Pulling straw from their hair and brushing it off their clothes, the three slogged across the barn floor and peeked through the barn door.

Off to the east the sun had just risen. Across the barnyard, in the pink and purple light of early morning, they could see a small farmhouse with smoke rising from the chimney. Behind that, gently rolling hills covered in woods surrounded a meadow. In the far distance they saw the silhouettes of church steeples and tall buildings that looked like they might be built of brick. It was a city -- and it looked fairly modern.

"Anyone want to place bets on where we are and what century we're in?" Collin asked.

Morgan shook her head. She looked at the sky splattered with gray and black clouds. "All I want to do is find someplace warm and dry to hide out before it starts raining and I get wet again."

"It wouldn't be much of an adventure if you didn't get wet, Morg," Collin teased.

Suddenly his feet slid out from under him in the mud and he landed on his rump in the middle of a farm yard puddle.

It was the funniest thing Morgan had seen since they'd been swallowed by the void. She and Courtney laughed as Collin tried to get up. His hands slid in the mud. His feet slid in the mud. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't stand up.

"This is definitely the best adventure yet," Morgan taunted him, standing just out of his reach.

When they heard a door slam, the three twisted their heads toward the house and stopped laughing. A woman in a long billowy dress with ruffles at the cuffs and the neckline hurried down the steps of the white clapboard farmhouse. She wore a big, ruffled cotton bonnet on her head, the kind Morgan had seen in paintings from Revolutionary War times, and she was gripping a broom like a man would a baseball bat.

"What, may I ask, is going on out here?" The woman stared at their clothing as she slowly moved close to the strangely dressed kids. "Why aren't you children home, doing your chores?"

The children looked silently at each other, and then back at the woman. Finally Collin stammered, "We were just ... just ... "

"Well, spit it out. You were what? Lost?" said the woman.

"Yes, that's it," said Morgan. "We're lost." She smiled encouragingly.

 
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