|All images and text copyright Michael Smith - Doodle Bag Designs|
Sara and the Beanbag were alone in a dark hallway; stone walls lined either side, decorated with strange carvings between doors that led off in different directions. Torches were hung from posts mounted in the walls and there were two on each side of a wooden door at the far end. She couldn’t see the ceiling in the darkness, but was pretty sure that she heard bats screeching to one another and shifting around in the homey gloom. “Now where have you brought us?” Sara questioned the Beanbag, her hands on her hips and one eyebrow raised. “Not that I don’t thank you for saving me from that big fall, but I don’t see the page with Ms. Robinson on it anymore and I think that she was trying to give us directions on how to get back to school.” The Beanbag who was picking up the spilled books stopped and turned one way, then the other before turning back to Sara and with what looked like a little frustration shrugged as if to say that it didn’t know either.
“Well, we aren’t going to find the page standing here in a hall.” Sara marched up to the closest door and pushed on the handle. Old hinges screeched in protest until she finally got it opened and stepped through. “What. The. Heck?” Behind the door was definitely a classroom, but it was like no other class that Sara had seen. It had desks and there was even a chalkboard at the front of the room, but everything else was completely strange! From the ceiling the skeleton of what look like a dragon hung from chains and along the walls, pictures of all sorts of strange creatures were arranged, but it was like they were little TV screens, because the creatures moved in the frames! “There isn’t anyone in here.” She backed out of the room and fell over the Beanbag who had crept in behind her. “Ooof! Watch it!” Sara rolled around in the bag for a moment; she could feel the uncomfortable shapes of the books that it had picked up earlier inside of the fabric. “You are feeling a little thin, is that why you had room for the books?” The Beanbag nodded.
“Let’s go this way.” Pulling herself out of the lumpy Beanbag she stood and pointed to the door at the end of the hallway, “I bet these are all more of those strange classrooms.” As they walked Sara looked at the signs next to the doors, “Wonder what ‘Transmogrification Class’ is?” She didn’t hear an answer and saw that the Beanbag had crept over to some tall windows, they were really high in the air and the rest of the school could be seen. “This place is a castle!” Sara could see a lake in the distance and a forest, there looked like some sort of sports field to one side and in a clearing between the castle and the forest sat a little camper-like hut on wooden wheels, next to a tree that was boogying away. “Look at that tree! Is that a fir tree?” It looked like a big Christmas tree, “That is a dancing Douglas fir!” Sara laughed.
With one last glance out the window they turned to the door at the end of the hall. “Here we are.” She glanced at Beanbag, who had scooted behind her again. “Aren’t you brave?” She chuckled and pushed on the door. This one opened easily, but after one step into the space Sara thought she might want to go back into the hallway and look at the dancing Douglas fir some more. This place was huge! Behind the door was a giant room, she couldn’t see the ceiling above, or even the floor far below. They were standing on a landing between churning escalators, one going up, the other down, and as they stood, a third one groaned into place in front of them. The giant room was filled with these thrumming, moving escalators.
“Now we have a real decision Beanie.” She smiled at the Beanbag, “Up or Down?”