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Chapter 1

"Some Kinda of Magic Goin' on Here"

The sun was shining in this underground world ,, or had they come out on the other side of the earth? They didn’t know. Spring, bounce, spring, bounce, thump, boing, pounce, boing, spring, thump, poing, bounce, thump .... along the mossy trail they went.
The path soon started heading downhill a bit and became moister and moister and moister. Dew started dripping off the trees. And alongside the path, something like mushrooms started popping up here and there and there and here and there again til they were everywhere, on both sides of the path. They were small at first : pale pink, salmon, peachy, red, creamy, orangish, light purple; then they got bigger. After passing, Julio thought he heard them whispering. He would turn around suddenly to catch them at it, and then there was complete silence, except for the meadowlarks. Then, as he turned to walk on down the path, the whispering would start again, sounding somewhat like buzzing, humming and whirring all mixed up together.
Granma stopped short and said: "Julio, climb up in that there tree and get me a switch; a strong one." Julio thought: what have I done now? But he went up the nearest tree, that just happened to have handle bar limbs wherever one needed them and foot peddles too. So it was easy climbing. He found a bunch of switches and called down: "How long do you want it, Granma?" She couldn’t even see him in the tree but heard a small little voice calling out from silvery leaves
. . . so she yelled back up, "Oh, about 8 or 9 feet I’d say." Well, Julio wasn’t much of a judge of distance, but he always carried his handy dandy tape measure in his pocket, so he got it out and measured the switches til he found one that was long enough.
Now the switch was a silvery green sorta flat tender limb that Julio could easily wrap around his waist and tie in place. Having his hands free helped him get back down through the glittering, sparkly leaves and be able to find the handle bars and foot pedals easier. The last 6 feet of the tree he just slid on down to the ground.
"Great!" exclaims Granma. "This will do fine!" But as she reached for the tender limb around Julio’s waist, it turned into a harmless green snake with a purple underbelly. It undid itself and fell to the mossy floor of the path and turned back into a branch. "My, my, what strange goings ons," says Granma. Julio was wanting it to turn back into a snake so he took a small stick and poked at it, but nothing happened.
Granma, brave as she was, picked up the snake, I mean silvery green limb, keeping it at a distance for just a while .. Well, just in case anything .. uncanny … or undoing like ... was gonna’ happen again … she held it at arms length. I think she was holding her breath too; both of them were, for soon you could hear their big sighs of relief. She took the branch then and tied one end to the back of Julio’s jeans through his belt loop and she tied the other end to a loop in her overalls.
"This is a queer place Julio, some kinda magic going on here … and we can’t take any chances. So this way we can’t get lost from each other. K? K," explains Granma.

So now Julio went on in front and Granma behind . . . with the silvery green snake, I mean rope ... er ... switch, between them. The mushroom like things were getting fatter and puffier and taller and smelled so …. so … indescribably ... like … mushrooms! Wild and fresh, and dirty, and damp. As the dew continued to drip off the overhead trees, the travelers looked up and now noticed that the trees were getting thicker and the branches overhead were blocking out the sunlight. Only once in a while, small rays of sunshine poked through. Julio’s hair was getting downright wet and it was getting sorta dark. Julio stopped short and Granma almost bumped into him. "Gotta put my shirt on," he says. "Good idea," says Granma. So Julio untied the shirt at his waist. When he looked down to undo the knot, he could feel eyes in his back belt loop watching him. ‘The branch.’ So he moved as slow and as gently as he could. Of course he got the arms of his shirt all tangled up over his head and Granma had to help him. "Wonder what time it is?" asked Granma to herself.

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