Friday, December 11, 2009

Chapter 9: "Magical Water"


Question to Madeleine:  What is oozing?
Answer:  Magical water

Madebonne stood in the sticky, oozy muck while Tilda strode off after her husband to find out what was seeping into the house.  She looked down at her feet and saw that her red rubber rain boots had changed into flippers.  That explained why it was getting so hard for her to walk.  The ooze was squelching up above Madebonne’s ankles and it was getting harder and harder for her to lift her feet.  She stood still and waited for rescue.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, Tomas appeared lugging a huge apparatus with lots of knobs and a giant hose like an elephant’s trunk.  The boys tumbled in behind him.
“Oh my,” said Tomas.  “Madebonne do you feel okay?”
“Well, I’m kind of stuck,” replied Madebonne.
“But how do you feel?” asked Tomas.  The boys looked at her with curious expressions, kind of like when you see a dog that looks like a person.
“I feel fine, why?” asked Madebonne.  They were beginning to make her feel self conscious.
“You look a bit green,” said Tomas.
“And you hair is turning orange,” said Bjorn.
“And you’re kind of scaly,” piped in Oskar.
“Look she has fins,” yelped Soren.  Madebonne looked down at her feet in alarm.  She lifted one of her feet out of the ooze and realized that Soren was right.  She wasn’t wearing flippers, her feet were turning into fins. 
“This must be magical water,” said Tomas while scratching his head.  “Valentin, run and get your grandmother.  Hopefully she’ll know what to do.” 

“I’m on it dad,” said Valentin and he dashed off to find Captain Fletcher.  The rest of the boys stayed and stared at Madebonne.  She tried to lift her foot again but lost her balance and landed with a splash onto the floor.  As soon as she hit the water her legs fused together.
“Look, Madebonne is turning into a mermaid,” said Rowan.
“You’re so pretty,” said Rurik shyly, and then blushed.
“I want to turn into a fish too,” shouted Gustav and he leapt into the ooze right next to Madebonne and started rolling around.  Before Tomas knew what was happening, the rest of the boys splashed into the ooze behind Gustav. 
“Get out of there,” hissed Tomas.  “Your mother will never forgive me if her sons turn into a school of fish.”  But the boys paid no attention and kept wriggling around in the oozy water.
“How do I look?” Per asked Madebonne sticking his foot up near her face.  “Do my toes looked webbed?  See any scales?  Am I green?”  Madebonne shook her head.  Per looked exactly the same.  But Madebonne looked more and more like a mermaid with each passing moment.  She took a look at her arm which was turning a beautiful shimmery green.  The magical water felt cool and soothing on her skin so she lay back and let it wash over her.  She swished her tail and shot across the room. 
“Whoa!  Look at Madebonne go,” said Rowan in awe as she glided past him. 
“This isn’t good,” said Tomas shaking his head.  At least the boys still seemed to have their arms and legs as they hopped around the deepening water after Madebonne.  There was quite a ruckus and a lot of splashing when Captain Fletcher came into the room with Valentin.  Madebonne swam past, her orange hair streaming behind her, followed by her whooping grandsons.
“No wonder Tilda didn’t want to come back in here,” laughed Captain Fletcher.  “Is this another one of your inventions Tomas?”
“I don’t know what this is,” said Tomas.  “It’s some kind of magical water that has turned Madebonne into a mermaid.  But it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the boys.  Very curious.”  Captain Fletcher agreed that it was quite curious.
“Let’s get Madebonne out of the water and try drying her off.  Maybe that will change her back.”
“It’s worth a shot, but she looks pretty slippery,” said Tomas as he watched the boys hop through the ooze after Madebonne.  Captain Fletcher grabbed some towels while Tomas and the boys pulled Madebonne out of the water.  It took all ten of them to get a good grip on her but they managed to place her on the pile of towels and Captain Fletcher dried her off.  Then they all stepped back and stared.
“Do you feel any different?” asked Tomas.  Madebonne wiggled her fins.
“Just a bit itchy,” said Madebonne.  They waited a bit longer but there was no change.  Madebonne was beginning to worry.  Was her whole family turning into fish?  She took a look at her mermaid tail and burst into tears.
“I want my mom,” she sobbed and covered her face with her hands. 
“That’s not a bad idea,” said Captain Fletcher.  “One of you boys, run and get Madebonne’s mom.”  The boys clambered out of the room, each trying to be the most helpful.  Captain Fletcher dried Madebonne’s tears with one of the towels and then she and Tomas carefully lifted her back into the water.  Moments later the herd of boys was back with Gustav triumphantly carrying the goldfish bowl and Oskar and Rurik carrying a very confused Henry who was trying to wriggle away.
“What are you doing with poor Henry?” asked Captain Fletcher.
“We thought he would make Madebonne feel better,” said Oskar while Rurik looked at his feet shyly. 

“That was very thoughtful of you,” said Captain Fletcher.  Tomas took the fish bowl from Gustav and carefully poured Madebonne’s mom into the magical water.  Madebonne swam over and looked her square into her fish eyes but her mom just swam away, excited to be out of her goldfish bowl and able to stretch her fins.
“Mom, what’s happening to me?  I’m turning into a mermaid,” said Madebonne swimming after her mom in the magical water.  But her mom kept swimming around as if it were normal for her daughter to have a long fish tail instead of legs. 
“Mom,” said Madebonne swimming after her, trying to get her attention.  “Is our whole family turning into fish?  What’s happening?”  Try as she might, Madebonne couldn’t seem to get her mom to notice what was wrong.  She started to panic. Had her mom been a fish for too long? What if her Fairy Godmother couldn’t turn her back into a mom.  What would happen then?  Would her mom be a fish forever?  Madebonne stopped swimming.  She fingered the necklace around her neck. 
“Stupid necklace,” she said between gritted teeth.  “You were supposed to bring me luck.  How lucky is it to be a mermaid with a fish for a mother?”  She grabbed the necklace, wrenched it from her neck and threw it across the room.  Within seconds Madebonne sank to the bottom of the magical water, all arms and legs, no scales, no tail, no orange hair or green skin.  She was back to her old self in her sunfish bikini and had never liked the sight of her toes as much as she did right now.  Captain Fletcher scooped the necklace out of the water and held it up.
“Where did you get this beautiful necklace?” she asked Madebonne. 
“It’s the necklace that the Queen gave me for making peace with the dragons and saving the Princess’s wedding,” she replied.  “The shells are from the Caspian Sea and are on a string of…”
“…mermaid hair!” said Captain Fletcher.  “The mermaid hair from your necklace mixed with the magical water and turned you into a mermaid.  Mermaids are quite magical creatures.”
“I never would have figured that one out,” said Tomas.  He scooped Madebonne’s mom back into her goldfish bowl.  Madebonne stomped out of the magical water and glared at everyone.

“I’m sick of this adventure,” said Madebonne through slitted eyes.  Her stomach churned with worry.  “I don’t know how to get my mom home in time to turn her back into a mom.  I’m just a kid.  It’s not fair.”  She stomped out of the house and headed to the water where she could have a good grump in peace.  Henry followed behind at a safe distance.  Madebonne reached the beach and kicked the sand.  She stomped and whalloped and garumphed and snorked.  Then she took a huge, deep breath and let out a roar.  Her whole face turned red and she clawed at the air with her hands overhead.  All of the air whooshed out of her lungs.  She took another deep breath and roared another horrible roar.  That roar took it out of her.  She sat down with a thump and tears ran down her cheeks.
“I’m just a kid.  How am I supposed to know how to get my mom back to Brooklyn in time to turn her back into a mom?  It’s going to take hours to get there on Captain Fletcher’s sailboat and that could be too late.”  She looked at Henry who sauntered over and rubbed his cheek on her knee.  Madebonne sat, grabbing fistfuls of sand.  Then she flopped on her back, exhausted.  A cool breeze blew over her and Henry curled up beside her.  Madebonne stared up at the sky contemplating what she should do.  A cloud passed over the sun then swooped away then passed over the sun again.  She squinted, then sat up.  The swooping cloud got closer and closer until Madebonne could make out that it wasn’t a cloud at all.  It was the Dragon.  He circled lower and lower and landed on the beach at her feet.
“Hi Dragon.  What are you doing here?” asked Madebonne. 
“I heard your dragon roar so I flew right over.  Is everything alright?”  The Dragon looked at Madebonne with concern. 
“I don’t know what to do Dragon,” said Madebonne, kicking the sand.  “I’m afraid that I won’t get my mom back to Brooklyn in time to change her back into my mom.  Every time I think we are on our way home something happens.  And now she doesn’t seem to even care that I was changed into a mermaid.”
“You were a mermaid?  Were you all green and scaly?  I bet you were so pretty.  I was in love with a mermaid once,” said the Dragon letting out a sigh.  Madebonne started to huff again.
“I don’t want to be a mermaid!  I just want to get my mom home.  Doesn’t anyone understand me?”
“Hold on there little dragon,” said the Dragon sympathetically.  “Don’t get your fire all stoked up.  I’ll be happy to help you.”
“But how can you help?” asked Madebonne.
“I’ll fly you to Brooklyn,” said the Dragon matter of factly.  Madebonne couldn’t believe her ears.
“Really?  You can fly to Brooklyn?  Do you even know where Brooklyn is?”
“Of course I know where Brooklyn is,” said the Dragon with a snort.  “I go there all the time.  Where else am I going to get a perfect dill pickle?”
“But I’ve never seen a dragon in Brooklyn before.  And I’m sure I would have heard about it in the news,” said Madebonne.
“I have to use dragon mist to disguise myself,” said the Dragon.  “Otherwise everyone would want my autograph.”
“More like everyone would run screaming,” said Madebonne under her breath.  “How long will it take to fly there?”
“From here?  About twenty minutes.”
“Really?” shrieked Madebonne.  “That’s so fast.  It will take hours on Captain Fletcher’s sailboat.”
“Check out these wings,” said the Dragon stretching his wing span fifty feet across the beach.  “I can soar us there in no time.”  Madebonne was so excited that she leapt at the Dragon and hugged him.  If he hadn’t been a lovely deep shade of green, Madebonne could have seen him blush.
“Will you be able to fly with Henry and Linda as well?” asked Madebonne.
“Not a problem,” said the Dragon.  “I once flew to Brooklyn with my nephew’s entire kindergarten class on my back.  It was too far for their young wings to fly but I got there and back without a hitch.” 
“Wait until I tell Linda,” said Madebonne running up towards the house.  “I’ll be right back.  Don’t go anywhere without me.”  Madebonne raced up to the house with Henry at her heels. 
“Where’s my mom?  Where’s Linda?” she panted.  Before anyone could answer, Madebonne saw her mom swimming around in her goldfish bowl on the lunch table.  She carefully fished her out and placed her in her pocket and then poured in some water.  She was still trying to catch her breath when Linda waddled into the room.
“What’s going on?” she asked.  “Are you ready to sail?”
“No time,” gulped Madebonne.  She pointed towards the beach.  “Dragon.  Fly us.  Faster.”  And she grabbed Linda by the flipper and started to drag her towards the beach.
“Fly?  Oh no.  I won’t fly,” said Linda.  “Boats, trains, cars.  All fine.  But there is no way you will get me on a plane or a dragon.”  Madebonne looked at her in disbelief. 
“But we have to fly,” she pleaded.  “My mom is turning more and more into a fish every minute and I have to get her back as soon as possible.  The dragon said it would only take twenty minutes to get to Brooklyn and it will take hours on the My Boat.”  Linda rubbed her flipper against her forehead. 
“I see what you mean,” said Linda.  “You should fly home on the Dragon.  I’ll head back to the castle with Captain Fletcher on the My Boat and then catch the next Penguin Express.”  Madebonne heaved a sigh of relief. 
“Now let’s go talk to the Dragon.  I want to make sure that he knows how to get you to Brooklyn.  After all, I promised your Fairy Godmother that I would bring you home safely.”
“He said that he goes there all the time to get pickles,” said Madebonne leading the way to the beach.  The Dragon was waiting patiently for Madebonne right where she had left him.
Linda gave the Dragon Madebonne’s address in Brooklyn and checked his flight plan.  She even made him do a test flight over the water so that she could be sure that he was a safe flyer.  When she was satisfied that Madebonne would be brought home safely they called the Fairy Godmother to let her know the change in plans. 
“We’ll be there in twenty minutes,” said Madebonne into her butterfly phone.  “Make it a strong spell, my mom is acting very fishy.”
“Will do,” said the Fairy Godmother.  “I’ll just pop out for some extra weaselberries which should do the trick.”
Madebonne was itching to leave so she bade a hasty good-bye to her new friends.  She gave Tilda an extra long hug.
“Thank you for my Adventuring outfit,” said Madebonne.  “It’s perfect.”
“You must come back to visit,” said Tilda as she placed something in Madebonne’s hand.  “I found this while we were cleaning up.  It might still bring you luck.”
Madebonne opened her hand and saw her shell necklace from the Queen sparkling in her palm.  She smiled and slipped it into her pocket.
“Thank you,” she said then looked around and realized that Tor was nowhere to be seen.  “Where’s Tor?”
“He’s a bit upset that he won’t be able to sail home with you through the Porthole of Atlantis,” explained Tomas.  “So he wouldn’t come down to say good-bye.”  Madebonne was terribly upset that she couldn’t say good-bye to Tor but she had no time to lose.  She climbed up the Dragon’s wing and sat between his shoulders where she could hold on to his neck.  Henry leapt up behind her.  Madebonne reached into one of her Adventuring pockets and pulled out a pair of goggles.
“Ready,” she said to the Dragon.  Everyone stepped back as the Dragon spread his wings.  With a powerful flap they lifted off the ground and soared over the water.  Madebonne waved and waved good-bye until Linda and her friends were just a speck below her.

Question to Madeleine:  How do dragons get through to the other side and back to Brooklyn?


  1. i love the picture of her and her Mum facing each other, so pretty. x

  2. There's a special old trap door opening into Brooklyn in an abandoned storeroom of the old Domino sugar factory which dragons regularly go in and out of. Then they disguise themselves as aging Brooklyn Heights intellectuals, authors, professors etc., or jumbo jets(if they want to fly a little and get a decent view). But you can spot them if you look closely at the elbow patches of their corduroy jackets -- they are made from dragon toenails!