How long have I been asleep? Long enough for it to be full day, I guess. Except that I haven’t seen sunshine this bright since the summer.
I sit up in the bed and look around the room. I had fallen asleep before I had much time to examine it, but something about the room feels different. Then I notice it. The table in the center of the room, with two place settings and a vase of fresh flowers, now also contains a steaming pot of something that smells delicious. The heavenly aroma fills the room, making my stomach gurgle in response. How long has it been since I have eaten?
The reality of the presence of the steaming food suddenly makes the hairs on the back of my neck and arms rise in anxiety. Someone is here with me. Someone brought that food in here, and probably saw me sleeping on the bed. They may have even stood over me as I slept, watching the gentle rise of my chest as I breathed in and out, and the flutter of my eyes as I dreamt, feeling safe and secure.
I feel very vulnerable.
Cautiously, I get off the bed and make my way to the door. I bypass the food. It may be a trap, for all I know. This whole cabin may be a trap to lure in unsuspecting hikers, to what end only time would tell.
The door is absurdly silent as I push it open a few inches, just enough to peek outside. There is no one there, so I take a deep breath to steady my pounding heart, and then slip outside into the sunshine. What I see takes my breath away.
I am in the forest, but it doesn’t look the same. The trees are so big, like giants standing guard around me, with a mass of violet and mossy green foliage hanging from their expansive arms. The sun shining through the trees casts a yellow haze over everything, creating a strange intensity in all the colors, like I have just walked from the black and white world of reality and into the magical color of the land of Oz.
Where am I?
“Why, hello there,” a voice calls cheerfully from the side of the cabin. I spin around to see a boy that looks to be my age, standing there with a huge basket of fruits and flowers propped on his cocked hip. His feet are bare, and he is wearing strange clothing for a boy, a deep green tunic that looks to be hand-stitched, and a pair of brown pants that are too short for his long legs. “It’s about time you decided to wake up! I thought that I would have to wake you before you slept the whole day away!”
“Wh-who are you?” I ask, trembling.
The boy lets out a bark of a laugh, kicking his head back as it rolls from him.
“Who am I?! Who am I?! Why, I should be asking who are you, since you are the one that turned up in my humble abode.”
I stand there staring, not knowing what to say.
“This is your cabin?” I finally ask, feeling silly and small.
“Well, yes it is. But you are welcome here. I love having visitors. I hardly get them, you see.”
The boy has a funny lilt to his voice, almost like he is singing, and I can’t help but stare at him. What is his accent? It sounds so foreign, and yet also familiar. I feel like I am in a trance, that somehow he has cast me under a strange spell.
“Do not be afraid,” the boy says suddenly, setting his basket on the moss-covered ground. “I love having visitors,” he repeats, and steps lightly toward me. The way he moves is like nothing I have ever seen before. His feet hardly touch the ground and he makes no sound. He is next to me before I can even blink.
“My name is Robin. Robin Vaughn. What is yours?”
I look into his eyes that are impossibly green. They are the same color as his tunic, only they have flecks of gold in them.
“Emma,” I stammer, and then try to regain control of myself. “My name is Emma Stone.”
“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Emma Stone,” he says, his eyes twinkling. Then he cocks a mischievous eyebrow and nods toward me. “You and I are going to have a bit of fun now, aren’t we?”
He laughs again, loud and unafraid. Then he takes my hand and leads me back toward the cabin.
“Come along, Emma Stone. There is always a feast before one begins a journey.”
“A journey?” I stutter, as he is dragging me into the cabin. “I don’t understand. Where am I? How did I get here?”
The boy plops me into one of the chairs at the table, and with a flourish, removes the lid from the steaming pot, revealing a roasted chicken and large chunks of potatoes and vegetables. My mouth begins to salivate. He then ducks outside the door for a moment, and produces the basket which he had been carrying when I first saw him.
He empties the basket onto the table, which contains an assortment of peaches, grapes, and another fruit that I do not recognize. They are huge and round and I can almost taste them just from their overpowering scent. He also produces a large crusty loaf of bread, the edges slightly charred as though it has been baked over a hot fire. I feel overwhelmed with the assortment of aromas filling the room. It’s like my senses have all been turned up to “high,” and my brain is trying to make logical sense of everything.
“All your questions will be answered. But for now, Emma Stone, you will eat.” Then he smiles at me, and all I want is to sit and stare into those eyes.
Pull yourself together, I think, and try to mentally snap out of the daze that I seem to fall into whenever I look into this boy’s face.
Check back tomorrow to learn more about the journey they are about to take!