Cellia couldn't believe the strange green orb that had just fallen into her garden was talking to her, much less that she shared a name with it.
"Excuse me, did you just say your name is Cellia Wynne, too?" Cellia asked, very aware of how odd it was for her to be having a conversation with a glowing sphere. She looked around the garden to see if any of her neighbors were watching, but thankfully they were all at work. There was the Nim's cat, sitting on the fence and looking on, but he looked as nonplussed as cats ever do. "Is that what I heard, that your name is Cellia Wynne?"
"That is correct," the orb said, though from where that sound emitted was still unclear to Cellia the girl. "Can you help me?"
"What do you need help with?" Cellia asked.
"I am lost," the orb said.
"How did you get here?" Cellia asked. "I don't mean to be rude, but you're nothing like I've ever seen before. It looked as if you fell from the sky."
"What is the sky?" the orb asked.
"It is what's above us," Cellia explained. "Where the rain falls from."
"I do not know rain," the orb said. It almost sounded sad to admit this to Cellia.
"Are you from Alm?" Cellia asked.
"I do now know Alm," the orb said. "Can you help me?"
Cellia was getting frustrated trying to communicate with the alien. "What do you need help with, Cellia?" she asked.
"I need help getting home," the orb said.
"Where is home?" Cellia asked.
The swirling colors inside the orb changed colors then, from purple and green to red and orange, and then the smokiness cleared and Cellia could see a picture. She bent down closer to the orb, squatting on her knees as she gazed at the little scene played out within it. She saw many other orbs, situated about a watery-looking place unlike any other she had ever seen or studied. The many orbs were all the same size, though they glowed with different colors under the chartreuse skies of their alien world.
"Is that your home?" Cellia asked.
"Yes," the orb said. The scene it was displaying then changed to Cellia the girl in the garden. "Can you help me?"
"I don't know," Cellia said. "Maybe I could ask my parents when they get home..."
"I cannot wait," the orb said. "Please help me now."
Cellia was getting wet standing in the rain, and was still worried that someone might see her. "Can I take you inside my house? To get out of the rain? Can I pick you up?"
The orb flashed through the colors of the rainbow and then its watery surface set and became more rigid and glass-like.
"Yes, take me with you," it said.
Cellia gathered up her dress into her hands like a swaddling cloth and reached for the orb. As soon as she had both hands on it, she saw a blinding white flash of light and then found herself suddenly transported to the world of the orb she had seen projected inside it. She gasped at first, and almost dropped the orb, but managed to hold onto it when she realized she could breathe the thick atmosphere of the orb's world.
"Where are we?" Cellia asked, frightened.
"Do not worry," the orb said, the sound now coming to Cellia from inside her own head.
"Where are we?" the girl asked. "Can I still get home?"
"I will take you home," the orb said. "First, you must help me find my brothers and sisters and mother and father."
"Okay...," Cellia said hesitantly. It didn't seem like she any other option. "So what are we to do here?"
The orb rose up from Cellia's hands, to a height equal to her own, and then hovered in the air. "This way," the orb said, and then began to float off, up one of the rocky orange mountains that comprised the strange landscape of its homeworld. Where was the watery scene Cellia had seen in the orb's vision?
"Am I going to be safe?" Cellia asked as she started after the orb, finding that she couldn't move as fast in the strange new world as she could in her own.
"I do not know safe," the orb told her.
"Do I need to worry?" the girl asked.
"You do not need to worry, Cellia," the orb said. "We have been expecting you for a long time. This world was made for you. Come, now. Follow."
....TO BE CONTINUED