By Madison Pholwattana
7th grade, Glenfield Middle School

Hello, my name is Madison, and I’m here to tell you about a crazy event that happened to me and my best friend, Kimberly, that changed our lives and the way we looked at the world forever.

It was March 13, 2023, the day of Kim’s birthday, and I wanted to surprise her by going to a new café, which we had never gotten to go to because I was almost always going to go to my grandparents’ house for the weekend. But, finally, I had managed to work things out with my grandparents so I would go to their house the next weekend to be able to hang out with my friends. On the way, the plan was to go through Anderson Park, which was the quickest route. And that is where this story begins.

It was a bright day with chipmunks and squirrels running in the tallish grass and climbing trees while the sky was a beautiful color of blues and with swirls of white clouds. It was a peaceful bright day, as Kim and I walked along the path of the park, watching kids play around and chase each other. A few hours before I had met up with Kim, I had texted our friends Maira and Bia, telling them to meet me and Kim at the new café on Maple Street, called the Boba Café, to surprise her.

Kim loves to drink boba tea, so why not surprise her and take her to get some at the new café?

On the way, Kim said she saw the “perfect” tree to climb. So, I let her but I told her to be quick. She nodded and circled the tree several times, looking for the best angle to start climbing. She decided to go from a spot on the other side of the tree where I couldn’t see her, so I stood by the tree when suddenly, Kim screamed but the scream was quickly cut off.

“Kim?!” I said, my voice full of fear.

“Kim?!” I repeated once more. I ran around the thick trunk of the tree and when I got to the other side, Kim was nowhere to be found. Had she been kidnapped?! Had she been abducted?! So many fears went around in my head as I searched the area. After I was too tired to search, I went back to the tree Kim had disappeared by and cried my heart out.

“I’m so sorry Kim,” I said through angry tears. I was so mad at myself.

“Get it together!! Get it together!!” I said, and decided to go over to the other side of the tree where she started climbing. Then, I saw the same branch she started climbing on and reached for it. After how short she was, how in the world did she reach it?

Then, as I grabbed the branch, I tripped into the tree, but I went through it before I crashed. Suddenly, I realized I was no longer in Anderson Park.
I slowly blinked on the ground of this new place and started to look at my surroundings. While I was outside, the grass was almost like an aqua or turquoise color and so were the trees. It was really pretty in the area, and the sky was a pinkish-purple color showing that it was late afternoon. I didn’t bother to get up, still really wowed by the area where Kim was, I knew it. And knowing her, she wouldn’t immediately go back out where she came from; she would explore which is what I was going to —

“Maddy?” It was Kim’s voice, but … when I looked up at her she looked a little … different. Her skin was teal-ish, her hair was pastel blues and purples, and she had two small pointed spikes on her forehead that were the same color as her skin.

“Who are you?!” I asked, making sure it was Kim.

“Dummy, it’s me, Kim,” she laughed as if it were obvious. “But… y-you don’t look like yourself,” I said, still confused. I was questioning what happened to Kim, and very concerned as well. What had happened to her while I couldn’t find her? Was this really Kim?

“He-he, yeah, I figured that out a while ago, but, wow, you look really pretty as well,” she said, seeing my face and trying to be positive, as always.

Then, I replayed what she had just said and immediately looked up and down at myself, scared and kind of excited to see what I looked like.

I did look pretty! I had pastel-purple skin, my hair had blues like Kim’s but closer to the shade of the ocean’s color, and I had two antennas, almost like a snail’s without the eyes on top.

“I guess I do look pretty,” I said, calmer now. Kim helped me up and I asked her what she had been doing.

Her eyes lit up with what almost looked like millions of sparkles out of excitement. “Thank you so much for asking!! But, I can’t tell you; I need to show you!” she said through smiles.

“Come on Maddy, I need to show you everything,” Kim yelled out to me after running away.

I followed my friend into a bush, and found on the other side were shades of blues, teals, purples, and pinks, then I saw what looked like a very small village full of small homes, small rivers, and pretty fairy lights on branches of the nearby trees. The homes were very colorful, as well. They were filled with all different pastel colors, and there were so many different creatures!

One looked like a rabbit but the fur was a pink color, and it had antlers with different shades of aqua and purple. Another creature looked like a wolf, but five times bigger than a regular one, and they were friendly, too. The wolf-like creature had a pastel-green color on its fur, and the eyes had a shade of light blue.
“You’re able to ride the wolves if you want to! They have bags hanging on either side of their back if you want them to hold your belongings,” Kim said. “Do you want to ride one?” Obviously, she had already ridden one; after all, they were her favorite animals. I was so excited to go on one of those wolves, I went up to one without giving her an answer. I put my hand up to this mythical creature, seeing if it would let me pet it.

“Her name is Minty,” Kim had said. “She’s really nice and she has been looking for an owner for a long time now.” I was wondering exactly how Kim knew all of this. I was so confused. Kim has been here for almost the same amount of time I have been here, and she knows more about this place than I did; I only knew one type of creature!

“Kim, how do you know all of this, exactly?” I finally asked her. “I asked someone and they told me times go by much faster here,” Kim replied. “It looks like Minty has found her new owner, though,” she continued, looking at me.

“Oh, no. I can’t take her. We have to get back to Anderson Park to get to the Boba Café for your birthday, Kim! Don’t you know how we get out of here?”

Kim looked at me then looked at Minty. She was just smiling her tongue out. “Come on, don’t you want to explore?” Kim had said with a smile, still looking over her shoulder at Minty.

“Well, yeah, I guess. O.K., yeah, I kind of want to,” I told her, still looking surprised by her and everything surrounding me.

“It’s just like, I’m getting attached to this place every minute we are here. So I want to know a lot more, but I like it a lot,” Kim replied, acting like she wanted to be there for the rest of her life or something.

“O.K. But if you’re getting attached to this place, then I am probably going too, like soon. So we may need to get you out of here,” I said. “Minty, show us the way out of here,” I continued. Minty bent down, gesturing for us to jump on her back to ride her. On the way, I told Kim that for her birthday, I was inviting other people to celebrate with us.

“Wait, what? Why didn’t you tell me? Who did you invite?” she replied, surprised.

“I wanted it to be a surprise for your birthday, Kim. Before I met with you at Anderson Park, I had texted Maria and Bia to come to meet us at the Boba Café to surprise you and we could all celebrate together,” I said, cheerfully.

“But as you know, things got a little … different, and somehow ended up in a whole different type of world. I really wish I could text them and hope they could somehow wait for a little … .” I paused for a moment. At that same time, I remembered that I still had my phone on me, and Kim had her watch.

“Maddy, WiFi doesn’t exist here,” she said simply.

“Wait, what?! Really? Then how do we get out?” I exclaimed.

“I’ll show you soon… but, for now, we explore!” she yelled. Minty heard all of this and decided to run off toward a glow I was just now seeing come into view. I closed my eyes because it looked like we were going to run into a tree and I braced myself for the smash.

Just then, I heard the other half of Kim’s scream as we got ready to hit the tree. But Minty kept going, and then … I was on the ground with Kim … in … Anderson Park? We were back! Was it just a dream? Did I just imagine it?

Then Kim said, “Awww, I wanted to stay longer.” So, I guess it wasn’t just a dream.

“Come on, we’re going to be late for your party, and hey, what happened today, let’s not talk about this in public, O.K.?” I told her, as she muttered a “fine.”

Then we got back to walking so we could hurry over to the café to meet Maria and Bia to finally celebrate Kim’s birthday. Just in time, too. I looked back at the tree only a couple of times before we got out of Anderson Park, but I never stopped walking. Even today, I still look for the tree, but I’m never able to find it. Even after all the unsuccessful searching, I will never forget my magical adventure with Kim.