Every house looked shut down, shutters closed tightly, not even a dog in a dooryard to bark and draw attention to the visitors walking down the dusty main street of the village. Although it was still a dirt road, there were some disturbingly modern-seeming elements.
"Is that a solar panel?" Kate stood on tip-toe to try and get a better look at the roof of the nearest cottage.
"It sure looks like it," Dana answered, head tilted to one side. "Castles and dragons and solar panels. Even for me this is an unusual day."
"Well, we really need some answers. I'm going to knock on the door." Kate strode up the lipstick red door of the little house and rapped, then banged when nobody answered. "I can hear them in there," she said, frustrated.
They walked down the road, taking turns knocking on the door of each house they passed, but the results were the same. After just a few minutes, they got to the other end of the street and ran out of cottages.
"What do we do now?" Kate asked. "I don't really want to go too far away from where we fell in."
"No, me either," Dana tapped a finger against her cheek. "I guess we had better turn around and take our chances at the castle. I know we're here for a purpose, but I hate to face that dragon unarmed. I'm just not used to it!"
"You're right, but I don't know what else to try." Kate's mind was thinking furiously, trying to come up with other options, but there just weren't any to be had. So the two friends turned and walked back down the village street, limping slightly now, slippers all raggedy on the bottom and hardly worth even wearing.
Just as they came again to the first house, the one where they had noticed the solar panels, the door opened and a hand came out, waving. "Come here, quick!"