Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 13

Missed the beginning? Start here.

“Wow,” said Sabrina as she looked around Juniper’s home. “This is absolutely amazing!”

“Do you really like it?” asked Juniper.

“Truly!” said Sabrina. “I’d never thought about a cave as being warm and inviting, but that’s just what this is. I love all the wall hangings. They are just beautiful. And the bright green cushions are so comfy.”

Earthstone said, “I’m glad you like our home. You are welcome to stay for as long as you like.”

“Thank you,” said Sabrina. “I really don’t know where else I could go as I can’t get home again, but I am also very happy to be here and to have found Juniper.”

“Let’s all get comfortable here and then we do have some things to explain to you,” said Alfred. Seeing a look of alarm crossing Sabrina’s face he went on quickly, “It’s nothing bad. Truly. Just some things you need to know so you can make the decisions that are best for you.”

“OK,” said Sabrina a bit hesitantly.

Once they were all comfortable, Alfred began. “Many centuries ago, dragons lived in your world, along with humans and many other life forms. Gradually, as humans grew in numbers and began evolving, many of them lost their connection with other life forms. They began thinking of themselves as the only intelligent life. They took whatever they wanted without any regard for others. Dragons became feared and were hunted nearly to extinction.”

Alfred paused and Sabrina said, “I’m so very sorry.”

“You’ve seen some of the worst examples of this mindset in the village where you helped rescue Roger’s family. Anyway, to continue the story, our ancestors found an opening into an alternate world. All dragons as well as a number of other life forms decided to leave your world and set up homes here in this new world. Over the centuries, the thin curtain between the worlds has remained, although the location is shifted periodically. The dragons control the curtain and we can see those who are approaching the barrier. We then decide whether or not to let someone through into our world.”

“So you saw me in that cave and decided that I could enter your world,” said Sabrina. “I feel really lucky!”

“Yes,” said Earthstone with a smile. “You are certainly someone we would honor and treasure as a part of our community. You have a good and loving heart.”

“Thank you,” said Sabrina.

Alfred went on. “Unfortunately we aren’t always right in our assessments. When the mayor and his group found the curtain, they were a persecuted minority and we wanted to help them. So we allowed the entire group to enter. Thankfully, we made sure they settled on the other side of the river as a precaution. But now we have a real problem on our hands. Let’s leave that for the moment and get back to you.”

“Me,” said Sabrina.

“Yes. You should know that through the centuries we have had other travelers who came and spent time with us for a variety of reasons. Some stayed with us, but others chose to go back to their world and try to fix some of the problems that exist there.”

“You mean I could go back,” said Sabrina.

“Yes, and the choice will be yours. If you return to your world, then you will have to keep our secret. But you will be able to visit us in your dreams and we will always be here to support you. In addition, if you are fortunate, you may just meet some kindred spirits who have also visited here.”

“Wow,” said Sabrina. “My head is spinning. I never dreamed about all this. Do I have to decide right away?”

Earthstone laughed and said, “No, you can make the decision anytime within the next few weeks. If you wait much longer, then we won’t be able to send you back, and the choice will be made for you.”

“I see,” said Sabrina thoughtfully. “And if I go back, what will I say about where I’ve been?”

“We have the ability to send you back to the very moment you left your backyard, so no one need know anything except that you were going for a walk,” said Alfred.

He paused and then said, “I know this is a lot to process and it is a big decision. Why don’t you live with us for a couple weeks. Go to school with Juniper and meet others, humans, dragons, gryphons, everyone in our community. Get to know us and let us get to know you. Then, I’m sure you will be able to make the choice that will work best for you, knowing that we will support whatever decision you make.”

Sabrina sighed and looked at Juniper. “Well, at least we will have two weeks to be together whatever I decide.”

Juniper nodded and said, “I really want to have you meet those bullies!”

Earthstone said, “Yes, Juniper. We’ve talked with the teachers and the students and tried to impress on them all that just because you have a bent wing doesn’t mean that you don’t have a true dragon nature. But you will be able to show them much better if you head back to school with the confidence you have gained and the knowledge that you saved lives.”

“Yeah,” said Juniper. “That’s right isn’t it!”

“And I want to see what happens to the mayor,” said Sabrina.

“OK, that’s enough discussion for now,” said Earthstone. “You girls get settled and then we’ll have dinner. Tomorrow is a school day so you need to get to bed at a reasonable time.”

“I guess,” said Juniper with a sigh. “But first, let me show you my things and where you can sleep.”

With that, the two friends raced out of the room.

Next Part

Advertisements

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 12

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Betsy doled out the limited rations as well as a few blankets. “Try to get some sleep after you’ve eaten. You are safe here, so just rest.”

Sabrina and Juniper made themselves as comfortable as they could, and soon fell asleep, curled up together. They were both totally exhausted.

The next morning, or at least Sabrina figured it must be morning even if she couldn’t see daylight, Betsy roused them all. “Time to head out. I know you are all hungry, but we’ll just have to make the best of it until we reach the other side of the river.”

Betsy led the party and Sabrina and Juniper brought up the rear. “I feel sorry for the kids,” said Sabrina to Juniper.

Juniper nodded. “We may not be adults, but at least we understand what is going on. Benjamin may know nearly as much as we do, but for sure little Millicent doesn’t!”

Betsy set a fast pace from the beginning. After they had been hiking for what seemed like hours to Sabrina, Betsy called a halt.

“Let’s take a break here for a few minutes and catch our breath. You guys are real troopers. We are already past the half-way point. We should be out of the tunnel by mid-afternoon at this rate.”

Sabrina looked at Juniper and smiled. “You’ll be back with your family soon.”

“Yes,” said Juniper, “and I’ll be glad for that, but what about you? What’s going to happen to you?”

Sabrina looked down at her shoes and said, “I just don’t know. I don’t even know what I want.”

Just then Betsy called, “Time to move again.”

The hours passed in a monotonous haze. Sabrina just kept putting one foot in front of the other, glad to have Juniper at her side. She’d even stopped marveling at the tunnel’s construction. She just wanted to find a soft bed and sleep, after a nice hot meal, that is.

Juniper nudged Sabrina and said, “Look! I think I can see light up ahead.”

“Your eyes are better than mine, but are you sure?” said Sabrina. “Maybe it is just another of these great cave lights.”

A few minutes later Betsy called out, “Anyone out there? We’ve arrived.”

“You made excellent time,” said someone with a really deep voice.

“That’s my dad,” shouted Juniper as she tried to move even faster.

Soon everyone was out of the tunnel and in a deep forest. The largest blue dragon that Sabrina had ever seen was racing toward them.

“Juniper,” he roared. “We’ve been so worried about you. Are you OK?”

He hugged her between his two front legs and then looked her over carefully.

“I’m find, Dad, truly I am. But I wouldn’t be fine if it weren’t for my friend, Sabrina.”

The dragon looked over at Sabrina, and then he smiled. Sabrina never knew dragons could smile, but then she realized that she really knew nothing about them except for Juniper.

“Hello, Sabrina. My name is Alfred and I can’t thank you enough for helping our Juniper.”

He lifted his front paw as if to shake hands so Sabrina shook it as she said, “I didn’t help her any more than she helped me. We took care of each other and we had a lot of help along the way.”

Just then a gorgeous green dragon came over with Bertha. “Mom,” yelled Juniper with delight, and soon the two were hugging.

Then the green dragon looked at Sabrina and said, “My name is Earthstone and I am so happy to meet you. I’ve been hearing a lot about you.”

Sabrina blushed and said, “Pleased to meet you, too.”

Bertha motioned to a tall white-haired man with a long white beard standing with Roger and his family. Soon everyone was gathered and Bertha began, “Wilson, here, is the head of the human community on this side of the river. He was one of the very first to escape, and he actually had to make his own way across the river since we didn’t have a tunnel back then.”

Wilson chuckled. “That was back when I wasn’t much older than you, Sabrina, and it wasn’t any fun. Sure couldn’t do it now.”

Bertha laughed as well and continued, “Thankfully no one has to. Wilson, I want you to take Roger and his family and get them settled. I know you and your excellent wife, Mildred, will be able to make them feel at home and help them integrate into their new lives.”

“Certainly, and Roger, Anne, you don’t need to worry about a thing. There are lots of folks here who know all too well what you’ve been through. You’ll find lots of friends here,” said Wilson.

“You mean there are more of us here?” asked Roger. “How?”

“The same way you got here,” said Wilson.

“But the mayor always told us that those who went missing from the village had been eaten by wild animals and only their bones were found,” said Anne.

Earthstone said, “That’s what he wanted you to think so that others wouldn’t leave. He even killed wild animals to provide the supposed bones. But no one has been eaten. The mayor is the only one capable of killing without reason. Thankfully, because of Georgette, Bertha, Tom and others, all the missing villagers are right here living happy and productive lives.”

Anne breathed a big sigh of relief. “That is wonderful news!”

“OK, let’s get you guys settled,” said Wilson.

With that, they headed away from the tunnel entrance and through the forest.

“Now what about you,” said Earthstone as she looked down at Sabrina. “What do you want?”

“I don’t know,” mumbled Sabrina looking at the ground. After a few minutes she said, “Juniper and I have become friends and I’ve never had a true friend before.”

Earthstone came over and with a front paw, gently lifted Sabrina’s chin and looked into her eyes. “You should have many friends. You are brave and kind. But for now, how would you like to come stay with us.”

Sabrina said, “Oh, yes, if I could and if I wouldn’t be too much trouble.”

Earthstone released Sabrina and said, “I can’t imagine that you would be too much trouble for anyone.”

“Oh, goody,” said Juniper. “I get to have a friend over!!”

Alfred and Earthstone both laughed and soon the four of them were headed through the woods. I wonder what a dragon home is like, thought Sabrina as she and Juniper walked with Alfred and Earthstone.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 11

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Betsy led the group toward the river for about twenty minutes and then she turned away, towards the mountains.

“Hey,” said Roger, “The river is over there and the kids are getting tired.”

Betsy looked back at the group and said, “We have a long way to go and this won’t be easy. The tunnel entrance is located where no one would think to look. There’s a safe spot up ahead where we’ll stop and spend the rest of the night.”

Roger nodded and picked Benjamin up. Anne was already carrying Millicent. Sabrina and Juniper were bringing up the rear of the group as Betsy led them onwards.

Good to her word, Betsy brought them to a secluded glen and told them to rest, as she gave them each some sandwiches. Roger and Anne collapsed with their kids.

Sabrina and Juniper made a spot for themselves away from the family and quietly ate their sandwiches. Sabrina said, “What do you think about all this?”

“I don’t know,” answered Juniper. “It was exciting and yet terrifying to be the diversion, and I’m really glad that Roger and his family are safe, but I just want my own family. Adventures are harder than I thought and not always fun.”

“You have that right,” said Sabrina, “And at least you are on your way home. I don’t know if I’ll ever get home. I wasn’t always the happiest there, but I do love my father and my sister and now I don’t know if I will ever see them again.”

Juniper scooted closer to her and put a wing around her. “My parents are really smart. I’m sure they’ll be able to figure things out. And in the meantime, we’re together and I think that’s pretty great.”

Sabrina looked at her new friend and said, “Yes you’re right. And I don’t know what I’d do without you. I just hope I don’t have to chose between you and my family as I don’t know what I’d do without either of you.”

Juniper hugged her and said, “I feel the same way. Now we can’t solve anything now, and we only have a few hours before dawn, so let’s try to get some sleep.”

Betsy roused them all just as it was beginning to get light. “We’ll be hiking for most of the day, and it will be hard, especially on the little ones. Anne, you carried Millicent all the way here, but you won’t be able to keep up if you have to carry her all the time. Two-year-olds get heavy after awhile. We’ll all help with Millicent and Benjamin.”

Anne nodded as she held Millicent’s hand. “Let’s see how she does. She is nearly three and she loves to hike.”

“OK,” said Betsy and the group headed out.

Sabrina hiked next to Juniper and after a bit she said, “Do you think Betsy is taking us in circles? We don’t seem to be hiking in a straight line.”

“I don’t think it is circles as we are moving farther and farther southeast, but I suspect she is deliberately not taking a path that would be easy to duplicate. After all, the safety of a lot of folks depends on keeping this tunnel entrance a secret,” said Juniper.

“You’re right, but I am tired of hiking! That’s all I’ve done since I came to this world!”

Betsy let them stop briefly for lunch after they’d hiked for four hours. Anne and Roger had taken turns carrying Millicent after the first hour, and Benjamin was now riding on Betsy.

“Here’s the last of our rations,” said Betsy as she handed out some bread and cheese. “There are a few supplies at the tunnel entrance, but we’ll all be pretty hungry by the time we get across, or should I say under, the river.”

Just then Henrietta landed in the middle of the group. “You’re going to have to move a lot faster,” she said. “The mayor has sent out a hunting party to find Roger and Anne and bring them back. He is furious! He also wants Juniper shot on sight.”

Sabrina gasped and Juniper whimpered, “I don’t want to be shot.”

Betsy said, “You won’t be! Don’t worry. What do you suggest, Henrietta?”

“Georgette and some of the others are hard at work confusing the trail and they hope to lead the hunters in wrong direction, but at the same time, you all need to get inside the tunnel quickly. I know you’ve been taking a safer route, but speed is of the essence.”

“If you are sure that Georgette can muddy the trail, I will go more directly, but we’ll be worse off if we lead them to the tunnel entrance,” said Betsy.

“I know,” said Henrietta, “but we also have to get everyone to safety. We’ll no doubt have to guard both ends of the tunnel for awhile, but let’s get this group to the dragons first.”

“OK, you’re right,” said Betsy. “Listen up! Benjamin and Millicent will ride on me. Anne, you put Millicent in your pack and strap that onto me, and Benjamin, you will have to hang on tight. We will alternate jogging and fast walking. Henrietta, can you keep a lookout for us?”

“Sure thing,” said Henrietta.

Anne and Roger secured both Millicent and Benjamin onto Betsy and the group started out with a brisk jog.

Sabrina looked over at Juniper and said, “I’ve never been a runner.”

“Neither have I, but I guess we’ll learn.”

Betsy loped faster than any of the rest of them and Henrietta made sure that the others didn’t get lost. Roger and Anne ran much faster than Sabrina could, and soon the group was in three parts. Betsy with the kids were out of sight, Roger and Anne were only visible occasionally between the trees, and finally Sabrina and Juniper were far in the rear.

“You don’t have to stay with me if you can run faster,” said Sabrina.

“Nonsense,” said Juniper. “We stick together!”

Henrietta flew overhead and called to them, “You’re doing fine! Just keep on jogging. Pick a pace that isn’t too hard and then just plug away. I can’t see the hunters so I think Georgette has tricked them, but don’t get cocky.”

Sabrina would have laughed if she’d had any breath. Onwards the two friends ran, and Sabrina found that if she slowed her pace, she could maintain it more steadily. After what seemed like forever, but later she realized was actually less than two hours, they came around a bend and saw everyone else. Benjamin and Millicent were now standing with their parents and Betsy was beside them. They were all standing next to a very large boulder.

Betsy teased a bit as she said, “Glad you two could join us!”

Sabrina was too winded to do anything but drop to the ground. Juniper sat beside her.

“Henrietta, can you see anyone even remotely near us?” asked Betsy.

“No! I think Georgette is leading them on a merry chase.”

“OK,” said Betsy as she moved to one side of the boulder and shoved. The boulder swung out toward the forest revealing a wide opening into a very black tunnel.

“Wow,” said Sabrina as she and Juniper stood up.

“Yes,” said Betsy, smiling. “When dragons build, they really build! Now, hurry everyone. Get inside.”

“But how will be see and how will we close the entrance,” said Roger as he urged his family inside.

The minute they walked into the entrance, a low light began to glow. Sabrina and Juniper followed Roger in and Sabrina said, “You aren’t kidding that dragons know how to build. Where is the light coming from?”

Betsy came in last and said, “You don’t need to know that. Just be glad it is here. Henrietta, we’ll see you on the other side.”

“Sure think, Betsy. I’ll be over there tomorrow after I find out what Georgette has done with the hunters. Have fun, you guys,” and with that she flew off into the trees.

Betsy looked at the group and said, “Are you all ready?”

When everyone had nodded, Betsy touched the boulder and it swung back into place.

Sabrina turned to look into the tunnel which seemed to go on for forever. The only had a faint light to guide them. “How long will it take to get to the other side?” she asked.

“It will take us about a day. But before we go far, I want us to rest and get some sleep. Last night was eventful and we didn’t get to sleep more than a few hours and now you have hiked and run for the better part of today. We are safe here. There is a cozy alcove just ahead with some basic supplies. We’ll rest there for the night and then move through the tunnel tomorrow.”

Sabrina looked at Juniper and said, “You dragons are really fantastic!”

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 10

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Sabrina heard cheering as she, Juniper, Betsy, and Harriet walked into the hidden camp. Georgette came right over to them and said, “What a wonderful job you all did!! No one even noticed that we rescued Roger and his family! We were out of the village with them and no one even looked our way.”

Just then Sabrina noticed a tall man with brown hair approaching, with one arm across the shoulders of a woman with long blonde hair. She was carrying a tow-headed toddler, and a small boy with light brown hair walked next to the man. As they approached, Georgette said, “Let me introduce you to Roger, Anne, Millicent, and Benjamin.”

Roger said, “How ever can we thank you? You were wonderful!”

Sabrina looked down at her shoes, turning a bit red in the face from embarrassment. Juniper tried to move behind Betsy but Benjamin yelled, “A dragon!”

Roger and Anne started to move back away from the group when Betsy said, “Yes, Benjamin, and she helped rescue you. Would you like to meet her?”

Benjamin looked up at his father and then looked back at Betsy saying, “Will she hurt me?”

“Of course not, silly,” said Betsy. “She’s just a kid herself and besides, dragons don’t hurt people. That is just a nasty rumor. Now, come on. You’ll love Juniper.”

Benjamin looked back at his parents who nodded, a bit tentatively at first but then with more confidence as Anne said, “Let’s all meet her.”

Sabrina stood next to her friend with a hand on her neck as the family approached. “I’m Sabrina and this is my best friend, Juniper,” she said and soon everyone was chatting away.

Once everyone had gotten introduced, Georgette said, “Now we need to plan our next moves. The first thing that must happen is to get Roger and his family along with Sabrina and Juniper over to the other side of the river where they will be safe.”

Tom nodded and said, “That definitely is the first priority. But I also think it is time to start figuring out how to stop this cult that has such a stranglehold on our village.”

The others nodded in agreement and Harriet added, “Many people will starve this winter, now that the granary has been destroyed, without assistance from the dragons. And I know the dragons are very happy to help. We need a change in leadership.”

Loud cheers accompanied Harriet’s remarks and when the group quieted down, Georgette said, “I agree and that will take planning from both sides of the river. Right now, I want to know who will take this group,” she motioned to Roger, his family, Sabrina, and Juniper, “through the tunnel to the dragons?”

Betsy looked around and then spoke up. “I’d like to do that if you don’t need me for something else.”

Georgette nodded. “What do you think about staying on that side of the river for a bit as our representative? I know you prefer to stay on your own mountain, but we really need you.”

Betsy thought for a moment before answering, “There are still a few more weeks before I begin my winter nap, so yes, I’ll stay with these young ones and see them settled.” With that, Betsy went to stand beside Sabrina and Juniper.

“Thanks, Betsy,” said Sabrina and Juniper nodded in agreement.

Then Tom said, “I think all of us villagers need to get back into the village before we are missed and help with the clean up. We can also start canvassing the villagers more seriously to see just who really supports the mayor and his henchmen and who doesn’t.”

“I agree,” said Harriet. “And we need a way to communicate with those on both sides of the river.”

“I wondered when someone would get to me,” said Henrietta from one of the trees. As she swooped down, she said, “I’ll be happy to be the messenger as I frequently fly across the river anyway.”

“Thanks, Henrietta,” said Georgette. “OK, for now, all you villagers get back to the village, and you know the drill. Go in singly and just melt back into the fabric of village life. And Jerome,” she added looking at the raccoon, “Would you be willing to check in with Tom and Harriet each evening? You could bring any messages from them to me or Henrietta.”

“Sure thing,” answered Jerome.

And with that, the villagers headed out of the camp. Georgette looked at Roger, Anne, their children, Sabrina, and Juniper. “Now you will be entrusted with our biggest secret. Under no circumstances can you let anyone know about this escape route. Do you understand?” and she glared at little Benjamin, who scurried behind his father as he nodded. When everyone agreed never to reveal the escape route, Georgette continued.

“Many years ago, the dragons succeeded in excavating a tunnel right under the river. We have used this tunnel to smuggle across the river any who were in danger or who were fed up with the way the village was being run. Now it will be your turn. Betsy will take you to the entrance and cross with you. Henrietta will fly across the river to alert the dragons on the other side who will welcome you when you get there. Roger, you and your family will find a warm welcome and a lot of assistance from the humans on that side of the river. They will help you get started with a new life. Juniper, you will be re-united with your family, and if I’m guessing at all right, Sabrina, you will be staying with Juniper and her family until we can figure out how to return you to your world.”

Sabrina hugged Juniper and said, “I’m so glad I’ll be with you.”

“Is everyone ready?” said Georgette.

They all nodded.

“Then, Betsy, off you go, and good luck!”

With that, the group headed out, following Betsy through the woods toward the river.

A tunnel that goes under the river, thought Sabrina. I sure hope it is safe.

Next Part