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The World Behind The Waterfall
Megan Ackburn, now 14, lives on a small farm in Kansas. On this Sunday morning of September, Megan is asleep in the hayloft of the main barn where she fell asleep last night. Megan has been dreaming of her mother, therefore she has not slept well. She lost her mother at the age of four, in an awful horse riding accident.
The sweet smell of freshly cut hay filled the air inside the main barn at Longland Farms. Megan Ackburn slept lazily in the hayloft. "SPLASH!" Megan's father, Mike, threw a bucket of water onto a now very wet, grumpy and awake Megan. Megan hurried inside to change, and grabbed the bag of carrots that was on the kitchen counter. Back in the barn, Megan slowly approached Wild Talent, her spirited jet-black colt. He was sired by the powerful "Silver Shadow." And his dam was the wild "Citrus Zinger". He was born at Longland Farms in early 2001. He had already been in a cheap handicap race, but he wasn't the racehorse type. Megan swung her arms around his neck and gave him a carrot. Wild Talent's stall buddy stared sorrowfully, so Megan gave him a carrot and a pat, and the horse was cheerful again. Megan bridled up Wild Talent, mounted him and ventured off into the nearby woods.
Megan watched chipmunks scurry off and deer leap out of the brush. "It's so peaceful and quiet here," thought Megan. Maybe too quiet. It was, until Wild Talent spooked at what sounded like a low growl. Megan calmed him and rode into a clearing. Wild Talent broke into a bouncy trot, reassuring Megan. She giggled and slowed Wild Talent, then proceeded back into the lush green forest. Suddenly a wolf-like creature leaped out from behind a bush. Its claws raked Wild Talent's rear. The horse bolted. Twenty minutes later, he slowed to a stop in a very unfamiliar place. Megan's heart sank; they were lost!
Megan shivered, dismounted and led Wild Talent to a large rock, upon which she sat. She waited patiently for about half an hour, in case any people might happen by. Then she got up and decided to backtrack. She rode for awhile, but suddenly the tracks mysteriously vanished. Maybe they just were on the other side of the large Oak that stood before her. She peeked behind it to see if the tracks continued. They didn't! It was like magic...terrible magic! Wild Talent stumbled and Megan nearly fell off. This was turning into the most woeful day in poor Megan's entire life. A tear rolled down Megan's cheek. She didn't even have a cell phone! How would she ever find her way back?
Megan panicked for a moment, then calmed herself and steered Wild Talent forward. Megan missed her father terribly. She had never been lost before. The night was falling. Megan was awfully worried, wondering if she would live through the night. She tried thinking about jolly things, but it was cold and frightening to be alone in the forest.
Megan was startled by another strange sound. She opened one eye then the other. It was a waterfall, an amazing waterfall, where before there had been only forest. As if she could see something behind it. It was at least one hundred feet tall and the rocks had beautiful flowery vines draped around them. Bright orange fungi were embedded in the rock, on either side of the waterfall. She scanned it top to bottom. It was truly magnificent, but why hadn't she seen earlier? First the disappearing tracks, now this? It was plainly bizarre.
Megan directed her horse in the opposite direction. It was time to get smart and think about where they were going to go. Megan gave Wild Talent a squeeze and urged him on. The horse walked on. But he ignored the reins completely. He walked straight toward the waterfall, as if something was drawing him to it. Megan tensed up, leaving the horse to guide her. She shut her eyes tightly as Wild Talent walked them through the Waterfall. Once inside, he stalled, and then kept walking. Megan kept her eyes shut. She was cold and soaked from head to toe.
Finally she opened her eyes. It was beautiful, an undiscovered world, full of abundant vegetation and many magical looking creatures. They were like unicorns but without the horns. They were huge in size, a lot bigger than a normal horse. Their color was irregular. Some were blue, some orange, red, green, yellow and even gold! One was pink! It was a stunning mare. Maybe she wasn't the same type as the others. She wore a small crown in between her ears. Her mane swayed like grass in the wind. She was the most beautiful of all. Megan wished to touch her but she had other things on her mind. "What's the name of this world behind the waterfall? Am I really seeing this? What in the world am I doing here? What am I going to do here? Was I chosen to find this place?" Magic didn't exist. Of course it didn't! She was probably just daydreaming in the middle of class. How could this be?
"If only father were here to see this!" Megan exclaimed. He would truly love it. Megan was still wondering if she could believe what she saw. It was like one of her dreams, but it had to be real. She hoped it was real! Megan dismounted her colt to let him roam. Megan wandered as well. She went to meet the pink animal. At first she was nervous. After all it was probably untamed. Megan heard it whisper something in a strange language to one of the other creatures standing beside her. "Hesh anomali insagué hue perdúsi," it said. Megan had never heard such a language. She knew Spanish, Arabic, French, Italian and Nordic. (At least she knew how to pronounce them). She slowly approached the enormous figure. Finally she said, "Hello!"
"Adanty hue enafeliw?" replied the animal.
Megan laughed at this bizarre speech. Wait a second, she had forgotten about Wild Talent! "Wild Talent!" she yelled.
"Who Wild Talent?" said the pink mare.
It spoke English? How weird could things get? "Eh... Well, Wild Talent is my horse," Megan spoke clearly trying to articulate.
"Ahhh...kind of like us. We called the Hundaquee," said the mare, sounding slightly frightened by Megan.
The pink Hundaquee began to stare a Megan. Megan stared back. There was a silence.
A high pitched wailing broke the silence. It was Wild Talent surrounded by confused female Hundaquees. Wild Talent ran to Megan, cowering behind her. Megan spotted two Hundaquee foals playing in the tall grass. Both of them had horns on their muzzles. Perhaps the horns were used to break open their eggs. But that would make them reptilians or avians! There were so many mysteries for Megan to discover. She would have liked to share them with her mother, if her mother had still been alive. It was very much like a fantasy book she had recently read hand made buildings, exotic plants, and a vast landscape. Megan could not think of words powerful enough to portray this fantasy. Her head dropped. She had almost forgotten that she was lost. However, now she had a place to stay. And she would stay. For as long as she was living, she knew that she was always welcome here.
The pink Hundaquee explained she was the princess. "Princesses can only be pink or purple," she said. "Pink and purple are the female royal colors."
Megan wasn't paying attention; she was looking outwards, at the eye-opener that awaited her discovery. "I'm a lost girl in a lost world," Megan said aloud. She sighed. She knew her father would have a search team out to find her. She wished to both stay and go at the same time.
Life had always been hard for Megan. Megan's father was not much of a cook or shopper. He was the "work all day to earn money" kind of guy. Megan felt sorry for him. Since he had lost his job, just two weeks ago, they had been struggling to care for their livestock. Wild Talent was well taken care of. Megan's father was extra careful with him. He did not want Megan's good friend to depart this life. That was his second worst nightmare, his first being that something might happen to Megan.
From Megan's point of view, her father was a control freak. Megan was always asked to "wear more clothes; you might catch a cold, put on a helmet, you might fall and hurt herself or don't go out alone late at night, there might me be kidnappers waiting". She was overwhelmed by "don't do this, don't do that," every single night when she arrived home from school. Sometimes, she even got, "Are you hanging out with guys at your age?" Naturally, Megan answered, "No, Dad," but this was not entirely true. Megan knew everybody dated at fourteen, but she was very interested and usually she stayed away from boys.
Megan came to her senses and asked the princess, "Your majesty, where shall I sleep?"
"Please, call me Lollenfiere. Follow me."
Megan followed. She was led to another little village. It was much fancier than the other.
"You will sleep in the tall green structure on the left."
Megan stared wide-eyed at the lovely castle that stood on her left. Lollenfiere smiled at Megan's reaction, proud of her royalty. Megan entered the castle and went up a flight of stairs to the highest tower. Lollenfiere followed. Megan walked up to the library that stood in front of her. She picked up the first book she saw, The Pink or Purple Princess, and read the first passage:
A princess Hundaquee can only be pink or purple. You may think a princess lives an easy life. Wrong. We Hundaquee are constantly fighting an evil force, which threatens our royalty, especially the women.
Megan asked Lollenfiere about this "evil force".
"It is the force of hundreds of Wolf Riders, our arch rivals, our enemies. They mean only harm. Their leader is legend. His name, Volliant Hubrid Asvau, is written in all our horror books. The Wolf Rider's mounts used to be Hundaquees. But they were enslaved and mutated by the Wolf Riders.
Megan spent a long time in this library, learning more and more about this world and the Hundaquees. She learned that the place was called Ethenia and that the Hundaquee were neither reptilian nor avian. They were just different. Lollenfiere rested and thought most of the time they were in the library. But she remained with Megan the whole time. Suddenly, the sound of hundreds of large drums broke the silence. Megan and Lollenfiere rushed outside.
All seven hundred Wolf Riders hauntingly marched across the now dark tinted brink of the waterfall. They were led by the cruel-looking Volliant Hubrid Asvau, their evil master. Lollenfiere shuddered. "What is happening?" yelled Megan over the sound of the seven million war drums. Then she realized they were the Wolf Riders and that this was an attack. What had frightened her in the woods had not been a wolf, but one of the Riders's mutated mounts!
The riders were big and bold with blood stained faces. They wore heavy armor and carried huge shields. "The war has come, all Hundaquees will fall," the princess murmured to herself.
Megan mounted and kicked Wild Talent to go as fast as possible, toward the Evil Leader. She met him face to face. His figure was immense! She lunged forward as if trying to strike. She missed. With one swing of his steel arm, Volliant knocked Wild Talent off his feet, sending Megan and her colt to the depths of the waterfall.
Megan woke up from a deep three week coma, in the hospital. Her father leaned over her; he looked as puzzled as she. The sound of the war drums pounded in her ears!
The end...of this episode.