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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2015; Jack and the Giant Mushroom

I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo for the month of April, so my writing on my blog will be a lot more sporadic.

Here is a sample from the story I’m working on…. Jack and the Giant Mushroom is the rough draft title for this section   (I’m not supposed to edit until it’s all done.)

Jack jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs to see his mother in the kitchen looking out the window. At least he thought it was the window, but there was something dark in front of it so he couldn’t tell for sure. When he looked a little closer, it seemed to be a beanstalk. The texture and color at least was the same as a small beanstalk and it was green like the plants he remembered from their garden last year. Yet this one was huge, very very huge. It was taller than their house and when Jack tried to look out the window it seemed to go way up beyond the sky.

Jack’s mother tried to grab him by the ear. He dodged away from her for a movement, but she caught him and dragged him by his ear out the front door. The sun shone brightly through the trees in their yard, and the sky was a beautiful bright blue with fluffy white clouds. By now, this giant beanstalk had gone up through the roof of the house and was breaking it apart. Jack wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it all, but he figured he needed to do something. Chopping down the beanstalk didn’t seem like the best of options considering it was his only chance for adventure and his only hope.

Jack didn’t take any more time to think. He broke away from his mother and ran towards the giant stalk. Before she could reach him, he was at the beanstalk pulling himself up and climbing as fast as he could. His mother tried to catch him but she wasn’t fast enough and couldn’t climb like he could. Her body was just too old and warn down from years of work on the farm.

Jack climbed higher and higher but the beanstalk seemed to go way up beyond the sky. The higher Jack got, the smaller the ground seemed below him. He had never seen the top of his house before from this distance. At first, he could make out his mother net to the house but soon she was no more than a tiny dot on the ground. Looking up, Jack realized he was soon going to be going up into the clouds. He had no idea what was beyond the clouds and he didn’t care. It was an adventure. No one had even been this high in the sky before

Past the clouds, he could look below and see nothing but a sea of white and gray clouds. The higher he climbed the more he could sense there was something above him and so he kept going. Slowly, a large rocky surface began to appear. Jack climbed higher and higher until he reached the rocky surface. The beanstalk grew up past the rocky surface and so Jack kept going until slowly until land began to appear. As it appeared, he could make out features of this land, tall trees, a large open field and a castle way off in the distance. He could see the sun shining over the land, but there also appeared to be many dark clouds moving in in the distance.

He climbed until he was just over the forest, then made his way into a tree. From the tree, he began to climb down into the forest. The tree seemed to go on and on forever. It was much larger than any tree he had ever climbed at home. It was several hours later when he finally made his way to the bottom of the tree and climbed down into the forest, heading in the direction where he had seen the open field.

The forest was bright and the trail going through it was lite by the sun shining through the trees, casting shadows on the path as the sunlight hit the tree leafs. As the day wore on, the shadows began to disappear as the sun was covered over by clouds. In the distance, Jack could hear thunder and he pushed himself harder to reach the castle before the storm came.

The trees surrounding the forest seemed much larger to Jack than any trees he had ever seen back home. The trees were at least twice as tall as the trees he knew from home, so tall they seemed to go on and on forever and he could not see the tops. The leafs were so high up, he doubted they would give him much shelter if it started raining.

There were also plants with tall white or brown stems, and a large rounded cap on each one. Jack looked at the stems and noticed they had little grooves in them. The caps as well had grooves, and were a mix of brown and white blended together. Jack thought they looked very much like giant mushrooms he had seen back home. They weren’t plants but some type of fungus. If it was indeed a mushroom, just one would bring a lot of money for his family if he were to cut it down and take it home to sell. For now though, he wouldn’t take the time to check it out. He wanted to reach the castle before the rain started and the thunder seemed to be growing louder by the minute.

Jack walked on for awhile longer, but when he felt rain drops coming down on him, he knew he was going to have to find shelter. He wasn’t even to the field yet so there was no way he was going to make it to the castle in time. Looking around, he noticed another mushroom-type fungus with a rounded cap up ahead on the trail. By now, the rain was coming down harder and harder so he took off running. By the time he reached the mushroom-type fungus he was soaked. He tried to get comfortable under the fungus, and at least it was dry. Sitting down with his back up against the stem, he pulled his legs up to his knees.

Listening to the rain fall all around him, he shivered and tried to pull his legs even closer for warmth. Suddenly, he felt a thump against his back. He tried to ignore it and curled up tighter. Again the thump came and again Jack ignored it. When it came a third time, a deep gruff voice came with it. Whoever it was sounded angry. “Go away! I don’t know how you found this place, but you aren’t welcome.” The pressure against his back let up and he heard a loud bang, as though a window were closing.

Jack was taken back and a bit scared. He had no idea where the voice was coming from, or what was thumping against his back. Slowly, he turned around. The mushroom looked like an ordinary mushroom, just a plan stem with small line-like indentations going vertically along the stem. He tried to look even closer at the stem and that’s when he noticed two small rectangular shapes carved out. It was in the shape of a window, or like shutters covering a window, but it matched the stem so closely in color that he couldn’t tell an opening was even there.

He felt around the edge of the shape with his fingers, trying to find an opening. He could feel a groove along the edge, but there didn’t seem to be any way to open it. Suddenly, the side of the stem flew open as it struck Jack in the head. Jack nearly fell over and stepped back. “I thought I told you to get out of here! Go on, now, go.” The deep gruff voice sounded angrier. Jack could hardly see through the pain in his head, but he tried to get his eyes to focus before the hole in the stem closed again. “Go on now! Get out of here.”

Through his blurred vision, Jack could make out a small dwarf peeking through the window. He had a pointed nose, and a long skinny hat that stuck up through the hole in the stem. His long gray beard went past the opening and Jack couldn’t tell where it ended. His nose was wide in comparison with the rest of his rounded face and his eyes were covered over by a pair of round glasses. He waved his chubby hand at Jack and shouted again in his gruff deep voice. “What are you, deaf, little man? Go on! Get out of here! Stop standing in front of my window”

So it was a window after all. Jack would never have known for sure by looking at it, but the dwarf was calling it such. The dwarf’s face was turning bright red and Jack couldn’t help but stare. He couldn’t help but wonder why this little man was calling him little. He was at least twice the size of the dwarf. He may only be 14 years old, but he was tall for his age and knew men who were shorter than he was. “I, I” Jack couldn’t find the words to say before the old man interrupted him again.

“I’ll turn the ravens on you I will. You’d better get.”

Jack turned to go, trying not to shiver. He was still soaked and the rain was still coming down hard. He sighed and fought a shiver down his entire body. He could feel the dwarf watching him go as he slowly moved out from under the mushroom, into the pouring rain. He began walking down the path, trying to see if there was shelter ahead but it was growing dark and even if he found another mushroom, there was no guaranteeing it wasn’t occupied as well. He fought back tears. This was not how he had expected his day to go.

When he was about twenty steps or so away from the mushroom, a voice called out after him. It was the same deep gruff voice from before but the anger was gone. “Hold on there, boy. What are you doing out here in this mess anyways? Don’t you know the spring rains have started?”

Jack ignored the voice at first and kept walking. He was done with dwarf and he wasn’t taking a chance on getting yelled at again. Besides, he didn’t know who the ravens were but he didn’t want them called on him. “Young man! Freeze where you are. I said come back here!” The deep gruff voice was sounding slightly annoyed and maybe a little angry this time. “Let’s go. I don’t have all day. The ravens won’t be happy if I have to interrupt their supper in this rain to bring a little boy back.”

Being called a little boy was worse than being called a little man. Jack made a fist with his hands and tried to hold back his anger, but he had about had enough with this little dwarf. Turning around, he was prepared to have it out with the dwarf as he walked back to the mushroom. He walked over to the window and the dwarf looked him up and down, his long beard slipping through the window as he moved his head. It had to be at least as long as the dwarfs stomach.

Jack gripped his fists tightly. His mother had taught him to respect those older than him and clearly the dwarf was older. But respect wasn’t one of Jack’s strong points. “Young man, whatever are you doing in a place like this at this time of day? How did you manage to find me here?”

Jack didn’t know what to say. He had found the place quite by accident, at least the mushroom house. He wasn’t sure he dwarf would even believe his story of the beanstalk and the magic beans. “I was lost and I took shelter under the mushroom. I didn’t know anyone lived here.”

It was partially true. He may not have really been lost, but he did take shelter there. It seemed to appease the dwarf for now. “Wherever is your mother? She must be worried sick with a child of hers out in this awful weather. If the roads flood, she’ll never be able to find you.”

“I ran away.” Again, it was a partial truth and the dwarf really didn’t need to know more.

“Foolish boy! Well, I suppose I’d better take you in for the night. I wouldn’t want to face a mother when her child was in danger and I could have protected him. Come on in, I’ll put you up for the night.”

“But I can’t fit through your window, I’m afraid.” Jack wondered how the dwarf could have possibly gotten into the mushroom as it was. He might be small, but the window didn’t seem big enough even for him.

“You witless child! Use the door!”

“What door?”

The dwarf’s face turned bright red and Jack could sense anger in the deep gruff voice once again. “The door! In back.” The dwarf motioned towards the other side of the mushroom. Jack was so busy trying to seek shelter and then trying to escape the angry dwarf that he hadn’t thought about what might be on there other side of the giant mushroom. He walked around and found a small door exactly halfway around from where the window was. There was a very small handle that looked like a little bump on the mushroom and the door was a white color to match the mushroom stem. It wasn’t easy to see at first but having seen the window made it a little easier.

Before Jack could even turn the handle to open the door, the dwarf flung it open and invited Jack in. Jack had to bend over to fit through the door and he had to stay partially bent over inside the small home, but he could still look around.The inside of the mushroom had a spiral staircase in the center of the room. The room was an open circular living space, with a couch made from a wooden log and a small chair carved out of a large stick. Both were cushioned with a thick moss and looked very comfortable. The dwarf invited Jack to sit on the couch but then stopped him. “My goodness you are soaked. Let’s get you out of those wet clothes first.”

Jack stood in the living area, dripping wet while the dwarf left the room as he climbed up the spiral staircase. When he returned, he offered Jack a shirt and pants that seemed to be a perfect fit. Jack didn’t question how someone so much smaller than he was could have the perfect size clothing for him out loud, but he thought it in his head. It was a question he would have to ask another time if he ever got the chance.

The dwarf stood in the living area, waiting and then questioned why Jack wasn’t changing. Jack looked embarrassed and asked if he could change alone. The dwarf seemed flustered for a moment and said “Oh yes, I had forgotten you humans like your privacy. My kind are so used to tight living quarters, we don’t think twice about changing with someone else in the room.”

The dwarf led Jack up the spiral staircase. The next room was also round and there was another spiral staircase very near to the one they had just come up. It was the kitchen area. Wooden cupboards were across one wall and there was shelving covered with spice jars. At least Jack assumed they were spice jars; they looked just like his mothers. A fireplace was near the counters, but far enough away as to not start a fire. A large iron kettle was hung across the fireplace and Jack could smell something delicious cooking in it.

There was an island counter in the center of the room, just before the spiral staircase. The island counter had barstools by it and it appeared the dwarf had been eating here before Jack arrived. He could make out a window across the room and he assumed it was the same window from which the dwarf had hit him. The dwarf left him alone to change.

Once his wet clothes were off and the dry ones were on, Jack walked back down the spiral stairs into the living area. The dwarf took the wet clothes and placed them in front of the fireplace to dry. Jack hadn’t noticed the fireplace at first, but now that he did, he couldn’t help but want to cuddle in front of it. Across from the couch and chair was a bookcase filled with small books and the fireplace was next to it. Jack had been too cold to think much about looking around before, but now he began to notice the small paintings on the walls and the little candles that light the room.

The warmth from the fire drew him to it, almost calling out his name. He found a spot to cuddle up and was soon asleep.


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