The Guild Hall moved through the blankscape and pulled up beside Jake on his big, fluffy, golden winged, pink bunny rabbit. He saw the horse stables on one side where once he had tried to escape from the Guild Hall, and a horse was waving at him. And he waved back. Jake went to land near the stables, and just as he was touching down three figures walked straight out of a door. One Jake recognised as the Guild Mistress, second was Orph back to a fairly normal human shape, but with a read ring where his hat had come off, and finally someone that Jake didn’t recognise at all, though he had a funny feeling that he knew him. He hopped off his Flying Bunny and walked over to them.
Embracing Orph he said, “It’s so good to see you, I wondered what had happened. Oh, here’s your hat.”
But Orph didn’t accept the hat, “No, it’s your now. You’ve earned it.”
“But… how?” asked a confused Jake.
“I think,” began the Guild Mistress, “You’re able to explain all of this by yourself.”
Jake didn’t question this, because in his heart of hearts he did know. And he had enough imagination now to figure out what had been going on.
He looked at the Flying Bunny and commanded it to “Become a piece of music,” and then its present form disappeared and in its place a new piece of music, unheard by anyone, filled the air.
“It’s got something to do with my artistic side, hasn’t it?”
The Guild Mistress nodded, “But it’s more than that.”
“It’s something to do with what’s up here,” he said pointing at his head, “and that too,” he indicated the music flying around them.
“Become a tree,” he commanded the music, and it became a magnificent oak tree. “And now a buffet table.” Magically, the tree shrunk and spread out; food appeared on top of it, and wonderful refreshments. Jake went over to it and scoffed himself silly; he didn’t remember having eaten since, well, since he’d come to Imagi-nation. But that was the strange way story time worked: some things could be conveniently skipped.
Jake looked at the buffet table and, through a mouthful of scone, he said, “That is my imagination.”
“How did you realise that?” the Guild Mistress asked.
“I don’t know, but ever since I released it from its prison I’ve felt more, well, imaginative.”
“Yes, I noticed that,” said Orph, “At some point Jake surprised me by acquiring a sense of humour.” He smiled at Jake and Jake smiled back.
“It’s my imagination, isn’t it?” Jake pointed at the buffet table. “It becomes whatever I want it to become.” At which point he told it to become a Zen garden and it did. “I released it from its prison in Big Plaice. And you helped me,” he said, turning his attention to the Guild Mistress and Orph. “And you,” he said to the stranger, “I know who you are and what you’ve been doing.” There was something accusatory about his tone of voice, but with an edge of humour.
“And you’ve helped me Jake,” said the stranger. “Without you there would be no story, and so no story writer, and no art either.”
“Thank you Adam, you put me through my paces, but I came through alright. I’m glad you were my “Journey Coordinator”,” Jake grabbed Adam’s hand and emphatically shook it, and even gave him a hug.
“You’re very welcome Jake. And any time you want an adventure you can always call on me to help create your story.” And with that Adam disappeared from their sight. “I’m still here, it’s just that it’s difficult to be in Imagi-nation and write the story at the same time.” And if you listened very carefully you could hear the tip-tap of a keyboard writing this story.
“So what are you going to do now?” asked Orph.
Jake thought, looking at the blankscape and said, “Make art, of course.” He waved a hand and suddenly part of the blankscape turned into Big Plaice, this time with a restored Fish Fry civilisation, and he waved his other hand and Hiêr appeared next to Big Plaice. Again, the Tribes of Big, Small and Medium all appeared.
But the still remained blank spaces on Jakes own artscape, places that still could be filled with other artscape, other art.
“And what are you going to do about those?” the Guild Mistress asked.
“Fill them in with art!”
“You mean you’re going to do more journeys?” gasped Orph.
Jake laughed, “Sort of, there’s still much more of Imagi-nation to discover.”
“Then we shall see more of Jake Fish?” the Guild mistress laughed.
“Perhaps, one day. But for the moment I’m staying right where I am.” He stood on the edge of the platform jutting from the Guild Hall, “I’m learning things, you see, I’m learning that all is not what it seems in Imagi-nation. You can be one thing one minute, and then something else quite different the next,” he looked quite pointedly at Orph who had become a fish, a pair of old binoculars, a backwards donkey and a fairy.
“I might return, but it won’t be as Jake Fish. The Guild Hall may return, but it won’t be the Guild Hall. The same goes for the Guild Planet and its artscape, and you two. And the Guild Star. You see, in Imagi-nation the forms and names keep changing, but the essence doesn’t. In a way this story is ending here, though we might return to it again and again. In another this story hasn’t ended, as there is also more stories to write and more art to make, especially in Imagi-nation!”
With that speech (that left I, the Guild Mistress and Orphy speechless with surprise) Jake commanded the buffet table back into a Flying Bunny and flew back down to his artscape, transforming it and creating many beautiful landscapes.
And a piece of paper had fallen from Jake’s hand to the floor at Orph’s feet, and he picked it up and looked at it. To anyone’s eyes it was just a bunch of scribbles made by a child, as it had been for Jake at the beginning of this story, but Orph knew it was a drawing of Jake’s from his childhood, an attempt at drawing his house. And indeed, in Jake’s handwriting, the word “home” was written where it hadn’t been before, and Orph knew Jake had come home.