By Meg Sorick. Last year, I started writing a story for the 10-year-old daughter of a friend. I hope you enjoy it. Find previous chapters here.
Sandy shivered at the ominous words. “Your friends are being held prisoner?” she gasped.
“Come on,” Pella beckoned, flying a little ahead. “I’ll explain along the way.”
Sandy had no choice but to follow. There didn’t seem to be a way out of this crazy place, anyway. As she jogged along beside her new companion, Pella told her the story…
“It started three of your Earth years ago…” she began. “You see, my friends and I are part of a unit. A unit in my realm is composed of twelve of my people. We fly in formation and when we do our wings resonate in such a way that it causes a wave that bends space and time. Its how we travel the Universe.”
“Wow! You mean you’re from outer space?” Sandy asked as they hurried along the path.
“Well… yes and no,” Pella replied. “It’s more than that. We exist in another dimension altogether.”
“What do you mean?” Sandy asked.
“It’s complicated,” Pella answered. “Let’s just say that we are from a part of the universe that you can’t get to with a space ship.”
“Okayyyy…” Sandy said, wrinkling her brows.
“Let me finish the story and maybe it will make sense to you.” Pella continued, “My unit was traveling nearby your realm when crossed the path of a supernova. You know, when a star explodes? Anyway, the shockwave from the explosion knocked us into your dimension and we fell to this place. This planet. One of my friends was injured so we couldn’t fly in formation until he had recovered.”
“And you landed here? In the arboretum?”
“We landed here, in the middle of the city. Inside these walls… but the arboretum —at least the way it looks now— didn’t exist.”
Sandy had heard the arboretum had been remodeled a few years back. That must have been when they crashed.
Pella went on, “That man —the professor— found us. We asked him for help, a place to stay until our friend had healed from his injuries. But instead of helping, he lured us into his office and locked us in a cage.”
“Professor Noom?” Sandy confirmed. “He’s the one holding your friends prisoner?”
“Yes. He thought he had made a new scientific discovery. A new type of creature. And when we told him our story, he didn’t believe us.” Pella sighed. “But that’s when we made an even bigger mistake.”
They had reached a thick stand of trees. Spanish moss and ivy made the way almost impassable. Pella fluttered her wings and the moss parted, revealing a small building —no bigger than a large shed. The door had a sign that said ‘Authorized Personnel Only.’ Sandy tried the doorknob. It was locked.
“Here, let me,” said Pella, fluttering her wings. The doorknob began to rattle and then the door clicked open.
Leaving the door open so that the interior space would be illuminated, Pella led Sandy inside. In the corner, in a cage meant for amphibians, was the rest of the unit. While half of them flew around the cage in ragged formation, the other half, including their injured friend huddled in the far corner of the cage looking weary and bedraggled.
“Why are they flying?” Sandy asked.
“Our mistake,” Pella replied. “We tried to prove to the professor that we were telling the truth about our realm. We demonstrated how our flight pattern bent space-time. The only trouble was that without our complete number, we can’t travel. But the space around us will change. The professor realized that we could make this arboretum into a never ending display of habitats from around this planet. That is… if we agreed to stay.”
“Oh no!” Sandy cried. “And when you didn’t agree, he trapped you here?”
Pella nodded. “Yes. Unless some of us keep flying, the arboretum will revert back to its original state.”
Sandy cried, “We have to get you out of here! Can you get back home if I set you free?”
“Not yet. Not until Wen has recovered. He’s nearly healed, but not quite ready for inter-dimensional flight.”
“We have to tell Mr. Vogelsinger! He’ll know what to do! Help me get back to my teacher!” Sandy said.
As Sandy turned to go a shadow fell across the doorway. She stopped in her tracks and gasped.
“Not so fast, young lady,” ordered Professor Noom.
To be continued…
Find more of my writing here: Margaret Sorick on Amazon