“What’s going on?” she whispers, looking around. She was so drawn in by the taste that she didn’t feel herself levitate. She wants to call for help, but there is no one around. Before going into a full-blown panic, she kicks her feet and stretches, hoping to find the ground. She closes her eyes and concentrates until she can finally feel the grass beneath her toes again. “Wow! I’d hate to see what a glass of this water would do.”
Now that she’s back on her own two feet, she sees her reflection in the river again, but this time she’s wearing a crown made out of white flowers with three glowing stones on each side. Her face is more vibrant and full of life, and her eyes are bluer than normal. She touches her face and sticks out her tongue, confounded by what she sees. Wondering if there’s anyone else around besides nature, she walks away from the river, searching for traces of human life, but all she sees is land and all she hears is the sound of her own breath. She finds herself back at the vines, staring senselessly until she builds the nerve to walk through them. Hopefully, there’s more to this place than just a pretty picture.
She pushes blindly through the vines where leafy tendrils grab at her and tickle her skin. Greenery lightly brushes over her hair as she keeps moving. She doesn’t know what lies ahead but assumes there must be an end somewhere. With the vines being so close together, she understands what it means to be claustrophobic. She considers climbing on one and swinging her way through like a monkey. But there’s no need for her to find her inner Tarzan because she can finally see a clear opening. The sound of rushing water guides her out of the last set of vines, and she comes face to face with a waterfall. It’s massive and secured by a large iron wraparound gate.
She’s eager to get inside and searches for an entrance. Eventually, she comes across a giant lever. When she extends her hand to push it open, someone grabs her from behind and knocks her to the ground.
“Amelia, no! You have to fight! Do not go through the gate unless you are ready.”
She jumps to her feet and whirls around but no one is in sight. She feels like a dog chasing its tail as she turns in circles.
“Who’s there?” she yells, terrified. “Who said that?”