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Once there was a girl named Sue who had the most beautiful box of Crayons of Infinite Possibility you’ve never seen.
The box held every color of the rainbow, every tint and every shade.
It had crayons called Metallic Luster and Sheen.
It had crayons called Glisten and Glow.
It had crayons called Slippery, Scratchy, Smooth and every texture that ever existed.
Sue’s crayons were her greatest treasure. Each day she held them to her heart and thanked them for existing.
These crayons were priceless.
But her crayons seemed just a bit too valuable to play with.
So she tucked them away under her bed and only took them out once a day to admire and thank them.
Sue loved one crayon in particular.
It sparkled like the mid-day sun on the surface of a calm lake with the sound of children playing and splashing on the shore.
Sue took it out and peered at the label: Curiosity.
There were no instructions for using it, and she wondered what it would do. In fact, she got…curious.
She found a fresh, blank sheet of paper and put it on the table, then took up the crayon of Curiosity.
Did she dare press it to the paper?
The Curiosity Crayon hovered just above the paper and…
No. She couldn’t do it.
What if she didn’t like the color?
What if she drew a line that was crooked?
Once she drew on that blank piece of paper she couldn’t take it back.
Sue dropped the paper with a heavy sigh and looked out the window.
“I need someone to show me how to draw properly with these crayons,” she thought.
So Sue decided to go on a hunt for her someone.
Her first stop was the forest. She walked along the cool, dark path, listening and looking for someone.
Squirrels scampered across her path and butterflies danced through patches of sunlight. She passed a boy and his dog, but they didn’t look like her someone, so she kept going.
Sue took the dirt path into town, certain she’d find someone. The blacksmith sweating in his shop, the cafe owner setting out her tea cakes, the librarian carrying a stack of books.
Sue looked at them each in turn. “Nope. Not my someone,” she said to herself.
A group of boys splashed in a puddle and poked sticks in the mud, pretending to play war. Sue smiled at them, but they were definitely not her someone.
No one in town seemed to fit.
Sue’s shoulders slumped and she headed for home. Just as she was passing the post office, she noticed a paper tacked to the wall. It read:
Visit the Crone de Couleur!
She knows all, sees all, and tells all.
Sue clapped her hands in delight. Now that sounded like someone!
She wrote down the address — it was in the opposite direction of home — and started that way immediately. The sun was setting and Sue was a little hungry (she could use one of those tea cakes about now) but she was determined to find someone today.
Sue marched her way toward the Crone, and her pace began to slow. She was tired and hungry and the road stretched on and on.
She thought this was a very ill-planned venture. What if the Crone de Couleur wasn’t someone, either? It was a waste of energy and she ought to just go home. Or at the very least, take a nap.
Sue found a pine tree with a thick bed of needles beneath it, curled up in a ball and went to sleep.
She dreamed of her Crayons of Infinite Possibility and long reams of paper that she could not unroll. When she tried, they were too heavy and fell on top of her, until she was rolling with them and so tangled that she could not move or breathe.
Sue awoke with a start to complete darkness.
For a moment she wondered where she was, until she remembered the walk to find the Crone.
Sue wished for her crayons now — the Crayons called Illumination would surely come in handy — for she had no lantern and all she could see was the dim outline of the trees against the sky and what must be the road a few feet away.
“I can’t believe I let myself fall asleep,” she said aloud. “What a stupid girl!”
“A stupid girl, indeed,” came a voice from the darkness. “Wandering at night on Lassitude Lane.”
“Who’s there?” Sue called, straining her eyes to see.
Slowly, a figure emerged from the darkness, brandishing a torch. It was a young man in a peasant’s hat and cloak, little more than a boy, really. He didn’t look like someone she particularly wanted to know.
“I’m Sven,” he said. “And you’re going to be in trouble if you stay here.”
“I’m on my way to see the Crone de Couleur. Not that it’s any of your business.”
Sven laughed. “Is that so? Well, the Crone isn’t fond of haughty little girls who drop by unannounced after dark. You might want to think about that.”
Sue was silent. It wasn’t as if she had many options. She found herself wishing again for her Crayons of Infinite Possibilities. If she had them, she would surely know what to do.
“Can you take me to her?” Sue asked.
“I can, but I won’t,” Sven replied. “She’d skin you alive at this hour.”
“How do you know I don’t like being skinned alive?” Sue retorted.
Sven rolled his eyes. “If you’re so disenchanted with your skin, her cottage is right over there.” He pointed to the dim shape of a house across the road. “Be my guest.”
Sue watched as he took long strides back towards town.
“Wait!” she called out, running to catch up with him. “Can I come with you?”
Sven looked down at her. “What’s in it for me? You’re not even good conversation.”
“Well,” Sue began. “I have these Crayons of Infinite Possibilities. If you get me safely home, I could let you use them.”
She could scarcely believe the words coming from her mouth as she said them.
“Humph.” Sven thought. “I have a wallet full of possibilities, and that always seemed like enough for me, but I consider myself open-minded. You have a deal.”
Sue sighed in relief. She could figure out what to do about the crayons later.
Sven raised his torch and led the way back to the sleeping town. Sue gave him directions to her home.
“You know,” Sven said as they walked, “I wasn’t kidding about the Crone. You really don’t want to get mixed up with the likes of her.”
“But I saw a sign that said she knows all, sees all and tells all,” Sue protested. “That’s exactly what I need!”
“Ha! That’s advertising for you. The Crone tells you what she thinks you want to hear to get whatever you have that she might want. Can’t trust her.”
“Oh.” Sue thought. “How do I know I can trust you?”
“The way I see it, you don’t have much of a choice.”
Sue and Sven traveled in silence for several more minutes.
“My house is down that way,” Sue announced. All she could think about was a warm shower and bed.
“Nicely done, then. Take me to your crayons.”
Sue swallowed hard. “Wh-what crayons?”
Sven stopped. “I saved your skin tonight, kid. Literally. Pretending makes even a pretty girl like you look ugly.”
“I’ve just never shown them to anyone before,” Sue admitted. “I’m afraid.”
“Well, I won’t make anyone show me their crayons against their will.” Sven smiled. “But I would really like to see them.”
Sue thought Sven’s eyes seemed kind, sparkling as they did in the light of his torch. What harm would it do?
“Okay.” Sue unlocked the front door. “Wait here on the porch and I’ll be right back.”
Sue stepped inside her warm house and wondered if she should close and lock the door, forgetting about the promise she’d made to Sven.
But there was something magical in the air that reminded her of the Crayon of Serendipity, and she couldn’t bring herself to lock him out.
Sue ran to her bedroom, withdrew the Crayons of Infinite Possibilities from beneath her bed, clutched them to her chest and burst onto the front porch.
The light shone on the empty deck. There was no one in sight.
“Sven!” she cried. “I’ve got my Crayons.”
The night answered back with cricket song and rustling leaves. The rocking chair moved gently, as if someone had just gotten up.
Sue ventured to the edge of the porch and looked into the darkness. She waited for many minutes, but Sven had disappeared.
“I’m off the hook,” she said, feeling strangely disappointed.
After carefully placing the Crayons of Infinite Possibility back beneath her bed, Sue crawled underneath her covers and went to sleep.
Sue woke the next morning with a start. Was that laughter? Sven’s laughter?
She ran downstairs and threw open the front door to the bright sun. Birds chirped, but whatever sound had awoken her did not repeat.
Her quest to find someone yesterday had failed.
Sue considered what to do. A trip back to town was possible, but she didn’t think her someone was there. And if Sven had been right about the Crone, that wasn’t such a good idea, either.
She dragged herself back upstairs to her bed and took out the Crayons of Infinite Possibilities.
Without thinking, she took them to her desk and unrolled a new, white sheet of paper.
Without looking, she opened the box and took hold of the first crayon her fingers touched.
Without planning, her hand grasped the Crayon of Adventure and drew it across the page.
A map of the path to town and back revealed itself. The forest, the tea cakes, the pine tree beneath which she had slept.
Sue’s hands flew in and out of the box. The Crayons of Awakening, Dawn, Doubt, Anticipation, Disappointment, Fear.
Her fingers drew tall Sven with the laughing eyes. She drew herself standing alone on the porch in the darkness, calling to him. She filled the page with images.
Without hesitation, Sue drew out another blank piece of paper and let her hands fly across the page, filling it with shapes and figures, colors and texture. Her Crayons morphed the page until it was no longer flat, but a five dimensional expression of color and texture in space.
She layered page upon page until they became worlds, each guided by the principles of its own design, born from the electricity between Sue’s fingers, the Crayons and the paper.
When Sue was done, she stepped back, breathless, to survey her creation.
“I think I found my someone.” She laughed. “It’s me.”
Sue didn’t know what she had created, but she stepped forward into her infinite paper crayon world of possibilities, ready to find out.