She had an imaginary friend. They would go around and tell stories to the other children, laughing as they went, laughing, but not at the other children, with them. You see, they told these stories to fit in, not to stand apart. She needed these stories, just as much as she needed her imaginary friend.
This is the story of when she lost her imaginary friend.
She knew they couldn't see him; she's asked them before and they all said no. They didn't like him, whether they could see him or not, she could tell. They probably sent him away, sent him far away and hoped she would never see him again. But she couldn't let that happen. She needed him. She needed help with her stories, they weren't the same without him. She couldn't tell her stories alone.
She didn't like being alone, so she set off on an adventure, an adventure to find him, her imaginary friend.
Her first course of action was to look on the road, to see if she left him on the way home. It was a long road, the longest there was. She walked forever, up and down each side. He wasn't there. But of course he wasn't, because he knew the way home! He would've just walked there himself! So she checked back home.
Home was a small patch of land. Behind it ran a river, and beyond that was a forest. Beyond the forest, well, that was death himself. Well not really death himself, just his favorite place to visit. Sometimes, if you were particularly unlucky, you would see him at his worst. But her imaginary friend would never go there, he knew better.
Home was easy to search. If he wasn't in the tree house, he was in the library. If he wasn't in the library, he was in the orchard. If he wasn't in the orchard, he was at the lake. If he wasn't at the lake, well, he wasn't at home.
She ruled out home quickly. He was lost, and if you were lost, you weren't at home.
Behind home was the river. The river was divided in two by a massive rock wall. On one side were terrible rapids, on the other, sharks. You musn't fall in. But the river was the only way you could get to the forest, and she needed to get to the forest. She hopped across the rock wall, boulder to boulder, teetering over the water.
The forest was the place where she could go for a walk. She could climb fallen trees or just sit and look at the leaves. Or, if she was feeling sentimental, she could talk to Old Oaky. Old Oaky was a tree friend who liked talking. If her imaginary friend was lost and scared, this was where he would go. But it got dark quickly in the forest, almost dinnertime. She searched every nook and cranny of that forest. Climbing every tree, turning over every rock. He was nowhere to be seen. Darkness was one of their biggest fears. If it was too dark for her, he wouldn't be able to stand it. He wouldn't have stayed past dark. But she did. She waited as long as she dared.
Back out of the forest, across the river and away from home, she cried. Running away from all her troubles and hiding from all of her fears. She wanted to scream, she missed him. Where was he? How did they get him? Why him? Why me? Why?
It was night.
Tossing and turning in her sleep, she dreamt her usual dreams. A princess locked in a tower, an evil dragon, a prince in a faraway castle. But there was no ending. She awoke the next morning feeling empty. Of course. Her imaginary friend always came with her to save the day. Without him, in her dreams she was just a spectator. She would never participate, never be part of the story...
But what's a story without a good ending? This will never do! She was the best at storytelling. A professional storyteller! She was always a part of good endings! What she needed was an ending. An ending to this wretched story. And where do endings reside? That's right, books! The Book, actually. The Book of Professional Storyteller Endings by Professional Storytellers, to be exact.
Good thing she knew exactly where it was.
Atop a mountain guarded by three large trolls, on a podium carved out of the very rock of the mountain, was a book as ancient as time itself. Bound by leather and embroidered with gold, this book was priceless. Only a few lucky storytellers were privileged with knowledge to find the mountain. She was very lucky, actually, it wasn't that far away. There were only two ways to get up the mountain, a steep rock wall and a long rickety bridge. She chose the rock wall; the bridge was guarded by mean snake.
Using her trusty pick axe and rope, she climbed the face of the mountain with ease, quickly reaching the top. Once at the top, she was face to face with the three trolls, the guardians of The Book.
"Please move aside, I need an ending to find my imaginary friend!" She begged.
"Only someone worthy enough can feast their eyes on this book," the first troll recited.
"Are you worthy enough?" the second echoed back.
She didn't know what 'worthy' meant, it hadn't been on her spelling list yet. She took a gamble, "Of course I'm worthy enough!"
"Then prove it!" the third spat out while the first two lunged forward.
Thinking quickly, she pulled out the bracelet she found in a treasure chest at the bottom of the ocean after battling a sea monster. She used it once to defeat an evil ogre before, but those are completely unrelated stories. This bracelet was special; once unraveled it doubled as a whip. Lashing at the three trolls, she destroyed their bodies, reducing them to ashes.
She ran to the mountain podium and flipped through the pages of The Book.
Happy endings, cliffhangers, twists, ambiguous endings, no! She wanted something more specific. The prince saves the princess, the princess doesn't want to be saved, the princess falls in love with the dragon, the prince falls in love with the dragon, the dragon needs to be saved from the princess, still no! She wanted to know how. How is she going to rescue her imaginary friend? Where is he? Why did they take him from her?
Of course! They were the ones who took him! Why not ask them to give him back? She ran to the only exit off the mountain, a bubbling waterfall. Plummeting to her inevitable doom, she imagined herself flying through the air, sailing through the clouds. Miraculously, she dove into the water gracefully, unhurt.
Once a their headquarters, she scaled the side of the building once again with her trusty pick axe and rope, then smashed herself through the window. Welcomed by a chorus of screams, she demanded for her imaginary friend explaining her whole endeavor, only to be answered by confusion. They didn't take him away from her? They didn't know about her adventure?
Then who did? Did anyone take him from her? Is he really lost?
Maybe he just doesn't want to be her friend. Maybe she doesn't need an imaginary friend anymore. Maybe he just left without saying goodbye...
They started laughing. She was so worried. But why? He was just imaginary.
"But he was my friend," she told them
"Was? I still am, aren't I? Sorry I was gone for so long, I had to recharge my imagination levels. They've been low for a while," said a voice from behind her. It was a familiar voice, one she missed so much.
"Why didn't you tell me?" She cried into his chest while he pulled her into a hug.
"I didn't know you'd miss me this much. You're usually all right without me."
"No, I'm no good at endings without you."
They took the elevator down to the lobby and then walked home holding hands. She told him of her adventures, the places she went and the people she met. They shared the road home with a few other travellers who said they enjoyed stories. She smiled at her imaginary friend then told them magical tales of knights and fairies and talking animals. They laughed with her and her imaginary friend at the end of each one.
Home welcomed them with hugs and kisses and lots of love.
She took a book from the library, an apple from the orchard, climbed into the treehouse and looked out over the lake. Remembering the events of the last two days, she told the whole story again to the stars. Slowly, the weight of her adventure fell over her. She pulled her knees to her chest and fell asleep. A pair of imaginary hands pulled a blanket over her and whispered, "The End."