The last thing she remembered clearly was her grandmother's instructions to go find Pearl, delivered in an offhand manner as she stirred the pot of bubbling grape jelly. But when the girl thought about it, Nimi had turned, looked at her directly, and added, "Please be careful."
The girl took the path down the hill, across the dam, and into the woods. She was heading toward the enormous beech that resided over the woodland below the dam. The mother beech, as Nimi called her, shaded out all but the hardiest of her offspring.
The girl stood beneath the mother beech and called for Pearl. When she did, an odd thing happened. In the mother beech's trunk appeared an opening just large enough for the girl to crawl through. So she had.
And now she was crouching in the entrance. Behind her was darkness, before her was light. Maybe Pearl found this opening as well the girl reasoned, so she stood and walked ahead.
The bright light of a sunny day revealed a grassy meadow with a well worn path, which disappeared behind a small rise. This place seemed somehow familiar, yet somehow different, like maybe the girl had dreamed of it before: the quality of sunlight, the path, the breeze, which now brought to her the sound of voices.
Walking down the path the girl crouched at the edge of the rise and looked.
A black and white cat leaned down toward a field mouse, which stood on its tiny hind legs and firmly bit the cat in the nose.
"Ow!" the cat said, rubbing its nose. "Why did you bite my nose? I thought we were just conversing."
Wow, thought the girl. Am I dreaming? Glancing behind her, she realized that the opening to the tunnel had disappeared. I wonder if Dorothy felt this way, the girl thought. I'm sure not in Kansas anymore.