The morning air is crisp, and your breath fogs slightly as you make your way to the small cabin visible up ahead. The rolling hills of grass are shrouded in mist at this early hour. The air smells sweet, a mixture of grass, smoke, and dew. Finally, you are almost to the cabin.

The small structure is made completely of logs of wood, with a few small windows, paned with thick, greenish glass, and a solid wood door. You climb the small set of steps onto the porch. As you are raising a hand to knock, you notice the sign posted on the door. Come In, it says. You shrug and push open the heavy door. As you step past it into the dim interior, it swings shut. You let your eyes adjust. The inside of the cabin is dry and warm, thanks to a fireplace at the far end. There are a few wooden chairs and a small table in front of the hearth. In the back, there is a solid counter, on which is set a pile of books and papers. You head in that direction, searching for the management. "Hello?" you ask tentatively.

"Customer," you hear a female voice say. It is coming from the back room, which is through a narrow open doorway behind the counter.

"So go help them," an older woman's voice returns. You hear an annoyed sigh from the younger female, then footsteps. Finally, a girl appears from the back room. Her outfit is the first thing that catches your attention. In a realm where most folk dress in natural colors and cloths, she is wearing a set of shiny black pants, large shiny black boots, a silver chain belt, and a bright red off-the-shoulder tank top. She has hair to match, as red as newly blossomed poppies, and it is cut short in a pixie fashion. In fact, the girl is very pixie-like in appearance. She is lithe and fine featured, and her eyes gleam. The illusion is only ruined by the fact that she is currently sulking in annoyance.

"Welcome to the Creature Refuge," she says in monotone, "the only refuge of its kind on the continent. Home to mythical and magical creatures of days gone by and protected by spells and sentries, it is a haven for all who seek sanctuary from the outside world. How may I help you today?" She pauses and purses her lips at this point, her lids lowered in a bored fashion.

"I was hoping to tour the Refuge," you say.

"How original," the girl says in the same bored monotone. "This way." She moves into the back room. After a second, you round the counter and follow her.

Return Home

View Ramona

Layout and content copyright © Rachel Gratis 2003. Layout photograph from Image Cafe. Respect copyright and do not take images or content from these pages.

Last Updated: June 16, 2004