The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey

First Interlude Epilogue

         Sara's eyes finally opened as she screamed. Only Alex's proximity to her kept her from probably breaking the windows out with such a shrill noise. She looked frantically around, her face a mask of terror, as if she had never seen her room before or her friends that had been keeping vigil around her bed. Then she relaxed sighing as she awakened fully to the real world.
        "Are you all right?" Alex inquired anxiously.
        She considered for a while before she cautiously answered, "I guess so."
        She looked around again, calmer this time, and asked, "What happened? Why is everybody here?"
        Alex looked at Dinah and then back at Sara, "You really had us worried, Sara. You seemed to be in a coma or something. It's been almost two weeks. You've never slept much more than an hour before. I was afraid maybe you were going to freeze solid or something."
        Mrs. Jachimczyk growled, "Is no use callink stupid doktors to come and try to poke you vith needles. Vhat ve tellink them, 'Come fix alien?' So ve vatch. Maybe now I am goink to make nice bowl of borscht for you, fix you up quick. You — not eatink for days? Hah!" She bustled out, obviously relieved.
        Dinah added, "Looks like you were having some sort of nightmare, the way you woke up. You sure you're OK?"
        "Nightmare," Sara mused. "I don't know. It was so intense, so real."
        She looked at Alex, "When you dream, is it ever just, like, so real that you can't tell the difference?"
        "Sure," he said, "at least until I wake up. I think some of my dreams have been pretty detailed. Is that what happened? Is that why you were out so long?"
        "Oh, this was beyond real. It was perfect down to every blade of grass. It was like I was there." She shuddered.
        Jimmie said, "Virtual reality." The others looked at him, so he went on, "You know, like when she played that video game for all of you at the birthday party. She can really get immersed."
        Sara said, "No, this was much more than that. I mean, I could tell the difference, I think, between whatever this was and a game. I can't explain it, but it was… It was like I was really there, only more so. Only it wasn't me, except that it was as real as the me I am. Oh, I don't know what I'm saying, but I'm glad it's over."
        Dinah said, "You want to tell us about it? Might help you get it off your chest and deal with it a little."
        "Sure," Sara replied, sitting up and hugging her knees to her chest. "I hope you guys aren't doing anything for a while."
        Everybody made themselves comfortable, so she started, "You know how I first woke up in your living room?"
        Alex nodded.
        "Same thing, only this time I woke up in a place called Midgarde — you're not gonna believe this — with a Wizard named Gundolf!"
        "Gundolf?" said Alex.
        "Yep," said Sara, nodding her head emphatically, "And Eldron and Gladariel. There were Elves and Dwarves and Goblins and Little People and everything — just like a certain story, if you know what I mean. Except different."
        "Midgarde," Alex mused. "That, uh, rings a bell. It means the middle  Earth, or realm between Heaven and the underworld. So this was just like that fantasy trilogy you liked so much?"
        "Uh-huh," she said.
        "Kewl," Jimmie said. Alex smiled and Dinah shook her head.
        Mrs. J was back already with a steaming bowl that she set down next to Sara who — wonder of wonders — ignored it. "Aha!" she said, "Is good story. I am havink read it in original language."
        The others looked at her.
        "Russian, of course. Hah!"
        Everyone's eyes rolled up to the ceiling briefly, then Sara went on. She gave them the condensed version, hitting all the highlights and providing enough detail to make it sing. Alex and Jimmie kept interrupting her with questions, mostly to fill in some of the blanks she skipped over in her rush to get it out.
        "So what do you think?" she finished.
        Alex told her, "Well, there's more than one book involved. Sounds like a little bit of 'The Wizard of Oz'…"
        "Duh," said Sara.
        "And some elements from Mark Twain about transforming a medieval society into an industrial one…"
        "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," muttered Jimmie. Alex's eyebrows shot up in surprise. The kid reads…
        Alex went on, "And there's a lot of The Forbidden Planet in there, which is really Shakespeare's The Tempest, I think, except with special effects. George Orwell's 1984, certainly. Some Lewis Carrol. And, of course, Tolkien's sources were from all over the map."
        "Steven King?" guessed Jimmie doubtfully. "And DC comics, for sure."
        Dinah added half-sarcastically, "Sure. And Citizen Kane and Gilligan's Island, too."
        Alex pontificated, "Avalon's Lanselaut and Gwenafir are reminiscent of the Arthurian legend, which makes me suspect the Gray Wizard is closer to Merlin as an antecedent. Likewise, Eldron and Gladariel are more akin to the King and Queen of Faery in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Oberon and Titania…"
        "No, no, no!" said Sara. "What did you think? About what happened?"
        "Ah," said Alex, "That's different. I don't know if I'm qualified to analyze alien dreams."
        "Well, you know what I think?" Jimmie said. "I think it's a training mission. Something put together by her makers to teach her stuff. About herself and what she has to learn about what she can run into on Earth."
        "Run into Elves?" said Dinah. "I don't think so."
        "Could be," said Alex. "Reminds me of fables, which is how the Classical Greeks were taught about virtue and duty and all that stuff. I can see some 'morals' here."
        Mrs. J said, "Like 'Shoot first and don't be askink stupid questions'. Hah!"
        That brought a laugh.
        "I'm thinking more along the lines of 'Sometimes even good intentions and superpowers aren't enough'," said Alex thoughtfully.
        Dinah added, "And 'All that is necessary for the triumph of Evil is for Good to do nothing'. I think you showed great character in persevering with your mission. You might have chosen otherwise."
        "I wanted to," said Sara.
        "But you didn't," Dinah emphasized. "I'm proud of you." She reached out and gave Sara a big hug.
        "What about this Protector thing?" asked Jimmie. "Does that mean you could blow everything up?"
        "Only if you piss me off." Sara stuck out her tongue at him.
        "Um," began Alex, "That's something that we probably ought to think about. And nobody else, if you know what I mean. For all we know, it's just part of some dream, a way to end the story."
        "Yeah," said Jimmie, "Sorta the opposite of '…and they all lived happily ever after'."
        "What do you think, Sara," asked Alex. He took her hands in his and looked intently into her eyes. "Tell me."
        She took a deep breath and seemed to look inside herself before answering. "I don't think I ever want to know. And I don't think that's relevant to a world like ours. I'm sure it isn't. It's just not the same."
        Alex looked relieved but very serious. He turned to the others, "There's a lot more we need to think about over all this. I'm inclined to agree with Jimmie that this is some kind of program enacted by her computer brain for some probably good reasons.
        "I wonder if she'll have any others…"

End of the First Interlude
End of Book One

Next: Book Two, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-one: Attention

Table of Contents

© Patrick Hill, 2000