“Hullo!” a voice brushed with an American accent announced in Polly’s ear.
Polly (once again standing) tried to step back with the shock of such a voice so close to her ear. Instead, she found her feet stuck together and all she could manage was a pathetic fall backwards.
Someone was hopping beside her. A brown hand extended downwards, and Polly gratefully grasped it. She opened her mouth to question the hand’s owner but almost fell back down with the shock of it all. There, standing as real as flesh beside her, was Brandi!
“What?” Polly boggled.
“How curious!” exclaimed Brandi, “You’ve shrunk to stand here with me and-”
“I haven’t! You’ve grown!”
“Now, look around you and reassess what you’ve just told me.”
Finally, the girl looked around properly. The curtains were like waterfalls of orange glow, the carpet was a grey desert stretching out for as far as Polly could see, and, so it seemed, the sofa was now a leather mound the size of two houses looming above her. She had shrunk!
“Oh! What can I do?” she cried, “My mum will call me for Christmas dinner and I’ll be nowhere to be found. To her, I’ll be gone, exploded, vanished, non-existent!”
Brandi tilted her head at Polly, sympathy spreading into her heart.
“Perhaps there is a way to change you back. It will involve a lot of walking to a distant place, but I have a feeling that I know some people who can help. Oh, and don’t worry about the cardboard on your legs; we can still jump to our destination.”
Polly grinned, for, although she was scared, she was also very ready for an adventure.
A face peered down at the two dolls. Polly gasped as she saw the vague features of Arielle in human form.
“Hey!” she yelled up at the girl, who was determined to clothe Polly in her own dark blue dress.
“She can’t hear you,” Brandi whispered sadly, “She has cast a spell on you to switch places, and now you are the toy doll and she is the dress-maker.”
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. The dull sound of Brandi as she hopped, with her base over to the sofa. Cleverly heaving herself up with her hands (as her feet had no way to grip), she clambered onto the leather beast of the sofa.
“Are you coming?” she called back in her American drawl.
Polly heaved herself up, as Brandi had done, with some difficulty, and suddenly she was surveying the dolls’ vast world from the wobbly leather land of the sofa. Brandi was already confidently hopping away and, with some hesitation, Polly used her knowledge and skipping skill to navigate her way over the sofa without falling flat on her face.
It was going to be a long journey.