Altrusia
Chapter 2

"Where are we?"

Veronica wasn't sure what had happened. The ground started shaking, and then the sky came closer, and it felt like she had been swallowed up. She felt relief when she saw her mother and father. At least she hadn't fallen through alone. As the strange vertigo hit her, she fell off her horse, which began running with the rest of the herd, panicked by the sudden change.

Veronica gaped at her surroundings in awe, brushing her red hair out of her face. It felt like she was in a bowl - the land felt like it was twisting upward instead of curving downward. It was almost barren, just dust and sand. They were in a lifeless circle - perhaps ten yards across. Beyond the lip, there were tall grasses.

"I don't right know, Ronnie," her father said, managing to bring his horse to a rest.

She noticed her mother had almost managed to calm her horse down. Then her mother screamed, pointing at the fleeing herd of horses. Veronica turned to follow her mother's gaze, and could not believe her eyes. It looked like birds, the size of men, were running alongside the horses. A few of them pounced on her horse, probably slowed because of her saddle and bags, and dragged it down to the ground.

Veronica was accustomed to blood and killing - she'd grown up on a farm - but this was different. This was her horse. She turned her head away - and found herself looking across the plain at another strange beast. It looked like a cross between a porcupine and a rhinoceros, covered with feathers and having not one, but three horns on its face.

"I dare believe we aren't in Kansas anymore," her father said.

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