He opened his eyes for the very first time and peered at the furry white mound in front of him. His newborn brother and sister nestled sleepily into their mother's soft white fur, their charcoal black noses nuzzling to keep warm. Jules yawned and stretched, his little pink tongue stretching out like a party streamer. He crawled cautiously out of the warm den. He gazed around him, searching for adventure and mystery, but all he saw was ice and snow. "There has to be more to the world that this", thought Jules, "and I'm going to find it".
Jules sat at the entrance of the den for many hours, thinking about his future. "Should I be a fireman?", he thought, "or maybe an astronaut!" As Jules' mind wandered, and evening approached, the polar sun sank slowly towards the horizon. The red and orange and yellow rays of the setting sun bounced off the infinite stretch of ice crystals in the landscape that was in front of him. Suddenly the snow and ice seemed to sparkle with all the colors of the rainbow, like a mountain of precious gems and diamonds.
"That’s it!", thought Jules ,"I’m going to travel all over the world and be the world’s greatest gem hunter!"
Jules braced himself for the long journey ahead. He knew he would have to travel thousands of miles to find his gems. Thousands of miles filled with dark forests, towering mountain peaks, scorching deserts, and dangerous creatures. But, he was ready.
Jules nervously packed his suitcase, and bid a tearful goodbye to his family. He stepped out into the cold Arctic air, and prepared himself for the greatest adventure of his young life.
Gazing at the vast expanse of ice and snow before him, he noticed two glowing lights piercing the polar darkness. The lights got closer and closer. They seemed to stare at him like the glowing eyes of a ferocious predator. As it neared, Jules was able to see the shiny yellow body of the creature. He raised his hand high in the air, and the creature stopped with a screech directly in front of him. Jules opened the door and crawled inside.
His heart raced during the taxi ride all the way to the airport, and his eyes opened wide as he walked through the buzzing airport terminal, and onto the luxury jetliner bound for New York City. As the plane took off, high into the air, Jules settled back into his seat, giddy with excitement. But just as he was getting comfortable, a chilling announcement came over the loudspeaker.
"We’re very sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but due to technical difficulties, there will be no wi-fi or television service for the duration of this flight. However, headphones will be offered free of charge. Thank you."
A chorus of gasps echoed through the plane as the passengers stared at each other in disbelief. Muffled sobbing could be heard through the first-class curtain.
But it didn't bother Jules - he was ready for a challenge, and he took the news in stride. He sat back into his seat with a contented sigh, and for the next several hours, he watched as the plane flew over thousands of miles filled with dark forests, towering mountain peaks, scorching deserts, and dangerous creatures.
The captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker:
---"Ladies and gentlemen, we are now passing over Montana, also known as "the treasure state". It was nicknamed "the treasure state" because of large deposits of gold and silver that were found there, as well as beautiful blue sapphires."---
"Sapphires?!", thought Jules, "there are sapphires right here in the Unites States!? I’ve got to check this out!."
He called the flight attendant.
"Excuse me", he said, "can I get off here? I would like to go to Montana!".
She looked at him with confusion. "I’m sorry sir, you can’t leave the plane. We’re 30,000 feet up in the air. "
"Could you just ask the pilot to pull over please? It would just take a second."
The flight attendant stared at him, smiled, and patted him gently on the head. "Umm", she said, "I will check with the captain, and I’ll get back to you on that. Ookay? Would you like an extra bag of peanuts while you wait?"
Jules got the feeling that the plane was not going to pull over. Still, he couldn’t miss this gem hunting opportunity. He thought and thought, and then, he came up with a plan! Luckily, when he left his arctic home, his brother gave him a remote control airplane as a going-away present.
Jules grabbed the toy plane from his carry-on bag, and snuck into the airplane bathroom. Jules hopped into the plane, positioned himself carefully, held his breath, and after a loud whoosh, he was out!
What a thrill! Jules was soaring high in the air! The wind whipped at his fur as he soared over the Montana mountains. The sun glowed on the horizon and warmed his cold red nose. Jules began his descent towards his first gem hunting adventure. He passed a flock of migrating birds in a v-formation, which turned into a jumbled mess as they all tried to make sense of seeing a toy bear in a toy plane flying beside them.
As the plane got nearer to the ground, the trees became larger and he could see the details of the landscape below him. He spotted a clearing up ahead. The plane cautiously approached the ground and gradually rolled to a stop. "Whew", said Jules, "That was incredible! This is the greatest day of my life! Nothing could ruin this amazing day."
Just then, a large shadow slowly crept over Jules from behind him. A frightening growl rumbled through him, shaking every fiber of his stuffing. The growl got louder and louder, and the shadow over him grew larger. His eyes opened wide and his heart started to race. He very slowly turned around and the creature came into view. It was a mountain lion! Towering above him, the lion crawled closer and closer, and then...
He opened his eyes and peered at the furry brown mound in front of him. Two little brown shapes nestled into their mother's soft fur, their noses nuzzling to keep warm. Jules yawned and stretched, and then bolted up in shock and surprise!
He must have fainted from fear when he saw the mountain lion, and now, it seemed he was in a cave, surrounded by the mountain lion, and her two little cubs. As Jules stirred, the mother glared at him and moved her head closer to him. She stuck out her long tongue, and licked Jules from the bottom of his chin to the tip of his ears, as if he was one of her own cubs!
"You have got to be kidding me", thought Jules, as he wiped mountain lion slobber off his face. As Jules stood up to examine his surroundings, the lion cubs starting sniffing him, and playfully nipping at his fur. Jules grabbed his belongings, and raced to the mouth of the cave. Just as he was about to step outside, he felt something pinch the back of his neck, and he was raised high into the air. A second later, he was plopped right back into the den next to his brand new adopted siblings.
"You have really got to be kidding me", thought Jules, as the mother lion purred with content. The mother lion laid down on her side, and the two hungry cubs enthusiastically nuzzled next to her, ready for breakfast. The mother lion looked inquisitively at Jules, expecting him to join the others. "No thanks, I’m not hungry", he said.
Jules realized he would have to wait for the lions to fall asleep before he could make his escape. As he sat himself down to wait, he looked around at the cave he was in. It was much larger than he thought. He hadn’t realized that it continued into the depths of the mountain. As he looked down into the dark cave, he thought he noticed a dim blue glow. "What in the world could that be?", thought Jules, "I’m going to have to find out."
After their meal, the cubs starting yawning, and shut their eyes for a nap. Seeing that everything was alright, the mother lion also curled up to sleep the day away. Jules finally had his chance to escape. He very quietly stood up, and slipped away from the lions, tip-toeing deeper into the cave to investigate the strange blue light.
to be continued...
Be sure to come back for the continuing adventures of Jules Debaer.