All around her she heard strange noises. Loud buzzing. Flapping wings. And something whizzed past her head. She wanted to duck, but there was no where to go except further into the muck, and it was making noises too. A loud, gurgling sound. The thick, stinky ooze she was stuck in was black and dozens of bubbles kept rising to the surface and popping, like boiling water. Drowning in it didn't seem like a very pleasant way to die.

"Courtney! Collin!" she screamed again.

"Yuk! What on earth did you get yourself into?" Courtney asked, standing at the edge of the murky pit.

"It feels like mud and baby oil," Morgan answered, trying to sound intelligent and not the least bit afraid as she grabbed hold of the tree branch her friends had dropped on top of the gunk. "And it doesn't smell very good."

"You don't smell very good, either." Collin laughed as he and Courtney pulled Morgan to solid ground. Morgan wanted to cry, but when she looked at the goo hardening on her hands and legs she had to laugh, too.

Morgan snapped a frond off of a giant fern and tried to clean some of the mud from her body while Courtney and Collin walked about, looking at the pit she'd just been pulled from, at the monstrous trees and the ferns that were taller than most houses.

"I think we've landed in the Everglades," Collin stated. "It's swampy, and humid..."

 
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