The Other Side Of The Hill

June squinted her eyes against the harsh sunlight cutting to her skull like tiny daggers. It had been at least an hour since she’d entered the abandoned house in the side of the hill. She’s been out exploring in the mountains near her home of western Virginia while her mother was out for lunch with a friend.

June lowered her blue eyes and notice a red beetle scurrying away from her bare feet. She smile absentmindedly and sneezed. There was so much dirt in that tunnel, which was surprising because the cozy little house itself had seemed well-loved and kept up. Yet she had to brush past the cobwebs to get to the other side.

She blew out a puff of air, thinking of her excursion, when a brown and blue butterfly floated into her line of vision. She gazed at admirably, and it fluttered towards her seeming to want to give the child a closer look at its beauty. June reached out to meet it in the air, but it fluttered away. She blinked in surprise. A face grinned wickedly from the butterfly’s wing.

June shook her head and squeezed her eyes open and shut. The sun was playing an effect on her vision no doubt. She looked around for the butterfly, but it was gone. Oh well, she thought, I’ll see where I am anyhow.

She swept her curly red hair from side to side, taking in the sights and sounds. There was a strong scent of honeysuckle in the air, and June breathed deeply of the sweet smell. She walked through tall grasses where she caught glimpses of butterfly weeds poking their bright heads through to say “hello” to the newcomer.

A rabbit ran out from the grass and stopped on a flat white rock a short distance away, ears perked, facing the opposite direction. She giggled as she thought she glimpsed his little nose twitch.

Then it turned towards her.

June’s stomach flip-flopped. Those eyes were not a rabbit’s! That mouth was not a rabbit! No nose?! She felt as if she was sculpted to the the clay dirt, unable to move, unable to look away.

And just like that, with a flash of its fuzzy white tail, it was gone. Only ears could be seen as it fled through the grass to the comfort of the woods beyond.

June stood for a full five minutes before she could even begin to process what she thought she’d seen. A rabbit’s body with the face of an owl? Impossible! her brain screamed at her. Were her eyes that affected by the sun? And what WAS that awful humming sound?

June shook her head and resolved to never let her imagination trick her so easily ever again. She was probably in need of some water, that’s all. She chided herself as she walked, unconsciously steering herself toward the annoying humming that seemed to sink into her subconscious. As she went further, the humming turned into buzzing. It happened so gradually, she only noticed when it suddenly became difficult to remember what she had been thinking of. And then it was almost too late.

She very nearly stumbled upon a hive of giant bees. Poor June did a double take, and her eyes bulged as she stood gaping at the enlarged insects as big as the bus she took to school.

June hadn’t realized when she’d knelt to the ground, but suddenly jumped up to take a quick several steps back. Her mind was was numb to feeling, but her legs weren’t. She turned and fled as fast as she dared. She tan and ran, back the way she thought she’d come. Stopping to catch her breath, she found herself in a circle of dead trees.

Where was she?

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