She missed the cute little dragon’s presence as soon as it left. Brushing herself off as she got up, she turned around in one place and peered at her surroundings again. Every plant, flower, bush and tree were uniquely different yet reminiscent of plants on Earth, but they were definitely of another species. The species of this other world.
Still standing in contemplation of this apparent fact, she wondered if this was one of those realistic dreams that fooled her into thinking she had done something when she hadn’t. But never before was she so keenly aware of every inch of her body and the space all around—not mention, the wolf’s emergence should’ve startled her awake at least slightly if she were dreaming—nor had she ever dreamed of such a world. Her dreams consisted of a distorted reality where the surroundings shifted from place to place as opposed to palpably walking though space. It was a fictional landscape assembled from the reality of the just-lived day, and the construction of some memory from long ago, whether in real life or from a story.
She frowned in continued doubt about her true, living existence in this beautifully bizarre and unparalleled world. Reaching up, she tentatively pinched herself on the cheek. It sorta hurt. A flare of hope rose up in her center. She forcefully pinched herself again on the arm. A wince spasmed over her face. Too hard, that really did hurt.
Shoot, this is real, she registered. Daaamn, she smiled, biting her bottom lip.
The rising anticipation and elation soon overwhelmed her as she spun on her heel and sprinted back toward the colossal, oak-like tree from earlier. Arriving at the boundary of the encircled grass, she gazed admiringly at the splendor of the ancient tree at the center, the enormity of which made her feel both small and alive.
She was breathing deeply, but not from exhaustion. Rather, she literally didn’t even break a sweat. She had never been able to run this far and fast in years. Her body on Earth, albeit healthy, was still weaker than it should’ve been for a nineteen, almost twenty year old. She couldn’t handle strenuous exertion since the strange illness that plagued her in the early teens and had since left her feeble like an old grandma. While her body appeared to be the same, she felt inexhaustible as if she could run a week long marathon. She was exhilarated having discovered this newfound energy and stamina and tried to calm herself.
This couldn’t be real. No, this has to be real. Is this for real? Her mind skipped from disbelief to belief and back again, not quite permitting herself to believe that this was her new reality. A reality that existed only in dreams, and a reality that had been taken away from her at a young age. It was as if two new worlds came at her at once.
As she began to walk towards the foot of the ancient tree, she detected rapid movement accelerating at her when she reached the middle of the encircling grass. But she saw no activity in the forest behind her. Perplexed, she stared deep into the woods. Then suddenly, from behind a rustle of foliage, a small fox-like creature manifested itself, sprinting past her towards the ancient tree.
Aww, how cute, she thought, looking at the mysterious and adorable animal with large eyes and ears, a small body, short legs, and fluffy twin tails. The animal’s fur was the color of biscuit with a caramel streak running from its forehead and white-tipped tails and paws.
However, before she could question the peculiar look on its face, a gargantuan beast sprang out in pursuit from behind the brush, stopping all thought. The all-black beast seemed to be made of shadow and was several times larger than herself. It appeared to be a demonic bear with shaggy fur that tapered into wisps, and large pointed ears. As it moved, the tips of its fur dispersed into the air, leaving a trail of smoky tendrils in its wake. It tore after the fox-like creature, passing in front of the girl and paralyzing her in place as she gawked vacantly at the black tendrils left inches from her face.