The Never-ending Story


This little grasshopper’s name was Charlie and he lived in someone’s shoe. He did not know who. Charlie’s dream was to travel the world. One blade of grass at a time.

(Let’s see if this picks up. Continue the story or if you are artistically inclined draw pictures of our story. Take it any direction you want. Seriously, any direction. Let’s see how long we can keep this going.)


Charlie’s shoe was a phenomenal find. It was cosy and waterproof, invisible in the night and his door, though he had to squeeze a bit, kept anything bigger than him from sharing his coveted space. He didn’t know it but the patent leather dress shoe in size two, that slid off the baby’s foot at the zoo, had landed upside down.


After a long, glorious summer, autumn finally arrived and with it came the rain. Charlie welcomed the rain at first, as the brief showers created plenty of small puddles for him to drink from, and the Autumn mists provided cover from hungry birds. But as time went by, it rained more and more until it never seemed to stop raining. The puddles became ponds and the ponds grew into lakes and Charlie spent more and more time in his cosy, waterproof shelter.

Then came the Great Storm. Poor Charlie cowered inside his shoe in terror as the Lightning sparked and the Thunder exploded all around him! Finally, the storm eased and poor, exhausted Charlie fell gratefully into a deep sleep.

His dreams were very odd that night; it was as if the ground beneath his shelter was rolling from side-to-side and up-and-down. At last he awoke and had a tremendous fright when he found himself lying on the ceiling! “What can have happened?” he exclaimed, and warily poked his tiny head out of the entrance to his shelter.

“Goodness me”, he cried. “The world has all turned to water while I slept!”


And that was when he saw it. An unmistakable raft of ants.


Not knowing the intent of the ants, Charlie hopped out of his shoe landing in a flowing stream of water. Charlie did not know how to swim!
He had no control against the force of the water that was pushing him towards a cage of giant monsters. Accepting his fate Charlie lay on his back floating above the water…straight into the cage of monsters! He landed on the floor of the cage, to weak to move.


At which point, being of the flying variety, off they flew. Charlie was exhausted (all the stress had also changed his brain chemistry) and longed to be green again. So he set out to look for some green stuff to put himself in the middle of.


Meanwhile, back at shoe size two headquarters, the ants :ant: were in shock by the fact that Charlie had abandoned ship. They were just trying to help him get his shoe to dry land. :confused:. The Queen Ant, Gia, felt bad that Charlie had not understood their noble intentions. She peaked out of the shoe, though the rain had stopped, she realized Charlie could not have made it to dry land safely. Wanting to Make up for the confusion, she ordered, “ants assemble! Let’s get green hopper fella’s shoe back to him!” With the earth now dry, the ants formed around the shoe and ventured off on their mission. Little did they know, Charlie was on a mission of his own.


Charlie waited with growing trepidation for a response to his desperate cry. He waited and waited and waited, until it felt as if Time itself had ceased to exist, suspending Charlie in an eternal moment of unbearable expectation.

And then She stepped forth from the tall grasses, without even the faintest of rustlings to announce her coming. The tallest, fiercest, most splendid Praying Mantis that ever was. Her like had not been seen before upon God’s Green Earth, and would not be seen again once her time had passed.

Charlie was certain that She was his Doom; for surely an insect as lowly and humble as he could not gaze upon such Power and Glory and expect to survive?

He closed his eyes and waited for her deadly caress…

But there was no pain and torment, only the sweet tinkling of her soft laughter.

“Put away your fear, my Grasshopper” spake the Mantis, in a voice as old as time and as soothing as the breeze.

“I am not here to feast upon you, small one! My hunger is not for those with a kind heart and a gentle spirit!”

“Nay, my intention is to not to harm you but rather to serve you as a guide, if you are brave-hearted enough to place your trust with me.”

Charlie opened his eyes in surprise and wonder as the Mantis gracefully lowered herself to the ground to sit cross-legged before him.

“I will show you how to discipline your body, Grasshopper, that you may find a greater power. Those who surrender themselves find inner strength. When the heart knows no danger, no danger exists. When the soul becomes the warrior all fear melts as the snowflake that falls upon your hand.”

“Ah, the moment is upon us!” declared the Mantis.

“Will you take the leap of faith and follow me now, young Grasshopper? Choose quickly as Time is catching up with us!”


“Yes!” chirped Charlie, because he had been asked so respectfully.


About a thousand itsy bitsy, teensy tinesy, yet undoubtedly mighty fire ants balanced the dirty, black rubber sole above their wiggly squiggly selves until they tired, which took a lot longer than you’d imagine. And only then would a thousand more take their places. They all got breaks, but nobody knows how many ants there are, nor does anyone want to do the math.
They were faster than fast. And the monkeys, damp and disgruntled were at least momentarily entertained to see the shiny black shoe, coasting along past their cages.
Ant Gia rode up above on the laces that were strung between shiny metal passageways that allowed her out of the sun once in a while.
As noble as she hoped her colony would see her to be, really, they had all nearly drowned and were in reality in need of a new home. They had floated so far before they’d seen Charlie that they were not even sure where their previous hill had been. Not that it could be trusted territory after that deluge. No, better they scope the land ahead for higher ground on their way. So even though Gia was still looking for Charlie, she was mostly looking uphill.


The Mantis dragged Charlie’s injured body through a maze of tall grass. Charlie felt as if they were moving in circles. Charlie’s pain started deminishing. He started to limp on his own. Two eternities had passed before the Mantis and Charlie reached their destination…which seemed similar to where they had began.
“Do you know where you are Charlie?” Asked the Mantis?
Charlie had a suspicioun, but he did not want to sound dumb.
“We are in a demension of fulfillment and endless possibilities. I can feel myself becoming one with this energy. It is euphoric, it is ecstasy, I am all better now!” Charlie exclaimed.
The Mantis replied in a frustrated tone, "No, you are dumb. You are where we began and you are healed from your pain. Now you must run towards the sun. Your adventure has just begun. But heed this warning “Do not turn back. There is an unknown spirit among us.”
"Move now it is approaching!"
Without hesitation, and his knew found strength, Charlie hopped away.

The Mantis stayed put hoping to stop the mysterious spirit heading towards him. Floating approximately 6 millimeters above the earth was a shiny black shoe in size two.


Charlie ran as fast as he could towards the rising Sun, trying to recall all the incredible things the Mantis had taught him. Then he remembered that he was a grasshopper, not a centipede!

He slapped his face at his own stupidity; and began to hop instead of run. With his powerful legs and his newfound mastery of Chitter-Gung, Charlie found that he could leap higher and further than ever before, perhaps even higher and further than the legendary Leaping Lily in the tales of old. He leaped so high and so fast that he felt lighter than Snow and swifter than Ice.

The Sun rose higher into the morning sky, and Charlie paused to catch his breath and marvel at his new powers.

“Sssss, what have we here?” hissed the Viper. “A foolissshh grassss-hopper, all alone in the wildernesssss! A juicccy sssweet morsssel for my breakfasssst you sssshalll be!!!”


Motherfucker he kept saying. He grabbed Charlie by the mandibles and blasted him with poetry.


Charlie very suddenly teleported to my house tonight, driving my cat crazy and keeping my daughter awake with his song. But that didn’t last long. Because cat actually killed grasshopper so we realized it wasn’t Charlie.

In the meantime, Ant Gia looked ahead

and realized this was not going to be a harsh winter:


I just read this story, very nice
but a sudden end for Charlie

however, is the story over?

that is a delicious looking ant


Charlie watched in amazement as his invocation worked its miracle. The Mantis had named the spell “Fanny’s Fantastical Phantasmal Splintering” and instructed Charley to only invoke it if he was ever in mortal peril, as “it will conjure a most puissant illusion to shield you from harm, my Grasshopper”.

Charlie remembered how patiently the wise Mantis had tutored him, as he struggled to master the complex sequence of chirps and clicks required to invoke the magic, along with the intricate and exacting series of antennae flickerings needed to precisely direct the spell towards its intended target.

And when the Viper bared her dripping fangs as she prepared to strike him dead, Charlie swiftly invoked the spell before he even had time to be afraid. And he had executed it perfectly!

With a dazzling burst of prismatic brilliance, seven identical illusory duplicates of Charlie flashed into being and chittered furiously at the Viper! With a hiss of bewilderment and rage, the Viper hastily lunged at one of the false Charlies… and missed by a mile as the phantasm hopped nimbly aside.

“Oh you won’t essscape Me sssso easssily with thessse pattthhhhetic parlour tricksssss!!” she hissed in abject fury.

The phantasm turned to face the Viper and cheekily folded all six legs into the dreadful Gesture of Insolence, while rudely blowing obscene farting noises at the Viper with its mandibles! Charlie could not help but laugh hysterically, as the Viper turned purple and green and red in her outrage, and proceeded to chase the impudent but elusive wisp far, far, away into the wilderness. Charlie watched as his other duplicates hopped away in all directions and briefly wondered where they all might be going. But such petty concerns were abruptly swept away by a wave of joy and profound relief:

Charlie was saved! He was finally starting to believe the strange words the Mantis had spoken after he had agreed to trust her:

“There is a great power locked away inside your Secret Soul, my child! How this came to be, I cannot say, but I sense that the origin of your power is not my concern. Nay, my true purpose is now clear: I must tutor you in the ways of Chitter-Gung, the Forgotten Arcana of all Insects-Who-Jump!”

The Mantis paused for a moment (to maximise the dramatic effect, Charlie realised, though he did not say so!).

“Forgotten by all save me, I should say!” the Mantis pronounced (with only the slightest hint of pomposity, Charlie noted with approval). “Indeed, I am now the only jumping insect left alive on God’s Green Earth who remembers the Ancient Secrets…”.

Her tone softened, and Charlie became aware that the Mantis concealed a great sadness behind her serene facade. She did not linger with her sorrow for more than the briefest of moments, however, and turned to Charlie with renewed vigour, as she cried out to all who could hear:

“But now there shall be others who will remember the Way! And you shall be First and Greatest of them all, Master Grasshopper! Come to me now for your first lesson, as there is much to learn and our time is short indeed!”


I love you!



You can’t withdraw from “The Never-ending Story” you created @Ankh!

Of all the many great threads on the forum, this one is my absolute favourite. It’s years since I last used my creative writing skills purely for pleasure; and Charlie’s story is only just beginning…


Your avatar is very apt for this! Haha!

I would love if you read to me at night…

SO! Breathe some new life into this thing! I believe in you!!!


Gladly and willingly! The only reason I haven’t posted is because the J-part of my INFJ brain imagined there was an unwritten rule about taking turns with the story (I have minor OCD at times) plus the technical hitches I’ve had since my Sensing-challenged ENTP boyfriend lost one of the credit cards from our joint account, which also meant my card had to be cancelled…:unamused: