by M. Vance
Never try to find the rainbow’s end. You won’t – not if you’re looking for it. Rainbows are very mischievous (no doubt due to their relationships with leprechauns) and get most of their pleasure in life by tricking humans. Even if you did successfully follow a rainbow, you’d be bound to follow it the wrong direction. You see, only one end of the rainbow lies in our world. (The Irish have always known this, and that is why you will never hear them say that the pot of gold lies at an end of the rainbow. They always say it lies at the end.)
The only way to find the rainbow’s end is simply to be lucky enough to stumble upon it, which is exactly what happened to Joel Sanders.
He was walking home from school by way of the old railroad tracks when he saw the gold to his left. Most people get so distracted by the pot of gold that they forget all about the rainbow. But Joel had just endured one of those very boring days at school when even if its raining buckets you’d rather be outside. So Joel thought a little excitement might be fun. He decided to try climbing the rainbow.
The hardest thing about climbing rainbows is that the colors keep changing textures. Joel nearly got stuck when the green turned from spongy to swampy, and the moment he stepped onto pink he nearly bounced right off the rainbow, but fortunately had the good sense to catch hold of a sturdy purple. The way his feet flew up and his hands stayed down made him feel like he was doing handstands, and he did this a few more times for fun until he noticed just how far down it was to the ground. The blue became so airy that for awhile he floated along, but the red he didn’t try and I don’t blame him. It looked too much like blood.
By the time Joel had reached the top, he felt as though he’d climbed Everest. He expected to look down and find his house, his school, the park, just like you might do from a tall building, but he was so high up and everything below was so foggy that he couldn’t see the ground at all. He amused himself instead by jumping up to catch and release clouds, but soon decided he’d better head back home if he wanted to be in time for dinner.
It was then that Joel realized he couldn’t remember which direction he’d come from. He wasn’t too worried about going back down the wrong side of the rainbow – he figured it would still let him off close to home – but he didn’t want to be late for spaghetti night. His brother had an annoying habit of stealing all the meatballs.
(Joel didn’t know very much about rainbows. If you ever travel by rainbow, you should always remember to take heed of your surroundings. Otherwise, you might just wind up in an adventure.)
As soon as he could see the ground below, Joel realized that he was in trouble. There were no railroad tracks in sight. It looked like the rainbow ended in the middle of a field. In the distance, Joel thought he could make out a cluster of buildings. He thought about turning around, but then he saw a well. Climbing rainbows can make you very thirsty. Joel couldn’t resist.
His feet touched ground in the middle of a row of plants. Very strange plants, in Joel’s opinion. They were slick looking, orange-colored, and upside-down-tripod-shaped. The rows were so perfect that Joel knew someone had to have planted them, but there were no buildings, people, or even trees in sight. Only plants. He couldn’t even see the well from where he stood. He headed towards where he thought he’d seen it – left and behind him a bit.
As he walked, he realized that not all of the plants were the same. He’d been standing in rows of orange plants; now he was between clusters of giant pea-pod shaped plants that were white with green stripes. Farther on were small blue and purple leafy plants growing up some sort of lattice frames – kind of like rosebushes do in our world.
Finally Joel reached the well. He thought that it was strange for it to be surrounded by hollow sticks jutting out of the ground, but the water was cool and delicious.
Joel nearly dropped the bag. Water splashed all over his shirt.
From his right came a very strange-looking man. His face broke into a wide silly grin that seemed to complement his very baggy trousers and his billowing shirt, whose hood flapped up ridiculously as the man half-ran, half-bounced towards Joel. The baggy clothes and large grin might have reminded you of a clown. Or maybe a very excited puppy.
Joel was too stunned to speak, but this didn’t seem to bother the stranger at all. “Oh, I can’t hardly believe it! An overworlder in my petoon patch! Of course, I wasn’t sure you were an overworlder at first – I’ve never met one. But I’ve heard all the stories about the great overworlders of ancient times, and I’ve heard rumors of a few that came during the last hundred years or so, and I knew you had to be an overworlder. You haven’t been to Joran before, have you?”
But even though he’d asked a question, the man didn’t give Joel time to answer.
“You have to come and meet my family! My father doesn’t even believe that there are overworlders. Won’t he be surprised! And my mother – you’ll love my mother. She’ll make you the best hassab stew you’ve ever had.” Already he was dragging Joel back with him. Joel was forced to trot along, unable to get a word in edgewise to protest.
“And Great-Aunt Nimia will be pleased as a yekim’s babe when she sees you! She and my father go round and round about whether the stories about overworlders are true. Aunt Nimia could argue the dew back into the sky if she took the notion. Our place isn’t much, but it serves us fine. It’ll keep the rain off your hood for the night, anyhow.” At these words, Joel panicked, and he jerked his arm out of the man’s grasp to run back towards the rainbow.
It was gone.
© 2007 by M. Vance
Original fiction debuting at Residential Aliens.
M. Vance is a University student who enjoys reading, writing, and discussing Harry Potter. A member of Scribes & Scribblers, a writing group at church not very familiar with fantasy, Vance decided to give them something different.
This is part 1 of a 4-part series.
Read Part 2.
Read Part 3.
Read Part 4.