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She Never Left
“I think this is it.” I said, removing the books off the shelf.
“I wonder what it leads to.” Laura smiled.”Another world? A black hole? A portal? Narnia?”
“Narnia?” I asked.
“Well, this is an Narnia moment, expect we’re opening a bookshelf and not going through a closet.” She answered.
I shrugged my shoulders and put the key into the lock. I heard a click and the bookshelf swung open. We peered into the opening of stairs. A ton of stairs that look like they were never ending. Laura looked over at me before saying,
“Should we go down?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“We don’t know what’s down there.”
“And sometimes we don’t know what’s up here.”
“Good point, let’s go.”
I followed Laura down the stairs before turning around.
“Should I shut it?” I asked.
“Do you see a key hole?” Laura replied.
I nodded and we pulled the bookcase close. Of course though, we didn’t think of how dark the staircase was going to be. I flipped my phone open and shined the light. Nothing terrible looked like it was going to jump out and try to eat our faces off, just a bunch of gray stones and utter silence.
“Tiff, look,” Laura whispered.
Ahead was an opening from the staircase. Some trees could be seen hanging into the opening and the sound of rushing water could be heard. It sounded so peaceful and happy. Laura pushed away a blocking branch and stepped into the opening.
“What is this place?” She asked.
“I have no idea,” I answered. “It’s beautiful though.”
It looked like a scene from the Swan Lake, a Barbie movie. Expect, we won’t be turning into animals during the day. At least I hope we don’t. I walked towards the creek and took in my surroundings.
“Do you think Mom knew about this place?” I wondered.
Laura just shrugged and walked along the edge of the creek, motioning for me to follow. We walked along the creek into the forest until it forked off in two directions.
“Which way now?” I asked. “We can cross the creek or we can follow the beaten path.”
“The beaten path doesn’t seem very friendly looking,” Laura implied.
“Then we’ll cross the creek,” I said.
We walked down the edge until we found a spot where the water was low and easy to cross. The rocks were sticking up and easy to jump across. I walked in front of Laura, pushing branches and brush aside.
“Where are we going?” Laura asked.
“I have no idea,” I replied.
“Oh yay!” Laura cheered with sarcasm.
“You agreed to this too,” I shot back, continuing forward. “Besides, aren’t you curious?”
Laura never answered but froze and listened. I stopped and turned around, trying to figure out what in the world she was doing. She put a finger to her mouth and motioned for me to walk ahead slowly but silently. I trusted her instinct and walked ahead slowly. Laura came up to me and brushed my hair aside, cupping her hand around my ear.
“I think someone’s following us,” She whispered.
I looked around. Strange, I didn’t get the feeling that we were being followed. Laura is scared of every little thing though. It’s probably her imagination getting to her little paranoid mind.
“Laura, you’re just being paranoid,” I said. “Nothing or no one is following us.”
Laura shook her head and clasped her hand over my mouth. Not far away was a sound of rustling in the leaves. Someone was really following us.
“Who’s there?” I asked.
No answer, just more rustling coming closer to us.
“I said, who’s there?” I asked again with a stronger voice.
“Who dares invades the Land of Zai, home to Queen Xylia.”
Stepping out of the brush was no more that a little elf or a dwarf. I’m not quite sure which.
“Zai? Queen Xylia? I think the question is who are you?” Laura asked.
“I am Brokk, knight of the dwarf army to the Queen,” He said.
Laura looked over at me and back over to the little man. He’s a cute little dwarf with a cute little name. Who was this Queen though?
“Who is your Queen?” I asked.
“Queen Xylia came to us a year ago and defeated the dark witch, Arriana. Arriana had us all doomed to be her slaves forever.” Brokk answered.
It feels like a Narnia moment to me with the White Witch and Aslan and all that wonderfulness.
“Okay, Brokk,” I said. “We’re going to walk anyway and do no harm. Okay? You’re going to let us walk away and not call any of your dwarf friends and….”
“Run!” Laura yelled, dashing through the brush.
Well, I was trying to be nice about this but running away works for me too. I shoved the brush aside to catch up with Laura. She stopped in a clearing, pretty far from Brokk.
“Great, so who knows if this evil witch still roams around ‘Zai’.” She said, adding air quotes.
“I say we try to find this Queen,” I suggested. “Maybe she can tell us about this place. I mean, this isn’t a normal place. No one has witches or a dwarf army or a Queen.”
We continued moving north or what we hoped was north. It was about fifteen minutes until Laura grabbed my arm and pointed at something. Following her finger, I saw a group of … no, that’s impossible. They can’t be unicorns, they don’t exist. Yet they look like a horse with a horn popping out of their head. We walked past them slowly and silently, hoping not to disturb them. I don't care what the fairy tales say, they probably never seen a real unicorn. Of course, we’d be locked up for insanity if we said that unicorn existed.
“Tiff, we already been here,” Laura pointed out. “We're walking in a giant circle.”
I looked at my surroundings, she was right. This was were we crossed the creek earlier.
“Why, can it be?”
Laura turned around the see a young girl standing a few feet from us.
“Not again,” Laura mumbled.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am Lily Belle, daughter of King Elden,” Lily Belle said. “The real question is, who are you? These woods are to dangerous to be roaming around in.”
If it's to dangerous for me to roam around in, then why can this princess roam around in the woods, freely and alone.
“You're alone,” Laura pointed out.
“I'm never alone. People are with my everywhere I go. Come, let's get you to the palace.”Lily Belle said.
Lily Belle lead us through the town, making me feel as if we were taking a stroll through and 1880's town. I felt so strange and out of place compared to these people. She lead us up and through the castle.
“Father,” Lily Belle said. “Queen Xylia, I wish for you to meet some people.”
“Can it be?” The Queen gasped. “Tiffany, Laura.”
How did she know who we were?
“How do you know us?” I asked.
The Queen stood up with a smile on her face.
“I'm your mother.”
That's a lie, she can't be our mother. Mom died over a year ago from a car crash.
“Impossible,” I said. “Our mother died over a year ago.”
“But I didn't die. There was a part of me connected to Zai so that when I did die, I would come back to Zai.” She said. “Over a year ago, I died in your world. Over a year ago, I defeated Arriana and became a hero to Zai”
“No, it's not possible.” Laura said. “It goes against everything that makes sense.”
“Zai is not where sense is made. Zai is what you would read in a fantasy story, like the ones I would read to you when you girls were little.” Queen Xylia said.
“Xylia, why don't we allow them to let the news settle in.” The King said. “Lily Belle, please call a servant to show them their rooms.”
“Yes Father.” Lily Belle said.
“Welcome home, girls.” Queen Xylia said with a smile.