It Is Said (MBKS1): Voices In The Forest

There were no starlights in this place. No moons. No other worlds in the night sky. The darkness in this forest was complete. 

Mathias had traveled the only road from town as far as he could.  He had stepped off the path and felt his way through what was now a dense patch of overgrown roots and bare prickly bushes, until he found the pond and the long flat rock. He had been sitting alone deep in the forest for what seemed like several hours. It took that much time for his eyes to adjust to the thick blanket of endless gloom that surrounded him

There was a barely perceptible source of light coming from somewhere, but Mathias couldn’t tell from where. He could just make out the leafless trees that populated this lifeless forest.  In the time that he sat, there was not one sound of life.  There were no creatures of the night. Mathias was sure there were no creatures of the day either. 

The tall trees were an angry tangled mass, and in the darkness, the thin, gnarly branches above seemed like fingers. Fingers on hands waiting to scratch and snatch at the unsuspecting. Trunks seemed to have faces. Eyes. Lips. Teeth. Fog from the cold night mist intertwined itself around these hollow faces adding sorrow to their already tortured features. 

This place was not Sandbox Harbor.

This place couldn’t possibly be the world in which his father and mother lived. All those people and all their children couldn’t be part of a community that was this grey and doom swept. In this eerie place, full of so much sadness, Mathias could understand why, in this village, these people and their children had either gone or were in hiding. 

Looming over all this, was the castle in the sky. Mathias couldn’t see it, but it was there. It was always there. He could feel it drawing him in, and it was succeeding. Mouse said no one ever goes to the castle, but Mathias was convinced it was there that he would find the rider, and the boy.

Mathias was still trying to wrap his mind around the moment Mouse was taken. The rider came out of nowhere. He was a blur. A deliberate, mean, calculated blur. He was a razor thin skeleton in black and red. He wore a long black cape with a hood to hide his face. Tall black boots. Black pants. A black blouse. A long red vest trimmed in black and black gloves trimmed in red. Mathias wasn’t sure he was ready to face the rider again or go to the dark castle, but he would if it meant saving the boy.

Suddenly this soundless world produced a chilling echo. The echo resounded throughout the dense black forest. 

“Someone help me!”

It was the cry of a child.

Mathias stood up on the long flat rock.

“Mouse,” he shouted, “is that you?”

Mathias waited.

Just when he thought his imagination had created the voice, he heard it again.

“Please help me!”

This was the voice of a young girl, and she was terrified.

Mathias jumped off the rock and tried desperately to find the child through the darkness, but he couldn’t see well enough to locate her. She was everywhere in the forest around him.  Running.  Crying.  Screaming. But he couldn’t see her. He couldn’t see her anywhere. 

“Run to my voice!” he cried out.

He could hear her coming closer.

She was so close.

He could feel her fear. 

“Someone help me, please!”

This voice was in front of him. It was coming right at him. Even in this darkness, Mathias understood there was no one there. This was just a voice. Then she passed right through him, and in that instant, he saw her.

A pretty, little girl dressed as a princess.

She was so scared. She looked so confused. Mathias could feel that she was heartbroken. Then she was gone, and the forest fell into a deafening silence.

But this time Mathias was not alone.

The pretty, little girl had left him with her fear as his companion. Tears began to well up inside of him. Her sense of desperation was so complete. Her feelings of hopelessness rang through his body. His heart hurt from her pain. 

Then Mathias heard hoof beats.

This sound he knew. This sound he remembered. This sound made him run. He scrambled and tripped.  He fell, but kept running. Low-lying branches snatched at him.  Prickly bushes scratched at him and still he ran.

Mathias snagged his foot on a tree root and crashed to the ground.  He could only lay there as the hoof beats came down upon him, and then passed over him.  Like the pretty, little princess, there was no rider.  Only the ghost of the rider. Only the echo of a memory.

The forest fell silent again.

Mathias picked himself up and gradually found his way back to the path. He resumed his journey away from the madness of the village, through the lunacy of the forest, and towards the sure insanity of the castle in the sky. At this moment, the mind of Mathias Bootmaker was twisted. He could no longer tell the real from the unreal. His mind and his body were weak. He needed to rest but there was no rest to be found.

As Mathias walked he searched for the puzzle pieces in his mind. Some were there. Some were not. He was beginning to not care. There were new ones. Dark ones. Strange ones. None of them fit together. None of it mattered anymore. Mathias was alone in a world he did not know. He was lonely in a place where isolation seemed a given, and he had lost a child that was lost himself.

Mathias counted each uncertain step he took. Each step was getting him closer to Mouse. The sand on the path was still dark, but it was beginning to shimmer. With each step he took, Mathias could see more of it. He could also see there was a turn in the path. There was a source of light up ahead of him. He started moving faster through the turn, but he remained cautious. There was a large boulder just off the path. Mathias stayed low and ran to it. It provided him cover to spy on the scene taking place just beyond him.

There was what appeared to be an inn or tavern at the side of the road. The light came from two brass lanterns hanging on long poles set on either side of the small path leading to its door. The door was open, and a man was standing beside a carriage that had stopped in front of the establishment. 

The small, burly man wore a long, filthy apron. His rolled up sleeves exposed his big muscular arms. He wore loose-fitting work pants, and his work boots were unlaced. The man ran his thick fingers through his unkempt red hair. He was desperately trying to improve his appearance for the occupant of the carriage. He wiped his hands, front and back, on the apron and gingerly reached out with his right hand, palm up.

A hand reached out in return from the carriage window. It was very much like a child’s hand, but aged. The occupant dropped seven silver coins, one by one, onto the innkeeper’s waiting palm. The burly man bowed. He then went to the back of the carriage and began to turn a heavily tarnished key set into the rear of the coach. A ratcheting sound could be heard with each turn. The man knocked twice on the roof, and the carriage lurched forward.

Mathias was fascinated by the conveyance. Its dainty size was more for a child than it was for an adult. It was obvious that it had once been a beautiful piece of craftsmanship that was no longer cared for. But the thing that was most curious about the carriage was that it had no driver and no horses. It had the classic shape of a covered horse drawn carriage, but it moved entirely under its own power. It was a very well designed, very sophisticated mechanical toy.

The large windup toy travelled to the end of the road where a jumble of trees and branches and roots blocked any further passage.  The plaything did not stop. It travelled right into the blockade. It seemed to melt right through it. The innkeeper stood and watched this happen. He didn’t seem at all surprised by the vehicle’s mystical exit. Once the carriage was gone, he counted each coin, one by one, one hand to the other.  Convinced he had not been cheated, he pocketed the bounty and with a noticeable limp, stepped back into the inn. 

Having no other choice, Mathias walked towards the small structure.  Its construction was sound, but its haphazard collection of construction materials gave it an unbalanced appearance. Woods of various sizes and shapes blended with stones of various weights and colors. Brick and mortar framed the door and windows, and large lumbering logs created a tall, imposing roof.

When Mathias arrived at the door, he found his only clue to the name of this establishment. A weathered rope was looped around a large rusted nail that had long ago been embedded into the center of the door. The rope was tied on either end to a fractured plank of wood. Carved and burned into the plank was the image of a house on one side and what Mathias believed to be a representation of the castle in the sky on the other. A series of lines connected the two structures, and at their center was a large X. 

The castle in the sky was his destination. The small house was the village he had come from. The lines were the road he was walking on, and the mark at its center was where he stood. Anyone traveling in either direction would find this spot the middle of their journey.

This place was the Inn Between.

Mathias tried peeking through the two large windows at the front of the inn. There was faint light coming from within, but the decorative etched glass provided no view. Not knowing what to expect, he slowly pushed the door open and took one step over the threshold.


Amazon author Edward Medina is proud to introduce you to what was his bestselling debut, It Is Said (MBKS1), the first book in the Mathias Bootmaker and the Keepers of the Sandbox trilogy.

This dark fantasy adventure full of mysteries, riddles, and secrets is the story of Mathias Bootmaker, a young man searching for the better parts of himself. His search for what he’s lost begins an amazing journey through a world of extreme imagination. A world he helped to create, but a world he can’t remember anything about. It’s the story of his life, the birth of creativity, and the true power of the energy all around us.

The world of It Is Said (MBKS1) is a dream embedded within a nightmare. A maze inside a labyrinth. It reads like an adventure. It plays like a thriller. It’s designed to make you question every place you go and every character you meet. It’s designed to be a puzzle you must solve.

“It Is Said (MBKS1) is a book for readers who remember what stories can do when in the hands of author who knows a little magic.” – J. Fields Jr. author the Casino Shuffle series.

“If you haven’t tried It Is Said (MBKS1), boy, are you missing out. It’s exquisite. – Jamie DeBree author and blogger

It Is Said (MBKS1) debuted in the top ten on the Amazon bestseller lists for both Fantasy and Action Adventure. To date it has earned 22 Amazon and Goodreads ★★★★★ reviews from readers, reviewers, teachers, authors, and bloggers.

It Is Said (MBKS1) is available at amazon.com.

Alice Author Pic

Edward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.

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