It looked like your standard treasure chest, dark wood with a brass lock attached. A lock! Henry hadn’t thought of that. After all that work to find the treasure, now they wouldn’t be able to open it. But Slim was already walking toward it. He removed his ring finger from his left hand and inserted it into the lock, then he turned it, and the lock snapped open.

“Skeleton key,” Slim said, smiling. This time, the smile was warm and welcome. Henry had grown fond of his new friend, and wasn’t scared of him anymore. Much.

But now they had finally found the treasure. Henry rushed over to Slim to see what was inside the chest. Would it be diamonds? Doubloons? Rubies? He couldn’t wait to see. Slim gasped and reached inside, and he pulled out the contents of the treasure chest.

“It’s a sweater!” he shouted enthusiastically. It was, in fact, a sweater. An orange v-neck sweater, which Slim pulled on immediately, admiring himself. “How do I look?” he asked.

Henry was upset, angry, and even mad. “A sweater?” he shouted. “We snuck past Space Sharks, Fire Trees and a giant Cyclops for a lousy sweater!” As he moved closer to Slim, to facilitate throttling his neck, he noticed there was a banana embroidered on the sweater, which made him even angrier, for some reason.

“Hey, cut me some slack,” Slim said, looking apologetic. “I’m sorry I put you through all of this, but I really needed a sweater. It gets cold here in the Clokeysphere, especially for a skeleton like me. Besides, you had fun, didn’t you? I mean, at least it wasn’t boring.”

Henry had to admit, it had been scary, exciting and tons of fun. And it was definitely better than cleaning his room.

“But how will I get home?” Henry asked. Slim chuckled.

“That’s the best part. The treasure chest has a false bottom.” He pushed on the bottom of the treasure chest, and sure enough, it fell away. “Come on,” he said, and crawled down into the hole. Henry followed without thinking twice. They ended up under his bed, and pushed all the books away to get out and into his room. It felt like Henry had been gone all day, but only a little over an hour had passed. Slim helped Henry clean his room, organizing all of his clothes and books and balls and action figures and vehicles and stuffed animals so that they were stored away in drawers or on shelves or in bins. Then, it was time for Slim to go. “So long, Henry,” he said, shaking his hand. “I’ll see you when I see you.” He exited through the Door to Outer Space, which had been cleverly hidden behind a large stuffed elephant. Henry figured it would be the last he would see of the skeleton, and it was.

Until one boring summer afternoon, when he found a folded piece of paper on his desk…


The thud landing knocked the wind out of him, but it didn’t hurt as much as Henry had anticipated. The ground was soft, almost rubbery, and Henry realized it was made of clay, as Slim had mentioned clay was one of the main elements of the Clokeysphere. But where was Slim? “Slim!” Henry cried out into the darkness. He expected Slim to appear behind him with burning coals in his eyes, but instead he heard a low grunt. Then, a torch was lit and brandished about fifteen feet above Henry, and he saw the biggest and scariest creature he had ever seen!

The Cyclops was dark green and scaly, and it had dark red claws the size of Henry’s arms on its hands and feet. It had sharp red spikes all along its spine like a stegosaurus, and when it looked down at him and growled, it revealed yellow teeth that looked like they could snap Henry into a hundred little pieces. As it was a cyclops, the Cyclops had one eye, with a big black pupil in the center which dilated when the torch swung near the monster’s face and then grew larger as it peered down at him. Henry, understandably, screamed. He tried to run and hide, but the rubbery ground didn’t allow him any traction to move. It was like trying to run in water.

“Henry!” a familiar voice shouted from above. Henry looked up and saw long and sharp fangs hanging from the ceiling. Only they weren’t fangs, they were stalactites. And hanging from one of them was Slim. If the Cyclops was fifteen feet high, these were at least twice that. But Slim began to gesture upward with his free hand, shouting, “Jump! Jump!” Henry looked at him as if he were crazy, but then considered the Space Sharks and the Fire Trees. Then, he noticed the Cyclops’ hand closing in on him, and decided to try jumping.

He shot up like a rocket! Closing his eyes, he reached out and felt a stalactite, and hugged it. The Cyclops roared and swung his torch at Henry, but he was too far away. Henry noticed a chain around the wrist of the Cyclops and then saw identical chains around his ankles. So he couldn’t jump after them. “Follow me, Henry!” Slim shouted as he swung past, grabbing onto stalactites as he headed toward a small opening in the wall. Henry followed, and they both leapt, one after the other, through the small opening about the size of an air vent. They had to really squeeze to get through, but they made it. Henry started to wonder how they were going to get back once they found the treasure.

Then he saw the treasure chest.


The bottom of the crater was pitch black. Henry tried looking around, but he couldn’t see anything. “Slim!” he called out.

“Just a second,” he heard from directly behind him, and just about jumped out of his skin. Speaking of out of his skin, Slim suddenly appeared when two lights began glowing over Henry’s shoulder. Henry turned and saw Slim, who had placed two lumps of coal in his eye sockets and lit them. “I keep these in backpack, along with a book of matches. As you can see, they come in handy.”

“Spooky. Hey, that was you calling out to the Space Sharks, wasn’t it? How did you do that?”

“I’m a ventriloquist, dummy!” Slim laughed. “Come on, we need to walk thirty paces this way.” Slim grabbed his hand, and led Henry down the dark cavernous innards of the crater. Pretty soon, Henry started to see a dim light coming from the distance. As they walked closer to it, he could feel a heat, like from the stove when he’d help bake cookies. As they rounded a corner, Henry began to see the light much stronger, and smell burning leaves.

And then, they were directly in front of the Fire Trees. Just as the map had said, they had to pass through this enflamed forest to get to the treasure, but Henry had no idea how they would do it. The trees were enormous, like the giant redwoods he had seen in his textbook, but these were pure fire, there was no hint of wood or leaves at all, except in the shape the flames took. And there were tons of them! Henry kept staring at them, because it was kind of beautiful, but also because he couldn’t see any safe passage. There was no hole they could sneak through or opening in the trees. He turned to Slim, who was crouched down on the ground, scooping the dirt with his hands. “Follow me!” he shouted, and began burrowing into the ground. Henry dropped down and crawled into the small tunnel Slim had made with his hands. It was barely big enough to fit the two of them, and so close to the surface that Henry felt the hairs on his neck singe from the heat and flames above him, but they managed to avoid getting burned. Even though they were moving rapidly through the Fire Tree Forest, it felt like an eternity to get through it, and when they finally did, Henry took a deep breath and relaxed, before plunging into darkness again.

He looked back and saw the glow of the Fire Trees above him as he fell further and further down, and as the flames receded from his view, the void that was enveloping him became darker and darker, until once again he was immersed in pitch black, but still falling. The air became colder and colder, until Henry began to miss the heat of the Fire Trees. Worse, he couldn’t see or hear Slim, and then he landed with a hefty thud.


“Okay,” Henry said, consulting the map. “The first thing we do is head north ten paces, until we get to this lake.”

“Lake? What lake? There’s no lake on this moon. Let me see that,” Slim said.

“Hey, yeah, that reminds me, why am I able to breathe and stuff if I’m on the moon, shouldn’t my head be blowing up or shouldn’t I be floating around or something?”

“Oh, no, this isn’t the moon, it’s a moon. See, you’re not in the Milky Way anymore. This is the Clokeysphere Way, and since the Clokeysphere is made up of oxygen, gravity and clay, you can breathe and walk around. Also, that isn’t a lake, it’s a crater.”

“Oh! Except, if it’s a crater, how are there sharks?” Henry asked.

Slim smiled, which was not so much reassuring as it was scary. “They’re not like Earth Sharks, they’re Space Sharks. I’ll show you.” He led Henry ten paces north, until they reached the crater that Henry had mistaken for a lake. Slim was right, there were sharks in the crater, but instead of swimming, they were floating. There were about five of them, and they all had two fins instead of one, were bright red instead of blue, and had glowing green eyes. Also, one leaned up and snapped at Henry, and when it did, it revealed that it had a second, smaller jaw where its tongue should be, with teeth that looked sharper than any Henry had ever seen.

“I know what you’re thinking, and it’s Nathan,” Slim said, putting a bony arm around Henry’s shoulder. “The name of that Space Shark. In fact, for some reason, they’re all named Nathan. Don’t know why, can’t say the name fits, either.”

“That’s not what I was thinking. I was thinking, how do we get past them?” Henry asked.

“We’ll just have to be fast,” Slim said matter-of-factly. Henry looked at him, dumbfounded. How are we supposed to move fast enough to avoid them, he thought. They were moving in a circle, very quickly, and periodically their eyes would dart up and sneer at Slim and Henry. But before he could voice his concerns to the skeleton, another voice from the distance shouted, “Nathan! Nathan!” All the sharks looked off to find the source of the voice, and while they were distracted, Slim grabbed Henry’s hand and they both leapt smack into the center of the school of Space Sharks. Instantly, the sharks turned around, snapping both sets of jaws at them, but they were too late. Slim and Henry slipped past them to the bottom of the crater where, Henry learned, the sharks could not reach them.


     Slowly, gingerly, Henry opened the Door to Outer Space. Since the door was located on the floor, he had to move out of the way a bit for it to be able to open. He peered down, and saw the darkness of space, and the dim shine of the stars. He also saw a ladder that went down, down, further down than he could see. Henry wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea to climb down into Outer Space, if it would be dangerous or cold, but then he glanced back at the mess in his room and decided it was worth taking the risk. He climbed down onto the ladder, making sure to bring the treasure map with him, and shut the door. “Well,” he said to himself, “here goes nothing.” And he began climbing down the ladder.

As he descended, he looked over at the stars, and started noticing constellations he hadn’t seen before. One looked like a bear giving a high-five to a robot; another looked like a school bus full of spiders, and another looked like a girl on ice skates pointing a bow and arrow to one of the larger, brighter stars. As he looked across the sky for more unusual constellations, he didn’t notice when the ladder ended, and his foot hit the ground with a loud thump! The ground was rocky and cold, and looked a lot like the moon, with craters dotting the landscape. Henry surveyed his surroundings, and let out a sudden gasp. “Holy Christmas!” he shouted. About ten feet from the ladder, propped against a large rock, was a small skeleton, with a backpack sitting next to it. Henry immediately began to worry, what if this was another little boy who had found this door to Outer Space and got lost? He didn’t want to end up like him, so Henry started to head back to the ladder. That’s when the skeleton got up and started walking over to him.

Henry was petrified and couldn’t think straight. He wanted to run, but his feet couldn’t move, he was too scared to pick them up. Then, the skeleton thrust out his hand and began to speak. “Howdy,” he said. “Name’s Slim. On account of the fact that I’m slim.” The skeleton’s head moved up and down, appearing to look over Henry, despite the fact that he didn’t have eyes. “You must be Henry Elbow. I see you got my map.”

“Your map?” Henry asked. “But it has my name on it.”

“True, but I put your name on it, because I need your help. Finding this treasure is a two-man job, and since your bedroom has a door to Outer Space, I figured you’d be the best man to help me out. Unless you’re scared.”

Henry was not scared, just confused. How had Slim snuck the treasure map into his room? What was it that the treasure the map would lead them to? Exactly how dangerous would it be? But Henry was also bored, so he agreed to search for the treasure.


“Okay,” Henry said to himself. “Maybe my room is a little bit messy.” This was an understatement. Henry could barely walk into his room without stepping on something.

His bed was piled with shirts, sweaters, jeans, socks, corduroy pants, t-shirts, sneakers, loafers, slippers, hoodies, belts, hats, gloves and scarves. There was a mountain of magazines, paperback books, hardcover books, coloring books, notebooks, drawings, homework assignments and comic books next to the head of the bed and in the opposite corner were all of Henry’s footballs, baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, bouncy balls, tennis balls and dodge balls. On the floor near the foot of the bed he was staging a war between little plastic cowboys and green army men, and the way they were thrown around the room on their sides, upside down and on top of one another, it looked to be a very intense battle. Not far from the war was his collection of tanks, trucks, planes, helicopters, cars, motorcycles and spaceships all cluttered together in what looked like a crowded and peculiar parking lot. His closet was stuffed to the brim with stuffed animals, including bears, elephants, dogs, cats, giraffes, lions, tigers, bears, dolphins, sharks, dinosaurs and horses. It was just a bit overwhelming.

Henry looked around his room at the gigantic mess, and just thinking of trying to clean and organize all of it made him tired. He found a spot on the floor that was clear, except for a piece of paper and sat down. He didn’t even know where to start! Then, he picked up the piece of paper lying next to him. “That’s strange,” he thought. It didn’t look like anything he had ever seen before. It was folded in half and had his name written on it fancy, swooping letters, Henry Elbow. He unfolded the paper.

It was a treasure map! There was a big red X that said, “You are Here,” and little dashes that led to his closet, then a box that said, “Door to Outer Space,” and a circle that was apparently a lake of Space Sharks, a symbol that looked like a tree on fire called Fire Trees, a stick figure with one eye called a Cyclops. Behind the Cyclops was a box labeled, “Treasure.” This could be fun, Henry thought, but there’s just one problem. There’s no Door to Outer Space in my closet. I’ve been in my closet lots of times, and I’ve never seen a Door to Outer Space. To prove himself right, Henry got up and walked to his closet, clearing some of his stuffed animals out of the way in the spot where the map claimed a Door to Outer Space would be.

There was totally a Door to Outer Space.


“I’m bored,” said Henry Elbow. He was staring out the window of his living room, at the huge mounds of snow that blanketed his backyard. It looked like the North Pole out there, and could have been a fun place to build a fort or make a snowman. But the snow was so high that the swings that hung from the swing set were buried, and his Dad had come in from shoveling their driveway with snow up to his knees. Since Henry was just a little kid, he would have practically drowned in the snow. So, he was stuck inside for the day.

“I’m bored,” he said again, then added, “So, so, bored,” so that anyone listening would know the exact amount of boredom he was feeling. He looked to his mother with eyes that begged for help. Please, Mother, his eyes seemed to say, please help me find something to do! Please, oh, please or I will surely die from not being able to think of anything to do! What a way to go!

His mother, who was busy typing on the computer, turned from the monitor and smiled at Henry. She worked from home, and so she, at least, had something to do. But poor, poor Henry was not used to being cooped up in the house all day. He was supposed to be out running in the yard, kicking his beloved soccer ball, or at school, pretending to pay attention to the teacher. But this! This was wrong, being stuck inside like a prisoner. But maybe his mom could help. It was worth a shot.

She turned from her work and smiled, mussing Henry’s brown hair. “I have the perfect idea,” Mom said. At last! Freedom from the terrible terror of boredom! Finally, something to do, anything to do, whatever it was he’d do it. Henry didn’t care, anything would be better than just sitting. But what she had in mind was not better than just sitting. No, it was much worse, and it was, more importantly, no fun at all. What she said was, “You can clean your room.”

No! This was a trap and Henry had fallen right into it. He didn’t want to actually work, that was what parents did for fun. He wanted something actually fun to do, and now he was stuck, because he knew that when Mom said, “You can clean your room,” she meant, “You will clean your room,” and now he had no choice but to actually clean his room. Which, if he remembered correctly, wasn’t really all that messy, anyway. Besides, what’s the point of having a room if you have to clean it all the time?

But, Henry accepted his fate, and as slowly as possible, walked up the steps to his bedroom, which is too bad for him, but good for us, because that is where our story begins.


Did you see that title? Big news is right! How big is it? It’s so big that I will need your help with it. Who’s you? Why, you are, of course! Let me clarify this.

I have been working on some exciting new storytelling technology which I have dubbed, “You Draw It.” As necessity is the mother of invention, this was born out of a necessary, but missing, element of a particular story I was working on. It’s an exciting tale, told in seven parts, which will be posted serially on this very website! However, there is one element I need to make this story perfect, which is pictures. This is where the exciting new storytelling technology comes in. You Draw It is so simple, it’s a wonder no one has ever conceived of it before. What I need from you, dear readers, are illustrations for my story. You can post links for them in the comments, and I will post them to this very site, with your permission.

I have faith that this little experiment will work, but I do need your help. Please provide illustrations for my story (coming very soon!) and we will together prove that I am right. And how nice will that feel for all of us? Very nice indeed.