Sasha turned to face me and, in a hushed voice, said, “I’m not really sure where to start. We are in the underground tunnels surrounding Arbor Vitae, the tree of life. I saw the weasels drag you into the tunnels.”
“Wait! Underground tunnels? Arbor Vitae? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Would you like for me to finish? Do you think you could hold off on the barrage of questions until I’ve told you what I have to say? And unless you’d like for some of the predators searching for you to actually find you, you need to keep your voice down,” hissed the irritated cat. “Now, I was saying I had watched the weasels drag you underground into the tunnels. I followed them to see what they were going to do with you. I was curious. I had to wait for them to leave because there were so many of them. They must have left so they could set the snakes loose.”
I was stunned. Why would they kidnap me? Attack me? What threat was I? More importantly though, we needed to get out of here. We had no way of knowing if the weasels had though the snakes would be sufficient for my demise or if some other predator was waiting for me.
Sasha’s eyes were constantly moving, checking for anything coming our way. “We must keep moving. I think we’ll be safest back at your house. I had to follow the weasels for a very long time and I am not completely sure how far from your home we are. We should try to get above ground and then make our way back to your house.”
Sasha turned and started walking, checking into doorways and around corners as I followed her. The darkness seemed to go on forever, broken only by the glowing, giant lightning bugs. I had lost all sense of time. My most fervent wish was to get back to my normal size and back home. I could think rationally when I got home and decide what my next course of action should be.
Sasha slowed and held her hand up, indicating I too should stop to see what might lie ahead for us in the road. Sasha took a step to her right and I was able to glance over her shoulder. I had to blink several times. My eyes had grown so accustomed to the dark that the beautiful rays of sunlight streaming down into the tunnel hurt my eyes terribly. Sasha motioned for me to stay where I was and then she crept towards the light, checking for predators and weasels and booby traps. Sasha’s head rose and rose until half of her body seemed to have disappeared. After an interminable search, Sasha decided the hole really was an exit from the tunnels and it was safe for me to leave.
Sasha climbed delicately and quickly and easily up through the hole. I was not so graceful. I put my hands on what I thought were secure rocks in the side of the tunnel below the opening only to have them crumble in my hand. Eventually, after grunting and groaning and straining and many other unladylike traits, I made it to the top of the tunnel and scrambled out. The warm sun felt magical on my skin. The air had cooled considerably, but being free would always trump being a little chilly.