Sabrina headed through her backyard and into the forest behind her house. She had no idea where she was going but she wanted to get as far away from home as she could before it got dark. She started on a path that seemed to climb upwards towards the mountains. She trudged onward as the path narrowed and grew much steeper. It was a hard climb, but she was determined and didn’t really notice that it was getting dark until she stumbled over a rock.
I’ve got to find a place to stop for the night, she thought when suddenly, she noticed a cave up ahead. She walked to the entrance and tried to look inside, but it was very dark. She dug her flashlight out of her backpack and shined it inside the cave. It was a small cave, little more than a large recess in the side of the hill. The walls were rock and the floor was hard-packed dirt. Sabrina walked cautiously into the cave and noticed a ledge on the left about two feet off the ground which looked as if it could be her bed for the night. Placing her backpack on the ledge she walked all the way around the cave, rubbing her hands along the rough walls, smelling the slightly musty air, looking for any sign that this cave was a home for someone else. Everything was still and quiet. She couldn’t hear a sound. Finding nothing to alarm her, she climbed up on the ledge, pulled out the small blanket she had packed and made herself as comfortable as she could before she ate one of her protein bars and then laid down to sleep, using her backpack as a pillow.
Sunlight hit Sabrina in the face, waking her a lot earlier than she was used to. The cave faced east and the dawn brightened the entire cave. Sabrina stretched and looked around. The cave was still a small, relatively clean space, but she noticed that the back wall sort of shimmered in the sunlight. She went over to touch it. Her hand went right through the wall. That’s funny she thought. She was sure the wall had been solid last night when she’d made her circuit of the cave. She went back to her ledge, packed up all her belongings, grabbed her backpack, and then returned to the wall. It still shimmered in the morning sunlight and she thought she could hear the sound of rushing water. She walked up to the wall tentatively, but then decided to keep right on walking. She traveled completely through what had been a solid wall last night. And as soon as she came out on the other side she was amazed to see that she was underneath a waterfall.
Sabrina looked around and discovered that she was standing on a ledge which was only about two feet wide on the edge of a cliff. Peering over it, she saw that the waterfall didn’t end for at least fifty feet. She could barely make out the river below. Now what, she thought and then she heard a whimpering sound off to her right. Turning carefully so that she didn’t slip off the very wet ledge, she moved to her right. After moving a few feet she saw a small blue dragon, no bigger than a Labrador dog, on the ledge just past the waterfall. The dragon was shaking with its wings tucked tightly against its body, obviously trying to stay as close to the cliff wall as it could. The ledge was even narrower where the dragon was, so Sabrina understood its plight. She wondered what kind of world this was. She’d never seen a dragon before except in fantasy books, but this one looked so scared that Sabrina only wanted to help.
“How did you get here?” asked Sabrina, before she realized that a dragon might not speak English.
“What?” said the little dragon, looking toward her.
“I asked how you came to be here,” said Sabrina. “Can I help you?”
“No one can help me,” said the dragon. “I can’t fly.”
“Then how did you get here?” said Sabrina and then thinking that she should have started with an introduction she added, “I’m Sabrina, by the way.”
“I’m Juniper,” said the little dragon, “and my classmates decided that they would bring me here and I’d have to fly to get down.”
“That’s mean,” said Sabrina.
“Well, I do get teased a lot. One of my wings is bent. I was born that way, and they think it is funny.”
“I think they are horrible,” said Sabrina. “Now let’s see if I can help you. Can you move closer to me?”
“Maybe,” said Juniper, and slowly, inch by inch, Juniper came to the wider part of the ledge where Sabrina was.
“Nice job,” said Sabrina. “Now what would you like to do?”
“I’m so hungry and tired that I just don’t know what to do,” moaned Juniper.
“I know. Why don’t we go into the cave where I slept last night and I can get you some food and you can rest and then we can figure out what to do.”
“There is a cave nearby? Where?”
“Right through here,” said Sabrina as she moved back under the waterfall and pushed on the wall, only this time the wall didn’t give.
“It was right here,” said Sabrina with a bit of panic in her voice. “I just walked through it a few minutes ago.”
“Oh, dear,” said Juniper. “I’m just jinxed and now I’ve jinxed you too. You aren’t from this world are you?”
“Don’t be silly,” said Sabrina as she moved back to Juniper. “There is no such thing as a jinx. There has to be an answer, and no, I’m not from here. There are no dragons in my world.”
“That must be sad,” said Juniper. “There are lots of us in my world, but there are only a few people like you.”
“Well, I guess we’d better sit here then and try to think of something,” said Sabrina as she cautiously lowered herself to the ground, thankful that the ledge here was drier than it was under the waterfall.
Juniper scooted right up next to her and Sabrina put an arm around the little dragon as Juniper began to cry. “Don’t worry,” said Sabrina. “We’ll think of something. Hey, you said you were hungry. Would you like a protein bar?”
Juniper looked puzzled but when Sabrina pulled a bar out of her backpack and unwrapped it, Juniper ate it quickly. “Hmm, that’s pretty good! Thanks!”
Now what, thought Sabrina. I’m trapped in a strange world and I can’t go back and now I also have this poor little dragon to help. There has to be a way out of here, but where? Juniper had put her head on Sabrina’s shoulder and now she was snoring. Well, the poor thing is so tired. I’ll let her sleep for a bit and then we’ll have to try getting out of here.