They were standing next to a stream that was bordered on the left by a steep grass-covered rise and on the right by a dusty dirt road. It was fall—the leaves on the trees off in the distance were a fiery mix of red, yellow and orange.
A few large oaks bordered the road, but the nearby area was mostly farmland. Stone walls marked off fields. On the ridge above them a herd of brown cattle grazed.
“This is your world, any idea where we’re at, laddie?” Hallo asked.
“Uh, I’m not sure,” Eric replied. “If this is the Revolution, then it’s almost 250 years before I was born.” Just thinking about the meaning of that was creeping Eric out.
The sight of the hill, the stream and the road gave him a funny feeling. It all seemed so different, and yet familiar…then it hit him.
“Hey guys, I think this is my stream.”
“What do you mean?” Kate asked.
“Well, there’s a stream a lot like this one that flows through my front yard, right by the state highway,” Eric explained. “And there’s a hill that leads up to the yard on the other side.”
“Ah yes, I think I see what you mean,” said Stig, who had been to Eric’s house before. “That’s the hill you had to blunder down to get to the drainpipe, only now there are no trees or undergrowth and the state highway is just a dirt track.”
“Oh wow,” Kate gasped. “Very weird.”
“Yeah, real freaky,” Eric agreed. “Hey, my house was only built 50 years ago. I wonder what was there before.”
“It seems to me you’ve been given a unique opportunity to find out,” Stig said.
“Well, what’re we waitin’ for?” Hallo asked. “Lead the way, laddie. Let’s see what the ol’ homestead looks like.”
“Okay, let’s go,” Eric said.
With Eric in the lead, they all crossed the stream and climbed over a stone wall. Eric was gripped by a strange sense of unreality as he walked up what would have been his driveway toward his house. But there was neither driveway nor house. Instead, he saw a meadow where cows were grazing on thistles and dry autumn grass. A few fields away was a small farmhouse, wisps of gray smoke rising from its chimney.
Eric’s legs went a little wobbly. This was a little too much to take.
“Oh man, this is messed up,” Eric said. “My yard is a cattle field.”
“That farm reminds me a little of home,” Kate said. “I kind of like your world, Eric.”
Eric gave a weak smile. “Um, well Calendria sort of reminded me of descriptions of the American colonies during the Revolution, but I never thought I’d actually get a chance to find out for sure.”
“I say, it must be quite a shock to you my boy,” Stig said. “But I really think we should see about finding someone who can get us up to date on what’s been happening around here—er, no pun intended.”
“Yeah, I guess that would be good,” Eric agreed, nodding absently.
“Which way to town?” Stig asked.
“Town? Um, uh it’s that way,” he said, pointing vaguely toward the road.
Stig flapped his wings. “Splendid! Then I daresay we should be off.”
The owl took to the air and Kate turned and started back the way they had come.
Hallo took Eric gently by the arm. “Come on lad, ya can’t stand around lookin’ for what won’t be here for a couple hundred years, don’t ya know. Let’s be off.”
They headed down the hill to the road together.