welcomed Billy with a new slate and piece of coral and asked him, to draw from memory the map he had seen yesterday.

After that, they did talk about trees and scrubs, and growing greenery for air and food, but it still was not totally clear for Billy, how all did fit together.

“So if there is no greenery, we cannot breath properly, you do say.
But there is not so much greenery over here and there is still enough air.”

“You are a curious young man,” said Nemo. "But for biology lessons you are a bit young still.”
"What is biology?”

“That has to do with all things living, and how your body works.
And also how things in nature depend on one and other to keep in balance.
To understand that, you first have to learn about other things that make understanding this all easier.” Nemo answered.

“But one thing I will explain very simple by doing: here is a pot with soil, and there are a few beans and some cress seeds.
We are going to water the soil, put in the beans on one side, and the cress on the other. Every day we will look, if the soil is still a bit wet and what happens next.
That will be your first lesson in gardening ánd biology.”

With the tip of his tongue out of his mouth Billy did as asked.

“Now,” Nemo said, we are going to make a record.”

“What’s a record? We never talked about that before?”

“A record is something like you yesterday did see in that book: a history of something, written down in the order it happens.”

“Are we going to do that on paper? Daddy always says, it is to difficult to make, just to draw on it!” Billy wondered. “I even do not know were that comes from or how it is made!”

“Here in our Bubble it is extremely difficult to make, while only seaweed is available. That does not stay good as long as real paper.
So we have to do with either slate, or clay and the last will be to big at the end. So thin slate it becomes.

Write down,” he dictated, “On the first of Decamonth of the year 11.765 at midday time, I did put in the ground the seeds of beans and cress, and watered it as it should be, point.
Than I put the pot under the hot lamp, that goes on and of every 12 hours of the day, point.”

Billy wrote, and after that he had to put this slate on his special, own place in this room, and the pot under the lamp.
After that they talked a bit further about ships.

So at the end of the lesson, Billy did understand, that wood, a material he only did know from chairs and tables, grew in very big size as a living tree.

And that people could do a lot with that, like building houses, boats and even more. He would become to see that, when he was growing bigger, stronger.

Sometimes, Billy wished, he was able to let time go faster or slower on demand, but he realized, that was not possible.

After this lesson Nemo ordered Billy to walk around the Bubble, and when he had done so, draw a map of the city inside, as good as he remembered.
So out Billy went, and of course Petra went with him, although it was difficult to keep his attention to his task, while he still had so much to ask to Petra.

But she wanted them to make the best map they could, so she did not answer any question about Homeland, until this was finished to Nemo’s satisfaction.

To both their surprise this city map looked nearly a duplicate of the City of Atlantis.
So nów Billy understood, why it did look so familiar, when he did see this map yesterday.
It made him more curious, but after the drawing was finished, Nemo did send him home: end of classes!

And while they talked about this discovery, Petra and Billy did forget to talk about Homeland, but that would not last very long!

© Nan van Daalen, all rights reserved.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chapter 3: More unveiling.

Chapter 3: More unveiling.

It was more difficult as he had thought, making a drawing of his room.
Did Petra want a drawing of the floor, or one, in which you did see the bed, the stool before his little table, and his chest of drawers?
May be he should do both.

Until now he had not found out, why Petra did want this, nor how he could call her.
And in his mind it did sound a bit stupid to call loudly the name of somebody, no one in his family could see, or even knew that she existed.

So when daddy came in, to call him for supper, he laughed and said: “Are you drawing this, while Nemo showed you the big Atlantic city map?”

Billy did not know something other than to nod yes, while he normally told all to mom and daddy. But now he did not know what else to do as say: “yes”.

“Come on, supper time, and may be we will tell you, how we did land in this bubble with the Atlantians. When we have told that, it all will make more sense to you, and you are old enough now to know.
Besides, your both sisters are sleeping, they were hungry a bit earlier on, so that comes fine!”

Cheerful Billy walked behind his dad.
At the table was one of his favorites, something he could eat every day: fried potato’s.
The sauce he did not recognize, but tasted like the apples, he sometimes got, when daddy had been to the gardening bubble. Than mom started to tell.

“If you did listen well today, you do know now, most people do live under the ski, and not under the sea, like we do now.
Had Nemo time to explain, what the sky was?”

Billy got a red face and confessed: “May be mom.
But before that he said something so funny, my thoughts were on that, and he went on very fast for the Atlantian Kids were there too as a guest.
And they seemed to know what he was talking about.”

Daddy smiled: “Knowing Nemo, he was so with his thoughts at his treasured book, he even did not notice!
Am I right? What were you thinking about?”

“He told, the old Atlantians had ships, like the one you did make me, but as tall as a house.
And I was thinking: that is to heavy and will sink. And when I did listen again, lesson was finished.
So I do not know what the sky is, dad.”

“That is a part of what we are going to talk about.
Your mom and me were first also living in dry land near the sea. Our greatest pleasure was to dive and to find out, about fishes, corals and more.
But always we came up, dried and went to our homes, to our mom and dad’s place.
We even did study at the university for a while.”

“What is that?” Billy asked.

“A school for more learned people, the ones who do become scientists like Nemo and you other teachers”
“Oh” Billy said. “And why do we not live there anymore?”

Mom got on with telling: “One day the water was so nice, and we had so much to explore, we did not look on the dept-meters we had on our wrist.
And when we did, we knew almost for certain, we would either drown or were going very ill.”

“How strange, why that?” wondered Billy, for a moment forgetting to eat of his apple sauce.

“When you live on dry land, there is only sky above you.
And sky is air, like we do breath in here. That you do not feel really.
But water has weight, as you can feel, when you take an empty cup, and it is lighter than when you poor in water.
A big lot of water is very heavy, and does strange things with your body.
You will learn about that before you are allowed to go out of this bubble.

So we nearly drowned and than Purple came, our mermaid friend.
She had a bowl with air for both of us, and did bring us here to safe us. So now we do live with the Atlantians.”

“But, but, why did she not bring you up?”stammered Billy. “That would be as easy as down, would it not?”

“No dear, that is very complicated. And when you have learned about how your body does work, you also understand better.
We could not, for there was only enough air in that bowls to come to this place.”

Billy frowned, put his elbows on the table and his hands around his head, closed his eyes as if he this way could imagine what mom and dad just told.

And oh wonder, they even did not say things like: “not with your elbows on the table Billy!”
No, they just let him think.

“Why did you have dept-meters, and if they were important, why did you not look?
And what if Purple had not been there?”

“Ho, stop, young man, one question at the time,” daddy said.
“You were busy thinking about ships, big as a house, that would sink, so you did not hear all, Nemo did say.
We were busy exploring, and did not look at our dept-meter, so simple it is, when you do not notice all, that is around you.”

Billy took his elbows of the table, opened his eyes fully and said: “so you also did dream a bit. Had you ever dreamed of living under the sea?”

Mom told: “There were plans of the university to make some living space under water, but a lot of water above you does strange things to your blood.
And there was not found a material as strong as the Atlantians have, and made their bubbles from.”

“Than why did they not ask them for it? They could have helped them.
They are such nice people and know so much…”

Billy’s words seemed to hang in the air, before daddy softly told: “The people on dry land do not believe, there are any Atlantians left.
They only have old stories in books, as old as Nemo’s treasure.
And while they are so old, and nobody have found something of this civilization, they say it is a myth, a tale that somebody found out, like mommy made some tales to tell when you were small, and to Lilo before sleeping time.”

“But why is that? Why are Atlantians a secret?”

Now daddy did make a wrinkle above his nose, as if he had to remember very hard: “There are” and he stopped a moment, “many kinds of people on land.
They do have different colors of skin, that is not important.
But what is important, is most people are nice, but a lot of them are not.
They want all, what others do have, while they did work hard for it. Only, this people do not want to work that hard, so they just take it.”

“That’s not honest!” Billy cried out, shocked with such behavior. “No Atlantian would do so!”

“You are right,” said mom, “and there have a lot of people around, since the beautiful city, Nemo told about today, was destroyed by an earthquake, followed by a very big flood, that took the whole land.
Nemo later will tell you about that too.

And what the Atlantian kids did hear, also in other classes, was that the king in those day had made ships, as big as an house. Yes, really, they did.
And he send a lot of those in all directions over the world, long before the earthquake came.”

“Why would he do that?
This city was so beautiful on the map.
I do not understand, why they wanted to go away to places they did not know.”

Daddy went on with the story: “the scientists had told, this earthquake was coming. So in each ship were men, and women, even children, but also scientists of each kind they had.
So all they knew, they took also with them.
That is, why it is important to learn to read and write.
For they did know a lot more as anybody could remember and teach all others in one lifetime.”

“But what has this story to do with you two nearly drowning and ending up here?” Billy wondered.

“In this bubble only does live a small amount of people.
So it is good, when sometimes new people come in too.
Therefore on some places, like the cliff, where we often did dive deep, the mermaids laid ready those bowls with air, and save the young, healthy people, who otherwise would have drowned.

But we never can go back up, only very secretly in one of the new submarines, when we are very careful, for the people on dry land are also learned these days, but the Atlantians do know lots more, they wished they knew.”

“And we do not want to give them that, while not all are honest”, Billy said, counting himself an Atlantian too.
“But why do we still live so secretly?
And only have a secret peep every now and than, or have to listen to what our mermaid friends tell?”

“That is, what Nemo is going to tell in class tomorrow.
Now you do know why we look a bit different from the Atlantians.
And mommy and daddy are very happy here, even when we sometimes would like to see, how the world does look now.
But that is the price, we have to pay for being saved.”

Mom said: “You have a lot to think about. So much, I think it wise not to tell another story.
On an other time, I will tell you what I do remember about living on dry land, if you want that.But now it is bed time young man!”

His daddy heaved him with one push on his shoulders to bring him to his room.

But when he was gone, Petra slipped besides him and said: “you do not mind I was listening in, do you?
For this fits a lot with what I myself have to tell you. But now we have enough to think about.
While also for me there was a lot I did not know about. Sleep well.”

And so they did, and both dreamed about dry land, Petra how it really was, and Billy, how he imagined how it could be.

© Nan van Daalen, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chapter 2: what Petra told and more.

Chapter 2: What Petra told and more.

Early morning mom came to wake up Billy.
“You have to hurry, we all did sleep a bit long, and you do know, Nemo does not like waiting!
Downstairs is something ready to eat on the road, but now: rise and shine, also behind the ears please!”
And out she went again.

Petra did the same as Billy, rubbing her eyes with the back of her hands, just as if she did not sleep long enough yet.
Billy did the same again, and said: “No, it is not a dream, you are here!”

Than he jumped out of bed, walked around and carefully touched Petra’s arm: “Yes. You are here, and you do feel just like Lilo too. And as you told, mom did not see you. But I do have to hurry!”
And with that words he jumped in the bathroom, to come out combed and dressed.

“But what do I do with you, while I am going to Nemo? I cannot let a friend, even one I do know that shortly, alone until I have time again, is it?”

Petra answered: “No problem, there it comes in handy, that I do come from Homeland. And that most people do not see me either.
I can go and sit in the same room and listen in.
You just do, as if I am not there. Now go, when you eat your breakfast on the way to Nemo, I can tell some more!”

Downstairs, after a still bit sleepy: “Good morning” to daddy, his sisters, and a nod to mom, he took the little basket with food, gave Mom a kiss, and the rest a wave with his hand, and went of to school.

Outside suddenly Petra was visible again.
He held before her the basket: “like something too?”

Petra said: “Just to taste, but I do not need much over here, why I do tell later. Is Nemo an old Atlantian?”

Billy nodded yes, while he just took a very big bite in a brownie with seaweed.
“Why”, he mumbled with a full mouth.

"While some Atlantians in early days also had Homelander friends.
And although we can get very old, Atlantians are becoming even older yet. So it is possible, he can see me, but do not count on it.”

“Mumbl, hwow doo you meeaaan” tried Bobby to say, while eating at the same time.
Petra laughed loudly, knowing nobody could hear her and said: “my mom or grandmother would give me one around the ears, when I do speak with a full mouth!”

Billy blushed, emptied his mouth and said: “so does mine, but we are very soon in the building, where Nemo is.
And I do get more and more curious about you, and why you are here!”

“Than I will tell you the first thing, you have to learn, before we can become truly friends: patience.
And the second thing is: your normal life has to go on, like I am not around.”

Billy came to a standstill and said: “how can that be?
All is going to change now! Or not?”

“Yes, that is. But if you want to be my friend for life, you have to know, that being my friend has nothing to do with what you are doing the rest of the day.
Nor with what you have to do to live the best life you can!”

On Billy’s face came a wrinkle that showed how hard he was trying to understand.
So Petra said: “How would you like it, when Lilo suddenly did not want to play with you, or go on a ramble through the city, while shé had a Homelander friend?

You would not understand that either, while you could not see her friend probably. Not many of us can been seen by more than one friend, unless we are in Homeland.”

With that answer Billy had to do, for they reached the house from Nemo.
To Billy’s surprise there were some Atlantian children today too.
That was very special, for they mostly got lessons on an other place or on other subjects.

“Ha, Billy, you’re the last one I do expect, now we can start”, Nemo said.

Than he walked to a cupboard, that usually was closed and locked. With a big key he opened the door and very, very carefully he did bring a big book to the table.
Than he closed the door again.

All did look very interested: Nemo almost never showed his treasures, as he called his books.
They were very, very old, and held the history of all Atlantians.

He opened the book carefully on the first page, and there was a drawing.
Somehow it looked very familiar, as if Billy had seen this before.
The Atlantian children looked with the same ah, and respect, but also, as if their parents had prepared them on this lesson.

Nemo showed with hands, that did wear gloves to the structure of the drawing: there was a small, round place in the middle, and it looked, as if there was a kind of castle on a hilltop on it.
Round this all was a mote. Tree of them surrounded this, each part had drawings of buildings on it. And something green Billy did not understand.

So carefully he pointed: “Mister Nemo, what are those green things? I did never see that before!”

Nemo answered: ”That, young man, are trees and scrubs.
And also gardens.
You have never been in the other bubble, were we do grow most of our food, did you?”

Billy nodded no, did not want to be impolite, so said: “when will I be old enough to go there, please?”
While in his thoughts was: ‘that was, what I was dreaming about yesterday, standing by the rim.’

One of the other kids said: “I also had to wait that long. It has to do with something like water pressure and our bones.”

Nemo nodded and said: “but that is for another time, Billy is not so far to learn about that. We now are telling about the beginning of our big civilization.”

“What is civilisomething?” Billy asked.

“That is, how people have agreed to live together.
The rules you have to follow, so everybody does know, how to behave.
That also is for another lesson, while our guests did learn about that already.
Now we go on with this map.”

He showed how a straight moat from a sea went direct to the castle.

“From here all our ships went all over the world.
You, Billy, only do know a small toy ship, you did get from your daddy, but in those days we had ships as big as a house”.

Billy shaked his head in disbelieve.
But Nemo never told something untrue so he had to believe.

Lesson went on, but he was not totally with his attention there.
He had to think about his toyship as big as a house, that would sink, would it not?

Suddenly he did feel Petra give him a soft shove and heard her whisper in his ear: “wake up, lessons are not over yet!”

“And all the fleets had a different destination, so our civilization went over the whole earth.”

Than Nemo carefully closed the book again, to put it in the cupboard again.
The Atlantian kids were talking about the seas and lands and things, Billy did not hear, while he had been dreaming during that bit of the lesson.

“Tomorrow we go on with the two of us about this, Billy, so say goodbye to your friends. They are going on a field trip to the garden bubble, so you will not see them for a while.
Now go home and play a bit with your new sister.”

That Billy did, but as soon as he could find an excuse, he went to his room to talk further with Petra, who said: “next time some more playtime with her, remember, lesson two: act as if I, Petra are not here.”

With a bit of sense of guilt he said: “Will I learn that, you think?”

“Of course, otherwise the book in Otherland had not shown we could become friends. So now we go and make a drawing, as you would do when you are playing alone in your room. I will tell you later, why.

Make a drawing of you bedroom for me please, that I would like. And while you are doing that, I am going to walk around the town a bit, to see what there is.”

“Why not with me?”

“While I do need that drawing and only when that is ready, I can tell you more.”

More answers for now Billy did not get, Petra just went out of his room.
Than he remembered lesson one: being patient. So he started his drawing.

© Nan van Daalen, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chapter 1: The story of Petra.

Chapter 1: The story of Petra.

After the feast there was not much that Billy wanted to do but sleep.
But of course his curiosity did win it from sleep.
Special, while Petra still sat in the corner of his room, as if she had been there the whole evening.
So Billy did feel a bit sorry for her: he had a wonderful evening and she?

Petra did smile, and remembered him: “I did tell you, the others do not see me, unless I do want them to.
If I do want it, even you cannot see me, but when we are real friends, I’ll never do that to you again, unless necessary.
Tonight I did so, for I did feel lonely, and a feast like this is special, is it not?
So I had to peep in, and it was lovely to see all!”

Billy’s mouth fell open, what a surprise! But it did make him feel less guilty for leaving her alone.
There for he had not to tell about it, but at first there was no time for questions, while mom came in and ordered him to go to bed.

“It is already late, so no idle timing, to bed with you”, she told and gave him his goodnight kiss directly.

“No stories tonight, there was enough to do, and there still are guests, so skip to bed quickly!”

When the light was out, Petra came and sat at the corner of his bed.
She waited patiently for Billy’s questions. Her eyes sparkled like stars and she did look wide awake.

“Petra, you did not tell me, how you could come through my treasure, the one Daddy called a mirror.
And why are you here, with me?
Is it while there are so very little kids in our town?”

Petra shook her head: “no, no, that is by chance, you are supposed to become my friend, wherever you should have lived…”

Billy wondered, may be he did not understand, while he was tired from his busy day?

“Are there other places to live than here? I did not know that.

Until lately I was not allowed to wander alone in the city, but now mom an dad and the teachers think, I am old enough to go and explore.
Today I was at the rim again, that hard place, where I sometimes do see Purple, my mermaid friend go for a swim.

And where I sometimes see daddy float, in what he calls a submarine, when he and the Atlantians go out for their mission.”
His face got a bit discontent look: “And they do say, I am still to young to go with them, and I would like this so much. But I do have to wait.”

“We in Homeland do learn, there is a time and place for everything.
Lately we have been busy with things on this earth, but on the list with friends, we did make a while ago, was your name and this date.

But Cindy and Lea did not know were this place was, nor could we find a map, this city was on. Until I did come in the Sea-land part of Homeland, and found a mermaid crying on the bank of a lake.”

“WHAT!”Billy said rather loud, “Mermaids never cry!”

”Hush,” Petra urged, “You do not want anybody come in your room to look to whom you are speaking?
Remember, they cannot sea me,” and with that words she flipped out of sight, just if a candle was blown out. Than she was back again to his surprise.

“Can you teach me to do that too?” Billy wanted to know.

“No, not that, but a lot of other things.
But first we have to become friends. I will tell you about Homeland, and you will tell me about this city, we could not find on our maps first.”

“I like to have a friend of my own, there are only a few Atlantian kids and my sisters. It would be very special to have” and than a great, big yawn came, “a friend of myself.

But now I do think, I have to sleep, for tomorrow Nemo will teach me, how this city came to be. And he uses such difficult words, I have to have slept well to understand” he ended with another yawn.

“Is it ok if I do sleep on the other side of your bed? Nobody else will see me, and you have such a lovely soft bed.” Billy only could nod yes, before he did fall asleep. As did Petra.

© Nan van Daalen, all rights reserved

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homeland and the Waterworlds

Homeland and the Waterworlds.


Why had this sky a hard rim?
And why was it round and were there things floating by?
Little Billy did push his nose against the rim and did wonder.

How happy he would be, to go outside, like sometimes he saw his mermaid friend Purple do.
On the other hand: switching with Purple, he would not do either.
While she had a tail and not two legs and feet, she only could go around town, where the water flowed.
She could not run upstairs in the old buildings and find new treasures, like he, Billy had done yesterday.

“Billy! Where are you?” he heard calling. And again, with more urgency: “Biiiiiillllyyyyy….!”

Still he did not really feel to go, while this hard rim had his full attention.
Besides that he had the treasure to ponder about.

But while so little people lived in this city, and even less of them were children, he still decided to go.

His mom was waiting for him with his meal, as were his sister Lilo, and the small one, they even did not give a name yet, while it only was born yesterday.

His dad was out with the Atlantians, and while he came home today, there would be a naming feast.

But that was tonight, the meal was first and than school.
His mom did teach him, as well as an old Atlantian, named Nemo did.

Today it would be writing again, but he did not like the scratchy sound from the stick on a slate, nor the messy business when they did practiced something the first time: a coral stick and a soft clay pad.

But to read all that was in the ancient library, he really needed to learn reading and writing.
He became to old for only learning by listening.

But to his luck lessons time went fast, so the feast could start when daddy came home. Until than he was allowed to play in his own room.

He took from under his bed the shiny plate, he found on an old attic of a house, where nobody did live.
It reflected his face perfectly.
So this way he looked. A bit like mom, a bit like daddy, even a little bit like his sister Lilo, but his head was rounder as that, of the most Atlantians.

What, if he should draw a picture of himself, may be one of all the people he did know well?
That would make the time go fast until the naming feast would start.

So he did put his shiny plate in front of him to be able to see himself better, took a new plate and coral stick and started to draw.

And suddenly: BOOOOOM, somebody came and stepped right through the shiny plate.

It was a golden locked girl with blue shiny eyes and she asked out of breath: “can you please turn your drawing with the other side up?” before she sat down and could grasp for another mouthful of breath.

Billy was flabbergasted. Who was this?
And why did she came through his treasure, the one he just had found on the attic? And why did it not brake, while it seemed impossible that such a big girl could come through this.

“who… who are you, and…” he could not find the words to go on.

“I am Petra, and if you do like me, we can become friends. But before you say: yes, I would like that, you do have to know some things about me.”

Billy answered: “Of course I want to know, and not some things, I want to know a lot!”

“Than listen first carefully,” Petra went on, “most other people do not see me.
That is, because I do come from Homeland.
That is the land were all things paper live, and were all the stories in the world can come true.
Some boys and girls are so lucky, they do get a Homelander friend.
And if we go on well, you and I can become so forever.”

That was a lot to ponder about. But for now he did not get the time to do so, for daddy came in to fetch him for the feast.
“Did you not hear us come in? Oh, and I do see, you found a mirror.
Be careful with it, there are only a few good ones left in this city, so you better can put it on a place your sisters cannot scratch it. Let’s go.”

Petra sat in a corner, suggesting, he had to go on and softly, so daddy could not hear, said: “I will wait here for you, promise. Now go!”

So to the feast Billy went, full of questions in his head, although most disappeared when he did hear his new sisters name: Violet, almost like the mermaid Purple, he loved so much.
And with all the hustle and bustle, he for now did forget Petra. But only for now….

© Nan van Daalen, All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mermaid's dreams.

Mermaid’s dreams.
In the sparkling, colourful waters of the warmer spots of our endless oceans she could float. The only visible movement was a soft up and down movement of her tail, and every now and than her hands made an elegant movement to counter balance an unexpected movement of the tides.

Of all the colourful fishes, the elegant weeds, the coral with the endless variation of form and community she did see nothing today. Not even the interwoven paterns, the sea did make between the species, that normally could hold her attention endlessly, now could not keep her attention going.

Why this all?
What could have disturbed her normal happy sea-life, where always was a playmate, merman or woman or the other species she communicated with. 

Was it the call for help of the great whale, that nearly suffocated in a mountain of whatever it was?
Was is the echo of the dolphin, who’s flipper was tangled in the line of a fisherman, who carelessly did cut it of, when tired of fishing, without thinking about the consequences?

Or was it the strange mountain of rubble, just above her favourite spot on the Great Ocean, where normally the currants made such wonderful round patterns, she could play her favourite game: just floating and dreaming, listening to the endless songs of the creatures around her.

Today she went there again.
But there was even less space to float as the last time.

And if things went further as they were before, tomorrow there would even be less space, would this mountain even be bigger than before.

She had to think about her great, great, great aunt, who once did pay the ultimate price for the transformation from mermaid to human.
She did know, that her story was written down, whatever that did mean, in the tales of a mister Anderson, but they themselves kept doing it like always: tell from mother to daughter and never forget about it.

And now she was thinking of paying that price herself.
Even when she did know, there was no real return possible to her free, and normally happy life in the Ocean.

But she could not longer listen to the unhappy sound, the cries for help of her fellow sea creatures. 
Sounds, that had their origin in what she wanted to oppose, make the land dwellers aware of: the slowly dying of her friends, of the whole environment of the ocean.
And one had to do so. But the price she had to pay...

Not only the pain with each step she was going to put on the ground, no, also the years of life, who were very long in the sea, than were going to be short lived.

And would anybody believe her, when she did not have her tail anymore?

What would happen to her fellow mermaids when she let herself be kept and learn the normal way to speak? Would it be gone with their peace and quiet, like the big beasts of Loch Ness and the Big lakes?

She still could not decide, what was the best option.  
But also she could not longer close her ears for the cries for help, for the mountain of waste, polluting more and more of their sea, by mankind, who without any consideration was busy to empty this anyway.

All she could wish was: waking up and finding this was a dream, not a reality.
But she had been woken up so many time, she had to admit it was no dream.
So there hád to come a decision.

And perhaps she finally had to admit, it was her, who had to pay the price, while she was the oldest and could tell, how it should be.

She had to leave it to the younger generation, to bring order in the ocean, when her mission had been successfully ended.
So she prayed to the God of land and water, swam up and...