Sleep Travelers

The story of Ning, Dog, & Boss

Book 1 by Brenda Colbath

Good Morning, friends. Today I present Chapter 4 of one of my favorite books. This book is one of the featured books at the LA Times Book Festival at UCLA on April 22 and 23rd. It will also be added to my podcasts soon.

A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing and must be encouraged.  They vividly imagine being the Captain of their Pirate ship, the hero of their adventure, handsome, beautiful, brilliant, and strong.  They conquer the world and do anything and everything.  The lucky ones keep that childhood wonder; it is so sad many adults lose it on the long bumpy road to adulthood.  This is the beginning of the story of a young girl that will never lose that childhood wonder. 

Chapter 4. The adventure begins

Ning opened her eyes first, followed by Boss; they all saw the big sign proclaiming “Wonderland Zoo.”

“Whee, this is wonderful; we are here!” Dawnie squealed.  Throwing her arms around Dog’s neck, hugging him.

“This is great, but have you thought of how we are going to get inside?  In case you didn’t notice, the gate is locked.”  The snarky voice came from Ning.

“No problem; we got here by thinking this is where we wanted to go. All together now, think, “We want to go inside.”

“Right,” said Ning and Boss, both sounding snarky. But they played along and closed their eyes, and before they knew it, they were standing alongside their new friends inside the Zoo. 

Ning’s back arched with her tail shot straight up, walking up close to Dog, staring him right in the face, “You tell me the truth! Are sure we are still back in our beds sleeping and not getting up close and personal with wild animals?”

Dog lowered his head, so he was looking right into Ning’s eyes, “Ning, I know you haven’t known me very long, but I would never let anything happen to my sweet Dawnie! Even though her parents don’t believe I am real, they trust their precious child with me or the concept they have of me. I promise I will protect all of you with my life.” Dog continued looking at his new friends with a sincere look on his face.

Little Dawnie broke the tension by saying, “What are we waiting for? Let’s go! I want to see the Bears first! Don’t you think it will be fun walking  through the Zoo, not “thinking” everywhere we want to go?” An excited Dawnie exclaimed.

Dog explained to the startled Boss and Ning, “Since we are in a sleep state, we won’t be using the energy of our bodies. We can walk or run all night and not  tire.”

“This will be fun, we’ll all walk hand in hand,” said an excited Dawnie.

“Uh, sweetie, have you noticed that you are the only one with hands?” Boss retorted.

“Oh goodness, I forgot! I was thinking we are all friends and it seemed natural.  Oh well, we’ll just walk together.”

Ning and Boss couldn’t help smiling. If the Zoo had been open, the group would have made an interesting site: A Huge shaggy dog, a little girl in with padded foot pajamas, a lovely Siamese cat, and an African Gray Parrot walking side by side looking in the cages for animals. 

“The animals appear to be asleep,” Ning suggested.  “Maybe visiting them in the daytime would be a better idea.”

“But, I don’t take naps during the day anymore,” pleaded Dawnie. 

“Don’t you worry, Dawnie, “We will just wake them up.” Dog said.

“They won’t be mad at us, will they?”

“Many of the big animals sleep in the heat of the day and probably are in their dens, we just have to let them know we are here and want to talk to them.” Said  Dog.  He closed his eyes, “thinking” his way through the enclosure of the Black Bears and walked to the cave entrance.  Speaking in a friendly voice, he asked, “Hello, is anybody home? My friends and I came to visit. Would you like some company?”

A roar answered him, and for several minutes he waited to see if the bear would charge or invite him in. Finally, a large Black Bear sauntered out of the cave, walked around Dog, eying him and up down. He turned his attention to the others huddled next to the bars for a closer look. 

For a few tense minutes, everyone stood motionless until the bear started chuckling and motioned with his big clawed paw, “Aww, come on in, I won’t bite you. A visit would be fun, it gets lonely here at night after a day of noisy people staring at us, expecting us to entertain them.  Boring!”

Dog introduced his friends and learned his new friend’s name is Blackie.

“I know Blackie isn’t very original, but what do you expect? I was born in captivity, and as soon as I was introduced to the public, everyone started shouting, “Blackie, Blackie” at me; the name stuck.  They expected me to do tricks for them. Just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t do tricks.” Blackie said sitting on his haunches leaning down to look them in the eye.

“We don’t expect or want you to do tricks, we would like to visit and get to know you. We can’t-do any tricks, either.” Said Dog.

“I don’t know, that trick of yours of going through the bars is pretty neat! Care to teach me that one?”

“It isn’t something we can teach, it is just something we do when we are asleep in our beds. You see, we aren’t really here in the flesh.”

“But, I see you, and I can touch you,” Blackie said putting his giant paw on the dog’s hind end lightly pushing him ahead several feet, knocking him end over end. Blackie dropped to the ground and began to roll back and forth laughing at the look on Dog’s face as he righted himself.  Ning, Dawnie, and Boss laughed too!

Finally getting up Blackie said, “Come on into my den. I am kept supplied with more food than I can eat, help yourselves.” Motioning to the tray of vegetables. 

The group looked around the large rock enclosure with several rock ledges and observed that Blackie’s family sound asleep. Blackie and the group noticed that Blackie was indeed asleep in his bed. The Blackie they were talking to was the  “asleep Blackie.”

Dawnie proudly proclaimed, “We are going to go visit all the animals.”

“Gee, that sure sounds like fun, I’ve never been out of this cage.”

“Hey Blackie, all you have to do is “think” about going, and you can come with us to visit the other animals,” said Dawnie.

“Could I really?” Blackie asked, thrilled to get out of his cage and go visiting.

“Sure, all we have to do is “think” where we want to go and “Shazam” we appear there, and we will take you with us.”

“Darn, you mean I can go anywhere I want to by myself?”

“I don’t know if you can go by yourself, but this is our dream, and we can take you with us.” Said Dog.

“Alrighty, then, let’s go.  Where are you going next?”

Dawnie spoke up, “I want to see the tigers.”

“Okay everybody, close your eyes and think “Tigers.” Said Dog, hoping that Blackie would be with them when they arrived at the Tiger’s cage.

Published by Time Traveler of Life

Biography Creating worlds, characters, and wielding power like a madwoman, making my characters happy, sad, angry, and some of them with no redeeming qualities. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I sometimes laugh out loud when I am writing a scene, and I have been known to cry when one of my favorites has to die. I am a left-handed Gemini, what do you expect? Reading bedtime stories to my two children until they fell asleep or until they just told me to go away, was fun. Making up wild stories for my grandchild, and creating Halloween costumes from Cowboys to a Dragon, was another favorite thing to do. I missed that so much when they were grown, that I started writing. My yearly newsletters frequently were drafted third-person by my Love Birds, Miranda our motorhome, and by Sir Fit the White Knight, our faithful Honda. Throughout the years, some of my creative talents centered around writing letters of complaint expressing my displeasure with services or products. One crucial, at least to my Son, was a note to our local school bus driver petitioning her to allow him back on the bus. He was kicked off for making an obscene gesture at his buddy. I reminded her that it was not directed at her, and that “obscenity can be in the eye of the beholder,” kids use that gesture as a greeting. He rode the bus until he graduated. I loved driving my English teacher crazy. Leaving a “continued next week” at the end of my five handwritten pages required each week. He was one of many people that suggested I “do something about my writing.” I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks at the top of my class. After 30 years, in the trenches as a Real Estate Professional, I have found that truth is stranger than fiction. My books are filled with characters I met in that profession. Their names were changed to protect the guilty. Others were from people we met traveling around the country in Miranda, our Motorhome. I am married nearly 60 years to the love of my life, Shirl, and partner-produced two exceptionally talented children, and one grandchild who is our pride and joy.

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