The conclusion to the story of fantasy, time travel, and the differences between the past and the present. Click here for Part One. I hope you enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments below.
It took us a while to get out of the woods, but when we did, we both were astonished. In front of us, to our left and in the distance, we saw a town that looked a lot like the pictures I’d seen of small colonial-period villages. Its small buildings, cobblestone streets, and horses trotting down the streets, pulling buggies, really surprised me. Kayley gripped my hand tightly.
“What’s going on here?” she whispered fearfully. I couldn’t help but feel a stab of fear, too.
“Let’s try to figure this out,” I said, trying to sound brave. “Why don’t we check out the town?”
“Okay,” Kayley replied. She followed me reluctantly down a dirt path, which the residents probably called a road. We passed a small two-story farmhouse where a lady was taking down her laundry. She spotted us and gasped.
“Girls!” she cried. “What are you thinking, going around in those?” She rushed over and handed both of us a skirt. “Keep them, and make sure to wear them!” The lady walked back to her laundry, muttering to herself and glancing back at us.
I glanced over at Kayley, who was slipping on the skirt over her jeans. It reached all the way to her ankles. I glanced down at my jeans. “What’s wrong with these?” I asked, insulted.
Kayley nudged me. “Don’t you get it? We’re in a different place or time or something. Girls don’t wear jeans here, they have to wear…”
“Skirts,” I finished, wrinkling my nose at the thick, heavy fabric in my hands. Sighing, I slipped it on. “Let’s go,” I told Kayley. We started off on the path to the town.
When we reached the town, we strolled along the sidewalk, trying not to stare at everybody and everything. We were getting quite a few stares and disapproving looks ourselves. I guess it was because of our mismatched clothing. We certainly did look out of place among the women with huge powdered wigs, and the men with long ponytails or wigs. The men and boys were dressed in knee breeches and horribly stiff-looking shirts, while the women and girls were wearing ankle-length dresses.
“This is so weird,” Kayley whispered in my ear.
“Yeah,” I whispered back. “It feels so awkward.” I grimaced when a snobby-looking woman glared at us. “Let’s go in this store.” I pushed Kayley into the building. An old gray-haired man stood behind the counter, rearranging the penny candy. He looked up as we entered the store, raising his eyebrows at our clothes.
“Millie!” he called into the back room. A tiny lady with gray hair pulled back in a tidy bun stepped out. A look of shock flew across her face when she saw us.
“Girls, do you need dresses?” she asked hurriedly. “I have two that you can have.” She did appear to be close to our size. I opened my mouth to turn her down anyway, but Kayley jabbed me with her elbow.
“Sure, we’d love some,” she agreed, giving me a warning look. I groaned inwardly. The lady led us to the back of the store, which was apparently where the elderly couple lived. The lady pulled out two checkered dresses and handed them to us. “You can change behind that curtain,” she told us, pointing. We both obeyed, ducking behind the long piece of fabric used as a makeshift curtain. I slipped into my dress, wishing I didn’t have to wear it. I spent most of my time in jeans or shorts, and I hated wearing skirts and dresses. I couldn’t help sending an unhappy glare in Kayley’s direction. Unfortunately, she didn’t notice. She was too busy swirling the dress’s long skirt.
“I love this dress!” she exclaimed. “I always wanted to wear an old dress!”
I rolled my eyes and snorted. “You’ve always been the dressy type.”
Kayley laughed. “Come on, Syd, let’s go. We need to find out how to get home.” She pulled me out from behind the curtain.
“Right,” I agreed.
The old lady smiled at us. “Good,” she told us. “You girls look much better now.”
I gave her my most adorable smile, the one my mom calls my oh-you’re-so-sweet smile. Kayley calls it my fake-sincere smile. Probably because I only use it when I have to fake being sweet. “Oh, thank you so much!” I struggled to keep my smile pasted on. I was disgusted. “I was wondering, what town is this? We’re new here.”
“I could tell,” the old woman said, her eyebrows wrinkling. “It’s Canyon Creek.”
My eyes widened, and so did Kayley’s. That was the same town where our grandparents lived! But this was way different. Something weird was going on.
Kayley recovered from her surprise first. “Thanks,” she said. “I think we’ll look around in the store. Thanks again!” she called over her shoulder. I followed her, shaking off my shock.
The two of us “shopped around” a little, until Kayley suddenly pulled me outside. She led me down the street, going back the way we came. “What’s up?” I asked curiously when we were out of earshot of most of the townspeople.
“I saw a date on a newspaper,” Kayley told me. “It said that this is 1799!”
“Really?” I asked, astonished.
My cousin nodded. “We should go back to the cave,” she suggested. “I think those bats had something to do with us changing times.”
Sometimes Kayley’s a lot smarter than me. I think those Sherlock Holmes stories that she’s always reading help a lot. “Sounds good,” I told her.
We reached the cave and entered it, but not without a slight bit of hesitation first. I had only taken a few steps into the cave when Kayley stopped me. “Let’s pray,” she suggested. I nodded, and we grabbed each other’s hands, bowing our heads.
“Dear Lord Jesus,” I prayed out loud. “We have no idea what’s going on, but we know that You do. Please fix this mess. Amen.” I looked up and made eye contact with Kayley. “Let’s go,” I stated. Kayley nodded.
We walked into the cave together. The blackness quickly enveloped us. I trailed my hand on the wall to help us find our way through, and to keep us from running into the walls. The rough sound of my hand on the rock echoed in the cave. The thunk made when my fingertips hit each wooden beam stood out. Other than that the cave was eerily silent.
“Wait,” Kayley said. I jumped not expecting her voice. “I think I still have my flashlight.” I hear her rustling through her skirts to the normal clothes still underneath. “Here it is!” she exclaimed. She clicked the flashlight on and light flooded the cave. It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust. We went around a corner, and the light lit up bunches of bats clinging to the ceiling. Kayley and I instinctively hit the ground, and we heard the bats flapping around above us and leaving the cave. Their squeaks eventually faded away.
Kayley and I stood up. Kayley shown her flashlight around the cave, illuminating numerous stalactites and stalagmites that had reappeared.
“Yes!” I cried. Kayley hugged me ecstatically. I noticed a bright spot on the wall and walked over to it. My flashlight, still on, was shining on the cave wall. I picked it up. It was a little beat up, but, other than that, it was fine.
I heard Kayley laughing. I walked back to her. “What’s up?” I asked, confused.
She grinned. “We’d better change out of these dresses.”
I laughed. “We probably should.”
We continued exploring the woods and the cave throughout the rest of that summer. We always brought our dresses with us. Just in case.