The world that the orb had transported Cellia to was a very strange place indeed. The skies were shades of pink and purple, and hung over the stony-looking but spongy-feeling landscape, which was marked with spindly orange trees and small patches of translucent grass. The grasses and trees flowed in the thick air as if they were underwater.
"So this is your home?" Cellia asked the green orb floating ten or so feet from her.
"Yes," it answered. The orb was traveling just a little too fast for Cellia, and she was struggling to keep up with it.
"How long have you lived here? And how did you come into my world, how did you come to Alm?"
"I have lived here my entire life. I do not know how I came to your world. I was at home, by myself, when I heard a strange sound in the garden outside, so I investigated it. And the next thing I knew, I saw stars, and then I was crashing down into your backyard."
"That's all very strange, Cellia. Wasn't it?" the girl asked, as she hopped over a squiggling patch of flower-like creatures that chirped and squeaked happily.
"Strange? No. It's not the first time I went to Alm," Cellia the orb answered.
"Don't you think it's strange that you and I have the same name?" the girl asked. Just then, a flash of light went through the cotton candy skies.
"I don't think it's too strange. Wouldn't it be stranger if you or I were the only ones?"
"Perhaps...," Cellia began, "but, really, I don't think anything could be stranger than meeting you."
"What's so strange about meeting me?" the orb asked. "Here, I need a throw!" it said, as it came to the banks of a crystal clear lake. Under the surface, schools of orbs swam this way and that.
"Is this your home?" the girl asked the orb.
"What, a lake? What am I, a fish?" the orb asked incredulously. "No, it is not my home. But I need a good toss, otherwise we'll have to walk around."
"A good toss?" the girl asked, confused.
"That's right. Pick me up and toss me over the lake!" the orb said. It then floated right up into Cellia's arms.
"But you can float," the girl said.
"Not over lakes, Cellia. Now, toss me!"
Cellia had never been very good at throwing, and she was nervous that she would drop the orb into the lake. As she readied herself for the toss, some of the giggling flowers at her feet paused to watch her attempt.
"I'm so nervous," the girl admitted.
"Don't be. Now, throw!" the orb commanded. The girl lifted Cellia the orb up over her head and then threw it with all her might. The greenish-purple orb flashed blue internally as it soared, clear over the lake to the other side.
"But what about me?" Cellia begged, when she realized she was stranded alone on her side of the lake.
"Come on then, just walk over it," the orb said.
"But I can't!" Cellia cried.
"You must. Come along, I have to get home before my parents find out I've left! Otherwise, they might worry." And with that, the orb floated up over a hill and disappeared.
"But, Cellia! Cellia, wait! What about my parents? I can't walk on water!" the girl cried, to no avail. "Great," she said to herself, "what am I going to do now?"
The flowers at her feet continued to giggle at her, as Cellia calculated how long it might take her to walk around the lake. It was too big, and who knew how fast the orb was disappearing over that hill. The girl felt so sad and lost that she began to cry.
As her tears fell, they hit the ground with loud clanks. Looking down, Cellia saw that her teardrops turned to glass when they hit the ground of the alien place. The more she cried, at how strange it all was, and how lost she felt, the thicker the glass at her feet became. She had a brilliant idea at that moment. Stepping out over the lake, thinking the very saddest things she could remember, a glass bridge began to form under the girl. She thought about how much she missed her family, what it would feel like to never see them again. She thought back to when her friends had made fun of her for wearing her dress backwards. She thought of every bruise and scrape she'd ever received, of every spanking she'd ever endured, of every lonely minute she'd spent while her brothers and sisters received the heft of her parents' attention. This way, she made a huge, arcing bridge clear across the crystalline lake. When she reached the other side, she was so overjoyed that continued crying. She twirled and spun around, shards of diamond-shaped glass pouring from her eyes like a fruit tree in the wind.
"Hey!" Cellia the orb called, coming back over the hill. "I thought you were behind me!"
"No, you left me stranded on the other side of the lake," Cellia said.
"Stranded? No. See, you could always have crossed. You're much stronger than you think," the orb said, and then lifted up to lead the way again.
"How strong am I?" Cellia wondered, following after it.
"You'll see, my strange friend. You'll see!" the orb said, as it performed a little loop-d-loop and then swept low over the land, pulling Cellia along behind it.
TO BE CONTINUED...