Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 9

Missed the beginning? Start here.

As Betsy led the group around the village she said, “Keep quiet and keep your eyes open. This late on a Saturday I wouldn’t expect anyone to be out in the woods, but you never know.”

It took the group over an hour to get into position. Betsy knew of a cave nearby where they could shelter until it was time. Just as they were settling in Henrietta arrived carrying a bundle. She had a firm grip on the handle with her beak and so landed and dropped it before saying, “Here are some supplies. Georgette thought you could use the food and she also included a couple flashlights.”

“Excellent,” said Harriet. “Now I won’t have to go scavenging to find us food. Thanks, Henrietta!”

Henrietta stayed with the group. “I’ll be your lookout as you get close to the village and I’ll hoot if I see anything. Then once you get your diversion going, I’ll head over to the other group so that I can see the rescue. Stay hidden until I come back to let you know that the rescue has been successful.”

Everyone agreed that this was a sensible plan and after eating the food Henrietta had brought, they settled down to rest. Sabrina and Juniper huddled in the far corner of the small cave.

“Are you scared?” asked Sabrina. “I know I am.”

“Me, too,” said Juniper. “But I’m also mad! I’m tired of the bullies, the anger, and the meanness. I sure hope we can help.”

With that the two of them tried to nap. Sabrina realized that she must have finally dozed off because Harriet was shaking her shoulder, saying, “Time for action, girls.”

Sabrina and Juniper shook themselves awake and went to join the others.

Betsy was in command. “We are going to follow Harriet to a spot she knows not far from here on the edge of the village. Now you two,” she continued pointing at Juniper and Sabrina, “stay close and stay together. If something should happen, run back to the cave and we’ll find you there. That will be our rendezvous spot. OK?”

Both girls nodded. The group crept quickly and quietly to the edge of the village. They stayed behind a couple of trees while Harriet readied her bow. “Right, now Harriet is going to fire her arrows as soon as we rouse the village,” said Betsy. “I want you two to come out from the tree as I shout ‘Dragon!’ As soon as you see folks coming out of their homes, run like the blazes. We’ll cover you.”

Sabrina looked at Juniper and then the two friends nodded to Betsy.

“Harriet, wait to fire your flaming arrows until the leaders of the village decide to give chase.”

“Got it! I’ll wait until Mayor Cuthbert sends out the hunters. And I think I’ll send the arrow into the granary. That will cause a lot of folks to try to save the crops.”

“Excellent,” said Betsy. “That should keep everyone occupied one way or the other. Ready? OK, let’s do this.”

Sabrina and Juniper stepped out into the open and Betsy yelled at the top of her voice, “Dragons, Dragons, we’re being attacked.”

Sabrina and Juniper covered their ears, as Betsy’s voice was truly stupendous. Nothing happened for a few minutes and then suddenly, villagers started stumbling out of their homes in their nightclothes. Someone caught sight of Juniper and yelled, “Dragons! Over there!”

“I see them,” yelled another.

Just then Harriet whispered, “There’s the mayor. As soon as he gives the word, I’ll fire.”

The words were no sooner out of her mouth than Mayor Cuthbert yelled, “After them, men! Let’s teach those abominations a lesson!”

With that, Sabrina and Juniper ran and Harriet fired several flaming arrows into the granary, before she and Betsy headed after them. Harriet quickly took the lead and said, “Follow me! We need to take a different path so that we don’t lead them to our cave.”

The four of them ran as quickly as they could, first one way and then another, until Sabrina was completely turned around. She could hear the villagers crashing through the woods, but they weren’t getting any closer. Harriet was doing an excellent job.

“Fire!! Fire!!,” yelled Mayor Cuthbert, calling off the pursuit. “Come back! We need you!”

Soon Sabrina, Juniper, Harriet, and Betsy were back at their cave. “Did we do enough?” asked Sabrina.

“I think so,” said Betsy.

“Yes, even if they aren’t still chasing us, they’ll be really busy trying to put out the fire before the winter supply of grain is totally destroyed. And the granary is far enough away from where Roger and his family are being kept that no one should see them being rescued,” agreed Harriet.

“What now?” asked Juniper.

“Now, we wait for Henrietta. We can’t move until we know Roger and his family are safe,” said Betsy.

They all sat and rested, tired from all the running. After about thirty minutes, Henrietta landed at the mouth of the cave.

“Everyone is safe,” she reported. “The guards raced to help with the fire, so it was easy to get the family out. Georgette and Tom are taking them to one of our safe locations and I’m supposed to guide you there as well.”

“Excellent,” said Betsy. “That is great news.”

Then she turned to Harriet and said, “What will you do now?”

Harriet looked sad as she said, “I’m not going back. I’ll go with you to the safe spot and then ask Georgette and Tom how I can help the most. I know there are others who don’t believe Mayor Cuthbert but who won’t speak up. And now, thanks to me, the villagers are going to have a rough time getting through the winter. They’ll need help, but getting them to see that will be tough.”

“You’re right,” said Betsy. “Well, we can’t solve that tonight. Let’s head out and find the others. Lead on, oh wondrous owl.”

Henrietta chuckled as they set off for the safe camp.

Next Part

Advertisements

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 8

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Georgette, Betsy, Juniper, and Sabrina arrived at a forested area just outside the village. Sabrina noticed many animals and a few humans were already gathered talking and planning. Georgette immediately took charge of things.

“What have you found out,” Georgette asked.

Tom, one of the men, answered, “I’m afraid the leaders have locked Anne, Roger, and their children in the underground cellar where the roots are kept. There is only one way in or out. And the leaders are planning on a dawn inquisition and speedy execution.”

A small badger spoke up. “It is true that there is only one way in for you, Tom, and your kind, but we have been tunneling into that cellar for just such an occasion and last night I snuck in after the leaders dumped Anne and Roger and I talked with them.”

“Great work, Clarence!” said Georgette. “Can the tunnel be made large enough to get them out?”

Clarence shook his head as he said, “Not in time. The leaders arrested them last night, and then deliberated for much of today, but the plan is now definite. Torture and execution in the morning.”

“That’s horrible,” said Sabrina, and all of a sudden all eyes were turned toward Sabrina and Juniper.

“Who are you?” asked Tom.

Georgette said, “No time for their stories now, but they are here to help. They got caught on the wrong side of the river and I was taking them to the secret tunnel when Betsy caught up with me. Now we have six who need to be saved.”

Tom nodded and went on, “Did Roger or Anne have any suggestions, Clarence?”

“No, they are pretty shaken, as you can imagine. I did get them some food and water and finally both children fell asleep. Little Benjamin cried for the longest time, saying that he didn’t mean to tell about his rescue and he really thought his friend was a good buddy. I felt so sorry for him especially.”

“Well, we have to get them out tonight. Thankfully the root cellar is on this edge of the village, so once we get them out of the cellar, it will be quick to move them to safety, but we need a plan,” concluded Georgette.

Betsy nodded and said, “We have thought of several different options, but they each involve hurting someone on either our side or the other and we’d really like to avoid that if possible.”

“The root cellar is kept shut with a bar that hinges up or down. It wouldn’t take long to get the door open,” said Tom.

“And I can be inside to alert Anne and Roger so that they have their kids in their arms and are ready to run the moment that the door opens,” said Clarence.

“You guys just need a distraction on the other side of the village,” said Sabrina. “Maybe Juniper and I could do that?”

Betsy said, “That would be terribly dangerous. Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Yes,” said Juniper firmly. “None of the villagers have seen us, and I imagine that seeing a dragon, even one as young and small as I am, would cause a considerable uproar.”

Tom laughed and said, “You’ve got that right! But they have guns and you could get shot.”

Georgette looked around the group and then asked Tom, “Just how many of you villagers are left who don’t believe in the leaders’ agenda?”

“Obviously none of us do,” Tom said, and the other six people nodded vigorously. “After all, we’ve been your link to the village and have helped many to escape. There might be another dozen or so who are leaning our way, but haven’t committed.”

Harriet, a tall woman with long grey hair, said, “I was listening around the village earlier after Anne and Roger had been arrested and there was a lot of dissent. However, I wouldn’t want to trust any of them not to give us away.”

Georgette said, “No, we certainly can’t let them in on the plan or take them with us, but if they are uncertain, then they probably wouldn’t react as fast to harm any of us.”

Everyone thought quietly for a moment and then Georgette said, “We need to wait for dark. By then we can have Sabrina and Juniper in position on the far side of the village. Betsy, I want you to take them and watch over them.”

Betsy nodded and said, “I am happy to do that, and I know a place on the other side of the village where the three of us can hid once we’ve roused the village.”

“Excellent,” said Georgette. “Harriet, could you go with them as well with a bow and arrow, just in case.”

“For sure,” said Harriet. “With any luck, I should be able to injure anyone carrying a rifle, enough so that they are out of action, but not seriously hurt or killed.”

“That’s the plan,” said Georgette. “Now, we need to be able to communicate since the timing will be critical.”

Just then Henrietta landed in the center of the group. “I’ve been observing and listening and I think that your plan has about the best chance of any I’ve thought of. I’ll be your messenger, especially since I want to keep an eye on those two,” she said pointing a wing at Juniper and Sabrina. “I didn’t get them off the mountain to have them become rifle prey.”

Georgette chuckled and said, “Thanks so much, Henrietta. I know you don’t normally get this close to the village, so we are doubly grateful for your help. Now then, we have a few hours until it is dark enough to move. Betsy, I want your group to head out now and find a good spot to await your diversion. Then see that everyone is fed and gets a bit of a rest.”

“Right you are,” said Betsy and she, Harriet, Juniper, and Sabrina began to leave the group.

“Harriet,” said Georgette, and Harriet turned back. “Can you fire a flaming arrow when your diversion starts? Aim it into the edge of the village where it won’t set anything on fire, but where it will start the commotion. We’ll be watching and that will be our cue as well.”

Harriet patted her quiver filled with arrows and said, “Excellent idea. I can do that. I’ll wait until it is completely dark. We are lucky that the moon is a new moon.”

With that, Harriet, Betsy, Juniper, and Sabrina headed out, grabbing some provisions before disappearing into the woods.

As they followed Betsy, Sabrina thought, It all sounds fine and dandy to be a diversion and certainly we are the newcomers and the villagers don’t know us, but can we really do it? I sure don’t want anything to happen to Juniper. She is so young and small and she has become my true friend.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 7

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Georgette led Sabrina and Juniper the rest of the way down the mountain and into a forested area where they stopped for lunch.

“Now I want to hear your stories. How did you ever land in this mess?” said Georgette, as she handed out the lunches.

Both Sabrina and Juniper shared their experiences with her, and then Georgette said, “The world can be a very cruel place at times. Both of you have been bullied by your peers which is inexcusable. Unfortunately, being different is never easy, and it is all too common that those who are different get picked on. But Sabrina, the adults in your life should definitely know much better! That French teacher has no business being a teacher at all! And I get that your father is hurting, but he should know better than to take it out on you!”

Sabrina answered her. “I think that he wants to toughen me up so that I don’t suffer as he has, but I’m just not tough.”

Georgette said, “I am sick of folks talking about being tough. All that becomes is meanness. Don’t they realize that kindness and gentleness are the true strengths? Anyway, if you’ve finished eating, we’d better get moving.”

They hiked through the forest and after a few hours came out onto the edge of a meadow. Georgette stopped them and listened very carefully. “Someone is coming,” she said. “Get back into the forest behind that big tree while I figure out who it is.”

After about ten minutes they heard Georgette calling out a greeting. “Hey, Betsy, what are you doing huffing and puffing way out here?”

Sabrina and Juniper peeked around the tree they were hiding behind only to see a large brown bear lumbering over to Georgette. After Georgette had greeted her friend, she called to Sabrina and Juniper, “It’s OK. Come on out and meet Betsy.”

Once Sabrina and Juniper had been introduced, Betsy turned to Georgette and said, “I’d heard something about you being on a rescue mission, but I had no idea that you had two young ones.”

“Yes, they managed to get themselves trapped on the wrong side of the river and I’m taking them to the secret passage so that they can get home,” answered Georgette. “But you didn’t come all the way out here just to hear that. What brings you so far from home?”

“I was looking for you,” answered Betsy. “We have a big problem. Remember Anna and Roger and their two small children?”

“Yes, we are getting ready to send them along the secret passage once their youngest is a bit older.”

“Well, we can’t wait. They’ve been arrested. And the leaders of the village say that Anna and Roger will be publicly tortured in the morning. Once the leaders have gotten all the information they can out of them, the entire family is to be executed.”

“What,” exclaimed Georgette as both Juniper and Sabrina gasped in horror.

“Yes,” said Betsy. “The leaders are tired of losing villagers. The population has dropped so low with all those who have chosen to leave that it is barely sustainable. The leaders are determined to find the escape route and use it themselves. They want to attack the dragons on the other side of the river.”

“No!” wailed Juniper. “They can’t do that. We’ve left them alone. We’ve never hurt them.”

“Hush, little one,” said Betsy kindly as she patted Juniper. “I know that and nothing is going to happen to the dragons. In fact, if the leaders had half a brain between them, they would realize that the dragons could do a lot more to them than they could do to the dragons. But we don’t plan on letting things get that far, do we, Georgette.”

“Indeed we don’t. I take it that rescue plans are being prepared.”

“As we speak,” answered Betsy. “But we need you.”

“How ever did the leaders suspect them in the first place. I know Anna and Roger would never let on,” said Georgette.

“From what we can gather, little Benjamin let something slip. Remember when he wandered away from home a few months ago and fell into the pit, breaking his leg. And he was rescued when Jerome told his father where he was. Well, apparently little five-year-old boys don’t keep secrets very well and he told a friend how a cute raccoon had found him and calmed him, and so forth. At least that’s what we are thinking, and the story got back to the village leaders.”

Georgette shrugged. “Sounds likely. I wish people had more smarts. Poor Benjamin fell into that stupid trap and was nearly impaled by the sharp sticks the hunters had set in the bottom. Instead of being thankful that Jerome had found Benjamin and had the good sense to notify his parents, so that Benjamin was rescued with nothing more than a broken leg, all they can see is that it is an abomination that non-humans can talk and think.”

“I know, but some folks just can’t change,” said Betsy. “But now we have to hustle! No one will do anything until you approve the plan.”

Georgette turned to Sabrina and Juniper. “Your trip just got detoured. I hadn’t planned on having you get anywhere near the village, but we have to rescue this family.”

“And we want to help,” said Juniper.

Sabrina nodded vigorously. “Yes, we’ve been talking about stopping bullies. Well, this is the time to put our words into actions,” she said.

“Thanks,” said Georgette. “We have to travel fast now. Sabrina, you get on my back and hold tight. Juniper, you climb onto Betsy.”

Once the girls were securely on top of the fox and the bear, Georgette and Betsy took off at a run. They sped straight across the meadow in the direction of the river. As the fox and bear ran, Juniper and Sabrina looked across at each other. What now, thought Sabrina.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 6

Missed the beginning? Start here.

The next morning Juniper and Sabrina awoke to find Henrietta and a fox standing outside the cave. “Wake up, sleepy heads,” said Henrietta. “Georgette and I have arrived with breakfast.”

“Food!” exclaimed Sabrina. “We’re so hungry.”

Sabrina and Juniper sat down with Henrietta and Georgette, a gorgeous red fox, and began eating rolls laden with honey. As they ate, Henrietta brought them up to date with the situation.

“Georgette is the leader of all non-human beings on this side of the river. She has agreed to help you find your way back to your home, Juniper, and she also agrees that for now, Sabrina, that is your best option as well.”

“Thank you so much,” said Sabrina in between bites.

As Sabrina and Juniper ate, Georgette began her tale. “Long ago, there were no humans in this world, but one day, a large group suddenly appeared. We don’t really have any idea where they came from. Maybe they came through the way you did,” Georgette said, looking at Sabrina.

“In any case,” Georgette went on, “we welcomed them to our world and tried to help them adjust. The leader of the dragons greeted them, but she was met with great hostility. The new settlers, for we found out that was their intent, to take over the land, began shooting arrows at her. No amount of talking would convince them that the dragons meant them no harm. So the dragons left. Things became even worse when we discovered that their belief system would not allow for intelligent non-human species. They began preaching that we were abominations which had to be slaughtered so that they could take over this world.”

“That’s horrible,” said Sabrina, with her hands over her face.

“Indeed,” agreed Georgette. “As the years went by, the land was settled as you now find it. Most of the non-human species have moved across the river and live with the dragons, your people, Juniper.”

“But we have humans as well,” said Juniper, “and they are nice and we all get along just fine.”

“Very true, little one,” said Georgette. “As the humans settled in, some of them started to doubt what their leaders were saying. Some of them wanted our help and believed that we could all live in harmony. They learned that humans are no better or worse than any other species. We are all equal. And so, the secret passage was developed.”

“Secret passage?” asked Juniper.

“Yes, as Henrietta said, I am the leader of those who remain on this side of the river. We stay here so that we can help any who are caught on this side of the river but who wish to live differently. We try to make friends with those humans who seem interested, especially the young. After all, no one is born hating. Hatred has to be instilled in them. We try in small ways, to undermine the teachings of the leaders.

“And when we find those whom we are sure want to live a peaceful life, we send them along the secret passageway over to the other side of the river. There, others work with them to be sure they aren’t spies or enemies trying to infiltrate, and once we are sure, they are helped to start new lives with most of our world.”

“Wow,” said Sabrina. “That is amazing. And you say, most of your world. Does that mean that this part of the land is much smaller?”

“Yes,” said Henrietta. “I fly over much of this world, and the reality is that the river has cut off this section of land separating it from the rest of the world. This part is bordered by the mountain cliffs, the river, and off to the west, by the ocean.”

“And the humans have just enough land to survive on, but occasionally they try to expand, to get back up the mountain and along the cliff you too came down, so Henrietta and others on this side, as well as the dragons on the other, patrol the area to be sure none can cross,” said Georgette.

“The otters and other water creatures keep a sharp eye on the river as well,” said Henrietta. “We would welcome any who want to work in harmony, but we won’t be threatened or bullied by those who think we are evil!”

“So does that mean you can get me home?” asked Juniper. “I’m sure my parents are very worried by now.”

“Messengers have already been dispatched to bring word to your parents,” said Henrietta. “They should know by now that you are safe and that you will be coming home as soon as we can manage it.”

“How long will that take?” asked Juniper.

“It will be several weeks at least,” said Georgette.

Juniper started to cry. “Weeks! I miss my mom. Oh, why can’t I be like the other dragons? Why can’t I fly?” she wailed.

Sabrina put her arms around the little dragon and said, “I like you just the way you are. I think you are perfect, and if others can’t see that, well that’s their problem.”

“Well said, Sabrina. Now if you two have had enough to eat, we need to be on our way. Thanks so much, Henrietta, for bringing them off the mountain. I’ll keep you posted on our progress,” said Georgette.

“Yes, thank you so very much,” said Sabrina and then without even thinking, she stood up and gave the owl a hug.

“Well, yes…” blustered Henrietta. “Anyone would have done the same.”

“Not anyone,” said Sabrina, “and you know that. We could have been found by those people in the village.”

“You saved us,” said Juniper, “and maybe one day I’ll be able to fly like you.”

Henrietta chuckled and said, “I’m sure you will. Now be on your way and remember, do everything that Georgette tells you to do. She knows how to keep you safe.”

“We will,” both Juniper and Sabrina promised, and with that, they headed down the trail to the meadow.

“Now if that isn’t a sight,” said Henrietta as she swooped over them, “a fox, a dragon, and a girl.”

Georgette laughed and said, “Thanks again, Henrietta,” as both Juniper and Sabrina waved.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 5

Missed the beginning? Start here.

Sabrina and Juniper moved further along the ledge and they noticed that the farther away from the waterfall they got, the wider the ledge was. They still move cautiously and slowly because the ledge hung over a very deep canyon.

After they had walked about a half-mile, Sabrina said, “Can you see an end to this ledge?”

Juniper looked as hard as she could and finally said, “I think there are some trees up ahead. The ledge must end there.”

Sure enough, after another five minutes they reached the trees as well as the end of the ledge. But unfortunately the trees were on a really steep mountain slope.

“I don’t see any path, do you?” asked Juniper.

“No, I don’t either,” answered Sabrina. “But we can’t stay here. The ledge just ends, but I think I could grab onto a branch of that tree. Then I could climb down. Can you follow me?”

“I can try,” said Juniper with noticeable hesitation in her voice.

“Look, maybe if I can get onto that branch,” she said as she pointed to a good thick branch on the nearest fir tree, “then you could climb onto my back. Would that be easier for you?”

“Oh, yes,” said Juniper with a sigh of relief.

“OK, then,” decided Sabrina. “Here, you take my backpack.”

Juniper grabbed the backpack and watched as Sabrina inched her way to the edge of the ledge. The branch was now within reach, and Sabrina was able to climb onto it.

“OK, I’m ready,” said Sabrina. “I have a good grip on this branch. Can you climb onto my back?”

Juniper moved closer to the edge and reached her front legs toward Sabrina. “I’m not sure I can do this,” said Juniper with a tremor in her voice.

“Sure you can!” said Sabrina encouragingly. “Just move slowly and stretch out toward me.”

“Are you sure the branch will hold us both,” said Juniper.

“Yes,” said Sabrina. “It is a strong branch and as soon as you are on my back, we’ll inch along to the main trunk and then climb down.”

Juniper took a deep breath and stretched as far as she could. She managed to reach Sabrina’s waist and then she scooted and climbed until she was on top of Sabrina. Once they were as comfortable as they could be, lying on top of each other on a tree branch, Sabrina began pulling them across the branch toward the trunk. Thankfully they didn’t have far to go.

“OK, now what?” asked Juniper.

“Have you ever climbed a tree?” asked Sabrina.

“No, I haven’t. I really don’t care for heights. That’s how I got into this mess in the first place.”

“Well, I haven’t done a lot myself,” admitted Sabrina. “But we have to get to the ground. Can you hang onto this branch while I lower myself to that one right below us?” Sabrina asked as she pointed to the next branch.

“I guess so,” said Juniper.

“Good, and when I’m on that branch I’ll help you down. You’ll see. This will work and we will be on the ground in no time.”

Sabrina put her plan into action and the two friends soon discovered a rhythm to the tree-climbing process. They had managed to climb down several more branches when all of a sudden a very large bird swooped down onto the branch right next to the one they were clinging to.

“What are you doing in my tree?” demanded the bird.

“We got caught on that ledge up there and we are trying to get down,” stammered Sabrina. This really is a very strange world. I’ve never heard a bird talk before.

“A likely story,” scoffed the bird. “How did you get up there in the first place?”

Juniper and Sabrina each told their story and Sabrina noticed that the bird settled comfortably on the branch and listened with growing interest as they related their adventures. When they finished, the bird said, “That is quite a tale. I believe you,” she said looking at Juniper, “because I know about dragons but you,” she said looking at Sabrina, “I’ve never heard of any other worlds.”

Sabrina said, “Well, I hadn’t either and I wish now I’d never gone through the cave wall, but I can show you some of my things to prove I come from another world.”

The bird nodded her head and Sabrina took the backpack from Juniper and opened it. She took out a protein bar and her flashlight, showing both to the bird. “Have you ever seen things like these in your world?”

“No, I haven’t. Well, this is a puzzle.”

“Can you help us,” said Juniper rather timidly.

“Maybe yes, maybe no. First, let me introduce myself and tell you a bit of my story since you have shared yours. I am Henrietta, and as you can see, I am a magnificent great horned owl. I have lived in these parts for my entire life, and I stay away from that human village down by the river.”

“I don’t think they like dragons,” said Juniper.

“They don’t seem to like most creatures, as far as I can see,” said Henrietta. “They hunt and kill even when they don’t need food. They have contests to see who can kill the most. I don’t understand them at all.”

“I want to go home,” cried Juniper. “I live on the other side of the river, and I don’t know how to get there.”

“And I can’t go home, but Juniper says there are humans in her village and that they are nice and work in harmony with the dragons, so I too want to go there,” agreed Sabrina.

“Well, you do have a puzzle to solve,” agreed Henrietta. “I can help you for a bit. If you get down out of this tree, I’ll guide you down from the mountain, but I won’t go anywhere near those humans. However, I might be able to find you some help once we get into the meadowlands. You are going to need someone who can get you across the river.”

“Thank you,” said Juniper and Sabrina.

Juniper and Sabrina climbed the rest of the way down the tree and found that the ground was very steep. Henrietta flew ahead to show them the easiest path, but it was still hard work and they slipped a lot. Finally, after hiking downwards for several hours, they reached more gently sloping lands.

“You’ll need to rest now, and I need to hunt. There is a small cave up ahead. Stay in there for the night. You’ll be safe, and I’ll be back in the morning to let you know where you should go from here,” said Henrietta.

“Thank you so much,” said Sabrina.

“You’ve really helped us a lot,” said Juniper. “See you in the morning.”

And with that, Henrietta flew off and Juniper and Sabrina walked ahead until they found the small cave that Henrietta had mentioned. As they made themselves as comfortable as they could, Sabrina shared the last of her protein bars with Juniper. I sure hope we find some food soon, she thought as she fell asleep next to Juniper.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 4

The first part of this story may be found at: Sabrina and the Dragons, Part One, the second part may be found at: Sabrina and the Dragons, Part Two, and the third part is posted at: Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 3.

As Sabrina waited for Juniper to wake, she started to think about everything that had happened to her since she’d walked out of her home. She really hadn’t had a chance to process everything and now, sitting on this ledge with a dragon’s head on her shoulder, she began to cry softly. Maybe things weren’t good at home and yes, I really was upset, but what if I never see Brittany or Dad again? Why did I just walk through that wall? What was I thinking? I’ve just messed up again and this time I’ve messed up big time.

Sabrina’s crying grew stronger, waking Juniper. “What’s wrong,” asked Juniper.

“I don’t know how to get home,” wailed Sabrina.

“Neither do I,” whimpered Juniper.

“But at least this is your world. I don’t even know where I am or how I got here.”

“That would be scary,” agreed Juniper. “You’ve been so kind to me, so tell me how I can help you.”

Sabrina dried her tears on her shirttails and said, “Well, if I’m stuck here, I’d better learn something about this world. You said there were other humans, didn’t you?”

“Yes, there are, but not many. We have several families in my village and they do seem happy. But I need to tell you that there is a much larger human population on the other side of the river and they really don’t like us dragons at all.”

“What river? The one this waterfall dumps into?”

“Yes, unfortunately. I tried to find a way off the ledge on the dragon side of the river, but there wasn’t any. I just don’t know what to do.”

Sabrina thought for a moment and then said, “Well, we can’t get into my cave and honestly, since there are no dragons in my world, I don’t really think that would have been a good option for you anyway.”

Sabrina ran her hands through her hair, thinking, and then said, “I guess if there is no way down on your side of the river, we’ll have to find out what the possibilities are on the other side of the waterfall.”

Juniper shook a bit before pulling herself together and saying, “You are right. After all, we can’t spend the rest of our lives up here.

With that, Sabrina stood up carefully, grabbing her backpack and slipping it on. Juniper stayed behind her as they inched along the ledge under the waterfall. Sabrina checked the wall again, just to see if the passageway she’d come through had somehow re-opened, but the wall was absolutely solid. So carefully the two girls moved along to the other side of the waterfall. Once they were beyond the spray and noise, they stopped and looked around.

“The ledge is at least a bit wider on this side,” said Sabrina.

“Yes, that helps, I guess” said Juniper with a bit of hesitation in her voice.

They looked out from the ledge and saw that the mountainside was covered with a luscious green forest which seemed to go on forever. They could barely see the river far below, but it looked as if there were a clearing not far from the banks of the river.

“What is that clearing?” asked Sabrina.

“I think that is the human village. I can’t remember its name, but we really have to stay away from it as the humans would try to kill me on sight,” said Juniper who was definitely trembling at the thought. “Oh why couldn’t I fly,” she wailed. “Then I wouldn’t be stuck up here.”

Sabrina put an arm around Juniper and said, “I know it is scary, and I’m scared too, but honestly, I am really glad we met and I bet that together we can figure this out.”

Juniper looked at Sabrina for a few minutes and then nodded, “Yes, we can! And I am so glad to have met you also. I’ve never had a friend before, and I think that is worth more than any dangers.”

Sabrina smiled and said, “Me, too, and I agree. Now, shall we move farther along this ledge and see if we can find a path down?”

With that, the two girls moved further away from the waterfall.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 3

The first part of this story may be found at: Sabrina and the Dragons, Part One, and the second part may be found at: Sabrina and the Dragons, Part Two.

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.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons, Part 2

The first part of this story may be found at: Sabrina and the Dragons, Part One

Sabrina sat in the back of the classroom hoping that the French teacher wouldn’t call on her. She kept her head down, staring at the book through her big thick glasses as she ran her hands through her short brown hair.
Please let the bell ring before she gets to me!

But this wasn’t her lucky day. Mademoiselle Bridgette called on her to read and translate the next question and answer pair. Sabrina heard the giggles and snickers as she read aloud. Her face turned bright red, and then, in her confusion, she couldn’t remember the meanings of most of the words.

Mademoiselle Bridgette said in a voice heavily laden with sarcasm, “Do you ever study? Do you ever do your homework?”

Sabrina just held her head down in shame and said nothing. She wouldn’t listen if I told her that I spend more hours on French homework than the rest of the class combined. What’s the use of trying to explain that I just can’t memorize? How does she think anyone can learn a language by just memorizing questions and answers when she never tells us what any of the words mean?

Mademoiselle Bridgette seemed upset that Sabrina no longer tried to explain, so she turned to Mary and said, “Will you please help Sabrina? Read and translate the question and answer for her and maybe she’ll be able to get it tomorrow, although I doubt it.”

The bell finally rang and the school day was over. Sabrina waited in the building until all the other students had gotten on the busses. I’ll walk home, she thought. That way it will be longer before I have to show father my report card.

Sabrina arrived home feeling somewhat better until she remembered about her report card. She never got A’s like Brittney. She struggled for B’s in everything except French, which she was failing miserably. Her school gave effort grades as well as achievement grades and her effort grades were always straight A’s. But not in French where Mademoiselle Bridgette had given her an “F” for effort also. Her father would be upset, but nothing was going to help that, so she’d better just get it over with.

Sabrina walked into her father’s office and handed him her report card. She turned and started to walk away when he called her back.

“Let’s see here. ‘B+’ in algebra, ‘B’ in social studies, ‘B+ in science, ‘B-‘ in English, ‘C’ in gym, but that’s to be expected.” He paused before continuing. ‘What is this “F” in French?”, he snapped. “I get the “F” in achievement, because I don’t think you could ever learn French, but how did you get an “F” in effort?”

“I don’t know,” mumbled Sabrina, staring at the floor. “I do try hard to do my best.”

“Well your best isn’t good enough is it!” he shouted. “Why can’t you be like your sister. She is so bright, all A’s, and pretty as well and she is two years younger than you. Heaven knows what your mother would have made of you if she’d lived. That blasted fire!” He stopped for a moment before going on in a calmer voice.

“I’ll have to talk to the principal. You sure don’t have many brains, but you do work hard. The school has to recognize that—it is your only strength. Too bad it won’t ever get you anywhere in the real world,” he growled and then went back to reading the afternoon paper, as Sabrina slipped quietly out of the room.

She headed upstairs to her bedroom and flopped onto her bed. She was sick of everything and she knew her father was right. She’d never succeed at anything. She wasn’t like her younger sister, who thankfully was still at basketball practice.

Okay, she thought, if I’m not good at anything then why stick around? I just get bullied and teased. Why bother? I’ve had it. I know I should look after Brittney and protect her from father’s belt, but Brittney doesn’t seem to care and certainly doesn’t want my protection. No one would notice if I just fell off the planet. They’ll be better off without me.

With that thought, she grabbed her backpack and dumped all her books out onto her desk. Then she changed into her favorite jeans and a ratty sweatshirt she’d had for ages. She put on her sneakers and stuffed a jacket into the backpack, along with her favorite stuffed bear. She went quietly downstairs and snuck into the kitchen where she grabbed as many snacks and protein bars as she could, filling the rest of her backpack with them and a water bottle. She grabbed a flashlight and headed out the back door, letting the door close as quietly as possible.

Next Part

Sabrina and the Dragons Part 1

Sabrina and the Dragons
Part One

Miss Smith called the eighth grade gym class to order. “Today we are going to play dodge ball. Kari and Joyce will be the team captains. Everyone else line up, and Kari and Joyce, you come up front and take turns picking team members.”

Kari stood next to Joyce and wondered just how many students were here today. If she went first would that mean she was stuck with Sabrina, or should she offer to go second. Before she got a chance to count students, Joyce made her first pick. Great thought Kari, Joyce probably already figured it out. Kari looked over her classmates and did her best to avoid spotting Sabrina. She just stands there in the back without a friend in the world. How can she be so clueless? And she has no fashion sense either. Look at those glasses! And that haircut! Gads, there is no one left to pick. Kari just pointed at Sabrina and turned away, hoping that maybe the rest of the team could manage the win and just maybe Sabrina wouldn’t wreck everything.

“Listen up. I had to pick you but you aren’t going to lose this dodge ball game for us,” said Kari.

“I’ll try,” said Sabrina.

“Trying won’t cut it. Now stay in the center and maybe the other team won’t hit you.”

“Okay” Sabrina mumbled.

After a few minutes, Kari said, “You’re tripping us all up. Winifred just got knocked out, and she’s one of our best players.”

“I’m really sorry,” Sabrina whined.

“New plan. Get out in front and try to get hit. With you out we stand a much better chance. Now move it.”

But every time the ball was thrown at Sabrina, she ducked in fear and someone else got hit.

Kari called time out and then, “You really are a klutz. Stand right behind me. When the ball is thrown at me, I’ll skip aside. Just don’t move.”

The game resumed and sure enough, the first throw went right at Kari who dodged out of the way. Sabrina screwed her eyes tight shut and didn’t move. The ball hit her on her right thigh. As she left the game, Kari said, “Okay, guys, now we can concentrate.”

Sabrina sat down on the sidelines away from the other tagged players and stared at the floor rubbing her thigh where it still stung. “I hate gym.”

Once class ended Sabrina grabbed her backpack and headed off to French. The only thing worse than gym is French, she thought as she entered the classroom. Finally school was over and as Sabrina rode the bus home she thought about asking her father for piano lessons. She really wanted them but she knew he would say that she hadn’t any talent. Did that matter? She just wanted to play.

She knew her father was still hurting from her mother’s death seven years ago. She felt responsible for the fire. Her mother wouldn’t have been alone if she had been able to keep Brittany quiet, but she was only five and Brittany was already a handful, even at three. Sabrina knew that was why her father was so harsh with her. But did that mean she couldn’t ever have something nice, like piano lessons? As she got off the bus and walked home, she decided that she would just have to try. Brittany argued with their father all the time, but she could never speak up for herself. Well, today would be different.

Sabrina walked into her father’s office and stood in front of his desk, quietly waiting for his attention.

“What do you want? Can’t you see I’m busy?” he said.

“Please, Father, may I have piano lessons?” she asked quietly.

“No, of course not,” snapped her father.

“But why? Brittany gets them and she’s younger than me.”

“Than I,” he corrected, “And she has talent. Her teacher is sure that she will do extraordinarily well. In just a month she has progressed faster than any student he’s ever taught. So get out of my office.”

“But,” started Sabrina.

“But nothing,” he snarled. “You can’t even carry a tune. You’d only be a failure and I couldn’t stand to hear you practice.”

“I’d only play when you weren’t home,” she pleaded.

Then he stood up and started fingering his belt as he growled, “I said, “NO! Now get out of here and don’t ever let me hear you ask again.”

Sabrina raced to her bedroom, sobbing. She flopped onto her bed and cried, glad that Brittany was not in the room. When she calmed down a bit she thought, I’ll find a way, I will. He can’t say no. There has to be a way.

She thought long and hard and then came up with her plan. She’d already taken to sitting in the corner of the living room farthest from the piano during Brittany’s lessons. She pretended to read, but she was actually listening and taking notes. Thankfully Brittany had just started lessons a month ago, and she still had the beginning books. Her father was right that Brittany had a talent she would never have. But Brittany almost never practiced. Sabrina wouldn’t be like that. She devised a scheme where she would practice every day right after school when she was the only one home.

It was hard to teach herself, but she wouldn’t give up. The day she finally played her first song with all the right notes and fingering was the best day she could imagine. So what if it was just “Twinkle, Twinkle.” She played it and she played it right.

She continued to teach herself, being very careful that no one was home when she practiced. But of course, after several months, the inevitable happened. Her father came home early and she didn’t hear him. The next thing she knew he was storming into the living room yelling, “I told you that you couldn’t play the piano!” as he moved to unclasp his belt.

Sabrina was never sure how she managed it, but she turned to her father, took a deep breath, and said as calmly as she could, “No, Sir. You said I couldn’t have lessons.”

There was absolute silence in the room. Her father’s mouth hung open. Then he refastened his belt, turned, and stomped out of the room.

Sabrina put a trembling hand on the edge of the piano as she just sat there. Suddenly she was filled with a warmth, a glow, which spread throughout her entire body, and she smiled.

Next Part

Escaping

I was at the end of my rope.  My neighbors were harassing me because they didn’t like my purple house.  They had strung burlap eight feet tall right along the property line which meant it was inches from my home, blocking all my first floor windows.  I suspect that the builders of these houses in the early 1900’s didn’t envision that when they put the houses on the property line.  My neighbor’s house was four stories tall, and they delighted in spying on me in my tiny back yard from several of their upper story balconies.  It felt as if every time I went outside, they would be looking into my yard watching and their watchfulness made me feel extremely uncomfortable.  My lot was a half lot and only thirty feet wide.  I had become terrified of them and wouldn’t go outside at all if I could avoid it.

One morning I woke up and decided that I had to move.  I searched the internet for a suitable secluded spot near enough to Seattle for me to finish my current commitments, and I discovered a beautiful small rural island community a short ferry ride west of Seattle.  I looked up all the information I could find on Vashon and it seemed to be just what I was looking for.  The community was liberal with lots of artists working in many different media.  The gay population was the largest anywhere in the Seattle area.  There were still farms and horse ranches as well as lots of chickens, and the educational level was higher than average.

I called Scooter, my realtor, and told him I was moving again.  This was the second time in four years that I had been pressured to move by intolerant neighbors.  Scooter had helped me before and he was certainly willing to help again.  He said he would pick me up the following day so we could go to Vashon to look at what was currently on the market.

I was very clear about my requirements.  I needed a single level home with no stairs.  I was recovering from yet another foot surgery and was in fact still on crutches.  I needed absolute privacy as well as a fully fenced yard for my three dogs.  And I wanted a house of about 1300 sq. ft., enough for me and my fur friends, but not more than I could manage.

It was a beautiful day and the ferry ride was wonderful.  While I was worried about finding a house, I was still able to enjoy the fifteen minute ride and I delighted in seeing Mt. Rainer from the water.  As we approached the dock on the north end of the island, I was thrilled to see that the island was heavily wooded with very few visible homes.  This seemed to offer the privacy and solitude I was seeking.  As we drove off the ferry, I noticed that there was just one road which was two lanes wide with lots of twists and turns. After about seven miles we came into the town, which was only about two blocks long.  There were no traffic signals, but just a few four-way stop signs.  I learned later that there were just four such intersections.  There were no chain stores but a rather individual locally owned shops as well as a small movie theatre.  We were out of town almost before I realized it.  Today was not the day to explore as I had an agenda—I had to find a home.  As we drove further along the highway toward the south end, I felt myself relaxing on this truly rural, wooded island which is just 14 miles long.  I was sure I could make a home here if I could just find something suitable.

There were only seven homes for sale which said they met my criteria.  But people must have very different ideas about what single level and private mean.  Several houses had a single level main area, but the garage would be on a lower level or the bedroom would be in a loft.  Houses would call themselves private even though the neighbor’s living room was totally visible right across the street.

I was definitely discouraged.  When I make a decision I want to carry it out immediately.  Finally we were down to the last house.  It was close to town and situated on two-thirds of an acre.  The fence along the north side was a solid eight foot wooden fence.  The south side had a similar fence for about half of the length, where it was joined by an ugly four foot wire fence, but the yard was in fact fully fenced so my dogs could run outside safely.  I could always replace the wire fence with wood after I moved in. The neighbors’ houses were distant and had no windows overlooking my property.  The smell of the surrounding fir trees made me feel so peaceful.

The house itself was totally white, inside and out, and it purported to be a three bedroom house even though the master bedroom was only accessible by walking through another very small bedroom.  However, I didn’t care.  I only needed one bedroom and the other two much smaller rooms could be used as a den and a library.  It had what I required.  There was total privacy, lots of trees, and a one-story,1300 square-foot home that could certainly be painted.

I told Scooter that I wanted to have him contact the listing agent.  He tried to encourage me to wait as this was the first day I’d even seen Vashon, but at my insistence he called the listing realtor while we sat in the ferry line to go back to Seattle.  She let him know that there already was an offer on the house which hadn’t yet been presented because the sellers had been out of town.  She was going to present it at 2:00.  Scooter looked at me and when I nodded, he told her he would be faxing her a second offer as soon as we were back in Seattle.  We had just over an hour to get it to her in time, but thankfully, since Scooter had been my agent when I’d bought my current home, I knew the forms and I trusted him, so we printed forms, had me sign them, and then faxed them off.  Both offers were presented and mine was accepted, as I was sure it would be since I didn’t ask for anything except a home inspection and I said I would close in three weeks.  I had bought my new home on the day I first set foot on Vashon.

Sure enough, three weeks later, my fur friends and I were moving into our new home.  People said I was crazy to move somewhere without checking it out more, but I was desperate.  I need to get out of my current situation.  It did turn out that my sellers had lied through their teeth and there were major problems with both mold and the roof which my home inspector hadn’t caught.  However, I was able to fix those and in fact totally remodel the interior so it is now a two room home with lots of color both inside and out.  I built my fences right away and painted my home purple, of course.

I can honestly say now, after living on Vashon for seven years, that it was the best move I ever made and I have no intentions of ever moving again.