Becky and the Secret Grotto: Donna the Mapmaker

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    It was a sunny afternoon in the Walters’ house as Jessica was brushing Becky’s long, black hair.

    “Would you like a ponytail or pigtails?” Jessica asked.

    “Pigtails,” Becky answered.

    “Sure thing,” Jessica replied.

    Becky sat quietly as her older sister continued to brush and style her hair. After a couple of minutes, Jessica made two perfect pigtails.

    “There you go,” Jessica said, “now you look even cuter.”

    “Thanks Jessica,” Becky said as she hugged her older sister.

    “Can I go next?” Nina asked.

    “Sure,” Jessica explained.

    Becky left her sister’s room, grabbed her pink handbag and hurried outside. She transformed her ring into her wand, created the portal with it, and ran into the grotto. There didn’t seem to be anyone around at that point, but she quickly heard some rustling in some nearby bushes. The little girl walked over to the bushes to find a person doing some sketches and mumbling about random things.

    “She seems nice,” Becky thought, “maybe I should say hi.”

    Just as Becky moved closer, the other person put down her map. Said person looked a little like Gretchen, but she was as tall as Becky and had long, dark, black hair and blue eyes. The stranger put her drawing down and walked over to Becky. The eight-year-old just stood still as the stranger looked at her yellow skirt and blue T-shirt.

    “Uh, hi,” Becky plainly said, unsure of what to make of the other person.

    “Oh sorry,” The stranger replied, “I just haven’t seen anybody like you. So, who are you exactly?”

    “I’m Becky,” Becky answered.

    “Becky,” The stranger stated, “the same Becky that Gretchen mentioned.”

    “That’s me,” Becky replied, feeling a little flattered by that.

    “I’m glad to meet you,” She said as she shook Becky’s hand, “I’m Donna.”

    “It’s nice to meet you,” Becky told Donna, “so what are you doing out here?”

    “I’m working on my latest map,” Donna explained, “my dream is to make a map of the entire grotto.”

    “That’s nice,” Becky said, “may I see what you’ve done so far?”

    “Sure,” Donna said as she took out some paper maps out of her brown backpack.

    The eight-year-old was amazed to see various detailed maps of the grotto.

    “These are amazing,” She told Donna.

    “Thank you,” Donna replied, “by the way, I really like your hair style.”

    “Thanks,” Becky stated, “these are called pigtails. If you want, I can try to give you some.”

    “Sure,” Donna said, “that would be nice.”

    “I have some extra scrunchies in my bag,” Becky stated as she looked through her bag, “but I don’t think I can do them as well as my sister.”

    “It’s no problem,” Donna told her new friend.

    “Great,” Becky said as she took two small scrunchies out of her bag.

    Donna sat down on the grass while Becky gathered some of the mapmaker’s hair. The little girl wrapped the scrunchy around it to create a good pigtail. Then she did the same to the other side and made another pigtail.

    “I’m done,” Becky said.

    “There’s a lake close by,” Donna stated, “I’ll look there.”

    The two of them walked over to a small lake and Donna looked at her reflection.

    “They look great!” Donna cheered.

    “Thanks,” Becky replied.

    “Say Becky,” Donna stated, “do you want to help me with my latest map?”

    “Yes,” Becky said, “I’d love to.”

    “Great,” Donna replied, “my next goal will be to finish my map of the Rainbow Caves.”

    “What’s that?” Becky asked.

    “One of my favourite places,” Donna smiled, “I’ll take you to it now.”

    Becky followed her new friend all the way to a large cave. Donna took out a red wand and used it to make a small light.

    “I’m still a beginner myself so I can’t use the strongest spells,” Donna stated.

    “Don’t worry,” Becky replied, “it’s better than what I can do.”

    The eight-year-old looked around the area, but she didn’t seem to think to much about it. The darkness didn’t seem to offer much to the imagination and the dull, gray rocks felt bland. The only thing she could focus on was Donna and seeing her new friend from the back caused her to notice something.

    “Donna, you don’t have any wings,” Becky observed.

    “I know, they just haven’t grown in yet,” Donna explained, “we Elgarins aren’t born with wings.”

    “When will they grow in?” Becky asked.

    “We usually get them when we’re thirty,” Donna answered, “I’m only thirteen.”

    “You don’t look thirteen,” Becky stated.

    “But aren’t you thirteen?” Donna asked.

    “No, I’m only eight,” Becky replied, “thirteen-year-olds are a lot bigger.”

    “Maybe your world and the Grotto use different time periods,” Donna said, “I should make a note about that.”

    “That is a possibility,” Becky stated.

    Then the eight-year-old was quickly taken up by various orange crystals on the wall. The light from Donna’s wand caused the crystals to sparkle.

    “Wow,” Becky said.

    “This is why it’s called the Rainbow Caves,” Donna explained, “and there are even more crystals with more colours.”

    “They’re very beautiful,” Becky stated as she moved closer to the wall. She suddenly stopped when the tip of her shoe tapped a tiny crystal that had fallen off the wall. She scooped it up and put it in her handbag.

    “Shall we continue?” Donna asked.

    “Sure,” Becky replied, feeling more anxious to see the rest of the caves.

    The little girl continued to follow her new friend while she excitedly imagined what kind of crystals she could see next. The soon found a fork in the road and Donna stopped and took out a map that had yet to be completed.

    “We’re going to take the left path since I completed most of the right,” Donna stated.

    “Sure thing,” Becky said, “so what kind of colours will we see?”

    “You’ll have to wait,” Donna smiled, “I don’t want to spoil the surprise.”

    The two walked down the left path while Becky anxiously wondered what kind of crystals she would see. It didn’t take long to see some bright green crystals on one side of the wall and bright red ones on the other.

    “Have other people come here before?” Becky wondered.

    “Yes,” Donna replied, “I’m just making my own maps of them.”

    “How come?” Becky asked.

    “I think it’s fun to make your own map,” Donna added, “and when I’m older, I’ll explore some areas that haven’t been discovered.”

    The mapmaker stopped as she reached the end of the path, took a pencil out of her backpack, and started doing some sketches on her unfinished map. Becky took a peak at what was ahead and noticed a large area filled with various crystals of different colours. The ceiling was covered with a large, green crystals that sent light through the room and made the other crystals sparkle. Becky was left speechless as she stared at the crystals on the ceiling.

    “I’m glad you like it,” Donna said.

    “This place really is wonderful,” Becky stated, “is there any more to this place?”

    “There sure is,” Donna answered, “you just need to know where to look.”

    Donna pushed a blue crystal on the wall and a cave wall opened up next to it. Inside was another hallway filled with sparkling red crystals.

    “Wow,” Becky said in amazement, “this place keeps getting better and better.”

    “I knew you’d like it,” Donna replied, “everybody does.”

    The two started to walk down the hallway until the ground started to shake.

    “What’s wrong?” Becky gasped.

    “It’s an earthquake,” Donna stated as she created a forcefield around them, “just stay still.”

    The two stood perfectly still and hoped that the forcefield would hold out. But the ground started to crumble and then both Becky and Donna found themselves falling down a pit.

    “Do you know how to float down?” Donna asked.

    “Yes,” Becky replied as she took her wand out, “don’t worry about me.”

    Both Donna and Becky used their wands on themselves and started to float gently to the ground. The friends landed on their feet without any injuries; but they found themselves inside a dark room with a giant wall and a small stream.

    “There’s no way we can climb up this wall,” Donna stated.

    “How are you at flying spells?” Becky asked.

    “Decent,” Donna replied, “but I won’t be able to get myself back up there, let alone both of us.”

    “I guess we could follow the stream,” Becky suggested.

    “It must lead somewhere,” Donna observed, “right now the best thing we can do is explore our surroundings.”

    The two friends followed the stream’s path and made their way to a large, open area. Inside the room was a large lake filled with various fishes; and on the other side of the lake was a large, sky blue tree. Donna and Becky walked to the tree and found that it had a trunk made of diamond and leaves that looked like rubies. Their eyes seemed to sparkle at the sight.

    “I’ve never seen a tree like this before!” Becky said.

    “Nor have I or anyone else,” Donna excitedly added, “this tree and this area is a new discovery, and we found it!”

    Donna took out her papers and started to sketch the area while Becky took her orange crystal out of the bag, used it to draw a D and a B in the dirt, and placed it by the tree.

    “This will mark our discovery,” Becky stated, “but how will we get out of here?”

    “Don’t worry,” Donna replied, “a good explorer looks for various options.”

    Becky stared at the large wall around her and felt for any hidden switch or lever.

    “I can’t find anything?” She sadly said.

    “There’s one thing we haven’t checked out,” Donna stated as she pointed to the lake, “there could be some underwater tunnels.”

    “But I’m not a strong swimmer,” Becky replied.

    “Just hold onto my hand and leave everything to me,” Donna said.

    Becky did what her friend said and Donna raised her wand to the air. Then a large bubble appeared and surrounded the two girls.

    “This bubble will let us travel through the water easily and we’ll be able to breathe,” Donna explained, “just hold onto me and everything will be fine.”

    “Got it,” Becky said.

    The two friends jumped into the lake and found themselves inside a deep blue lake filled with different types of colourful fishes. Becky felt delighted to see all the wonderful fish swim around her. Seeing them drowned out all her fears and worries.

    “It’s just like Finding Nemo,” She thought.

    “I see a small cave over there,” Donna stated, “I’ll try to lead us through it.”

    “Ok,” Becky replied.

    Donna used her wand to guide the bubble through the lake and over to the undersea cave. The walls seemed dark, but all the fish and other sea creatures made it look like it was filled with colour. Becky continued to fix her eyes on the fish and barely noticed the twist and turns throughout the cave. After what felt like a few minutes, the girls found themselves in another area that had a large body of water. Donna looked up to get a better view of their surroundings.

    “I think I see the sun,” She said, “I’m going to levitate the bubble out of the lake.”

    Becky waved to the fishes as she and Donna floated to the top and out of the water. The two friends found themselves by the same lake where they had met earlier. Donna sat down, took out her papers and pencils, and started to sketch.

    “This is great!” Donna cheered, “we found a new underwater passage.”

    “You were right,” Becky said, “aside from a few slipups, that was a great place. Thanks for taking me there”
    “You’re welcome , and we should let Gretchen know about this,” Donna added, “she’ll be pleased to hear about this.”

    “You go on ahead,” Becky stated, “I should head home by now.”

    “Ok,” Donna said, “it was nice meeting you and I like the pigtails you gave me.”

    “Thanks, it was nice meeting you too,” Becky replied.

    Becky ran back to the entrance area as she continued to think about her new friend. She used her wand on the tree, walked through the portal, and emerged from the bush area to find Lisa and Tim standing in the yard.

    “Hey cutie!” Lisa called out.

    “Hey guys,” Becky replied as she ran over to her older siblings.

    “Those pigtails are nice,” Lisa said, “they make you look pretty.”

    “Thanks,” Becky said as she started to blush.

    “Were you having an adventure?” Tim asked as he picked her up.

    “You could say that,” Becky answered as she gave her brother a hug.

    “Lisa and I were going to play mini golf and we were wondering if you’d like to come with us,” Tim suggested.

    “I’d love to,” Becky replied.

    “Perfect,” Lisa stated.

    Becky relaxed against her brother’s shoulder as he carried her over to their parents’ car. Her day was getting better and the happiness in her heart grew larger and larger.

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