Danielle awoke refreshed and alert. She was pleased with this outcome, but still puzzled. There was so much she’d been through—in what, just a few hours?—that it was remarkable she’d been able to sleep at all. Rolling onto her back, she stared into the dawn sky. The temperature was pleasant even though they were shrouded in a thin veil of drifting mist. As the light breeze created breaks in the mist, she could see steep rock faces vaulting into the air above them. Stunted, deformed fir trees clung to outcrops jutting beyond the sheer rock walls. As a shaft of sunlight broke upon the cliff face above her, she saw an eruption of pinks, purples, blues, yellows and magentas from various flowers embedded in the rock cracks. She sat up, beaming at the unexpected, dazzling beauty in such a harsh environment.
“How pretty!” she declared. Hearing a rustling to her right, she turned to see Ercen laying out food—human food—for her and her parents, who were still asleep.
“Good morning, child,” Ercen said. “Kimar has obtained food for you and your parents.”
Although she was curious how Kimar went about “obtaining” human food, Danielle suddenly realized how ravenously hungry she was and immediately set to remedy it.
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