Act I, Chapter I
Act I: "A life of peace and happiness awaits you."
"I have a special assignment for you all
today," Mrs. May says. "I want each of you all to write or draw
something that explains how you see yourself as a person and what life means to
you. You can express yourself using realistic sources of inspiration or through
fiction and imagination. This is not a quiz, just a class project. As long as
you participate, take effort and use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation
you will pass this assignment. Class is dismissed for lunchtime and I will see
you all back here after recess."
The class of children leave Mrs. May's language arts classroom. This allows Mrs. May to go to the teacher's lounge for a lunch break of her own. While the kids are at recess, Mrs. May can get some paperwork done. She sits down at the in the lounge with a bag full of food and a cup of coffee. She sits there pondering about what kind of stories or drawings her young students will come up with. For now, she will just have to eat her lunch and relax…before having to do paperwork.
As for the students, they gather in the cafeterium with their food. Benny, Robert, Lilly and Rey-classmates of Mrs. May's class-end up sitting together at the same table, though they are not really friends and haven't really talked to each other in class. It was mere coincidence. Benny was the first to sit down and the other three came after. Lilly sat down next. All of her friends are at home sick so she decided to sit with Benny. Ray is the next to sit down. He is sort of an outcast, so he doesn't really mind who he sits with, just as long as no one talks to him. Robert is the last to sit down. Being the friendly kid that he is, he just wanted to make new friends.
"So," Robert says. Of course he is the one to say something first. "You are all in Mrs. May's class like me, right?"
"Well, yeah, of course we are," Lilly says.
"It’s funny that we haven't talked to each other before. I’m Robert, nice to meet you.”
"Oh. I’m Lilly. Nice to meet you, too. Do you want a brownie? I made them myself.”
“Oh, sure,” Robert says as he takes a brownie.
“Hey,” Benny says and extends his hand. “My name is Benjamin, but you can call me Benny.”
Robert shakes Benny’s hand. He then looks over at Ray. "What's your name?"
"Don't talk to me," Ray says. "Unless you wanna' get hit."
"Don't mind Ray," Lilly says. "He's just doesn’t like other kids, because he's a mean jerk!"
"You will think I'm a mean jerk when I punch you in the face!"
"Oh shut up, you wouldn't hit a girl! ...Would you?"
"Stop it you two," Benny says. Lilly hands Benny a brownie, which he gladly accepts. "Let’s not fight. We just met."
"I don't have to get along with anyone. I just want to sit here and eat my lunch."
"Have it your way, but we have every right to sit at this table as you do."
"I'm not stopping you. Just stop talking to me."
"Hey," Robert says. "Do any of you want to play a game after this?"
"What do you have in mind," Benny asks.
"Eh, I was thinking we could play pretend," Robert answers.
Ray snickers at Robert for even thinking about pretending. Benny gives Ray a short, mild glare.
"Eh, well I haven't really played pretend before," Benny says.
"I have, when I was a little kid," Lilly says. “Robert, don’t you want to play something else?”
"Well, I never have any fun doing anything else," Robert says. "I'm not that good at any of the other games."
"Okay," Benny says. "So what exactly do you want to pretend?"
"Well, maybe pirates and ninjas, cowboys and Indians, army versus army or cops and robbers….Ooh-ooh! What about superheroes against supervillains?”
"I guess I wouldn't mind the whole superhero thing,” Lilly says. “So who do I get to be?"
"Well you can be my sidekick, DJ Lightningbug. You can fly AND absorb electricity for power and speed AND release electricity as a weapon. I'm going to be the Badger. I am reeeeaaaaly strong AND I can control sand, metal, dirt and just about anything that comes from the ground as a weapon, as long as it is linked to me in some way. Benny, I want you to be the supervillain, Frostburn. You can control heat and fire in your right hand AND cold and ice in your left hand. You're also a diabolical genius who wants to bring about global warming! ...Is that okay with you guys?"
"Wow," Benny says. "I gotta' say you have a big imagination. Sure, I'll play along."
"Me too," Lilly says. "This DJ Lightningbug seems like a pretty, cool sidekick."
"Uh," Robert addresses Ray. "You are welcome to join us?"
Ray huffs. "No, thank you," Ray rudely answers. "I've got better things to do with my free time."
"Well, let's just finish our food so we can go out there and play," Benny says. "Thanks for the brownie, Lilly."
"No problem. I'm bringing cinnamon rolls tomorrow."
Finally, the four kids finish their lunches and walk to the playground. Benny, Robert and Lilly stay together, so they can play in the open field, which is part of the playground. Well, next to that field is the soccer field. The playground proper is next to the soccer field. The basketball court and the hopscotch and foursquare areas are next to the playground proper.
Kids are all over the playground, doing their own things. Some are playing on the monkey bars, slides and play fort. There are the ones playing foursquare, hopscotch, basketball and soccer. Then there's Ray who…well he's just ruining other kid's recess time like he always does. The adults who look out for the kids at the playground are always having to get on to him. As for Benny and Lilly, well they are role-playing with Robert like they said they would….
…Frostburn (Benny) has already put his refinery (Autumn Grove Elementary) into overdrive, threatening to pump poisonous gases into the atmosphere. Since Frostburn is the dastardly villain that he is, this is very bad. The Badger (Robert) and DJ Lightningbug (Lilly) aim to stop Frostburn and face him off in a showdown in the desert (open field) outside of the refinery (school).
"It’s too late," Benny says. "Even if you catch me, my plan has already been set into motion. Do you feel the Sun beating down on you? Good. That is the feeling of the next ice age setting in! You can't stop it! No one can! It's nature at its finest!” Benny laughs maniacally.
The Badger obtains a boulder and throws it towards Frostburn. Frostburn freezes the boulder and dodges it. The boulder falls to the ground and shatters. Frostburn returns fire with a series of fireballs. DJ Lightningbug evasively zips through a path among the fireball shots towards Frostburn. She unleashes a lightning bolt at Frostburn. Frostburn produces a wall of ice to block the lightning bolt. Now a bit slower than before, DJ Lightningbug cannot evade attacks from Frostburn as she did before. Frostburn freezes her wings to prevent her from escaping a close on fight. The Badger charges towards Frostburn. He pulls dirt and rock from the ground to use it as a giant fist to hurl towards Frostburn….As from nowhere, Ray tackles Robert to the ground.
"Ray, you jerk," Lilly shouts.
"Who is this Ray you speak of," Ray says. "I'm Batman!"
"We already made who the heroes are," Robert says. "You can't be Batman! He's not a part of this!"
"He is if I say he is and I say I am Batman! I will stop the supervillain!"
"That's not fair," Benny says. "You can't just barge in and make up whatever you want. We were already playing!"
"It’s fair if I say it’s fair."
Robert gets up from the ground. "If you wanted to play with us, you could have just asked," Robert says. "You can be Plague, Frostburn's sidekick."
Ray holds Robert up by his shirt. "No, I'm Batman, and I think you should be Frostburn's sidekick. I will enjoy bringing justice down on you!"
"Mr. Norris," Lilly shouts. "Ray is being a jerk!
Ray snatches Robert's baseball cap from atop his loose, black hair. "Hey," Robert says. Ray puts cap atop his long, red hair. "Give that back, its mine!"
"But it looks pretty good on me," Ray says. "You're not going to let me borrow it?"
"You didn't even ask! Give it back!"
"Meh. You just need to learn to share."
"You need to learn not to be a full on jerk,” Lilly exclaims.
Robert reaches for his baseball cap, but Ray backs away to prevent him from getting it. "Ah-ah-ah," Ray says. "If you care about it that much you should try harder than that."
"This isn't fair," Robert complains as he tries and tries to retrieve his cap away from Ray.
"Life isn't fair," Ray says. "You’re not trying hard enough. Come and get me!"
Ray takes off towards the abandoned garden maze next to the playground. "Hey, don't go in there with my hat," Robert shouts as he pursues Ray. Benny and Lilly are left behind, giving each other troubled stares, before going after them. Robert chases Ray through the maze, determined to get his cap back. The maze is run down with cracked walls and overgrown with vines, moss and other plant life. Winding and navigating through the corridors of the unmaintained maze, Robert eventually loses track of Ray. He now tries to guess Ray's path as he continues to run through the maze. He eventually gives up, lost and winded.
"Ray," Robert shouts. Robert is panting. "Where are you?! This isn't fair!"
"Too bad," Ray hollers. "Seems to me that you don't deserve this cap. It mine now!"
"Ray," Lilly hollers. "Robert," Benny shouts.
"I'm over here," Robert announces, while panting for his breath.
Benny and Lilly catches up to Robert. "There you are," Benny says. Benny is panting. “Stay together and follow me.”
Benny continues through the corridors through the beautiful and neatly-kept, garden maze, with Robert and Lilly by his side. Ray is nowhere to be seen, but hopefully he ran into some dead ends to slow him down. Benny, Robert and Lilly come across marble fountains, bird baths, wood and metal benches, circle intersections, peach blossom trees, weeping willows, swinging chairs, wooden gondolas and other things as they navigate through the maze. Eventually, they find the exit. Just outside is some sort of guard house, practically standing at the border the well-kept, garden maze and a wide, expansive grassland, complimented with various flowers. Ray, still believing to be running from Robert, arrives and abruptly stops to see what the other three have discovered. Ray’s jaw hangs open.
"You'd think there be a big house on the other side of this maze," Benny says.
"I could have sworn there WAS a big house here," Ray responds.
"I don't remember this place being here," Robert says. "I mean as big as it is, you'd think someone would notice."
"Well, I think this place is beautiful," Lilly says.
"I sense you are admiring the Leisure Fields," A strange voice says.
The source of the strange voice emerges from the guard house. A tall, official looking man wearing a grey wig, like that of an old time politician and is wearing solid brown blush on his cheeks. "Welcome to Serenity," the strange man says. "I am the Administrator. How may I be of service?" The Administrator than stands with his hands kept behind his back, smiling at us with an ever too friendly nature.
"Serenity," Lilly asks. "How is this place next to Autumn Grove Elementary?”
"Autumn Grove Elementary," the Administrator asks. "I am afraid I have never heard of such place. Serenity is a world all of its own. The garden maze ushers in those like yourselves, who are not satisfied with what conditions that be in the world they are coming from."
"What do you mean by that," Benny asks. "We were at recess when Ray took Robert's cap.” Benny takes Robert’s cap from Ray’s head. Ray gives Benny a quick glare. “We were in the maze to get it back from him."
"Be that as it may, child, but it was fate that brought you here. Fate has offered you the opportunity to escape the worries and cares of your world, to find a place of no conflict. A place of no worries. A place of peace and happiness. A place such as that can only be that of Serenity."
Ray is not satisfied with the Administrator’s acquisitions. Robert is giddy and it seems that he cannot wait to explore the new world. Benny and Lilly, on the other hand, are thinking it over. "Come on, let’s do it," Robert urges. "Let's go in, let's go in!"
"Shut up," Ray demands.
"Okay,” Benny says. “It couldn’t hurt. What do we have to lose?”
Ray rolls his eyes. "What, you too," Ray complains to Benny. "Come on, this is ridiculous."
"Are you coming or not," Lilly asks.
"What me?" The other three kids wait for Ray’s answer. "Why would I…You know what, fine. I'll go too, but I'm not promising anything."
"You will not be disappointed," the Administrator says. "None of you will. Please, follow me."
The four children follow the Administrator into the guard house. Benny gives Robert his cap back. Robert puts his cap on his head. Ray just hits Robert across the back of the head and the two move on from the conflict. Inside the guard house is a single, wide desk with papers stacked on top of it. There is also an ink jar with an old fashioned pen and an ink pad with a stamp. There is also a paint pad and a paint brush. A single ceiling with a single light hangs from the center of the ceiling. The guard house is perfectly square and has and evenly angled rooftop. A single, modest window dominates each wall, save for the front wall that of which is dominated by the doorway. The Administrator sets out four certifications out on his massive desk.
"Please sign here," the Administrator says. He hands Benny the ink pen first.
Benjamin Brown signs his certification first. Benny hands Robert Harrison the pen and Robert signs his certification with an exited glee. Robert hands the pen to Lilly Fowler and she signs her certification. Lilly hands the pen to Raynard Erikson. Raynard is hesitant in signing his certification, but eventually does it anyways so he can follow the other three. The Administrator picks up the paint brush and dabs paint from the paint set. The Administrator paints orange blush on Benny's cheeks, blue blush on Robert’s cheeks, purple blush on Lilly’s cheeks and green blush on Ray’s cheeks. A strange, red-blushed boy in a sort of boy scout’s uniform arrives.
"Hello, sir," the boy says.
"Hello there, Mingle," the Administrator says. "This is Mingle, or the Little Helper. He's known by these names because he likes to help out the people of Serenity. Mingle is such a nice boy. He will guide you in Serenity as he takes you to the Ballerina Queen's Palace."
Ray rolls his eyes.
"You have a ballerina for a queen," Lilly asks. "That must be fabulous!"
Robert’s eyes become doughy.
"Well, we have a while before we get to her Palace, so we better get started,” Mingle states.
Benny, Robert, Lilly and Ray begin their journey into Serenity, following Mingle's lead into the Leisure Fields. Neither of them know what to expect from this fantastical realm. “Serenity is a place of pure peace and happiness,” Mingle says. “It is a place of no worry and no conflict. You will have fun in Serenity, I guarantee it.” Mingle leads the four children into the Leisure Fields, towards the sunset in the horizon.