In a split-second, the Victorian comfort and grandmotherly charm of my treasured time machine won in an Antiques Roadshow auction has disappeared. Instead, I’m standing up, barefoot, wearing only a bejeweled dress that is as thin as newspaper. My feet stand on soft, soft opal-colored grass. There is no sky above; there’s a ceiling of silvery gold grass, and each silvery gold blade emits a light both subtle and warm.
Suddenly, the ceiling of silvery gold grass shakes violently, and a lanky, blueberry juice-eyed girl of about nine climbs down a hole using the bumpy tree-root crevices lining the insides of the hole. She then jumps down in a sea of anxious faces. Where did those people come from? I wonder. But they take no notice of me. They probably think I’m a local because I have black hair, I’m tall, and my dress style is similar to their clothing. “My hands almost met their doom!” the girl exclaims, showing everyone a pair of large white hands that seem to have been stained with strawberry, especially on the fingertips. a h
“What was it like?” an man walking on stilts inquires.
In a tale with questions frequently woven in, the girl explains how cold the place they refer to as “it” was, and how she’d observed some weird creatures, which she had sketched out in a homemade-bound book. I discover that the girl’s name is Bohemia Aquex, nine years old. “I’ve never seen these things before,” she remarked.
But I can’t stifle my outburst. “It’s a Weddell seal and the head of an orca!”
Then Bohemia notices me in the crowd. “I haven’t met you before,” she says. “Your eyes are brown.” Chocolate brown they are.
The crowd gasps.
“What the heck does that mean!? Brown eyes are so common. WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, SISTAH?” Before I know it, the crowd is chasing me with stones that glint the evil eye at me in the light. On top of this ruckus, the old man with stilts is shouting, “A threat! A threat to the Clan of Silvernova! We’re all doomed to the grisly fate of callona!” I have no idea what callona is, and my head is rummaging through the chaos as if it were trash to find a clear explanation, but my feet firmly scold me: Keep running. Until these people raised by superstition answer to logic, keep running.