You are in a huge room with four white walls and a white floor. You're accustomed to living here, but you feel lonely sometimes. Limitations come with a room like this. Sometimes it feels like very little is happening.
Then someone calls your name. You spot a door where there wasn't one before, across the white expanse of the room . A girl stands there, her short blond hair pulled back in a bouncy ponytail and her blue eyes bright with expectation. She remains halfway out the door, one hand gripping the knob, the other beckoning you forward. "Come on! Aren't you tired of the real world yet?"
You nod. "Yes. As a matter of fact, I am." You walk across the boring white room, and the girl makes way to let you pass. You notice that she wears the badge of a Writer. Excitement fills you. Apparently, she's going to give you a tour of her storyworld. Could it be that you're the first one to get a glimpse? Or at least one of them?
Yes, you are.
You focus on the world you have stepped into. You and the Writer stand beside a small house with two stories, situated near the edge of a forest. It isn't the only house, though. Several homes speckle the surrounding area. "Why aren't they in rows?" is your first question, and an insignificant one.
The Writer shrugs. "That's just the way it is here. Polka dot houses surround a neat village square. In the other villages, too. They all share the same layout."
The Writer leads you across the grass, taking you on a short walk into the village square. People mill around in front of the neatly arranged shops. She pauses, surveying the place with an indecipherable expression. As if it's her home, and she never wants to leave. "This is where Red hears the rumor."
"Who's Red? And what rumor?"
She tsks. "Patience is a virtue. I can't tell you everything about my novel. I'm already offering quite a bit of information about the world. It's not complex, but still." A pause. "At least, not complex yet. Well, what I mean is that it's not the only world in the story..." The Writer looks away, smiling mischievously as if she's said too much on purpose, pretending to catch herself.
"What about the woods?"
"Oh! Soooo much happens in the woods! Let's go!" She takes off running, and you follow. Out of the square, past the house you first appeared next to, and onto a narrow path. "This is the path Red always takes to Gram's cottage," you explain breathlessly. "Everything, in fact, starts at Gram's cottage. But this tour can't last forever. Into the woods we go."
She plunges in suddenly, and you have no choice but to hope that you'll be able to catch up.
The Writer leads you through the trees, and you notice how everything gets dimmer as you go along. The trees seem to close in tighter, and the sunlight gets choked out more.
"That" - she points at a seemingly random patch of forest - "is where Red meets the twins. Good times."
"Twins?" you repeat, bewildered.
The Writer shrugs, as if to dismiss it for later. "By the way, watch out for black-cloaked shapeshifters. They may have senses of humor, but they aren't friendly. In fact, they're kidnappers."
You almost want to leave. Almost.
"And this!" She presses a hand to her heart. "This is where..." Her voice trails off into a squeak, and her cheeks pinken with emotion. "Oh, I can hardly stand it."
You wonder what the heck is the point of the tour if she won't say much about the story. Then she walks you into the center of a small clearing. Somehow, night has fallen, and the gap in the trees gives you a peek at the star-scattered sky. She lies down, her hands behind her head. A sigh escapes her lips.
You sit down cross-legged beside her and glance at the stars. They all look the same - small pinpoints of white light.
The Writer seems to read your mind. "They aren't all stars, you know. At least, I don't think so."
"You don't think so? But you're a Writer! This is your world!"
"I know." She smiles at you. "But there are some things I know just as little about as Red. Like whether one of these particular stars is actually an island in the sky. You know. Neverland."
You give her a funny look. "Neverland?"
"Yes." Her eyes sparkle. "Neverland."