“What shall I do, Mother? She hasn’t spoken a word since I showed her what was beyond the magical walls?”

“Has she eaten at all?”

“No and it has been an equivalent of a day in her world. I am quite worried.”

“Is she awake?”

“I believe she is asleep in her bedchamber.”

“Let me see if I can help.”

I quickly ran back to the softest and most comfortable bed I’ve ever lain on. I hope I could keep my breathing even and that my eyelids won’t move while the Lady Mara checks in on me. I really have no desire to talk to either her or Orein. What I would like to do is find a way to go back home. I simply can’t stay here, my parents and siblings will be heartbroken if I don’t go back.

“Anya, wake up child. I’d like to speak with you.”

I ignored the hand that lightly tapped my shoulder.

“I know you’re awake. Come now and let’s discuss this. Otherwise, I will just talk and you shall listen.”

I opened my eyes but didn’t utter a word. The Lady Mara sat on a chair at my bedside. I wondered how she moved with such stealth because I did not hear a single sound to indicate that she had entered the bedchamber. I heard her sigh.

“You have to eat, Anya. You can’t just let yourself waste away. Orein brought you here to save you from certain death. It is a different way of life than what you know, but at least you are here and not gone forever. I know you are worried about your family, but whether Orein left you there or not, they would have mourned for you.”

My eyes flooded with tears at the mention of my family. Her words made sense, they would have mourned me either way. It was just difficult to think that I was alive and yet I can no longer see them, talk to them, or hug them. I would miss them so much. It was better to be gone than to exist in this strange place with these strange beings. At least then I would not feel the loneliness and the loss.

“Anya, child, please try to adapt to our world and our way of life. Change is not always easy to accept, but if we keep an open mind, the transition will be less stressful.”

I felt the tears roll from my eyes, and I kept them closed. I couldn’t stop the sob that rose from my throat. My heart felt like it was being squeezed tight and it was getting harder to breath.

I felt the mattress dip a little as a gentle hand rubbed my back to comfort me.

“There. There. Everything will turn out alright, Anya. You just have to give it a chance.”

My mind was working overtime, trying to process what the lady said. Sadness still filled my heart, but my thoughts were going in a different direction.

After a few moments of contemplating and a bucketload of tears, a warm feeling seemed to engulf my whole body and I felt myself relax. The last thought I remember was: “Maybe living here won’t be so bad. I could try to adapt to their world while finding a way to go back. Someone should have an idea because they could go through those walls with no problem at all.”

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