'"Parents shouldn't assume children are made out of sugar candy and will break and collapse instantly. Kids don't, we do."' - Maurice Bernard Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are "I'd give all of the wealth that years have piled, the slow result of life's decay, To be once more a little child for one bright summer day." -Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland The space under the bed was beckoning, calling. It seemed like that space grew darker - how that was even possible the teenagers weren't entirely sure. All was quiet now in their room, no rumbling, no hissing, no growling. But they all would have preferred that over the silence. The silence felt more like a trick, a trick from that monster telling the children, "It's alright, put what you've seen behind you. All is well now, reality is sinking in." Yet how could reality be there when one of their own was missing, and not by normal means? This was what the group of teenagers were thinking as they huddled together. Some were trembling, some close to tears, others were confused and angry. They all stared at that space, wondering what they should do. But aside from their fear, all of them held a kernel of curiosity. They all wanted to know what came from underneath the bed, and where it came from. A silent agreement passed between them. One by one they each crawled under the bed, the darkness swallowing them whole. Their fingers felt the wooden floor beneath them, hard and solid. Soon they felt the dust bunnies and as they continued crawling, dirt. Their noses filled with the pungent scent of roots and mold, sometimes coughing from the overwhelming scent. Noises of their movement sounded muffled but contained. They were in a tunnel and in front of them was a light. They saw a night sky filled with stars, more stars than they had ever seen in their lives. They saw trees with different colored leaves: blue, purple, yellow and orange. They saw grass of the deepest green, springy and soft. They could hear the crashing of waves against a beach not too far away. But the leaves and grass were of a dimmed color, and the stars weren't ones that they knew. Even the waves sounded solemn - different. It was obvious that they were in a different world and this realization made the teenagers shiver with disbelief. What were they to do in this foreign land? A red flickering tail appeared in their line of vision. And over a bush tumbled a familiar looking creature. It was a fox, red as flame with a maroon streak running over its back. He observed the foster children with one eye, his other orb had been injured and it remains closed. A jagged scar rests in its place. It also wore a brown collar and the words etched none too neatly, read Ally. "You're here for the girl aren't you?" The fox said in a gruff voice. "Tell me... What are your names?"