Finals. Hudson had stayed up all night studying for his chemistry test. Hours and hours on end, he had tried to memorize all he could to complete his goal of becoming the valedictorian. However, Hudson could not focus; all he could think about were the characters from his favorite books and movies. He pictured himself fighting alongside Luke Skywalker to defeat Vader, and going on all of the journeys with all the superheroes to help save the civilians. But no. Instead, he had to study for his final for hours and hours on end as he thought about boring formulas and useless equations that he would never use in his life.
Sunday, June 12, 2016. Hudson was extremely nervous. He knew he needed to ace his final if he wanted to be the student with the highest honor. Then, he received a text message that turned his life around.
Lauren: Hudson I’m sorry this is not going to work out. You never talk to me. All you ever do is play stupid video games and read books about fictional characters. You are just too childish.
Thoughts swirled around his head. Hudson felt trapped. He began to think about being in a world on his own with nobody around him. He tried to distract himself from the message by grabbing his notes, but he could not think straight. He picked up the phone, but realized he had no other friends to talk to because his only friends were in his mind. Hudson ran to his bed and put his face into the pillow and cried. He knew it was time to make real friends and to start growing up. He ran to his desk and grabbed his laptop. He turned on the first documentary he could find and tried to start acting like the other kids around him.
Before watching, Hudson lay down on his bed, and he began to stare aimlessly at the ceiling as he realized that it was time to become an adult. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a door opening. Hudson’s eyes darted to the location of the sound, and he glared at the dark, mysterious door with the sound of wind howling through the cracks. He began to think that he had gone crazy, as he had just seen a door pop out of nowhere. He closed his eyes for the next ten seconds, then opened them again, and he still saw this mysterious door. Too afraid to call his parents, he stood up and slowly headed for the door. Hudson then cautiously turned the knob, and inside, all he saw was empty space with a very narrow, white walkway that seemed to never end. He looked back at his bed and saw the documentary, causing him to picture himself all grown up and having his girlfriend back. But he shook his head and realized that he would be miserable not being the person he really was, so he decided to take a step onto the never-ending walkway.
Hudson was extremely nervous. He looked around and saw nothing but empty space and a narrow walkway leading nowhere. He believed he was walking toward his destiny, or maybe even a path to his past. He walked for miles and miles on end, then sat down and looked straight up. He heard a sound and jumped up and saw what looked to be a godly figure. Hudson cringed in fear as he saw this large man with a white beard and a staff that seemed to look like a lightening bolt. He walked closer to the man to a point where they were only a few feet apart from each other.
Hudson looked at this person, who seemed to look like Zeus, the Greek god. He was in shock. He wanted to ask him who he was, but was afraid to talk to this muscular, tall, and powerful-looking figure.
After staring into his eyes for a few seconds, the man said, “Welcome to Imaginationland.”
Hudson questioned himself for a second and thought that this man was crazy; he knew that there was no such place as “Imaginationland”. Hudson now looked away from him and realized he was walking on a pathway leading nowhere. He began to consider the idea that he was in a different world.
Hudson slowly moved his head back toward the man and shyly asked, “Are you Zeus?” Hudson was scared that this man may have gotten offended, but as the godly creature began to move closer to him, he saw a grin on the man’s face as he said one word.
Hudson’s fear became joy as he realized he was in a new world with a character from his dreams. Zeus asked Hudson to follow him to the world where all the characters from his imagination lived. Hudson looked at Zeus and his joyful face turned to one of doubt. He began to think to himself that he was probably just dreaming, and that his mind was just playing games on him. He thought back to all the moments where he got teased for not acting his age, and to the time when his girlfriend dumped him over text, leading to him feeling depressed.
However, Zeus realized his doubt and anguish. Without realizing it, Hudson was in Zeus’s arms, causing him to snap out of his hesitation as Zeus exclaimed, “Let’s go!”
Zeus jumped off the pathway with Hudson in his arms, and they began to fly over the dark, bland, empty space. After flying for what seemed to only be a few minutes, but hundreds of miles, Hudson looked below him and all he could see was darkness, causing him to fear that he was travelling to a dark location. But then, he approached the largest gate Hudson had ever seen. He was amazed. He looked at the gate and saw his reflection in the pure gold layering, which towered 100 feet over his head. Glamoured by its beauty, Hudson went to touch it. At first, nothing happened, but then the gate shook; it felt like an earthquake, causing the gate to begin to open. Hudson saw a bright light, so he looked away as he was blinded by the brightness. Slowly, he turned his head back toward the gate and he saw all the friendly faces he pictured in his dreams. Hudson rubbed his eyes and noticed that in front of him were the friendly faces of all his favorite characters, such as Aslan the Lion, Gandalf the Gray, and Captain America. He ran into the world that seemed to be held up by white, powdery clouds and stood alongside his idols with a smile larger than his face. He looked around, and he saw a village which seemed to have been made out of golden bricks. Hudson felt free; he finally felt comfortable being himself. His favorite character was Captain America, so he asked him about all of his adventures and how his shield was designed. Then, he ran to Aslan. At first, Hudson felt dismay because he was standing a foot away from a sharp-toothed lion. But Hudson remembered that Aslan would never want to hurt him, so he ran up and greeted the lion.
Hudson met all the characters of his dreams and asked them more questions than they could even handle. He toured the land and noticed that all the people were living in harmony and joy, causing him to forget the problems he had at home. After journeying across their land, he was brought to a room. This was a dark room with no windows and room for only around two people. Then, walked in the king of the land, Aslan. Hudson looked into his eyes and saw fear.
Aslan said with a powerful voice, “We are under attack!”
Hudson dropped back in his seat as this was the first time he ever felt nervous while on the new land. He thought that everything would be adventurous and exciting, but he heard this horrific news and put his head in his hands and frowned.
Hudson then yelled, “Who is attacking us, and why?”
Aslan sternly replied, “These large, beast-like mammals that outnumber our population two to one!”
He then beamed his eyes toward the lion and cried, “Why was I brought to this land?”
Slowly, Aslan whispered, “You are the one who controls us. You created me and everyone else in my kingdom. Now, we call on you to come save us.”
Hudson felt powerful. He believed that he could now fight off the fact that he had to become an adult, and that he could live with the people he was surrounded by in Imaginationland. Aslan took Hudson to the highest point of the castle, but left him alone. It was up to Hudson to save the kingdom because he had the power in his mind to control the outcome of the battle. However, he could not focus; there was so much pressure coming from the people of the village that he could not think straight. Hudson peered over the walls, and he noticed the beasts crashing through the walls and attacking the homes of Harry Potter, Hawkeye, and Donald Duck. Hudson now felt angered, but determined. He cleared his mind and pictured Captain America ferociously attacking the beasts. Therefore, Captain America ran towards the invaders and fought off the creatures for as long as he could. Now, Hudson realized how powerful he was, so he sent everybody to fight the beasts, not realizing that he could not control all of his imagination at once.
Then, the beasts demolished every character that came in their way until they surrounded Hudson, as it was now only him left. He was frightened because Hudson thought he would be attacked any minute now. Then, the largest beast of them grabbed Hudson by his claws and held him up above his head. Hudson’s face was white, but he shook his head and remembered that he was in his imagination, so he could control himself. He broke free, causing the beasts to cry in fear because Hudson gave himself superhuman powers. Subsequently, all the vicious creatures retreated, so it was only Hudson in his own imagination. After protecting Imaginationland, Hudson sat down and pictured all of the creatures in his dreams coming back, and sure enough, Hudson was surrounded by all the heroes he loved.
Chants roared from the crowd as Hudson was congratulated for his bold and heroic accomplishments. Hudson then saw Aslan pushing his way through the crowd of people. With a sense of urgency, Aslan pulled Hudson aside and told him that it was time for him to return home. Without saying goodbye, Aslan and the other creatures walked off. Hudson was in despair; he did not want to leave. He knew that only here could he be his true self without getting judged. He cried in despair because he did not want to be set free from the teenage life that he had now become a part of. Then, Hudson saw a flash, and a door appeared, but this one was special. This door was white, and it shined brighter than a star. He walked towards the door in doubt, until he saw a message carved into the marble, reading, “Always hold on to what you love.” Hudson looked at the message for hours, trying to comprehend the meaning of the words carved on to the door. Frustrated, Hudson gave up and decided to just walk through the door and forget about what just happened. Anticipating that it would take him back to the opening gate, he took a step through the door. But this time, he ended up exactly where he started, in his room lying down on his bed.
Now, school was finally out, and Hudson had the whole summer to become an adult. He went, grabbed his laptop, and reopened the documentary that he thought he should have started a long time ago. Right before he hit the play button, he thought about the message he saw carved on the door that led back to his room. Hudson thought back to when the beast-like creatures were attacking his imagination and came to the conclusion that the beasts were the signs of adulthood that were bound to come. He thought for a second, then realized that he always had to hold on to his love of his imagination, and that he could not forget about what made him happy. However, he also came to understand that he was growing up and must become an adult. Hudson felt happy to finally expand his horizons while not forgetting about his love of his imagination. Finally, Hudson felt pride in being his true self.