Hey Friends! If you’re new, here’s the scoop: We’re taking a walk through the book of Proverbs along with a girl named Eleanor. In Eleanor’s imaginative life, she is heir to an island chain. In real life, she is a freshman at an arts school—a seeming dream come true that will turn into her worst nightmare if she isn’t careful.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
When Eleanor checked on her goats the next morning, there were two new kids walking on wobbly legs around their mother. Eleanor quickly fed and watered her little flock and then ran inside to get her roomies.
“Oh, look at them,” Io said when they had got to the little paddock. The sun was nicely warm and shining on the red brick building.
Jaqueline climbed onto one of the trash cans of feed and hopped down into the pen gently. Eleanor followed.
“This one is still a little damp,” Eleanor said.
Portia took the multi-color scarf from her neck and extended it to Eleanor.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Call it a shower gift,” Portia said.
Eleanor rubbed the brown kid gently, noticing flecks of white on its floppy ears. Curly, Cezario, and Mr. Washington walked up then.
Curly gave Eleanor a perturbed look. “You have got to be kidding.”
Io laughed loudly. “No, that was the doe’s job.”
Curly’s eyes lit up. “That was pretty baaaaad of me, Eleanor. Real sorry. I feel a little sheepish.”
Mr. Washington reached down to pet the mother’s neck. “Good job, mama. Just in time.”
“Just in time for what?” Eleanor asked.
“Principal Polovanka has asked if you would be willing to bring a young goat to her apartment each day for a half hour or so. Her doctor has prescribed goat therapy.”
A few days later, Eleanor was given an access card to enter the hallway to Principal Polovanka’s apartment. As she transitioned from 1920s-era brick high school into the brave new world of Polovanka, her jaw dropped. She shifted Sofia to her other arm and shoved the card into her pocket as she walked, awestruck, down the marble hallway. Sconces on the wall threw light artfully onto the ceiling.
She knocked timidly on the ten foot tall door of the principal’s apartment. Two other, smaller doors stood further down the hall on the same side of the hallway. She wondered if they also led into apartments.
Talia opened the door. Her bun was messy, her face strained, and her workout clothes askew. She gestured for Eleanor to enter with a sigh.
“We’ll be working out in the greenhouse,” Talia said. She half-smiled at the kid. Or maybe it was a look of pity.
Eleanor tried to not gawk at the sixteen foot ceilings, enormous glass windows looking out on the river, and the copper walls.
Suddenly a door slammed. Eleanor looked over as Principal Polovanka strode from a door which strangely bounced back open, revealing a room full of video surveillance equipment. At a glance, Eleanor felt she could see the entirety of the campus, hallways, and classrooms just before the principal cast her a warning look and closed the door firmly. The steely faced woman squared her shoulders and led the way into the greenhouse.
At the Home of the Inventor
When Starla awoke, she found that she had been sleeping on a fur rug in a small home. And yet, she had the sensation of movement. Perhaps she was in a vehicle. Not a boat, she decided. A gentle gust passed through the reed walls and Starla remembered that she had been rescued by a pair of talons. Rescued! From a terrible foe. She needed to find the one who saved her and thank them.
She peered between the reeds and discovered that she couldn’t see much. A gauzy balloon encompassed the reed house.
She heard metallic gears grinding and rose to find the source of the noise.
A wooden ledge lined the reed walls. Small panes of glass were nestled into a slit in the wood, running the whole length. As Starla passed the panes of glass, she saw the the images passing through her mind appear on the pieces of glass: the talons, the pirates, the departing Tufe, the lovely tiara… Her hand raised to her hair.
“Your tiara still there, strange princess,” a woman said.
Starla rounded a wall, only to see a large fire burning brightly in a metal canister. Below the canister hung a basket below floor level where a woman pedaled a cycle. A beanie pinned down her hair. Her right hand held a looking glass to her eye.
Starla suddenly understood: this was a flying vessel. Her eyes followed the canister up and up to where the flames licked out, filling the balloon with great heat. The woman reached behind herself and adjusted a lever which altered their course.
The basket holding the woman and her cycle was attached to the rest of the vessel by woven ropes at the four corners. The basket was woven up as high as her knees, giving her plenty of room to see out.
An enormous bird rose up beside them just then, causing Starla to back up in surprise.
“Don’t be afraid of old Marabou. He’s the one who rescued you.”
“Of course,” Starla said. “How can I thank him? I was nearly dead.”
“You think you had endured the worst,” the woman said. “But that which was to come was of far more danger to you.”
Starla wanted to ask what the woman meant, but an image flashed across the panes of glass then—a bright light and then a line of people with very little light in their eyes.
And then a bright yellow fruit flew into one of the panes of glass, shattering it.
“I don’t know why I invented those things,” the woman grumped. “It is bad enough to have some thoughts jumping around in my head. Why give them life beyond the borders of my triumphantly thick skull?”
New scenes flashed across the remaining panes of glass now. A small island. Trees full of bright fruit. Huts. Smiling people.
“Oh yes, that is why I invented the soul windows; my motivation was to communicate with you, Marabou*.
“Do you see the images on the soul windows, strange princess? Marabou is telling us that he has found you a new home.”
“Pardon me, your majesties,” Starla said, bowing to the woman and the great bird, “But I have a home: The Isle of the Rising Star.”
“Ah yes. I know the Island kingdom. I know your King. But we are far from your land, strange princess. Your islands have been taken over. I had to take you far away from them.”
And with that, the Inventor pulled a lever. Starla’s stomach shot up into her throat as she fell through a hatch in the floor. The great bird plucked her from the air and flew with her until it dropped her gently at the doorway of a hut.
“I thought a straight path was horizontal,” she thought as she watched the bird and the Inventor’s great balloon fly away. “Apparently a straight path can also be straight down.”
And then a sound in the doorway of the hut made her turn and look.
*The marabou is a massive bird in Africa which has a wing span of 10 feet. This type of bird does not go around picking up humans, but I thought it would be a fitting name for this ficticios bird in my story.