“You have got to be kidding me…”
I stared at the vast expanse of rolling hills, the grass a healthy emerald green as it shone in the sun. There was nowhere near our city that looked like this.
“Where are we?” Emily asked as she stood up next to me. She shielded her eyes from the strong sunlight as she glanced around. “This place is beautiful, but it’s not home.”
“Not at all,” I muttered. “I suppose we should walk down the hill, see if we can find a road to follow toward a town or something…”
“Oh, God.” Emily stumbled after me. “Let’s hope we don’t meet any weirdos around. I mean, let’s face it, two young women lost in a strange place doesn’t exactly bode well.”
I stole a look at my sister, silently agreeing with her words. If we met anyone, we’d have to be on our guard, yet we wouldn’t be able to do much without trusting a stranger enough to give them directions.
“Where do you think we are?” Emily asked.
“I honestly have no idea,” I said. “This place is lacking a lot of familiar things, like skyscrapers and cars…”
“And pollution.” Emily took a deep breath through the nose, a small smile creeping up on her face. “Seriously, this place smells so… fresh!”
“Fresh?” I echoed and took a deep breath as well. “Well, yes, it smells clean, I guess.”
“Much better than the tobacco and weed smell from a few minutes ago, right?”
I blinked. “You smelled weed? Maybe that’s it, maybe we accidentally inhaled some guy’s drugs and now we’re hallucinating.”
Emily turned to me with a dry look as we reached the bottom of the hill. “This is way too immersive for something like that,” she said, “and you know it.”
“Hey, I’ve never smoked weed in my life–”
“Neither have I, but those kinds of highs aren’t this nice, right?” She looked back at our surroundings, seemingly approving the beauty of the landscape. “I mean, that smell from before is what I assume was weed–”
“I didn’t smell weed,” I admitted. “Mine was more, like, burning… As if there was a forest fire or something.”
“Then your drug theory just went out the window,” Emily said. We reached the road and she glanced down the right. “There seems to be smoke coming from that way. Maybe from a campfire or a chimney?”
“Alright,” I said, taking the lead. “It’s as good a way as any, I suppose.”
The walk was quiet for a few moments, the silence being broken only occasionally by some bird or other. Eventually we heard the sounds of hooves and wheels from behind us and Emily and I moved further over to the side of the road. We would have flagged the rider down, but we were a bit dumbstruck at his appearance.
He seemed friendly, giving us women a tip of his hat and a polite smile as he passed by, but even from his seated position we could tell how short he was. Like, really short. Emily and I weren’t the tallest women in the world – in fact, we were on the short side ourselves, with me only reaching a few inches past five feet and Emily a couple of inches shorter – but this man’s feet dangled helplessly off of his perch. If he stood next to us, he’d probably be a good foot shorter than Emily.
“What is this, Munchkin Land?” I muttered to Emily once we spurred ourselves to move onward.
“We’re already realized we’re not in Kansas anymore,” was Emily’s sing-song reply. “Maybe we’ll meet Glinda the Good Witch and she can give us some nifty shoes to bring us back to our apartment.”
“Or maybe even a wizard,” I said with a crooked grin.
A deep voice coughed behind us and I whirled around to see another wagon. Instead of a munchkin on the front seat, there was a frightfully tall man with an even taller, pointed hat and a snow-white beard that was longer than the gentleman we had first seen.
With a twinkle in his eyes, the old man said, “Forgive me, but did I hear you mention a wizard?”