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NOTE: This chapter is a little bizarre. Keep in mind while reading it that my name is in fact, Cartoonprincess. Song lyric credits go to the amazing musical genius that is Joe Raposo. Enjoy! :)
- Chapter 2: The Middle of Imagination
Isabel awoke to a gentle breeze. Sweet smells of spring filled her senses. Birds chirped faintly in the background. She opened her eyes. It was pure daylight. The breeze blew once more as she sat up and looked around. Clouds were rolling in the bright blue skies. It was warm, but it wasn’t a harsh heat. Somehow, she wasn’t blinded by the sunlight. All she could see for miles were trails along patches of green with scattered trees all around. In the center of it all was a large, majestic Weeping Willow tree. As Isabel took in all the scenery, she took a deep breath of fresh air. Never in her entire life had she ever felt so calm, soothed and relaxed. It shocked her.
All of a sudden, Isabel felt someone chuckle behind her. “Welcome home, at last!” the voice said. Isabel’s eyes widened. An uneasy feeling filled the pit of her stomach as she suddenly recognized the tone of her voice. She slowly turned around to see a young teenaged girl with piercing pink eyes and long, chestnut brown waves of hair cascading from her scalp down to her shoulders. The appearance was unmistakable.
“S-Sydney..?” she stuttered as she tried to find her breath.
Sydney smirked, “Duh!” She crossed her arms in her signature fashion.
“I-I can’t believe it’s actually you…how did..? Where am I?” Isabel stood up and blinked a couple times in confusion and amazement.
“You’re in your happy place!” Sydney smiled brightly. “It also doubles as Looney Tune Land.”
Isabel looked curiously at her. Even though everything she was saying sounded vaguely familiar, it was as if she wasn’t used to hearing her own thoughts being spoken by someone else.
“Ha, well actually, it’s not just Looney Tune Land, it’s also where the dudes from Regular Show live and hang out. The park has many uses.”
Just then, a 6-foot-tall blue jay and a wide-eyed raccoon came strolling down the trail.
Sydney giggled, “Oh, hey Mordecai! Hey, Rigby!”
“Hey, Sydney!” The two greeted simultaneously.
“Oh…hey, Izzy!” Mordecai smiled softly.
“Yeah, hey Izzy!” Rigby chimed in enthusiastically.
At that moment, Isabel felt her eyes pop out of her head.
She staggered for her breath, “Th-That was…”
Sydney chuckled lightly, “Mordecai and Rigby, yes.”
“And…and they even used my cute, imaginary nickname!!!” Isabel squealed.
“Ha-ha, you’re so adorable, Izzy!”
“So…like, all my Cartoon Pals…they all live here!?”
Sydney nodded, “Yep, and you live in the cottage right down there, in the countryside.”
Isabel looked over, “Cottag-and all of them are here!?”
Sydney smiled, “Mhm.”
“Oh…my…god…” Isabel’s eye began to twitch as she let out a high pitched giggle that quickly turned into hysterical, psychotic laughter.
Sydney just stood there awkwardly witnessing her moment with a concerned, slightly scared look on her face. “Here, have some apple crumb pie!” She offered nervously.
Isabel’s face brightened, “Holy crap, how did you know I was craving apple crumb pie!?”
“Heh, well I just got it from the store of all your favorite foods, over there. There’s also a Mongolian BBQ if you wanted to try…Izzy?”
In an instant, Isabel fled and she took the pie with her. Sydney could hear her overjoyed shrieks in the distance.
Isabel spent the rest of the day frolicking with her Cartoon Pals and having the time of her life. There was a buffet and a picnic, among other incentives. Saturday in the Park by Chicago was playing in the background. By the end of the day, she had hoarded all the food from the store.
Sydney had spied on her like a hawk all day, from behind the Weeping Willow tree. Finally, as the sun was setting, she got a hold of her.
She motioned from behind the tree, “Psst! Izzy, get your butt over here!”
With a huge grin on her face, Isabel quickly scurried up the trail to meet with her. When she finally made it to the top, sweat was rolling down her forehead. It gave her face a shimmering glow that truly reflected her infantile joy.
Meanwhile, Sydney tried her best to remain calm. She played it cool and collected, so as to not worry or distress Isabel. “Soooo, what do you think? How do you like it here?” She asked eagerly.
Isabel’s eyes lit up, “Oh, it’s even more wonderful and amazing than I ever could have imagined…” She dreamily replied.
“Actually, this is exactly how you imagined it…” Sydney pointed out matter-of-factly. She then smiled nervously. “..You should sit down.” She motioned to a rock under the tree.
Isabel gasped, “This is the tree I always daydream I go to when I’m feeling sad, where all my Cartoon Pals go to comfort me!” She smiled widely as she sat down.
“That is correct!” Sydney said half-heartedly. She smiled weakly, trying to hide her concern. “Would you like some green tea?” She offered.
Isabel’s eyes brightened, “Oooh, yes please!”
Sydney carefully handed her a steaming mug. Isabel slowly sipped it, taking in the warm sweetness. Once again, she was feeling as relaxed as she did when she had first woken up.
Sydney anxiously chewed her lip, deciding how she wanted to start. “So, you’re probably wondering how you got here…” She began.
“Yeah…” Isabel said softly, her voice trailing off. It had suddenly dawned on her how bizarre and unusual this day had really been. “…Yeah, how did I get here?” She asked with a confused look on her face.
“Well, if you can remember far back enough, you were in bed and you were breathing really deeply and rhythmically, and before you were aware of it, you were in your fantasy world…”
“Just by breathing..? But…that seems so simple…”
“It wasn’t just the breathing; seriously, when was the last time you really relaxed and focused your mind, like that?”
Isabel thought to herself for a second, “I guess, never…” She admitted.
“The truth is, anyone can go to their fantasy world, at any time…have you ever stared at an object for a long period of time, and then after a while, you start to forget who and where you are?”
Isabel nodded seriously.
“Well, if you let yourself surrender to that, you can get to her fantasy world. This generally tends to happen at night, when people are more relaxed.”
“Does this mean that when I dream at night, I’m in my fantasy world?” Isabel asked, her eyes blinking with interest.
“Well, not exactly. Night-dreaming takes place in the halfway point between reality and fantasy, where you still have partial control, but so does your mind, and depending on how close you are to the fantasy side, the dreams become more vivid and out there…”
Isabel was completely mesmerized by her words. Somehow, everything she was saying made perfect sense. “Wow, that’s incredible…so cool!” Isabel said with a fascinated twinkle in her eye.
Sydney nodded with a half-smile and continued, “But night-dreams are basically just your mind spitting out random crap; daydreams are the ones that are really important. When you daydream, you continue to expand your fantasy world by creating new characters, places and situations; what sets it apart from reality is the fact that you create it. That’s why it’s so dangerous to daydream about real people.”
Isabel tilted her head curiously, “Doesn’t everybody do that?”
Sydney chuckled, “Well, yes, to a certain extent, but the situations are usually so wild and out there that it would be nearly impossible for them to become a reality. However, ever since you joined…” Sydney cringed and shuddered, “that website…”
“The wiki!?” Isabel’s face once again, lit up.
Sydney was slightly annoyed, “Yes. And ever since you met your little…friends…”
“My wiki buddies!?” Isabel smiled excitedly.
“YES, would you let me finish!?!?”
“Sorry,” Isabel bowed her head a little.
Sydney groaned, “Anyway, ever since then, all of your daydreams have become almost exclusively about them, and not only has this made you completely forget and abandon me, and has altered the natural growth of your fantasy world,” Sydney was getting exasperated, “BUT all your daydreams have been nearly spot-on to what would happen in real life, if put under those circumstances; DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!?!?” At this point, Sydney was in Isabel’s face. Isabel fearfully nodded her head no.
Suddenly, Sydney began laughing hysterically, which made Isabel slightly nervous. After a few minutes, she calmed down, “Oh, I’m sorry, I went a little crazy there!”
“Little bit,” Isabel nodded with a nervous smile.
Sydney took a deep breath, “Whoo, okay! Anyway, it means that your fantasies have the potential to become your reality…now, I know that sounds great, but it’s REALLY not…” Sydney laughed a bit more as her eye twitched.
Isabel looked slightly scared, “Um…okay.”
There was a brief silence before Sydney spoke again,” So…you may have noticed that aside from the episode I just had, I’ve been acting a bit more mellow than usual.” Sydney slumped in her seat with a melancholy look on her face.
Isabel nodded in agreement, “Yeah, you were beginning to sound like my psychology textbook, earlier.” She chuckled.
Sydney stomped her foot loudly on the ground. Faint moaning sounds were coming from underneath.
“You know what that sound is?” She asked.
Isabel nodded her head no.
“Those are all the characters and alter egos you’ve created that are based on yourself…they’re all dying. Once you set foot in your fantasy world, you sucked all the personality out of them. You’re essentially taking their place.” Sydney looked sad and weak. “It’s starting to happen to me, too. The only reason I’ve survived up until this point is because I’m technically a part of you,” Suddenly, Sydney grabbed Isabel’s shoulder with a desperate look on her face, “You do know I’m a part of you, right?”
“Of course,” Isabel said. “I created you.”
“Good,” Sydney sighed in relief, “Always remember that.”
Another brief but freaky moment of silence passed by.
“Okay, well, this has been fun, but I think I’d better go home, now.” Isabel chuckled softly.
Sydney chuckled nervously, “You can’t go home…” She rubbed her neck awkwardly.
Isabel looked confused, “Wh-What do you mean?”
“Well…” Sydney squeaked, “You kind of don’t exist, anymore.” She muttered softly.
“What!?” Isabel was now officially snapped out of her dazed bliss.
“Well, you know how I mentioned earlier that you surrendered to your fantasy world, and you completely forgot who and where you were?”
“Well, at that point, you sort of lost your identity and…long story short, you don’t exist in the real world, anymore.” Sydney sipped her tea awkwardly.
“WHAT!?” Isabel was about to yell, but then thought for a moment. “Wait a minute, why would I want to leave? Today, for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like an unpopular, socially awkward loser. Here, I can have power over everything and everybody and literally be the princess of CARTOONS!!!”
Sydney continued to chuckle nervously, “Oh yeah, there is one other thing I forgot to mention…”
Isabel fell dead silent.
Sydney mumbled under her breath, “You have no control over your own mind, anymore.”
Isabel’s eyes bugged out in total shock.
“You see, the deeper you get into your fantasy world, the less control you have over it…it basically has a mind of its own, right now…” She began to mumble again, “and something else could potentially take it over…” She cleared her throat, realizing she was getting ahead of herself.
Isabel glared with her mouth agape in both disbelief and annoyance. “Then, what exactly is the purpose of my existence here?”
Sydney took her hand, “Right now, all you have is your personality; I would keep it somewhere safe, if I were you.”
Isabel yanked her hand away, “You must be joking, there’s got to be some way out of here!”
“Well, you see, getting here is relatively easy, but getting out is a rather complex procedure…”
“Wait! So, you’re saying there’s a way out!?” Isabel’s eyes widened in excitement.
“Yes, but it requires performing many tasks and challenges, as well as overcoming obstacles, admitting your faults, facing your fears, blah, blah, blah…”
“Oh, you’re going to tell me that blah, blah, blah…” Isabel whispered sinisterly as she got closer.
Sensing that Isabel was about to hit her, Sydney needed to think fast. “Wait!” She said frantically. “Remember what you were saying before? You don’t want to leave. Every daydream you’ve ever had is in here. This is exactly what you wanted. Sure, you might not have control over everything anymore, but it does make things more spontaneous…and I know you like spontaneous…”
Upon hearing those words, Isabel began to calm down and loosened her grip. “Hmmmm, that’s true.” She admitted.
Sydney was on a roll, but she needed to finish it off. “Listen Izzy, I know all your life you’ve longed for adventure, and now you’ve finally been given the chance to live out your dreams by doing just that. You couldn’t possibly want to miss out on an opportunity like this.”
Isabel skeptically thought it over, and gave careful consideration to what Sydney had said. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” She said finally.
“Good,” Sydney said, “Now get some rest.” She motioned to the cottage she had pointed out earlier.
Without a word, Isabel gathered herself up the hill into the cottage. Inside was a cozy, humble abode with a homey look and feel to it. Tchaikovsky music was playing in the background. Isabel was too tired to look around, and eventually made it upstairs to a room with a canopy bed. She was shocked to see that her beloved blue, stuffed lion, Dummy was walking around. She plopped on the bed and tried to make herself comfortable. Once she was under the velvety soft covers, she realized that she couldn’t sleep. Tried as she might to be happy about her new setting, she couldn’t help feeling a bit troubled and uneasy. Her mind kept coming back to what Sydney had said and had inconspicuously tried to cover up. You have no control over your own mind…someone else could potentially take it over...
To get her mind off things, Isabel decided to take a walk. As opposed to the serene, peaceful vibe her fantasy world had during the day, it seemed rather eerie at night. In an effort to calm herself down, she began to sing a familiar, childhood Sesame Street tune, under her breath.
Here in the middle of imagination
Right in the middle of my head
“She shouldn’t be here!” An angry female voice said.
“You think I don’t know that!? How was I supposed to know she’d do the breathing thing!?” A frantic Sydney replied.
I close my eyes
And my room’s not my room
And my bed isn’t really my bed
“She must do it! She must complete the tasks!”
“No! She’s not ready! And besides, she can’t do it all on her own!”
I look inside and discover things
That are sometimes strange and new
“Psh! She’s plenty ready! What are you talking about!?”
“No! She doesn’t have the emotional capacity!”
And the most remarkable thoughts I think
Have a way of being true
Sydney was now in tears, “Please, I beg of you, don’t put her through this!”
Here in the middle of imagination
Right in the middle of my mind
“I have to! She needs this and you know it.”
I close my eyes
And the night isn’t dark
And the things that I lose
Sydney sniffled, “She can figure all this stuff out without your help!”
Time stands still
And the night is clear
And the wind is warm and fair
“Can she, Sydney? Can she, really…?”
“Yes she can, I believe in her.”
And the nicest thing
Is the middle of imagination
“Well, to put it simply, I don’t.”
“Mark my words Sydney Smith; you haven’t seen the last of me…MWAH-HA-HA!” The laughter then faded as she disappeared.
Sydney let out an exasperated sigh, “It’s a good thing Izzy’s sucking out all my personality 'cuz she’s really going to need my sass and charisma…”