If it weren’t for the pack of travelers lounging alongside the street curb, Sen never would have known the hostel was even there.

He approached the pack cautiously, clutching the straps to his backpack in case he needed to make a quick getaway.

“Is this… La Iguana Enudista?” he said sheepishly. He may not have known Spanish all that well yet, but even he knew that meant “The Naked Iguana.”

One of the raggedy travelers flicked a cigarette, sending it flipping through the air and landing in the middle of the stone road. He then got up slowly, brushed off the back of his poncho-esque pants, and stepped toward Sen.

“Yer noot frum around heeya are ya?” He said, snaking his head all around Sen, like a dog sniffing out a new toy.

“No, I’m… I’m American—from the States.”

“Ooooohh a Steeeeets boyyy ehhh? I spose yeh coming doon heeya for Spreeng Breek, yah? Looken ta poke sum girlies n brag aboot it ta yer mates back home?!” Behind him, Sen could see the others bouncing and jerking with laughter.

“What?? No I—”

“Aw, lay off him Charlie,” Sen hadn’t even noticed that the door to the hostel was now wide open. Leaning against the side of the doorway was a girl. Her skin was like no color Sen had seen before; a light charcoal brown that seemed to glow bronze when the light hit it. Her entire complexion was like a dark shadow, except for two pale blue eyes, both of which were now locked on Sen.

“Awwww cawmon now Ellie, we wuz joost havin a bit o fun.”

The girl pushed the scrappy traveler aside and grabbed Sen by the wrist.

“Don’t let these mangy Scots intimidate you,” she said, leading him back toward the hostel door, “They might act like pitbulls, but they’re nothing but puppy dogs, aren’t ya boys?”

The traveler chuckled and slunk back down on the curb.

“Dinner’s at seven fellas! Don’t be late,” she shouted before slamming the door shut and turning the lock. She swung around to face Sen. Sen opened his mouth to introduce himself, but the moment her eyes met his, he felt paralyzed, like a deer caught between two headlights. They were electric.

“Sen right?” She said finally.

“Yeah, how… how’d you know?”

She smiled, “You called earlier, goof. We spoke on the phone?”

Sen suddenly recognized her voice from the call he had made to the hostel earlier. “Ohhh! It’s you!”

She laughed and stepped carefully around him. “Name’s Ellie. Come on, let me show you around.”



Outside the plane’s window, all Sen could see was a cloudy smog draped over the landscape. Here and there, the top of a mountain would protrude from the clouds, like a gopher popping its head out of the ground.

“Mira alla.”

The old woman next to him reached over his lap and pointed out the window at one of mountain peaks in the distance.

“Esa es la montaña que llamamos nativos Misty.”

He nodded and smiled. He had no idea what she had just said, but he did hear “Misty” and he knew exactly what that meant.

Misty wasn’t just one of the several mountains that scattered the Peruvian frontier. Compared to Misty, the other mountains were merely foothills. Misty was the tallest point in the region. And Misty was a volcano.

“Una vez, hace muchos años, pensaron que el volcán estaba dormido. Pero una noche, se produjo un terremoto y BOOM!”

The old woman threw her hands up in the air and looked wide-eyed at Sen. Sen looked wide-eyed right back.

She slowly lowered her hands back down toward her face, fingers dancing like raindrops. She watched them intensely as they hovered above her. Suddenly, she slapped her hands against her face, covering it tightly before letting out a blood-curdling shriek.


“Oh my God! Holy crap!” cried Sen, jolting back in his seat.

The old woman opened her fingers and peaked one eye out at Sen, then burst into laughter.

Sen exhaled and sunk back down, “Jeez lady, what the fu—“

“Todo bien aqui?” The flight attendant was hovering over them. Around her was a crowd of alarmed passenger faces, all turned to see what was going on.

“Yes, um, sorry I mean, si… um… todo bien.”

He sighed and turned to look back out at Misty. Closer now, he could clearly make out the giant gaping hole in the center of its crest.

“How am I ever going to climb this thing?” he thought.

(Source: aquadogcomics)


He looked out the airport window onto the landing strip. The hot air reflected off the white pavement, and it resembled an ocean rolling in and out from the mountains in the distant. He wondered if the plane pilots ever approach the strip and fear they might actually dive right through; just them and passengers slowly sinking down toward the center of the earth. He wondered if there could be a plane down there already. One that got overlooked when the traffic control tower wasn’t paying attention. He wondered how long it would be before anyone realized an entire plane was missing. Could they call for help? They probably aren’t getting very good reception at the center of the earth.

His concern for the wellbeing of the sinking plane was suddenly interrupted by a small tug on his jeans pocket. He looked down and saw a tiny, smiling face. Hanging with one hand from his pocket was little Asian girl; a stuffed giraffe tucked under her free arm.

“Hello,” he said, and the girl shrieked with delight. She quickly coiled backward on her heels and crunched her body up tight like a turtle receding into its shell.

He heard a plane approaching the landing strip and turned back to the window. Leaning against the glass, he watched closely. The wheels hit the ground, the plane gently bounced, and he breathed a sigh of relief.



Hold it tight. Clear your mind.
Tell it what you wish to find.
Bury it deep in the palm of your hand.
Close your eyes and understand.
There is no stone in your hand at all.
Only space you thought you saw.
So open your hand and hold that thought.
Now the stone is still there.
And still somehow it’s not.


Then the boy asked the sun, “Why do you go away at night?”

The sun replied to the boy, “So I can give warmth to those I cannot reach from here.”

"Will you return?" said the boy.

"Of course."

"But how will I know?"

The sun paused for a moment, then said, “I will leave you a gift every night. And every night, when you look up in the sky, you’ll see it, and that is how you’ll know I’m not far away.”

So the boy waited for night and when it came, he looked up at the sky. There, amid the stars, was a beautiful light looking down on him.

"Hello," said the light, "I’m moon."

(Source: aquadogcomics)

(Source: aquadogcomics)

(Source: aquadogcomics)

(Source: aquadogcomics)